NEW SKIRT PROJECT: ELLENBEE AUGUST
How many skirts can a girl have? Just wondering. I’m continuing to work on skirts until A. I have perfected my skirt sewing skills. B. I believe (or my husband) I have enough skirts in my closet. C. I get tired of creating or refashioning skirts. I would want to perfect the basic skills in order to push forward with more elaborate designs and skirts. Maybe one day I will have the confidence to attempt a hi-low hemline or work with two fabrics on one skirt (gasp!) or add a decorative zipper or ruffle. The possibilities are endless.
Along with the lovely purple checkered fabric I found for the Riley August skirt, I picked up a 1 yard of a nice brown plaid fabric – perfect for cooler weather. After looking at the fabric and opening it up, I decided to make two skirts because I am nowhere close to being an expert in the waistband area. I decided a 1-inch brown elastic piece would serve as the waistband for one skirt, and I would use the hidden elastic waistband method (used on Riley August) on the second skirt. Practice makes perfect, and maybe I could figure out what I’m doing.
For the body of the skirt, I essentially used the same method I used on the Riley August skirt, cutting the fabric into two rectangle pieces. With Ellenbee August (this skirt’s nickname), I wanted to work with just one large rectangle piece. After laying open the long rectangle piece, I simply folded it in half and sewed the only open end. However, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to try a French seam. What’s a French seam, you ask? I really have no idea, but I wanted to try the method after reading other bloggers simple instructions.
From what I understand, fold the fabric so the pattern is showing and sew along the edge, which I thought was weirdly wrong because I could see the pattern. Once the side is sewed, turn the fabric inside out – patterns facing each other. With my fingertips, I found the edge seam area that I had just sewn. From the instructions I could remember, I simply sewed a straight stitch along the first seam, basically hiding or encasing the sewn raw edges. I apologize if that sentence and my terms don’t make sense – I’m very much a beginner sewer.
At this point, the body of the skirt has been created, and I was ready to practice simply attaching a piece of elastic to the waist area. I carefully pinned and folded the fabric to the brown elastic band I had created. After successfully sewing the elastic to the skirt, I realized I didn’t like the result at all. Using 2-inch elastic creates the best waistband (see Andersen August and Darby August skirts) – anything less than 2 inches is not good enough for me. Despite my score on finding brown elastic to match, I really didn’t like the look of the waistband.
Mental note: next time I’m at the fabric store, pick up 2-inch white elastic to pair with my springy and summery skirts. I have plenty of black 2-inch elastic that should last through September – maybe October. Anyway, I carefully cut off the elastic from the waistband and decided to create a casing for another piece of elastic. Let’s be honest – I could use all the practice I can get when working with waistbands. Because I cut off the elastic and folded some fabric to create a casing, I lost the perfect length of the skirt – it’s a teeny bit too short.
What’s a girl to do now? I didn’t panic because I knew exactly what I wanted to do – add my lace trim to the edge of the hem. I’m a simple and casual kind of girl, so I wasn’t sure if I could mix plaid and lace. I mean is that a fashion no-no? Don’t mix plaid and lace? I have no idea. Four of my co-workers vetoed the idea – don’t add lace trim to the brown plaid skirt. One co-worker nixed the idea because she hates anything lace. The second co-worker remembered her mom used to add extra material or lace to length clothes.
The third co-worker simply didn’t like the idea of mixing plaid and lace, and the fourth wasn’t a fashion expert but she agreed with the co-worker #3 – she personally didn’t like the idea. Well, I ignored all four of them and added the laced. I have two brown plaid skirts – one of them could have lace. Not to mention, I’m not about to prance about town in a super short skirt – I don’t have that much confidence in my legs and tush. I’m happy I ignored my co-workers because I love love love the lace trim. Success!