Craftsy Class: Fast Track Fitting with Joi Mahon

I am excited about my newest Craftsy class: I am taking Fast Track Fitting with Joi Mahon. It seems like the perfect class for me because Fast Track Fitting shows you how to measure yourself and how to measure pattern pieces so you can alter your pattern pieces to closely match your own body’s sewing measurements. This process should help you escape the endlessly making muslins cycle, so you can have wearable garments more quickly and easily.

My Vogue 1004 fitting shell skirt for craftsy.com
My Vogue 1004 fitting shell skirt for my new online sewing class craftsy.com

So far I am starting with altering the skirt on the pattern included with the class (Vogue 1004 fitting shell). I am doing the skirt first because I had to order a second pattern in a different size for the sleeve and bodice. The pattern alterations I made were to make the waist bigger (ugh) and to raise the hip line. Using Joi Mahon’s tips directly from the Fast Track Fitting Class, I altered the front of the skirt and the back of the skirt separately. So, I proportionately increased the size of the front of the skirt more than the back. This should help the skirt fit the unfortunate “fullness” on the front of my abdomen (AKA fat), since I carry extra weight around my middle.

I am going to work on altering this skirt to fit, with the help of the craftsy class and also Pattern Review.

So what are Craftsy Classes all about? Here are the details, directly from Craftsy:

What is Craftsy?
Craftsy is a worldwide craft community offering online classes. It also has a patterns marketplace where independent designers can sell their patterns; a supplies shop with great deals on yarn, fabric, and class kits; and a projects section where members share pictures of their latest craft successes. With over two million members and counting, Craftsy has something for just about everyone, in categories ranging from quilting, sewing, knitting, painting, photography, cooking, and more.Why should I take a class online?
Online education isn’t just for schools and universities anymore. Craftsy courses provide you the convenience of a world-class instructor in your home, whenever you want to learn.

free sewing classes online at craftsy.com
Online education, no matter what subject, is a great alternative to in-person classes for a number of reasons. With many online learning opportunities being on-demand, you are able to learn at your own pace, anytime. Online learning is a fantastic alternative to in-store craft classes for people with busy schedules or who have difficulty leaving the house. It also allows you to watch a troubling section over-and-over again, so you can see exactly how a technique is carried out, or refer back to your class for relevant concepts before beginning any new projects.

 

Skirt from Craftsy's Fast Track Fitting
Skirt from Craftsy’s Fast Track Fitting. Needs work, but at least it fits on my body.

So far I am happy with this class. The video format has easy question and answer interactivity with the instructor Joi Mahon. I wish the class had more examples of altering pattern measurements on a model using real numbers, but I guess that would have added too much time to the class videos.

I am like taking online sewing classes, especially since there are not a lot of sewing classes near me and I don’t know anyone who sews. Craftsy offers refunds if you are not happy with a class after you purchase it. Craftsy even has free classes for you to try out.

 

Side Seam moves forward on Skirt for Vogue 1004 in Craftsy Fast Track Fitting online class
Side view of Fitting Shell. See how the side seam moves forward? Need to fix this in the Fast Track Fitting Class

vogue 1004 fitting shell back view skirt craftsy fast track fitting
Back view of Vogue 1004 fitting shell skirt for Craftsy “Fast Track Fitting”
v1004 vogue 1004 fitting shell craftsy fast track fitting
Vogue 1004 Fitting Shell

Simplicity It’s So Easy 2117 skirt, view A

It took me two months, but I finished Simplicity It’s So Easy 2117!

Simplicity 2117 front view
Simplicity 2117 front view

It’s not that the pattern is difficult, its just that I was busy and not home a lot.  I was afraid that this was going to become a UFO. But, I am determined to keep the UFOs to a minimum. How will I ever learn if I never finish anything? What would be the point of buying fabric and patterns if I never completed a project?

I am against UFOS, but not wadders- at this point, I expect a certain number of projects to be unwearable, am and fine with it- as long as I make harder fabrics in cheap fabric the first time, it’s OK to learn through failure. I got sale fabric for this project for that very reason. It’s a wadder, which is what I was expecting because I am so inexperienced.

Striped skirt fabric with pattern piece attached
Yay forcing myself to be precise! Just lining up the selvages was a good amount of work.

I was either optimistic or foolhardy and bought striped fabric. I think this was a smart move I my part- I wasn’t expecting this to come out perfectly, and a striped fabric forced me to practice lining things up carefully, and made my mistakes in the finished project more obvious, showing me where I need improvement.

I made a size 12- I would like to learn how to alter sewing patterns to fit my body, but since I have never made a skirt from a pattern before, I figured it would be better to learn how a non-altered pattern would fit my body. I thought I could have possibly gone down a size- based on the measurements on the envelope, it should be snug at the waist, probably too snug, but isn’t. If I made this again, I would make a muslin in a smaller size to see if it fit better.

Neeno at Sew Me Love also made Simplicity 2117, also without the chains or buttons- she originally made a size 12, but feels that the pattern runs a little large, so a 10 is really a better fit- I think I agree with her.

I did have some problems with this pattern, but most of the directions were clear and easy to follow. This was my first time using interfacing or making a waistband or pockets, so it was a good experience for me to start learning these techniques.

Skirt zipper
The sad thing is, this is once of the better zippers I've done.

My first problem was the zipper: I accidentally positioned it a bit too high,so i didn’t have room for the closure above it. Despite my best efforts to be careful and follow the directions, the zipper did not turn out right- once I get to the thicker area near the zipper pull, the line of stitches goes outward towards the less thick area.

My other problem was connecting the body of the skirt to the waistband. The skirt has small pleats at the front, as well as darts. I think I made my darts too small, because I had to add two extra pleats to make the skirt fit into the waistband without bunching. This spoiled the proper lining up of the lines on the skirt and the lines of the waistband:

One thing I did not like about the skirt was that the waistband bows out towards the top. This could be because of some mistake I made, or maybe using a sturdier
interfacing could help with this, or it might be the pattern itself. In any case, this is my least favorite feature of the skirt.

Skirt waistband and body with skewed stripes
Skirt waistband and body with skewed stripes

I’ll probably find a skirt without pleating the next time I make a pencil skirt- pleats just make a little puff under my belly button, which is not exactly the look I’m going for.  I need something that will make the back of me look more curvy, not the other way around!

I think someone with a longer waist would be able to make the pleats look good, though. This was a good learning project, but is not flattering enough for me to actually wear.  I think it might be good in a thicker fabric, if I could figure out how to skip the pleats and hug my backside a bit more.

Simplicity 2117 side view
ha ha I have no butt, and this skirt is puffing out under my belly button. What's the slanfg for a woman with no butt and a belly?

 

 

Butterick B5613: Misses Skirt (View C)

Butterick 5613 Skirt and Sash Sewing Pattern
Butterick 5613 Skirt and Sash Sewing Pattern
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

  1. 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.
    Butterick 5613 Skirt
    Unhemmed, unironed...meh

    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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Colette Sewing Handbook: Meringue Skirt

Tinkerbell Chic

The Meringue Skirt (in the Colette Sewing Handbook) is a zip-up A-line skirt with a twist:  it features a cute scalloped hem. I was excited to make this skirt because in my opinion it is closer to a real world, actually wearable design. I learned a lot sewing this skirt!

Meringue Skirt Colette Patterns
Meringue Skirt from the Colette Sewing Handbook

One note:  I saved yardage by cutting out the facings next to the main parts of the skirt, not below them.  The fabric on the facings is cut the wrong way but I don’t see how it matters this time around.

The fabric I selected to sew with was a fake silk dupioni from the upholstery clearance section of my fabric store. This particular fabric is much too shiny to wear, at least during daylight hours.  I knew that ahead of time going into this sewing project, which took the pressure off.  I looked at this project as a learning experience, and planned to never wear this version of this skirt.

Of course, I had some challenges with the Meringue Skirt.  First and foremost was sewing the invisible zipper in.  Initially sewing in the zipper on either side of the side waist slit (using the invisible zipper foot) took a couple of tries, but was ultimately straightforward.  The difficult part came when trying to complete the installation. Since the lower part of the zipper can’t be sewn in initially, it is not fully attached to the skirt.  You have to switch to a regular zipper foot to complete the invisible zipper.  I found the Coletterie invisible zipper tutorial to be helpful.  The instructions in the Sew Everything Workshop were also good, as was this YouTube video.

Meringue Skirt from Colette Patterns Invisible Zipper
Nearly Invisible Zipper

Overall, I am horrified that the invisible zipper is considered the easiest zipper to install.  It was very hard!

Problems I had:

  1. The scallops do not hold their shape well.  I thought I had selected a crisp enough fabric, but I guess not!  A different fabric (or spray starch?) would be the way to go next time.
  2. The zipper placement was challenging. The top of the zipper was aligned with the top of the fabric, which meant that when I sewed the waist facing to the waist, the top of the zipper was very close to the top edge of the skirt.  There is no room for a hook and eye.  I think next time I need to place the zipper a little bit below the edge of the fabric.
  3. I shortened the skirt by quite a lot so it would hit at the knees.  Since I removed quite a bit of length, the skirt hem facing did not properly fit the skirt hem.  I solved this by recutting the skirt hem facing by cutting an identical outline of the skirt hem (and including seam allowances).
  4. The skirt as I made it is too short, and is inappropriately reminiscent of Tinkerbell, if she had  a corporate job.  I think with tights this length would be more appropriate. Obviously I need to develop my adjusting patterns/hem length skills. The actual pattern is longer, so this is my fault.
  5. My scallops are uneven.  Again, my fault.

Very Purple Person made this skirt and paired it with the Taffy top (also in The Colette Sewing Handbook).  This combination is suggested by Colette Patterns themselves.  Her outfit looks great: its both cute and comfortable… hmm, maybe one day…  I also loved the meringue skirt made by Motivation is Overrated.

With the right (crisp and structured) fabric, this skirt can be either casual or more work appropriate. I think I will make this skirt one day in a fun wool fabric, like LLadybird’s lovely version.  She also followed the tutorial on Coletterie for how to attach a wasitband to the Meringue Skirt. I think a waistband looks great and I hope when I am ready to make a real version of this skirt I will be able to do this.