Friday, October 24, 2014

Electric Denim Mini Skirt - Grainline Moss #32001

Some background: I start writing my reviews even before I cut the fabric, recording the description, sizing, notion info, and such. This particular one was started over a year ago and I added to it as I worked on the skirt. Great stuff was collected. However, a few days ago, I accidentally deleted the entire post!!!!! I cannot tell you how frustrated this makes me. So loads of details are now gone forever gone*. So, below, is everything that I remembered. Also, forgive the horrible finished skirt photos (taken on my cell phone).

Pattern: Grainline Studio Moss skirt #32001 (2012)

Pattern Description: Semi-fitted skirt in two lengths sits slightly below the natural waist and features a fly front, button closure, and back yoke. View B offers an optional hem band for length.

Pattern Sizing: Sizes 0-18 and I cut a size 10.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing it? Yes!

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, however when it came to the fly zipper I chose to follow alternative instructions.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the modern styling and the contoured yoke and waistband.

Fabric Used: Sew Classic Bull Denim in Moroccan Blue from Joann Fabrics at $12.99 a yd., a remnant of this cotton floral, Coats & Clark 9" zipper in Dark Teal #279, Gutermann 100% Polyester thread in Deep Turquoise #630, Pellon Easy-Knit (AK130) fusible knit interfacing, hook and eye closure, and a gifted 3/4" wood button from Tibet.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made?:  My waist and hip measurements are inches apart and I have an impressive booty, so my first muslin made it clear that some alterations would be needed for the skirt to fit me correctly. Luckily, I was able to contact Jen Beeman, the pattern’s designer and ask for her help. She was able to help me (using hand drawn illustrations!) draft a change to the yoke and back skirt that accommodated my figure without having to add darts to the pattern. See here for that solution.

To eliminate bulkiness in certain areas of the skirt, I cut the pocket and waistband facings from a coordinating cotton print.
I topstitched the skirt using regular stitching thread; however, with future skirts I will use either a complementary or contrasting color in a thicker thread meant for topstitching.

Having solved the fitting problem, I moved onto installing the zipper. I found the Grainline instructions clear but also realized that in my fabric the area could end up bulky.

Instead I used the instructions from my Vogue 9745 pants pattern. In this easy Vogue Elements method, the fly extensions are cut in one with the pant front pattern piece.

Therefore, I used the separate Grainline pattern piece to add the appropriate fabric to the fronts. Please note the wide size as I ended up cutting quite a bit of the width off later.

Because I do not own a serger I stitched my fly facing right sides together and turned it out. That 5/8 seam allowance resulted in a tiny, wee shield. Please note this if you construct yours without a serger to claim a much smaller seam allowance.

To finish the waistband, I again turned to Lisa G’s awesome Perfect Corners on Waistbands tutorial.

At the last minute, I decided that the skirt was too long, at my knee and decided to cut it. I ended up cutting off about three inches in 1/2”-1” inch increments which resulted in a   long skirt.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, now that I have a great fitting pattern, I can see making many more of these, in corduroy and in wild cotton prints. This skirt is a gem for prints especially if you are willing to match the print at center front.



Conclusion: I now have a cool and versatile skirt that can transition throughout the season by just adding tights. It also adds some vibrant color to my wardrobe.

Great thanks to Jen Beeman for the great customer service and help! Without her help, I would not have this awesome fit.

Messing With My Moss Muslin Part 1
More On My Moss Muslin, Part 2
Making New Muslin For My Moss, Part 3
Quick Grainline Moss Update, Part 3.5

*However, strange as it is, I did hang on to the zipper package, still have the thread, and I keep all of my fabric purchase receipts from JoAnn and Hancocks. Why? I have no idea but it definitely worked out this time so no reason to stop anytime soon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Jade Skirt From Paprika Patterns Is Ready!

I just heard from Lisa at Paprika Patterns and their fabulous Jade skirt pattern is ready for download! Not only is the pattern cool and funky, Paprika is offering you a great deal on pricing which I'll let them explain to you.

From the Paprika Patterns blog:

At the beginning when I promised to make a pattern out of the folded mini, I said it would be available for free. Because I like to keep my word, it is indeed possible to get it for free! But, since we have become a company and there have gone so so many hours in creating this pattern, we didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to put a price on it, either. Paprika Patterns is my sole employment, and all proceedings will go directly into creating new patterns! So if you’d like to see more of what we can do, then feel free to set your own price. If you can’t afford any price, then consider maybe a tweet, blog review or other mention in any place. Spreading the word would also help us to build our company. 

As I was a tester for the pattern, I received my copy for free. However, because I love my finished skirt so much, I want others to know about it too. Here is my original post of the Jade in the tested version. Please note that I have not checked to see what all has been changed in the final version yet.

However, one thing that has changed is that when I made mine it was in the largest size they had available, a 6, which is equivalent to a RTW size 10. Since then, Paprika has been working on expanding their pattern sizes. While the Jade is available now on the site in sizes 1-6, soon sizes 7 through 10 will be added, and eventually Paprika's future pattern offerings will all be available in the full range of 1 through 10. Isn't that great?

To help you make up the skirt, the site has separate posts on how to choose the right size, fabric recommendations, how to install the exposed zipper, and most importantly, how to fold the origami-like skirt.

So, go and check out the new Jade skirt and get started folding!

Monday, October 06, 2014

What Is Next...

I have finished my first Grainline Moss and it was a success. There will most definitely be more of these. Look forward to my pattern review on the skirt soon.

The dress code at work has changed and now we must wear collared shirts. I have bought two t-shirts and a pair of khakis for this job. I would rather not buy any more clothing purely for the job. Today, I bought an extremely gently-worn mans shirt at a thrift store for $6. I am going to take the side and shoulders seams apart and use the Sew U book's shirt pattern to bring it down to my size. This shirt bought for a practical purpose will also serve as a muslin for future button-down shirts.

Searching thrift stores for patterns is usually hit or miss, a lot of old patterns that aren't old enough (early-late 80s) to be cute vintage and lots of children, costume, or seasonal home decoration patterns. However, I got lucky, a pattern I was actually going to buy the same day from JoAnn or Hancocks (McCall's 6885) was found for 58 cents! I was just thinking of how it was time to start work on View D of this pattern in a plaid flannel fabric. I'm hoping that JoAnn or Hancocks brings back these two fabrics that I missed out on two years ago:

But here are two new possiblities from this year:

I am currently finishing up my first and last dress of the summer. Oops, I know, it's a little late since the first day of fall just happened. I should have put that first on the list to make in early spring.
Oh, well.. a new dress for summer 2015! It was going very quickly and then the upper bodice and neckline needed adjustment. Even though my shoulders look pretty broad to me, they always turn out to be too narrow for most patterns. I am using a combination of darts, tucks, and gathers to tighten it up. If I'm lucky I will probably have about two weeks to wear this.

At a thrift store yesterday, I found a really clean copy of the Coats & Clark's Sewing Book: Newest Methods from A to Z (1967) So, yes there's another vintage sewing book for my collection.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Rundown - Color, Pattern, And Fit

While taking this time off from the blog, I have found myself thinking about my wardrobe quite a bit. Since I wear a uniform the majority of my days now, when I get to venture from it, choosing what I wear becomes more important. It might just be escorting my father to one of his many medical appointments; however, what I'm wearing reveals a bit about me and what I like, right?

Here is the majority of my handmade wardrobe. Let's dissect it, all right?

8 Florals
Looking at my wardrobe in these pictures reveals that at least in my wardrobe I am attracted to florals more than graphic angular prints and patterns. which surprises me, as I stayed as far away from florals (and pink) as much as I could as a child/teen. In addition, a lot of these florals are very dainty and delicate (V9772), though there are some bold (S3835/V8392) and/or abstracted (B5429, Paprika Jade, NL6939, M5042) ones too.

10 Non-Floral Prints
The few abstract prints are the black & white Ikat Grainline Scout, the gingham and polka dots of my Sorbettos, Burdastyle boatneck stripes, the confetti dots of B5429 and the One-hour dress, and the gorgeous madras plaid of M6712. I would love to buy more exotic prints but most of my stash stills hails from either JoAnns or Hancock Fabrics. Who knows what would happen if I were let loose at Mood, Britex, or Gorgeous Fabrics.


I love color, and finally my handmade wardrobe reflects that. When I was younger, my mother always moaned that I didn't wear "happy" colors, however, if she could see me now she'd be overjoyed. Check out the bold colors; the blues, purples, reds, and mustard yellows. Strange, but some of my favorite colors are still not represented, a great forest green and pumpkin orange. For those I will need to start frequenting online fabric stores because Hancocks and JoAnn are not big enough fans of those autumnal shades.

You can see how some of my earlier makes were more neutral and my wardrobe became more colorful over time. Surprisingly, mostly when it came to items for my lower half. I'm very proud of the bright red pants and the blue, teal, and purple skirts...but just wait for the next one. My final Moss skirt will not be sunshine yellow like the muslin but the color is just as eye-catching.

4. Pattern Runway, 5. Vogue 2883, 6. Sew U skirt

However, I will always love a good drapey, Japanese-inspired garment such as those in books like the Drape Drape series and the such. I also love a good shift or a-line dress such as the Burdastyle Anda, B4948, or M6712 because they can always be cinched by a belt, if desired.  My Burdastyle Anda is no longer worn only because the fabric (a mystery one) has pilled beyond repair. I must make a replacement soon because I love the easy shape. The M6712 is a bit awkward to wear bra-wise so unfortunately doesn't get much wear in summer. But I could fix that by making a coordinating racer-back tee (MUST get on that for next summer!).

I used to wear a lot more fitted clothing when I started sewing decades ago but the joy of easy fitting and weight fluctuations as I got older brought about a love for more flexible fits when it came to tops and dresses. The Colette Oolong is on the tight side in the chest and is more of a special occasion dress. I'm not even sure if it fits now, which is a shame because it took me forever to get it to fit decently. However, my Paprika Jade skirt makes me think I need a few more fitted items in my wardrobe, maybe even a real femme fatale dress in my future?

I no longer enjoy the fit of these two ample dresses above and they will both be altered. S5190 will be picked apart and become the bodice of either New Look 6968 or Vogue 8787 with a slim skirt made in a coordinating stretch gabardine. NL6939 will receive back darts for more waist shaping, going from a shift to a sheath.


So, that's where my wardrobe is now and this is where it's going: more color, more pattern, more fitted silhouettes, and definitely more pants!

All composite images created with fd's Flickr Toys