Sunday, February 1, 2015

Challenge Accepted!


On November 19th, Rhonda Buss, a blogging pal (and we will meet in person some day, mark my words), asked if I would like to participate in a challenge/competition. In fact, here is a snippet from her email, which explains the situation more fully:

Janet Prey who owns the American Sewing Expo and Islander Patterns gave me a lovely bolt of fabric. It's a shirt weight barkcloth. The fabric is printed in panels. It's white with a black floral print running the length of the panel. It's really quite lovely. So, here's the challenge....you may do anything you wish with the fabric, combine it with whatever you like. Whatever you choose to do must be finished no later than February 1st. I have 10 panels so there will be 10 entries. Each entry along with links back to your blog, will go up on my blog for voting. The winner will receive Islander's brand new pattern, The Motor City Motorcycle Jacket, along with the accompanying Craftsy class. Let me know if you would like to participate.

Rhonda is calling her challenge, "Get Your Motors Running."

I am really over competitions, but she seduced me by the challenge aspect of it. I love challenging myself. Let's hear it for frequent challenges, where we push ourselves creatively!

I agreed in fairly short order, and she mailed me a very interesting fabric panel. Roughly 24" by 60" (I forgot to measure it), it looked like this:

Since I received the fabric in November and the project wasn't due until February, I let the ideas start to percolate in the back of my mind while I put the fabric away.

When I revisited the project several weeks ago, I had developed some comments/observations/ideas. Here's a peek into my thought process:

  • I don't sew much with white, so I considered dying the fabric so that it would be, say red and black, or green and black. In the end, I decided not to bother with that, though I do think that it would have been a pretty effect.
  • There was not really enough yardage, by itself, for me to use *only* that fabric, so I immediately knew that I would mix it with a black fabric.
  • This woven fabric is *very* drapey and very ravelly. I should have serged the edges before throwing the fabric into the washing machine/dryer but I didn't, so I learned just how ravelly it was. I lost several inches along both (long) cut edges.
  • This fabric would be a natural for a top or blouse of some kind, particularly with its drapey quality. But, with my reverse-pear shape, I am more of a "bottoms" girl than a "tops" girl.
  • If I had had two of these panels, I would have made swishy pants with the motifs running down the outside leg.

I decided to use an idea that's I've been wanting to try for awhile: to use the panel as a "peekaboo" element in a faux wrap skirt.

There is no pattern for this. I used three fabric rectangles:

  • A rectangle for the main skirt. For this I used a black, drapey woven fabric that was a gift from Margy. (The black fabric has a bit of a greenish cast, which is why she didn't use it herself.)
  • A rectangle of the panel print. I needed this to be about 23" by the length of the skirt, plus a hem. I cut the panel print in half, lengthwise, placed the largest part of the prints so they were at the hem, and flat felled them together to get the width I needed. (Also remember that I lost some of the width of the original panel when it frayed mightily in the washer/dryer.)
  • A third rectangle of the black created a waistband casing for the elastic. Like I said, this was a faux wrap. ;)

(Note: If you were to make this for someone with a much smaller waist than hips, I would not use rectangles. In that case, I'd start with a basic fitted pencil skirt and alter from there. In that case, the wrapping feature might need to be functional so that you can put it on and take it off so I would eliminate the waistband/elastic. My waist and hips are virtually the same measurement, so rectangles and an elastic waist work fine.)

The skirt is constructed as a giant tube. It's as simple as that. Then it is folded. I folded it to expose the white panel to create a pleasing vertical line. I also realized, during construction (I love these happy accidents), that one edge of the fabric, with the attractive selvedge, could be used along the front as a further decorative element.

At Stone Mountain and Daughter, I purchased two sets of 3/4" D-rings and 2 yards of black cotton strapping, or ribbon - I'm not sure what it is called. I offset the faux wrap to expose about an inch of the white, and I used the ribbon and D-rings to create a decorative element. Note that these are more decorative than functional, as the skirt stays on thanks to the elastic waistband. Note that the cotton strapping tends to ravel, so I finished the raw edge with Fray Block, which I prefer over Fray Check. (I once did extensive experiments with both.)

Voilรก.
(I admit it, not much hangar appeal...)

That's better!

And better still!

Thanks so much for inviting me to participate, Rhonda! It was a lot of fun. Rhonda plans to post a summary post Monday, Feb 2nd, with all ten entries and a poll for voting. As much as I shrink from the competitive aspect, I admit that I would really like Janet Pray's pattern and class so, what the heck. Please go vote for whomever you want to vote for!

And thanks to mem for the pictures!

And, yes, I was woefully overdue for a haircut, but I finally made it over to the hair college.

I predict that this student will go far!

83 comments:

  1. Clever you! Always thinking outside of the box. Great skirt. Good luck :)

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  2. What a creative idea and interesting use of the panel. You are so imaginative!

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  3. Fun! I love that panel print and you rocked it!!!

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  4. i love your skirt! what a wonderful use of that panel

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  5. Very pretty high contrast detail. I really like the fact that you designed the floral inset so it provides total privacy, rather than leaving the two edges of the envelope unconnected except at the waistband.

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    1. Thanks, Digs! Yes, I like the fact that this won't reveal anything untoward. :)

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  6. Such an interesting way to use the fabric & very well done ! You have a great imagination & the ability to execute garments with great style ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„

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    1. Thanks for that nice compliment, MaryEllen!

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  7. What a great use of that fabric! I really like the D-rings and strapping closure that you've created.

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  8. Shams, love what you did with the panel…would love to have even a little bit of creative brain like yours :)
    Debby

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    1. Wow, Deborah, what a nice compliment. Thanks!

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  9. You always inspire me! I'm so grateful that you are sewing and blogging more these days! You give the sewing community a lot!

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  10. This is so clever! Thanks for sharing the detail of how you used the fabric edge and the d-rings. I don't wear skirts but this is giving me ideas for a t-shirt in the future : )

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  11. That is fantastic. I love the whole idea.

    Also, your hair looks great! Curious about the sweater you're wearing in the haircut photo?

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    1. Thanks, Duck! Ahhh, that sweater was a gift from Margy. It's RTW but I fully intend to knock it off. :)

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  12. Sharon, i love how this challenge went! The skirt design as well as the accent fabric are both unexpected from your 'atelier'; yet you look wonderful and quite yourself! The best outcome of a challenge - you find out more about your own style instead of just pushing yourself to try something you don't like. Fantastic!

    And i am not one bit surprised that Rhonda is behind this ;)

    urgh, one sewing 'do' i alwaysalwaysalways do is zig zag my edges! Yep, several inches loss is possible, and it has cured me of that 'bad habit'. Especially as i'm always cheaping out and buying 'just enough', i don't have room for error. Glad you had enough.

    i think it's twill tape? I love it, works like a ribbon but gives a utilitarian feel which plays well against the ultra-femme floral. It's those little deets which knock your pieces outta the park. Off to vote!! Enjoy this gorgeous warm spell, steph

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    1. I thought it was twill tape, too.

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    2. Thanks, Stephanie! Yes, it's 3/4" wide twill tape! I knew it looked familiar but I've never seen it that wide before.

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  13. wow - lotsa eye candy in this post! That fabric IS lovely and the swishy pants you described would be amazing. Your new cut and color are wonderful too :)

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  14. You have seriously met this challenge! Wonderful complete look with that skirt being the star! Great cut, too!

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  15. That skirt is awesome. You are so creative. Love the new haircut.

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  16. I love the "reveal" element. Fun to not see everything all at once and get more of the key detail as you're moving. Are you succumbing to florals? This is #2! I do think Pink! is on your creative challenge horizon ;- )

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    1. LOL! Yes, this is #2 and I just bought another floral fabric! But FIE on pink! ;)

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  17. I love it - I don't even need to see the other entries to know how I will vote! When you prewashed/dried the fabric, was that so you can wash the skirt? (that was my "assumption".) If so, can you wash it with the d-ring toggles?
    It's really a fantastic use of that panel!

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    1. Thanks, Robyn! Yes, I wanted to be able to machine wash this skirt without worrying about shrinkage. The d-rings are washable.

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  18. Very cool use of the panel. Love the way it looks when you walk in it - nice little surprise.

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  19. Great skirt (you've given me an idea! )and I love the haircut!!

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  20. You look mahvelous, simply mahvelous in your creation and your new do!!!! I love reading your blog and trying to keep up with what you do. Thank you.

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  21. So awesome! I love how you've used the fabric! I've seen three of the ten entries and it's going to be a really interesting competition. You're amazing entry will make voting for one person hard!

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    1. I've been able to track down two others: Cennetta and Rachel. I can't find the others. They've both raised the bar high!

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  22. What a wonderful use of this fabric - how creative! Like you I'm not a big "white" person or light colors for that matter, so this really appeals on the use of the color. It's so great how you let us in on your process and how your come to your ideas. I love reading your blog so much.
    And If I can comment on the new 'do? WoW! You look terrific, so pretty!

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  23. Shams, Your creativity seems to be boundless!!! Adore the peak-a-boo panel skirt. The new haircut is so YOU!!! Perky and easy breezy!!

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  24. I just viewed Cennetta's dress and now your skirt. I love your skirt. Way too much eye candy. Keep the name of the student who cut and styled your hair.

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    1. Thanks, Patsijean! This was a fun challenge and I really look forward to seeing all 10 entries tomorrow!

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    2. Oh, and the hair student's name is Janrel!

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  25. Great skirt! Love how you incorporated the print into the skirt.

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  26. Lovely skirt, wonderful haircut and beautiful you!

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  27. This is a lovely use of the panel! Well don!

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  28. This is a lovely use of the panel! Well don!

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  29. Such a simple idea but so effective. Love your creative flair.

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    1. Thanks, Jean Margaret! I agree, I felt like I got a lot of bang for the buck, in terms of easy-to-sew-but-high-impact.

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  30. I always look to you for something interesting and you didn't miss a beat here. Your skirt is beautiful. I love your use of the panel

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  31. I always look forward to reading about your sewing adventures, you inspire! and great haircut!

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  32. So creative, as always! (and love the hair!)

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  33. So creative, as always! (and love the hair!)

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  34. Very gOod. This makes me want to sew a wrap-around skirt for myself.

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  35. Very gOod. This makes me want to sew a wrap-around skirt for myself.

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  36. It's a feminine kilt! I love the peek-a-boo element and I'm always one for more hardware. I never would have thought this was created from rectangles.

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    1. What an interesting comment! Yes, I can see that! (Though I certainly didn't think it at the time.)

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  37. It's a feminine kilt! I love the peek-a-boo element and I'm always one for more hardware. I never would have thought this was created from rectangles.

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    1. Thanks, PoldaPop! On my figure, rectangles work. ;)

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  38. Long time lurker from the Napa Valley. Fabulous post inspired me to write and
    applaud your kilt/skirt - the kantha coat/jacket (your new haircut/color is a
    standout when wearing reverse side) - body of jacket is perfection for you - and
    like your necklace (size of rings) - any info on it?
    Eileen

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    1. Hey, Lurker Eileen! Thanks and thanks! Isn't that necklace great! That is a Kathleen Tucci piece that I found an a considerable discount. (They can be quite pricey.) Don't ask me where because that was a one-time thing. ;) You can find her pieces online at Artful Home and Gallery 5.

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    2. I should add that Kathleen Tucci makes her jewelry from bicycle parts.

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    3. Jackpot!!! Shopping online now. Thanks for your kind sharing.

      Lurker

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