That went better than expected

Right, this is going to be a long post I suspect, so make a cup of tea. I’ll have one too while you’re up – white with one thanks. Since my last post, I’ve actually finished the skirt. Much, much faster than expected, if we’re honest. So here’s the bits I did since I last posted.

Rolled up skirt with all colours

Pink and white were added. These are what I consider “buffer colours”, because I’m not much of a fan of pink and would have started this skirt at red if I owned shorter shirts. My shirts are, without exception, longish. I don’t tuck in because I don’t care for your rules, you square. So the white and pink serve to “lower” the good colours so they can be seen under my shirt.

Once I’d done all the tiers, I sewed the open edges together with a rather natty French seam. Then I hoisted it all up around myself to check the length. It’s not quite as long as I was expecting it to be, but that works out well because I tend to trip over my clothes a lot. It’s better to have some kick room, which is not to say I won’t fall over this. We both know I will.

The hoisting up also helped check the sizing. If it had been all huge at the waist, I’d have gathered the white tier into the waistband a bit. I did end up gathering the white a tiny bit, but that’s really because I cut the waistband too short and couldn’t be bothered recutting it. The top edge of the white was finished with a zigzag which may or may not be enough to save it from dissolving, we’ll see. It’s exciting, like a cliff hanger!

Finished skirt hanging in a tree

The waistband is basically a length of fabric with the edges folded in, sewn to the top of the skirt so that the raw edges of the white are encased. I did a double seam on that, because this skirt is kinda heavy. Although there’s a drawstring, I also opted to slip some elastic in there so it was a bit gathered in by itself, and also for extra holdyupability. The drawstring is just a long strip of left over purple fabric, folded in half and sewn closed. Then I turned it out, pressed it and top stitched it. You care. I can tell.

I was expecting this thing to weigh a lot more than it does. It’s only 1.2 kilos, which is practically nothing when compared to… you know. Things heavier than that. Like abnormally large hats. I bought a luggage scale specifically to find out how much this weighs, by the way. Dedication. I’m not allowed to weigh babies with it, which is a shame as I was planning to open a door to door baby weighing business. Thwarted again.

Yours truly holding up a skirt, like a dork

I’m bloody delighted at how well this thing fits, because that means I get to actually wear it instead of shoving it in a cupboard until doomsday. It’s getting two outings this week already, and I’m not even charging money for that. Really, I’m lovely in so many ways.

How do I stand?

I do not enjoy having my photo taken because I never know how to stand, a fact which is screamingly apparent in the above picture. What are hands for? Where do I put those? Am I even real? Why can I smell toast? Still, it lets you see how the skirt sits. The skirt sits wonderfully, even when I’m standing around like a complete doofus.

I sent the above photo to my friends Evie and Lizzie, and Evie said almost right away “Is it twirly??” to which I replied with this photo:

Swirling

It’s absolutely twirly. Glee!

Thanks for following along with me as I indulged myself with a stupidly massive project, and thanks to my Facebook buddies for (presumably) not muting me as I spam their time lines with fabric and thread. This has been so fun, I’ve loved every second of putting this skirt together and feel a bit lost now I’ve finished it. It’s okay though – I’ve a pair of jeans that have given up, and a couple of table cloths to sew to those jeans. New skirt ahoy!

Orange You Glad, and also Red

Double colour update today to celebrate the fact I couldn’t be bothered doing a post just for orange. Now things are zooming along quick like, I didn’t want to risk establishing a daily update habit which would fall to bits as soon as I finish this skirt. It’s all about managing audience expectations, really.

Skirt pinned with the orange layer and taking up a whole bench thank you

Above, we see the moment when I thought “This has become unwieldy”.  While the tiers are being finished much faster as they get smaller (well obviously), moving the whole lot around for pinning/sewing/trimming/pressing is becoming a bit of a production. Not that I’m complaining. I’d rather be under all this fabric than doing something unfun.

Skirt up to orange spread out

Just for a change from the rolled up skirt, here it is just before seam pressing. It’s pretty damn pleasing to look at, even if I do say so myself. And hey, even though I’ve said so myself, feel free to agree with me. I will allow it.

Skirt rolled up

The rolled up rockets are free standing, by the way. My Mum thought I was wrapping them around a cone of some kind, but nope. Sheer volume of fabric. There was a slight complication with attaching the red. Shall I tell you about it? Okay then. In order to avoid any half squares, the number of orange squares was rounded up. This means that the gathering of 1.5 squares to 1 square was slightly not right. I’m explaining this brilliantly, and should have gone into teaching. I woodged it, it’s perfectly okay but there’s one orange square that’s not as gathered as the others. This should end up at the back of the skirt, so I’ll simply always have my back to something and refrain from pointing at it in public.

I’ve only pink and white to add now, and the white is potentially waistband. I’m not sure yet. I want to see the overall length before I worry about the waistband. I also kind of don’t want to do a waistband because I don’t particularly like doing them. I know, they’re kind of important in your basic skirt, but there you have it.

Mellow Yellow

It’s all getting a bit quick now isn’t it? The yellow is attached, seamed and pressed and you’re delighted. I can tell.

Rolled skirt

The above picture is pre-zigzag/trim. I didn’t take that many pictures of yellow going on, I think I was distracted by the Netflix series on murderous women I’m watching while I sew. Some of them were quite stabby.

Yellow, green, blue and purple tiers rolled up

It took me until I was sewing the green to the yellow to realise I should probably just remove the dental floss as I go, rather than trying to snip it all out at the end. I never claimed to be smart. This has meant that for the first time, I don’t have a tier that smells a bit minty. It’s a loss, I can tell you.

There’s always too many photos of this (and other stuff) on my Instagram if you’re interested. I should warn you I tend to take a lot of pictures of spiders, because I think they’re dreamy. 

(Every time I roll the whole thing up for a picture, I start thinking of the Rocket Clock from Playschool. Not relevant, but something I felt you should know).

Green Acres

Sorry for putting the “Green Acres” theme in your head, in the sense that I’m not at all sorry.  It’s been bopping around in my brain since yesterday, it’s your turn now.

Green strip being pinned and sewn to the blue and purple

The green is now firmly (I hope) attached to the blue. The gathering on this one is a bit harder as it’s 1.5 squares of blue to one square of green. I mean, it’s not astrophysics, but it did make me do some thinking which is not what I signed up for actually. The above photo also illustrates beautifully my inability to sew dental floss to anything in a straight line.

Green, blue and purple strips sewn together and rolled up

When you gather and sew in short sections because you don’t own enough pins, there comes a time toward the end of the strip where you think “I hope this actually lines up”. The green did line up perfectly, which made me do a tiny happy dance in my chair. Of course, if it hadn’t I’d have just made it fit. Unpicking is for wimps.

Green, blue and purple tiers rolled and standing up

When I hang out with my lovely friend Suzie and play the ukulele with her, she refers often to “Jazz notes” which might seem like the wrong chord being played, but it’s actually interpretative. I mention this because this skirt is basically a bunch of “Jazz seams”. Look, everything is attached, let’s not get persnickety about the method of attachment. The way I described my seams on Facebook was “wandering around like a blind duck”. I did own a blind duck once, and she did wander around pretty randomly. It’s a good description.

Right, I’m off to make more coffee and see if I can’t make the green stick nicely to the yellow.

The Gathering Storm

Seriously though, is there some kind of award for blog post titles? I’m bloody good at them. I’ll cheerfully accept your nominations.

The time had come to actually start skirt assembly. The first problem I struck was with the gathering. As this skirt is basically one big gather, this was quite the problem. I tried all sorts of things, but the issue really came down to my sewing machine stitch length. Even the longest stitch is pretty short in the grand scheme of things. Also my threads kept snapping, which made me say unladylike things.

I’d started on the white because it was short, but was despairing of doing battle with this snappy thread thing for the other tiers. I then tried hand gathering, but come on now. Just… come on now. Giving up, I headed to Google where I found this tutorial on gathering with waxed dental floss. Oh. My. God. Works like a fucking charm, saved my sanity (shush you) and here we have a gathered and sewn purple/blue combo.

I’ve seen people roll out their final tier on a basketball court or something, and gather it up there. I, as it turned out, couldn’t be bothered doing that. Instead, I just gathered two purple squares at a time and pinned them to fit one blue square. I did this in batches of about 15ish blue squares. This was for a couple of reasons – one so I could start and end my threads properly and avoid sudden bobbin outage, also so I could break up the pinning and sewing into more manageable chunks. The main reason however is I just don’t own enough pins to do the whole tier at once. I could have bought more pins, but eh.

Everything was going really, really well. Just as I was about to go back to work for another shift I did a quick count of the remaining squares. I had ten blue, twenty purple left. Perfect. Exactly perfect. When I sat down again I found I had nine blue and nineteen purple. I do not know what happened. I’m going to assume gremlins, pixies or a blip in space time continuum.  If it makes you feel better, I went back and unpicked to fit everything together properly. That’s a lie I’m telling you, to make you feel better. I woodged it. It’s fine.

I started with the longest tier as a Dental Floss Conservation Method. I planned to remove the floss and reuse it on the shorter tiers, thereby saving floss and possibly the world. This would have worked, had I not ended up with loops of floss which I sewed all the over the place. The floss was ripped out as the seam was trimmed. It’s zig zagged, then trimmed because it’s a deep seam from the square joining allowance. I don’t have an overlocker, so it’s all manual because I’m hardcore.

Stats:
Number of unpicking sessions: Just one, from when the blue folded up under itself and got all ridiculous.
Number of holes I need to patch: One. Small. From the unpicking. I am a violent unpicker.
Number of times I’ve rammed at least fifteen pins into my palm while adjusting things: At least a hundred.
Length of dental floss remaining sewn into the seam: Has to be at least 5 metres. At least the whole thing smells minty fresh.