Sunday, August 22, 2010

Kwik Sew 3789 - A Confidence Builder

Woo hoo!  Kwik Sew 3789!  I'm done.  A little groggy from the lack of sleep, but I'm done.  I was so excited when it came out of the dryer, I spent 10 minutes trimming the fraying.  Of course this was after I had already vacuumed.
Isn't the fraying cool?
This was supposed to be done so I could wear it Friday evening.  Where did I go wrong? Trying to adjust for my pearness.  When I made the muslin without any adjustments, it was shamefully tight in the hips, thighs and rear.  Another person could have shared the waist while I was wearing it.

To fix all of this, I first tried bringing in the waist by grading some of the pieces from a L to an XL.  That didn't work for the waist and of course not my hips.  Next, I slashed the skirt from the waist down in the front.  I ended up with an out of control A-line.  This happens each time I try this because of my front thighs.  I then tried to retrace the pieces and draw XXL lines.  I thought this worked until I tried to pin the musllin Friday morning.  

Screw the tracing; I didn't have time to trace.  I broke my cardinal rule and used the original pattern pieces.  I used the XL cutting lines for the entire pattern and killed two birds with one stone:  by changing the basting from 1 1/4" from the edge to 7/8", the skirt fit and I made the design detail look better.  (I topstitched 1/2" from the edge once instead of topstitching 3/4" and then 1/2" from the edge.) Problem solved!  

Now by the time I figured this out, there was no way the skirt and I would be ready in time for the event, so I resolved to have my own personal Friday Night Sew In.  I didn't even know it was already an official FNSI!  The collective spirit from all the participants must have been what gave me the extra push when I got sleepy:-)

Nia, my new Pfaff 2058, and I finally got to spend some quality time together. I love her!  I really love the extra presser feet I purchased.  Yea for the seam guide foot and adjustable guide foot!  Super yea for the low bobbin indicator and twin needle program.  I can tell her what size needle I'm using and she automatically adjusts!!! That may be standard on all computerized machines, but it's new to me and I love it.  Special shout out for the IDT; the built in walking foot is killer.  Okay. Enough sewing machine love.  

The waistband casing method was new to me.  Instead of sewing the casing and feeding the elastic through, you sewed the elastic together and stitched the casing over it.  This would have been totally cool if I had been confident in my sway back and high hip adjustments.  I tested them while pin fitting the tissue, but I was afraid to cut the fabric.  I ended up trying skirt on with the elastic and pulling a significant amount of fabric over the elastic. (I should have had more faith in Fit For Real People. After I basted the casing, there was no way I was going to undo it to refit. I sewed over the basting stitches.  

Unfortunately, I ended up stretching the elastic.  I read in The Complete Book of Sewing New Edition that you can steam the casing to get the elasticity back.  Hope it works!  (I so wish Santa would bring me my steam iron now!)  Of course I needed to overcast the new edge of the casing. A little difficult after the fact, but doable. 

My other difficulty was the twin needle topstitching.  I finally got the tension right so that there is no ridge!  I had to rip out about six inches of stitches once I discovered this tutorial, but knowledge is power!  Or so I thought until I made the same mistake on the flounce.  However, I decided I like a little ridge at the bottom of the skirt.  These were stretch triple straight stitches, so ripping them out was not an option!  One should not try new things at 1 a.m.!

After washing to get the fraying, I've noticed a couple of things I should have done differently.  I did not overcast the trim seams.  Top top it off, I trimmed them way to close.  Here's the result:
My other error in judgment was the waist casing.  I should have overcast the edges of the pieces that formed the casing.  Always go with your first thought.  The fraying isn't the same there and it looks odd.  I trimmed it off and I'm still not completely happy.

Lastly, totally my fault, but I used a ton of thread.  The overcasting, topstitching (and ripping out) used 2+ spools of 100m heavy thread.

Now you have the back story.  Here's the review:

Pattern Description: 
Long Patchy Skirt
Pattern Sizing:
XS-XL.  I made what is probably a large at the waist and an XL+ for the rest!
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Exactly. I made view B.
Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes.  Kwik Sew always has well-written directions.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I love the length, asymmetrical patches and frayed look.  
Fabric Used:
Medium weight denim from
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

You are supposed to baste the pieces the pieces  1 1/4" from the edge and use the basting as a guide for overlapping the pieces.  You then toptstitch 3/4" and 1/2" from the edge.

I changed this by basting 7/8" from the edge and topstitching 1/2" from the edge once. I didn't like the way their topstitching looked -- two rows with 1/4" between the rows.  I thought that much space between the rows made the skirt look less contemporary.  This worked out great because I needed the extra room for my super-ample pear self.  I did a single row of stretch triple straight stitches.

I also made attaching the trim over the flounce seam easier.  Again, I didn't like the amount of space between the topstitching rows and at 1 in the morning, it was no way I was going to sew two rows.  Enter denim twin needle. Worked great once I got the tension right.  I also used the double needle to finish the bottom of the skirt.  

I also attempted a sway back and high hip adjustment.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
This is such a distinctive skirt; I probably won't make it again.  I would definitely recommend it to others.  
I love it!  As a beginner, this was a little time consuming with all of the overcasting and topstitching, but worth it.

Beginners, here are the skills you'll practice:
-  Waistband casing and inserting elastic.  I'd never seen this method before.
-  Topstitching.  This is how you seam the pieces together.  You'll be an expert when you finish.
-  Seam finishing - overcasting raw edges
-  (Because of the topstitching and overcasting, have extra thread on hand)


Patricia Schoeman PerfectSewAndFit said...

Your skirt looks beautiful. You did a great job, you have learned alot by sewing this skirt.
Wear it and feel proud, no one will know about the little mistakes. You have learned from them and so did we (but we won't tell) :-)

KID, MD said...

I'm glad my little tutorial was helpful! The skirt looks great! I love the fun frayed seams.

Kathy said...

Wow! You did a BEAUTIFUL job. I , too, am pear shaped so your tutorial is very, very helpful. II had been looking at this pattern for a while and managed to pick it up today for half price! I had been hesitant because I know I will have to shorten it. There is another tutorial for shortening. No matter what one does to make this skirt, it looks like it will be a lot of work. So I THANK YOU for all the help you have provided!