Friday, 20 September 2013

Project 17

OK, finally back to my 52 projects. 

I’ve been offered a temporary job, covering for a month, so I decided I needed a new work outfit.  Well... actually I don’t... I have enough work outfits to go for a good six weeks of work without having to repeat anything, but I WANTED a new work outfit. 

Project 17 was a bias cut skirt from a pink and black hound’s-tooth. 

When I made the list I obviously didn’t realise just how much I had of this fabric.  When I checked the fabric I decided I had enough for a jacket too.  Although it wasn’t on my list I really wanted to do a jacket for the Burda Challenge, and I’d sort of “used” the fabric by putting it on the list of 52 projects, so I used this fabric to make a jacket toned down with a little plain black.

This made a new work outfit really easy, as all I had to do was the bias cut skirt and magic... a new suit for work!

I’ve always had a bit of a love hate relationship with bias cut skirts.  I love the way that they look, and I love the way that they swing, but I’ve always struggled to get them right.  When Diane came over for my lesson she made a few suggestions regarding the handling of bias cut seams, and specifically zips, so I felt ready to put her ideas to the test.

Since this was going to be a really quick and simple project, nothing, of course ran smoothly.

First of all I drafted a yoked skirt from my basic skirt block, as I didn’t want the skirt swinging round the hips.  When I cut out the yoke pieces on the straight grain, and the skirt pieces on the bias, the yoke pieces looked really odd.  The mix of the two directions just didn’t work.   

I had plenty of fabric to re-cut the yokes, but if I cut the yoke pieces on the bias too, I was going to lose the stability I wanted round the waist.  Even interfacing the yoke pieces wasn’t going to control the bias wiggle.   

I put the project aside and went and watched an episode of Susan Khalje's couture dress course on Craftsy.  By some bizarre stroke of luck, I randomly selected the episode where she talked about interlining.  That woman is a genius!  I abandoned her mid-class and pulled the small amount of black silk organza that I found in my $1 stash and interlined the yoke pieces.  Problem solved!

I happily carried on, making up the yoke pieces first, then laid out the skirt pieces...

Spot the deliberate mistake?

Look a little closer...

I had cut one of the skirt back pieces upside down.  In all honestly I didn’t even realise that the direction would make any difference, and I spent a good ten minutes squinting at it before I realised what the problem was.

Still, could be worse.  I still had plenty of fabric so I re-cut the offending piece and carried on.

I’ve learnt enough about cutting stuff on the bias to know that it needed to “rest” before I hemmed it, so I hung it on the dummy and invited my little girl round to help me pin the hem up over the weekend.

The finished result has its problems.  Actually, it has one problem.

I should have twigged that this would be an issue when I saw the straight cut yoke and the bias cut skirt pieces together, but it wasn’t until I put it on the dummy with the jacket that I remembered that the jacket was also cut on the straight grain.   

I’m not sure whether its the grain issue, or whether a whole outfit in pink and black hounds tooth was always going to be too much, but this is definitely not a workable suit. The pattern seems to fly off in all directions, it clings at the bottom and is boxy at the top.  Somehow, it just doesn't work.

Not that it’s a complete disaster.  The skirt works fine with a plain black jacket and I've worn the jacket several times with black trousers
 This is undoubtedly the most successful bias cut skirt that I've ever made. Diane's tips for stabilising the bias seams and zips did the trick, so I feel as though I have conquered that particular dragon of mine.  

Fortunately my daughter tells me that suits are only ever worn as separates these days anyway!

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