Friday, May 1, 2015

Three Skirts and a Scarf

Hola, everyone!

It feels like I haven't posted in forever, though it's only been about two-and-a-half weeks. I have been busy busy busy at work, which keeps my mind in a very different space—it makes me feel like sewing, and my blog, is very far away, even if that's not really true.

A Dart Summit was held in San Francisco early this week and I spent several weeks writing a code lab for an event that was held on the eve of the summit.

If you have a mission-critical need to form a pirate crew, you might want to check it out! (Search for "Shams" if you want confirmation that I wrote it. ;) )

Though time and energy for creative work has been in limited supply, I have been doing some (fairly simple) sewing! Let me catch you up in one post!

Two Ina Skirts

Two of my local sewing friends, Dorothy K, and Jilly Be, have recently made the Ina skirt, which is a Pattern Review pattern. I liked each of theirs (neither of which is posted anywhere, sorry). Jillian used a floral knit, and that pushed me over the edge—I had to make my own Ina.

And, in fact, I made two. In a single day.

This is a quick sew!

I made a couple modifications. The Ina skirt has a yoke, which I omitted. I am 5'5" and, by leaving off the yoke, it was a perfect length for me. I also added an elastic waistband. With my rectangular shape, relying only on a yoke to keep up a skirt is a recipe for exposing myself in public—I guarantee that such a skirt will end up popping off and sliding to my ankles.

The Ina uses godets at the hem to flare the skirt out and create a nice swishy movement.

I made the green one first, using a stash rayon-lycra fabric, from Fabrix, I believe. The second one used a red/grey/black/white rayon-lycra fabric from Emma One Sock. The fabric arrived on Saturday morning and I was wearing the skirt by Saturday night, even with pre-washing the fabric.

Self Drafted "Holy" Skirt

On the same day that I made the two Ina skirts, I was eager to sew up yet another skirt, this time using a wonderful perforated stretch pleather from Gorgeous Fabrics.

There are different kinds of pleathers out there, but this one has a red face and a white backing. This pleather was quite easy to sew using regular thread and a regular microtex needle (my go-to needle). Instead of using pins, I secured the seams with Clover Wonder Clips, which the Clover booth was handing out at Puyallup. I like these very much!

Holding the seam in place with Clover Wonder Clips

I found (though careful trial) that you can easily press the white (back) side of the pleather on low heat and no steam, but you cannot put the iron directly on the front (red) side, unless you want it to melt on your iron, even at a relatively low heat. I found that I could press the face of the pleather if I used my silk organza pressing cloth.

Pressing the seam open with a (striped) silk organza pressing cloth

I drafted a simple flared skirt, about 70" wide at the hem, and midi length. The pleather had more stretch in one direction, but I didn't want the holes to lay in perfectly horizontal rows, so I cut the fabric on the bias—it's still stretchy on the bias, though not as stretchy as from selvedge to selvedge.

Drafting a simple flared skirt with a 70" hem

I wanted the seams to be as unobtrusive as possible, so I made 2 rows of stitching, 1/8" apart, and trimmed close to the second line of stitching.

Two rows of stitching, close together, and trimmed

I didn't want to use the pleather for an elastic waistband, so I grabbed a piece of red sweater knit. Easy peasy.

Using a red sweater knit for the elastic waistband

The hem is just the cut raw edge.

I like this skirt!

To avoid shocking observers, I wear the skirt over a pair of black microfiber harem pants or over a pair of black leggings and finish it off with boots.

Double-sided Koos Infinity Scarf

It was three years ago that I visited the Robert Talbott Outlet in Carmel Valley, on my way to an annual sewing retreat. It's a great place to buy fabrics and fabric remnants that they use in their high-end shirts, suits, and ties for men.

I bought quite a few silk tie fabrics, and a few wool remnants. There was one wool remnant in particular that I really liked. It was a loosely woven, double-weave fabric, predominantly light grey on one side and dark grey on the other. The remnant was 24" by 50". Every time I took it out to use it, I was stumped. I loved both sides of the fabric. I wanted to make another Koos spiral infinity scarf, but a Koos scarf displays only one side of the fabric, and I just couldn't bring myself to hide the other side.

Also, this fabric fringes beautifully, and I wanted to feature the fringe.


So, I'd pull the fabric out from time to time, stare at it, ponder, and then put it away, with regret.

Then, last week, it occurred to me that I could have it both ways.

Here is what I did:

  • Evened up all the edges so that it was a perfect rectangle.
  • Cut the fabric, exactly down the middle, the long way.
  • Flipped over one half of the fabric, showing the reverse side.
  • Fringed one of the long edges, overlapped it, and stitched it down. I stitched it twice:
    • The first row of stitching, using a straight stitch, secured the layers together.
    • The second row of stitching, a zigzag, prevented the fabric from fraying further.
    After cutting the fabric down the middle and turning one half over to display both sides; the pile of threads are from the self fringe

  • Next, I followed Linda Chang Teufel's instructions (she has worked closely with Koos van den Akker and wrote the original article that appeared in Threads Magazine) for the Koos Mobius Scarf, with a few minor changes:
    • The dimensions of my rectangle are a bit different: about 20" by 50", after the rectangle had been trued up.
    • I omitted the bias bindings, which is a classic Koos detail.
    • All seams are overlapped, rather than sewn normally. For all seams, the raw edge on top is fringed and the seams are sewn twice, as described above.
    • Before sewing the short ends of the scarf together, I introduced a twist into the scarf. I'm pretty sure that the Threads article that Linda wrote includes this instruction, though I can't lay my hands on it right now. (She doesn't mention this step in the blog post.) This 360° twist helps the finished scarf lay nicely around the neck.

Step 7 in Linda's instructions—beginning the spiral seam

Step 11 in Linda's instructions—the short ends are pinned together

I love the finished scarf! I found a way to have my cake and eat it, too!

Until next time!