Sunday, May 25, 2008

Weekend Project: The Skirts - Part One

Life is like playing a violin in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.

Samuel Butler (1835-1902)

That quote expresses a bit of how I felt today, during our first "real" sewing lesson. I think that the more muscially gifted members of the audience MIGHT have been able to pick out the tune "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star"... But don't buy tickets to see me perform in Carnegie Hall just yet! ;)

So, today was the day - we started the skirts (las faldas). Ana (ironing above) and Juana (at the sewing machine below) had each selected a sheer overlay and a polyestor lining. I was concerned about working with those fabrics and came up with a two-part plan to minimize the difficulties.

First, I had them use steam-a-seam (double-sided, fusible, 1/4-inch wide tape) to secure each seam before stitching it. That worked very well - much better than using pins with those slippery fabrics!

Second, I had them sew French seams (to minimize fraying). While this should help with future fraying, it did interject its own unintended consequence - overly wide seams (due to lack of experience and practice) that ate up all of the ease built into the pattern. Luckily, we are making A-line skirts, so we simply trimmed about 1.5 inches at the waist line and it looks like the skirts will fit just fine. :)

We didn't get as far as I had expected (I was there for 2 hours). We got the linings cut and those side seams completed and the sheer overlay fabric cut. Next week we'll sew the second set of side seams and do the waistband. The week after that, the ruffle and hem.

Both women were pretty comfortable using the sewing machine by the end of the afternoon - that was nice! One minor nuisance - they had different color threads - so we were constantly re-threading the machine... (I guess that's good practice for them, but it does slow things down.)

The original plan had been to add an elastic waistband, but the skirts (well, the linings anyways) fit so snugly that I'm thinking that we might just bind the top with bias tape as a kind of waistband and skip the elastic altogether.

Ana made me another homemade dessert - I don't know the name of it, but it looks good!

As much as I'm enjoying this adventure, I have been missing doing my own sewing. I did manage to cut out the pieces for my pink dress - although not without some surprises - and I'll try to work on that over the week and let you know how it goes. I can tell you this already - it looks like there are a couple of lessons for me to learn with this one!


Claire said...

I enjoy reading your sewing lesson updates. I'll bet you're all having a blast, in addition to opening a whole new world for them and for you.

You go girl!!!