My latest sewing project was Butterick 5613 Misses Skirt and Sash Sewing Pattern. I have to admit, I am not one for wearing skirts a lot. That is fortunate, because I will never wear this one.
I chose to make view C, a pleated skit with a yoke and a zipper in the back. Wait, did I just say ‘zipper’? I meant gaping, jagged hole. I CANNOT SEW ZIPPERS WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME???
The design of the skirt is casual and cute. On view c, the pleats give a nice flattering shape to the full skirt. I decided to sew top stitching on the pleats to give them a bit more structure. Um, the skirt has a fairly strong tennis vibe now. Overall, I like the design just fine, I was just unable to sew the zipper on correctly.
WHAT I DID WRONG
- Missing Pleat: Despite my best efforts at sewing the pleats (carefully tracing the lines, painstakingly pressing crisp folds) I messed up the pleats. When I had sewn all the pieces of the skirt together (pre-zipper), I looked down at my hard work and realized it was ruined. I had folded something the wrong way (or something) somewhere along the line, so there was a missing pleat. The inside of the skirt looked fine, so…maybe… I don’t know.
How I fixed it: I pulled out the stitches on the yoke above where the pleat should be. I then made a small fold in the main part of the skirt, essentially making a tiny pleat. I then sewed the yoke back on, and the dummy pleat looks just fine!
- Lining: Because I don’t want to walk around in an even slightly sheer skirt, I added the lining from view D (the Bubble Skirt). At first, like an idiot, I was pretty proud of myself for this innovation. It seemed like a smart idea! And for most people it seems like it would work. I am not most people. I think adding that extra fabric was what made it harder for me to deal with the zipper.
- And Finally… THE ZIPPER No matter what, I cannot sew on this zipper without a gigantic weird bubble at the end of the zipper. I have ripped off and reattached the zipper so many times. I even tried using an invisible zipper instead of a centered zipper, to no avail. Fine, Skirt. You win.
I did see a few examples of Butterick 5613 that other people made which were very successful. Adri Makes a Thing or Two made this skirt in view A. It looks good, I love the print. Sew It Make It Bake It also made this skirt, I believe in view C. She said it took her a couple of hours to make. Ha, I have been working on this FOREVER.
I used pretty cheap fabric to make this, at $4 a yard. This failure is not going to break the bank, but I am pretty disappointed. I am giving up. I am going to go sew an envelope pillow and lick my wounds.
Ok, so far sewing has been a challenge. But I am still excited to learn how to make my own handmade clothes. I know that I will have to learn a lot in order to make anything successfully, and I continuously struggle to understand pattern instructions (which seem to be written in code). My latest project, (Its so Easy) Simplicity 2418 has been my most difficult project so far. I used a smooth polyester fabric that is supposed to resemble silk.
I made the slit front version (View B), not the cowl neck version. I don’t do cowl necks, although Katiekadiddlehopper made a gorgeous version that suits her perfectly. Two specific parts of this pattern were difficult for me to make: the front of the shirt (the v-shaped part: step 7) and the yoke (step 12).
Step 7 (the front of the shirt) includes lots of stitches that must meet at the correct point for the shirt front to lie smooth and flat.
The yoke was a particular challenge because I had no idea what a yoke was. When I hear yoke, I think ‘oxen’. The pattern instructions for how to attach the yoke are on Step 12. Unfortunately the illustration for step 12 was created by a blind drunkard. Here I have reproduced it:
Thankfully, the pattern instructions explain what is going on in step 12. These instructions were very helpful. Here they are:
12. Aliquam lorem ante, dapibus in, viverra quis, feugiat a, tellus. Phasellus viverra nulla ut metus varius laoreet. Quisque rutrum. Aenean imperdiet. Etiam ultricies nisi vel augue.Curabitur ullamcorper ultricies nisi. Nam eget dui. Etiam rhoncus. Maecenas tempus, tellus eget condimentum rhoncus, sem quam semper libero, sit amet adipiscing sem neque sed ipsum
Is that clear?
It was at this point that I realized that the pattern authors must have decided to start condensing the pattern instructions to an unreasonable degree so they did not have to include a third piece of paper in the pattern instructions. Another piece of paper would have cut into the profits.
It took 3 full muslins for me to figure out this pattern, and it still looked terrible. Here are my tips for help on Simplicity 2418 if you are a novice:
1. Make a muslin. Use large baste stitches so you can try again if/when you mess up. Don’t backstitch so it is easier to pick out the stitches. You don’t need to make a full length version of the shirt, just work on the neck, yoke and top of the back.
2. For STEP 7: Remember what our friends the Ghostbusters taught us: DON’T CROSS THE SEAMS. You will sew 3 different stitches to meet at the center low point for the shirt slit.
Have the exact point in mind where you need to stop sewing so each one of the three stitching sequences do not cross each other. Otherwise the front of the shirt won’t lie flat.
3. For STEP 12, you will be enclosing the raw edge of the back of the shirt inside of the raw edge of the yoke. The aforementioned Step 12 illustration fails to make this clear. If you are a complete yoke novice like me, remember that the yoke is not spread open in the shirt. It is folded wrong sides together, so you have the right side of the fabric both facing outward and also against your back (just in the yoke portion) in the final completed version of the shirt. I noticed that Miss P mentioned that the yoke instructions were confusing, so if an experienced seamstress feels that way then I don’t feel too bad about being a bit lost.
Here are some details on how to attach the yoke, in case anyone else needs help with step 12. There is probably a better way to do this, but at least this will get the shirt made.
Start by opening up the two pieces of fabric that make up the yoke. Place it wrong side up. You should have already folded up and pressed 5/8 of an inch of the yoke’s raw edges. Place the back of the shirt so that the raw edge of the back of the shirt is aligned with the right side of the yoke flap. Pin and sew, as the directions state.
- The directions state to attach the font of the shirt to the shoulder of the yoke. I think you can finish attaching the back of the shirt to the yoke (my step 3) first, but in the end it doesn’t seem to matter as either way will work.
The Yoke is now partially attached to the back of the shirt. Fold the yoke closed so that the wrong sides of the two pieces of the fabric are together. Align the pressed folded edge of the yoke so that it aligns with the back of the shirt, covering up the raw edge and creating a neat line. Pin and sew as in the directions.
After you have completed Step 12 and attached the front of the shirt to the shoulder portion of the yoke, you will have a nice even neck hole, pleats at the front of the shoulders, and gathering at the center of the back. You are ready to complete the arm holes and sew up the sides of the shirt next.
Ultimately, the sleeves on this shirt don’t suit me, and the shirt looks a bit shapeless even though I made a size smaller. The sleeves stick out too far as the edges are stiff, when they should drape down my shoulders and my arms. This makes the shirt unwearable.
I thin I might have a bit more luck with this pattern after I have a bit more sewing experience.
I was excited to start the pillow series from Diana Rupp’s “Sew Everything Workshop” . I got enough fabric for three of the four pillows in the book: The Envelope, Please (envelope pillow), the Bloom and Border Pillow (standard throw pillow, with a quilted border), and the Zip-o-riffic Pillow (zippered pillow). The envelope pillow is a one-spool (easy) project, while the Bloom and Border pillow and the Zip-o-riffic pillow are both two-spool (less easy) projects. The Piper’s Pillow (a throw pillow with a piped border) is a three-spool project, which is much too hard for me to even consider trying right now.
For a while I was unsure if I had calculated the amount of fabric I would need correctly, so I did a marathon measure-and-cut session and cut out the fabric for all three pillows at once. This way, if I needed to get more fabric, I could go back to the store before they sold out of it. I spent quite a bit of time beforehand diagraming the most efficient use of my fabric.
The geometric acrobatics were sort of fun, and well worth it. I had enough fabric, but not a lot of leftover wasted fabric. Yay!
The pattern for the envelope pillow was easy, and relatively quick. I didn’t have any real problems, and don’t have any complaints about the instructions. I appreciate how it is easy to get the pillow form in (since it’s an envelope pillowcase), and how you don’t have to do any hand stitching to secure the pillow.
And, my boyfriend likes it, yay!
Grade: A. This is an easy, fun project that makes a 16″ x 12″ envelope-style pillowcase. It’s also very easy to modify, as the many variations that people have made shows! Brownie Knits made a larger envelope pillow with French seams in a Craftsy.com class from Diana Rupp- you can read her review of that pillow here.