Sunday, November 30, 2008

First Day of Advent

I hope everyone had a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving. Mine was fabulous, with good friends and much sewing. I believe this long weekend was a meaningful way to begin Advent, a season of preparation before Christmas.

Let's look at the list I wrote on Wednesday night:

1. Finish the lap quilt for my Prayer Sister, Maria - done! I'll post a photo later in the week; the weather today simply did not cooperate with picture-taking.
2. Finish a project I am secretly doing as a gift - done! But I can't post a photo until after the giving of the gift.
3. Begin sewing the blocks for Tammy's Asian Strip Gift Quilt - begun! I actually sewed 20 of the 30 blocks. This quilt goes together fast.
4. Make a wool skirt. I'm in dire need of winter clothes - done! And I am very pleased.

The wool skirt is my tried-and-true skirt pattern, McCalls # 3341:

I've made this skirt from cotton, rayon, and wool. I've made the above-the-knee version and below-the-knee. It has no waistband, and is simply faced. If I don't line it, it takes me three hours to make it, from the cutting out stage to the hem. As I was making the above-the-knee version from wool I got from Gorgeous Fabrics, I lined it in a luxurious silk charmuese I got from Fashion Fabrics Club.

I line all my wool skirts in silk - it feels luscious, and if you get the silk on sale, it really doesn't cost much more than quality lining. And I believe that is the real advantage of sewing your own clothes; you can make it in a way that you really can't find in ready-to-wear. How much would you have to pay for a skirt lined in real silk? Too much.

The wool is a black and tan check:

I know it doesn't look like much on the hanger, but I love the way it fits and the silk makes it a joy to wear - it is warm, but the fabric breathes. Here are shots of the lining inside:

The lining is free-hanging; I've done it both ways, but today I was in the mood for a free hanging hem. One thing I did differently on this skirt was to cut out the skirt and lining using a rotary cutter rather than scissors. I can't say the rotary cutter was superior in any respect, but I suspect that my lack of experience makes me unqualified to really say. I was mostly paranoid that I would accidentally cut into the pattern. So then I ended up with portions where I didn't cut closely enough. My verdict is that I need more experience with the rotary cutter.

I finished the skirt seam allowances with my Bernina overlock stitch (stitch number 3), but I finished the lining seam allowances with pinking shears, which I normally avoid like the plague because nothing screams home made more than pinked seam allowances, but given that this was a lining and which no one will see, I went ahead.

I hope everyone had a productive Thanksgiving and I look forward to seeing your projects.

Parting shot: My Prayer Group! Maria, Jamie, me, Donna, and Judy. We took this today after Mass in honor of Advent. Not pictured is the Other Donna, as we call her.


Vicki W said...

Nice skirt!

KimP said...

Wore it today!

Donna said...

very cool to be on your blog!

Audrey said...

I recognize that skirt pattern! You are so good about really getting the "utils" out of a pattern; making different versions in different fabrics. I love the lining.