Tuesday, May 29, 2012

So Many Gathers...

I have something a bit different for you today.  You know those non-yarn projects to which I've alluded?  You're getting one of those today and, for a wonder, it isn't Halloween related.  Shocking, I know.  Today I'm going to talk about my brand shiny new belly dancing skirt so we'll be wandering down the sewing path which we haven't done yet.

Ordinarily doing new crafty things isn't a problem, unfortunately I'm not great at sewing.  I have an amazing machine, but I'm afraid I hold it back quite a bit with my abysmal technique.  I have done quite a bit of sewing, so I'm pretty sure it isn't all practice that I need, but there are things that I still really struggle with.  Like sewing even straight lines.  The other unfortunate bit is that I really don't have a lot of choice; I have got to make a new skirt.  I have 3 skirts of the "10-yard" variety (that's roughly how much fabric goes around the bottom hem, I told you I had a lot of practice) and all of them are rather heavy.  I need a lighter skirt or dancing in the increasingly unseasonable heat is going to be brutal.  Tribal dancing outfits are not generally known for being light and airy and the 3 skirts I have most certainly are not.  I waited for a good coupon and managed a 50% off one item coupon and since one cut of fabric counts as an item I was in business.

Washing, drying, and ironing the 6ish yards that I got was something else.  I'm not terribly keen on laundry to begin with and my poor sewing skills are matched only by my more wretched ironing ability.  6 yards takes FOREVER to iron.  But I managed to get everything ironed, pinned, and cut in one day so that's something.  This is not an original Lyssa pattern, by the way.  I'm still quite hopeless at sewing so I use patterns that other people make.  The one for this skirt came from Annabella who, I might add, has a number of other useful patterns if you go exploring her webpage.

Having prepped everything, the next step is hemming and tier joining.  That's the easiest part by far.  Especially since I discovered that I have a fair number of hemmer feet for my sewing machine.  I had never used any other them but I grabbed one and tried it out.  Holy hell do those things work well!  My skirt has an almost 10 yard hem and I did the whole thing with a hemmer foot.  It's quite possibly the best hem I've ever done.  I think I have a new quest...to find out what all the random presser feet I have do.

Not perfect, but not too damn bad either!

The next step is sewing the tiers together and that involves gathering.  Now, the first time ever that I made a skirt with this pattern it did not go terribly well.  The resulting skirt was passable, but hand gathering a combined 15 yards of fabric (about 5 yards in the second tier and almost 10 in the bottom tier) is not what I would call fun.  This time I swore I would do it the "easier way" and try out my gathering presser foot.  Trouble is, I'd never used a gathering foot before.  The internet turned up a bare handful of tutorials so I wasn't flying completely blind.  I tried out a few scrap pieces to get a feel for it and is surprisingly easy.  Well, unless you want to sew another piece to the fabric that you're gathering.  That's a good deal harder.  The other challenging bit is keeping the fabric ratio correct.  I had to do a bunch of adjusting because it seemed like every time I touched the fabric it changed how it would feed.  Still, it could have gone a lot worse than it did.

I'm thinking I should make another skirt or two for practice and for extra (well made) changes.  My first 3 skirts aren't terribly well made and having more than one skirt that I know isn't going to fall apart for faire would be good.  Garb tends to get gross pretty quickly so having multiple changes is a good thing.

No comments:

Post a Comment