I Made a Recognizable Skirt!

Just joining us? Don’t miss “I’m Making a Skirt! Phase 1: Practice,”Phase 2: Gadget Testing,” or “Phase 3: Caught in the Zipper.”

It’s amazing you can make so very mistakes and still wind up with something more or less wearable.

Probably will not actually tuck my shirt way down into it, but I thought you should see the buttons I sewed on.

Probably will not actually tuck my shirt way down into it, but I thought you should see the buttons I sewed on.

Seriously, the workmanship on this thing is terrible. The darts in the lining do not match up to the darts in the skirt, probably because the whole thing is asymmetrical thanks to my struggles with the zipper. (I had to cut half an inch off the side of the skirt because the fabric was so damaged. Next time I will sew on the zipper with contrasting thread in case I need to pick it out!) The hem is uneven. Something went wrong where the zipper meets the waistband.

Top of zipper sticks out awkwardly.

Top of zipper sticks out awkwardly.

Lining did not match up with skirt quite right, leaving me with this weird unfinished area.

Lining did not match up with skirt quite right, leaving me with this weird unfinished area.

It does, however, look more or less like a skirt. I would probably not wear it to work if I worked in a very stuffy office, but librarians are supposed to be quirky. (The woman who helped me get my job told me so. Thirtysomething white women are overrepresented among librarians and being quirky helps set us apart.)

 

It cost a lot to make and took waaaay too long, both in hours and in the number of weeks I let it drag on, partly because I am really slow at hand-sewing. It took me nearly an hour over two days to sew on six buttons, and that’s after it took me a few days to psyche myself up for sewing on the buttons.

Here’s the thing: It was fun and satisfying and I hate shopping a lot. So will I do it again? Definitely. For one thing, it will be a whole lot cheaper next time since I already own the gear now and would only need to buy fabric, other consumables, and–let’s be honest–probably a new gadget or two per project, like a quilting ruler or a non-plastic invisible zipper foot. (Not as cheap as buying a skirt at Goodwill, but cheaper than buying it, say, new on clearance or at a high-end consignment store.)

I also anticipate that it will be much faster next time and that the results will be better. I’m sure it will only take me a couple of tries to get the zipper on next time, as opposed to the five–yes, five, plus I had to get a new zipper–tries it took this time.

I almost abandoned the project more than once. But I figured I was still enjoying myself, still learning things, and still had hope of producing something wearable, so I pressed on. And I’m really glad I did. There were more skills ahead, like slip stitching the lining to the zipper. Now, that came out okay, but I’m sure I will do better next time, so I’m glad I practiced on my super-imperfect skirt instead of on the next one, which will hopefully be looking a lot better at that stage.

In the final analysis, I recommend the book The Essential A-Line with some reservations. Double-check all the measurements as some of them are wrong. Read several invisible zipper tutorials online as the book is not very clear about the orientation. And be prepared to look up online explanations of basic sewing terms you might have missed–like slip stitching. I didn’t know what that was when the book said that was how to sew the lining to the zipper.

Yikes. No wonder I kept losing the tiny white piece of the invisible zipper foot.

Yikes. No wonder I kept losing the tiny white piece of the invisible zipper foot.

Before I try again, I’m going to catch up on all the things I neglected while I was making this one, and maybe lose ten pounds. I definitely want some skirts for next summer, but I think I’m set for winter now. One thing I have done NOW that I wish I had done FIRST was organize my sewing area, which is a narrow console table I use as a desk. I spent way too much time looking for tiny pieces–the bits of the invisible zipper foot that kept falling off, spare needles, seam rippers, etc.–that I had lost somewhere in the mess on my desk. Also, next time I will clean and oil my machine mid-project, because it starts to go super-haywire after a while.

This is what happens when my machine has not been oiled in a while.

This is what happens when my machine has not been oiled in a while.

What new things are you learning lately? How’s it going?

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About frugalparagon

I'm a part-time librarian and mom to two small boys. I blog about striving for the long-term goal of financial independence while running a tight ship at home.

8 responses to “I Made a Recognizable Skirt!”

  1. FP grandma says :

    Amazing! It looks terrific! What perseverance!

    • frugalparagon says :

      Thanks, Mom! I wore it to work today and no one has laughed at me yet. It’s nice to be wearing something new because I have been alternating between the same 2 skirts (one of which is currently uncomfortably tight) and 1 pair of jeans all summer long.

      I will observe two things: 1. The too-short lining is going to be annoying, although I have owned equally annoying commercially sewn garments; 2. I was definitely supposed to put the zipper on my LEFT side. Live and learn.

  2. Autumn says :

    I think it looks great! I’d wear it proudly.

    I hate shopping too – I only go when I need something specific and I’m not usually lucky in finding exactly what I want, which in turn makes me hate shopping even more. It’s a vicious cycle.

    • frugalparagon says :

      Thanks! I feel the same way about shopping, obviously :-). Sometimes I do better in consignment stores if I know what I want, because they often organize by color and size. (Green tops, size S? Right here!)

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