Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.

Much improved skirt

I spent the largest part of this week in N.C. since I had something to do down there every single morning — meetings, a doctor visit, you name it.

Since I was going to be there for a while and I had a lot of mending to do, I grabbed a bag and stuffed it with a tank-top, shorts and a couple of skirts that needed fixing.

Thanks to Mom, I was able to complete every single one of those projects! Mostly because she fixed the hole in the collar of the tank top, placed a dart in the shorts so they fit better and forbid me to touch one of the skirts because I managed to mess up the waist band.

The skirt is made from a stretchy knit and, over the course of a day, stretches out so much that I have to tug it up very few minutes. So I needed to take it in. Originally, Mom placed two darts in the back and that took care of that problem.

I also didn’t like the rolled hem, so I tried to hem it up. To get the material to lay flat, I knew the side seams needed to be tapered outward. So I did that. Then I wanted to cut off the excess side seam material. Doing that I some how cut off the bias tape binding around the waist, leaving a gaping hole.

Mom rescued the skirt. She took out the darts and sewed up the side. Then she set to work hemming the bottom … refusing to let me get near the “poor ol’ skirt.

While she did that, I got to work on some other projects. The second skirt didn’t fit all that well so I left it for my sister-in-law and the last skirt I worked on myself.

The skirt was long and beautiful, but I don’t look good in long skirts. It’s one Nannie gave to me a few winters ago and I’ve worn it mostly during the fall and winter with brown boots.

So I decided to cut it off and add lace to the bottom.

I went to put the skirt on last night to take a picture and the zipper broke. Mom got home and found me trying it get the zipper back together. “What did you do now?” she asked. “Why do you go to fix the hem and wind up messing up the waistband?” she teased me.

So we made a run to Hobby Lobby for a brown, 7-inch zipper and this is the result.

I love it!

Hemming can be hard to do

Sorry this post is late. Since I worked last Sunday, I had this past Friday off and I vowed to stay away from the computer and enjoy myself. And enjoy myself I did! All weekend long! Take a gander of some of what I did:

Do you remember these shorts?

Mmmm … I didn’t realize how dark this picture was. Sorry!

I tackled them again Friday. It took three hours — yes, three hours! — to re-hem these so that the fabric wouldn’t bunch. I tried three different techniques, including sewing a basting line and trying to ease in the extra fabric like you do with sleeves.

I finally found out that I had tapered the leg hems in the wrong direction! Yep, that was it. After sewing the leg seams from the seam line to the edge of the fabric, the material laid nice and flat. Before, I had tapered in, toward the leg itself!

Look! No bunching fabric! Yes!

Now the legs lay nice and even. I’m so happy and can’t wait for it to warm up so Chris can wear them every day this summer!

I also cut off the original hem, which was fine because the shorts were too long for the hubby anyway. They now hit him just above the knee and fit nicely too.

These shorts are by no means perfect, but they are improved enough that Chris might wear them more often when the weather warms up.

Besides scratching my head over what should have been a simple technique, I also took a day trip with the fam, baked tortillas and took up two pajama bottoms this weekend. I’m feeling very satisfied after such a productive weekend!

Fixing the shrink

Preshrinking material is important, I tell ya. Most people try to skip this step and continue on with cutting out fabric and sewing. But what will you do when you first wash the material and it shrinks? You’re stuck with a beautiful garment that only a child could where.
But what do you do if the fabric shrinks and you don’t have enough material to cut out the all the pattern pieces?
As I was cutting out a skirt pattern in a recent sewing class, I found my material had shrunk from 45 inches to 39 inches wide. This left me with about 3 inches less than was needed to cut out the back section of the skirt. What to do, what to do?
Class instructor Margaret Christie came to the rescue. She attached more material at the end, as seen above. You can see the seam above my thumb where material was added on. The seam was used as the fold for the hemline. The skirt is now a little bit shorter than I wanted it, but it would have been 2 inches shorter if we hadn’t added on material!

Sewing terms

After talking with a friend and learning she didn’t know what many of the things that I discussed in my last post, I thought I’d give a quick tutorial. I may do this from time to time to clarify any tools or techniques if you so desire. Just let me know!

As a demonstration, I’ll use the pair of pants I discussed in the last post.A hem is the bottom or top of a garment that’s folded over and sewn to create a smooth finished edge. In the picture below, it’s the thread that is sewn horizontally. This is the bottom of one of the pants legs.

A seam is the area where two pieces of material are joined with thread. In the picture above it’s the thread that runs vertically. Below it’s where the material comes together, located horizontally.
Outer leg seams are the sections were the back and front of the pants meet at the thigh/outer area of your leg and side.

Inner leg seams are the seams

that hold the front and back of the pants together from the crotch down to the edge of the garment.
The casing is this folded over and sewn material that holds the drawstring for the pants. This is really tricky as it requires a lot of folding, ironing and sewing and you have to be careful not to sew too far toward the middle of the casing or you won’t be able to pull the drawstring through! Here is a picture of the casing:
A seam ripper is your friend. And, as I learned the hard way, it can be your enemy. It’s used to rip out the threads from sewing if you need to make some adjustments or if you made any mistakes. Seam ripper:
The seam ripper is sharp. It’ll rip your fabric if you’re not careful. But since a shirt will cover the casing most of the time, I decided not to worry about fixing the problem because that would probably require either a small patch or creating a whole new casing.