Monday, 18 June 2012

The Black Lace Skirt and a new toy!

Last Saturday, I went to Spotlight for a look at the big sale. I found some gorgeous green duchess satin and black lace. One of my friends has a cute skirt that was black lace over white satin and so I was inspired to make my own version but with a colour I very rarely wear. Having made the decision to purchase the fabric, I then decided I needed a new pattern the skirt, as the patterns I had at home wouldn't suit what I wanted. So I had a look through the pattern section and found the perfect pattern from vogue. And it was on sale!! Clearly it was meant to be! At least until I got to the counter anyway. Once at the counter, it was a different story. They didn't have the pattern I wanted. AGAIN. This is not the first time I have tried to buy a pattern at Spotlight Geelong and they don't have it. I am now of the opinion that they don't stock patterns at my local store. They never have the ones that I want in the sizes I want. Nor are they helpful in trying to get the pattern in. Apparently they don't do interstore transfers and don't know when they get deliveries and even if they will get more in. I was quite disappointed when I left.

I had a look at the other patterns and was not overly impressed. So I called the store in the next suburb to see if they had it. They were so helpful and even though they didn't have any in stock, they offered to order it in. They also did a search of the other stores and were able to tell me that the Ballarat store had it in stock. Talk about great customer service!!! Even after all of that, they transferred me to the Ballarat store and I was able to put the pattern on hold. So on Sunday, I toddled off to Ballarat to pick up my pattern.

Once I got my pattern, I was eager to make the skirt in one day. I thought it was completely achievable. There are only five pieces to the pattern and it all looked pretty simple from the cursory glance I had given the instructions. It probably would have been achievable if I had of bothered to read the instructions properly, instead of doing my usual trick of assuming that I knew what I was doing! I am not sure why I do this or think that I have a clue when clearly, I have no idea and can not read a pattern as the pictures and words don't seem to ever match). I thought all I need to do is cut out all the pieces and sew the darts in the green then sew the darts in the black. Once I had actually completed the darts, I had a look at exactly how the darts in the black lace were suppose to sit, and then realised that actually, I was suppose to do the darts in both pieces together! So I unpicked eight darts and went to add the black lace. I realised then that the black lace on the front panel had a hole in it. A BIG noticeable hole. I couldn't leave it there, it was impossible to miss! So I re-cut the lace. and based it to the satin. It looked great! No holes and the lace was sitting pretty flat. I placed the front panel between the two back panels. Looking good. Actually on a second inspection, the back panels looked like the roses on the lace they were going in a different direction!!! Another comparison with one of the back panels upside down confirmed it. Double crap! So it was back to the cutting board to re-cut the back panels so everything was going in the same direction.

I re-cut, re-based everything and resewed the darts and was quite happy with it all. I even managed to put the zip in without any problems. Things were going well. Or at least a lot more smoothly. I decided it was time to sew the three panels together. I sewed the skirt together and tried it on. Only to notice that it was too big despite having cut the correct size for my measurements and having taken a bit off in when I was sewing the seams. I also wasn't happy with the inside as I had had to zigzag stitch everything to prevent the material fraying. Normally, I would just use an over locker to neaten it all up, but as I had no over locker I needed to use another technique to stop the fraying. I originally thought that I could French seam it all, but after I had completed the French seam on seam joining the two back panels, I realised that the fabric was too thick and was going to cause the seams to be too bulky. So I zigzag stitched the seams. It looked so messy. Call me spoilt, but I love how neat the over locker makes everything and how much more professional it looks as well.

I put the skirt aside for the rest if the week and decided to wait until I had an over locker again. Trev agreed that I should buy one. Once I had obtained his blessing, I called the two stores in Geelong that sell Janomes and got some prices. I found the Janome MyLock 644D that was within my price range a while on sale. It had a good reputation and is suppose to be easy to thread, plus it came with some free lessons on how to use it, cotton, a pair of dress makers scissors and the first 12 month service free. Sold to the girl who can't stand zigzagging her garments!

Just as a quick side note on the MyLock 644D- these are amazing! I know they are not in the same league as a Babylock, but unfortunately my budget does not stretch anywhere near that far. The MyLock 644D can do all sorts of cool stuff though, including gather, complete rolled hems, sew the stretch in to the stretchy fabric (which prevents gathering) and you can even get special feet that help you sew in the piping and the zippers. I think these feet might be a must have, especially the zip one! It is also much easier to thread than the old one. I could never thread the old one without something going wrong and seeing as I get frustrated quite easily at things like that, Trev always ended up re-threading for me. I can confirm that I do LOVE this machine and wish that I had more time to play with it. I am guessing that most of the features above are quite standard, but given the fact Mum's over locker was a brother that was at least 28 years old and did none of the above, I am pretty excited.

Anyway back to the skirt-Mum came around Saturday afternoon and helped me to fit the skirt and put the waistband in. I then had the pleasure of hand sewing the hem and putting a hook and eye above the zip, before being all done! Hooray! Another finished project!

New Skills
Skills learnt included working with lace on a slippery surface and how to get everything to sit flat. This required me to learn how to baste, the best method I found was doing it by hand as everything sat much flatter than when I did basted it using the machine. Putting in darts with the lace was also a new one, but was made easier since I had put in all the darts before I realised I had made a mistake and had to unpick them all. To make it easier, I put in some long stitches through the middle of the dart before I sewed the dart to ensure that I caught the lace when sewing it. Then pulled the stitches out once the darts had been completed.
The Facts
Fabric: Mint green duchess satin $7.65 per meter (on sale), black lace also $7.65 per meter and on sale from Spotlight
Pattern: Vogue easy options 6383. Pattern was about $14.90 and will definitely be made again as I want to try a couple of the other views.
Notions: 7″ zip $1, hook and eye 10 cents
Time to complete: 6 or 7 hours
First worn: At work today
Wear again? Sure will! Its a nice skirt for work.
Total Price:  about $17.00 (not including pattern price)


  1. That skirt looks awesome Bridget... You are getting really Good at it

  2. Beautiful skirt Bridge! Yay my skirt inspired your skirt :)

  3. Thanks Michelle and Courtney!