Sunday, December 17, 2017

Love Symbol #2 Pencil Skirt - New Look 6843

Pattern: New Look 6843 (2011)

Pattern Description: Straight and A-line skirts in two different lengths.

Pattern Sizing: Size A (8-18) I originally cut out a size 18 according to the measurement chart.

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, extremely easy. This is the simplest of skirts. However, for me...

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the variety of shapes and sometimes I prefer a straight waistband to a contoured one.

Fabric Used: 1 yard 58" Sew Classic bengaline suiting in Blackberry*/**(81% poly, 15% rayon, 4% spandex) from Jo-Ann for $6.50 (orig. $12.99 at 50% off), 7" Coats & Clark All Purpose zipper in #13 Navy, Wrights 3/4" Flexi-Lace hem tape, Gutermann 100% polyester thread in Eggplant #943.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: According to the finished measurements, the size 18 (my measurements) would have left 4" of wearing ease for the hips, which would have been excessive! I needed to cut between a size 16 and 18, to eliminate around 2" of that ease.

Note: When I chose this pattern I thought it was a former TNT for me but I was actually thinking of a different pattern! I had only made the A-line version of this pattern; therefore, an accurately shaped hip line hadn't been as crucial.

When I altered the skirt, I found that the back skirt was drafted wider than the front. When the pattern pieces were placed atop one another the size 18 front piece matched the size 16 back, according to the cutting lines. I had never encountered that before; however, it makes sense since I surely have more volume back there than in front. I cut the back piece down to size 16 (eliminating 1/2" for a total of 2") to make the skirt fit.

I believe in marking my darts in chalk after fabric tacking. Sometimes if I think there will be some time between cutting a project out and sewing I will also baste along the chalk lines. I then baste the actual darts together before the final stitching for accuracy. It may be overkill but I am rarely unhappy with my finished better safe than sorry.

Surprisingly, the hip curve was too pronounced and I had to shave almost 1/4" off the high hip, tapering back out to the pattern above and below.

I know the majority of blog sewists use invisible zippers but I've never used one. I am quite happy with my centered zippers. They're neat, clean, and I've always been able to depend on them and have never had a broken zipper. To be honest, I may be a little scared of trying something new too but if it ain't broke...

In this case, I cut the skirt backs out so the fabric selvage would be the zipper seam allowance. I basted directly along my stitching line to ensure it being straight and produced as near a perfect zipper insertion as possible. The key to a neat and precise centered zipper is keeping the seam basted while you sew it in, ensuring that the edges cover all signs of the zipper when closed. In fact, if you also pickstitch your zipper there's really no visual difference from an invisible one.

The narrow waistband was easy to construct and provided a nice session of hand sewing. Strangely, even though I had reduced the pattern side seams, including the waist, by 1", the size 18 waistband notches still matched.

I decided against the skirt side slit once it was basted and I tried it on. The skirt didn't need it for walking and it was extremely awkward when sitting. (Always remember to practice sitting and climbing stairs when making skirts and pants.)

When trying on the skirt I noticed that the skirt was hanging awkwardly below the hipline. I don't know if it was because of the stretch fabric or perhaps the grain was off at the back center seam.

After trying on the skirt with the finished zipper and waistband, the next thing I did was peg the skirt some by tapering a bit by coming in 1/4" from the bottom of each side seam allowance (for a 1 inch decrease in the skirt hem circumference) and blending back out an inch or so below the widest part of my hips. While this improved the overall skirt shape it was still flaring out from the body at the center back.

I eventually decided to take in the back seam 1/4" at the hem blending back to the seam allowance below the zipper and that fixed it.

After the alterations to the constructed skirt were finally completed I had a skirt that hung straight and slim. I used a slightly shorter hem in the back to create more length there to accommodate my extra volume and allow for an even all-around hem.

Truly invisible hem, right?

As it turned out, my job of straightening this hem was such an event that surprisingly I ended up with a tiny 1/4" hem. Because of this I knew I couldn't finish the hem my usual way so I used some leftover pink hem lace and slip-stitched it down. Isn't it pretty?

I like the rear view ; ).

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would not make again. There were far too many alterations needed to make this skirt fit my body and I didn't transfer them to the pattern. I would rather start all over with a new pattern. I can't say that it's a bad pattern as it's a favorite of many sewists but it just did not work for me.

Coordinated me-made outfit.

Conclusion: A hard won simple straight skirt which nonetheless ended up looking great and will be a staple in my wardrobe and it's in a color, not black! I'm happy.

* Love Symbol #2 is a new purple color that Pantone created for the estate of the late artist Prince. Therefore, this is a Prince Purple Pencil skirt.I

** Since I made this Pantone also declared this shade of purple the 2018 Color of the Year.

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