Saturday, June 28, 2008

Weekend Activities: Convergence 2008

Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.

It was a weekend for friends - old and new. My best friend from college, Kathy, flew down to Florida from Maryland and we attended Convergence 2008 - the convention for weavers and other fiber artists - that was held in Tampa.

Kathy and I generally are only able to spend a couple of hours together once a year - when we each return to Ohio to visit family for Christmas. We decided last year to try to find a way to get together during the year.

Kathy does beautiful needlework of all types and has recently started beading. I learned about Convergence 2008 from PatternReview and it was perfect for us! There were beading classes for her and sewing classes for me... And a vendor exhibit hall with plenty of shopping opportunities for both of us!!! ;)

First, some pictures of my shopping swag. ;)

I got fabric for assorted friends who like dragonflies and all things Asian, and stencils for a friend who loves Halloween:

(I may have felt a touch foolish after buying the Asian "pez dispenser" fabric in an Asian booth, when I discovered that it is Alexander Henry fabric!)

Finally, I got these small pouches for two friends who really love this kind of thing and the super soft, hand-dyed sock yarn for a friend who knits socks.

Next, my classes. Because this conference is not geared specifically towards sewers, I had the opportunity to take some classes that aren't offered at conferences like the Sewing and Quilt Expo each year. For example, I took a class on sketching for fashion and design, taught by Diane Ericson. I was really excited about this one, as I have always thought of drawing and sketching as a skill that I don't have.

I really enjoyed the class. Diane pointed out some obvious things that most people tend to overlook, such as the fact that we get good at the things that we do a lot! So if we want to be good at sketching...

She gave us some fun exercises to practice using our eyes and trusting our hands.

She explained how to use light and dark shading to give the illusion of depth (see my ruffle below).

And we spent much of our time with tracing paper, tracing designs and design elements on existing illustrations that we liked, and then trying to recreate those images superimposed over a line drawing of a female figure.

Basically, she encouraged us to keep a portfolio of images that we like, trace and sketch them, combine them, manipulate them, etc. She made it all very do-able for me. :)

As for my second class - I have read in so many sewing blogs about the importance of keeping inspirational journals - plus, I want to make a kind of scrap book for the wedding dress - that I took a class called "Journals for the Fiber Artist" by Mary Fisher.

This one turned out to not be what I was expecting. It was more about experimenting with scraps of fabric, bits of ribbons and beads, tissue paper, water colors, etc. to create interesting, creative, textured and abstract visuals. Mary showed samples of her work and she is an incredibly creative and powerful visual artist.

However, truth be told, I'm more of a coloring-within-the-lines kind of person, and I'm okay with that. I did manage to put this cover on the small book that came in our materials kit:

But you can see my mistakes right away - I used symmetrical shapes, colors that match, recognizable images... This garnered the dreaded comment from the teacher, "Oh, that's pretty." Instant death in her world... ;)

Seriously, most of the women in the class had a lot of fun, and I don't suppose that a little bit of loosening up would kill me, but I was much more drawn to... the looms! The woven fabrics are visually gorgeous, have incredible textures, and the kind of systematic, mathematical relationships that appeal to me.

There were many loom vendors in attendance and I spent probably more than 30 minutes learning about and weaving on a small Harrisville loom. This was their 22 inch model (that's the largest width of fabric that it can produce) with four harnesses. I fell in love. I learned how to do a standard weave (your weft thread goes over and under each successive warp thread - like those potholders we used to make when we were kids) and a twill weave. Pressing the treadles in the right sequence, passing the shuttle back and forth, watching your fabric emerge in front of your eyes... It was all so cool!

My fate is sealed. I don't know when - certainly not too soon! - but someday I will weave. :)

Okay, my last two classes - more traditional sewing classes - were with Cynthia Guffey. One was on seam treatments and the other was on drafting lining patterns for your garments.

I really enjoy Cynthia's classes. She is incredibly skilled, interesting and entertaining. She showed multiple exterior seam treatments, described lots of tips for modifying a garment pattern to produce a corresponding lining pattern, and demonstrated her hemming approach (3 hems!) to help support bulkier fabrics (such as hand wovens).

Of all of the things that I learned, perhaps the most interesting was this simple yet significant idea that I have somehow missed during my years (okay, just 5 of them, but still...) of sewing - apparently you are supposed to sew with the grain of the fabric.

In other words, every time I pin in a zipper and carefully line up the edges along the top of the fabric, and then sew down one edge of the zipper, pivot at the bottom, and finish by sewing up the other edge, guess why the top edges of the fabric don't line up anymore? It's because on one of those two long rows of stitches (either the down pass or the up pass), I was sewing against the grain of the fabric and that side stretched!

And that's why one side of my collar lines up so nicely, but not the other. And ditto for hems. According to Cynthia, instead of stitching in long continuous seams, I should break up single continuous seams into sections and stitch them separately, changing direction as needed so that that I am always stitching with the grain. Her rule of thumb for stitching with the grain is "high to low and wide to narrow".

So, have you guys heard of this? Do you do it? What do you think?

In summary, it was a great three days and I'm exhausted and can't believe I have to get up early and go to work tomorrow! Yikes!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Confessions


Before sewing, I never ironed.

You think I'm exaggerating? Well, when my husband got me a sewing machine and I started ironing with the iron that we had received as a wedding gift 20 years earlier, it was basically brand new!

I still rarely iron clothes before putting them on, but I am constantly ironing as I sew. About a year ago I got this Consew gravity feed iron, based on positive reviews on Pattern Review. I absolutely love it! I admit, the cords (electric & water) do get in my way a bit. But for some reason, it just doesn't bother me. I still love this iron.

How about you? Is ironing a big part of your sewing? What kind of iron do you have? How do you like it?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Talk Back Thursday

Thank you to Lindsay, Summerset and Claire for "talking back" to my Friday Confession last week!
I confessed that my sewing room is "decorated" with cat knick-knacks, and asked if other people decorated their sewing rooms.
The general answer seems to be - drum roll, please - No.
Lindsay doesn't have a dedicated sewing room at the moment. Summerset and Claire let their fabrics and projects bring color and beauty into their rooms.
Thanks again, everyone - I love learning about these small details of your sewing worlds and lives each week! :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

In the Queue Wednesday


I'm afraid of pants.

Well, actually, I'm afraid of fitting pants. So, when I saw this article in the January 2008 issue of Threads magazine, I said to myself, "Gwen, this is it. This is the approach you are going to try to make a pair of pants that fit."

This seems to be an approach that will work best when done with a friend to help in taking all the measurements, etc. Luckily, my friend Susan is interested in trying this too! :)

I have had this grey, bottom weight fabric, with just a touch of lycra, in my stash for ages - it should be perfect for a pair of comfortable, casual, yet dressier-than-jeans pair of pants.

So, I have the fabric, I have the instructions to make a pattern and I have a friend to tackle this project with me! Now all I need is the nerve...

Don't worry, I'll get to it. It's in the queue... ;)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Weekend Project: First Dress, First Real Pattern

Measure twice, cut once.
Traditional Saying

Today we started on our second project, a dress using a commercial pattern. You can see the pattern here.
Ana and Juana chose these bottom weight plaids (respectively):

We spent about two hours together and got all of the pieces cut out and the interfacing applied for both dresses. The pattern specified that it is designed for people who are 5 feet 6 inches tall. Ana is about 5' 3" and Juana is about 4' 11", so we shortened the main front and back pieces accordingly.

They are happy and excited about this project and already mentally anticipating their next project - t-shirts for their boyfriends! Unfortunately, I cannot go next Sunday, so that will be a delay to our progress. On the other hand, there is a chance that they might buy machines during the upcoming holiday weekend, if Sears has a nice sale. Our lessons would go a lot faster if we had two machines.

This time, I did not prepare any sentences in Spanish ahead of time. It was a bit of a risk, but I was hoping that our limited communication skills would suffice, given the obviousness of our task, and the Burda instructions in Spanish. And it all worked out fine. I think these dresses are going to come out really cute! :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Confessions

Home (Sewing Room) Decor

You know how some people have an innate flair for design?

Well, I am not one of them.
You may have noticed this when looking at my blog layout.

I generally acknowledge this state of affairs by NOT trying to actually decorate our house. Other than the black and white prints hanging on our walls (leftovers from the days when we were into photography) I restrict my decorating attempts to trying to keep the clutter to a minimum. (PS - it is a losing battle.)

The one exception is my sewing room - here I let sentiment and corniness rule and have an actual theme. Cats. My husband and I have had cats for about 20 years - Poly and Jackson, Sammy and Milly... They've been a big part of our lives and - what can I say? - I love them. So, in the sewing room, I let cat knick knacks run amock.

How about you? How is your sewing room decorated?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Talk Back Thursday

Thank you SO much to Meghan, Lindsay, Emily, Claire, Becky, Summerset, Vicki and Audrey for "talking back" to my Friday Confession last week!
I confessed that my dressform no longer matches my measurements - one of us has changed with age (and not for the better), but I'm not telling which one... ;)
Just within this small group of commenters there are duct tape dressforms, a packing tape dressform, a discarded store mannequin, a cage-like form, a "pad-it-yourself" form and more...
In fact, this post generated a lot of interesting and fun dressform stories! Rather than try to summarize it, I'll just encourage you to read for yourself! It's worth the click: Friday Confession: Dressform.
Thanks again, everyone! :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

In the Queue Wednesday

Another one for me. PLUS, I'll actually be USING some of those fabric scraps I have trouble throwing away... ;)
I made a circle skirt for a friend in this fabric, and I think I have enough left over to make myself a short (~knee-length), A-line skirt. I don't have an actual pattern at the moment - I may try to wing it. We'll see...
I don't know when, but I'll get to it. It's in the queue...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday Morning Quarterback

Another fun Sunday afternoon with Ana & Juana! We stopped by Sears to look at the Kenmore sewing machines - I'm hoping Sears will have a big sale for the Fourth of July and bring those prices within their reach... (I talked to them about buying a quality used machine, but they were pretty certain that they wanted a new one.)
Then it was on to Joann's to pick a pattern and fabric for their next project: a dress with a zipper! They actually had a bit of a difficult time settling on a single easy pattern that they both liked. In the end, they selected this Burda (#8123):

They want to make the version worn by the model who is standing on the right of the picture. According to Burda's rating system, this is a "one dot" or "very easy" pattern. For fabric, they picked plaids in a bottom-weight cotton.
Afterwards, we stopped at Steak and Shake for milkshakes, and - for the first time - just did some "getting to know you" talking. I learned a bit about them; how long they have been in the United States, how long they have known each other, etc.
One funny thing happened. Ana wanted to order a milkshake to take home for her boyfriend, and she wanted to order it herself, in English. We worked out the words and jotted them down, so that she could read them and place her order. But when Ana tried, the waitress took the paper out of Ana's hands to read it herself! Ana was a bit put out by that, but I had to laugh because that is exactly what they do to me each week! I carefully write all my Spanish sentences down ahead of time and then, when I try to say them outloud, Ana and Juana just come behind me and read my paper over my shoulders! When I explained how the tables were turned, they saw the humor too. :)
Next week I'm hoping that we can get all the pieces cut out. Unfortunately, there was only 1 copy of the pattern left, so they are going to have to share. Luckily, they can use the same size. Sorry, no pictures from today's shopping expedition - I forgot my camera! :(

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Weekend Project: Sewing for Me!

Put even the plainest woman into a beautiful dress and unconsciously she will try to live up to it.

Lucie Duff-Gordon

First things first: I love this dress! There are several things wrong with it (which I will get to in a minute), but I still love it. It makes me feel pretty. It makes me want to sashay and swirl and pivot and twirl everywhere I go! :)

Okay, now for the dissection... My first mistake was selecting a print that has a distinct and obvious appropriate orientation. After this experience, it seems to me that full circle skirts in general are not well suited to this type of print - the print is oriented correctly at the front and back centers, but flipped 90 degrees at the side seams.

More significantly, the fabric was supposed to be cut on the bias for the bodice (in view B). I chose to ignore those directions and cut the bodice pieces along the grain line, so that the print would be oriented correctly. There is a small ripple effect along the neckline, and I think this is the price that I am paying for that decision.

Other issues arose. For one thing, I actually ran out of fabric! This has NEVER happened to me before (I usually buy more fabric than I need). I think that part of the problem was that I changed my mind about what view to make quite recently (and view B needed more fabric than view A).

Also contributing to the not enough fabric problem: the width of this particular piece of fabric was a couple inches shy of the number cited on the pattern envelope - one of those 42 inches versus 45 inches things. Normally this doesn't cause me any problems, but with a full circle skirt pattern... I needed those extra inches of width! My solution: I opened the fabric out completely and cut the front in two pieces and added a center seam. Not ideal...

Unfortunately, because the project had been sitting in my queue for so long, the store was out of that fabric. Thus, I made the sash out of a different fabric (solid pink). In the end, I like it just as much, if not better, that way.

Another issue - the size I cut turned out to be too big and I had to do some pretty significant modifications to get the bodice to fit. While I am getting better at this, the straps are still sitting a bit too far out on my shoulders and the v-neck takes QUITE a plunge! I should have done a quick muslin.

Two things worth noting about the pattern. First, it was the typical cheap-looking (in my opinion) sash pattern that only had you cut one layer of fabric for each side. I doubled it and stitched the 2 layers together so that no seams show on my sash. I also interfaced it, because I wanted my sash to have a bit of body. I wanted the bow to stand up and hold its shape, not just flop down. I think I was successful!

Second, for some odd reason, the instructions for view B did NOT have you use the bodice lining to hide the waist seam and two zipper side seams. Instead, the instructions had you stitch the bodice and bodice lining together along all open edges and then treat the two layers of fabric as one when attaching the skirt and zipper... But the instructions for view A were the standard instructions that have you hold the lining separate while attaching the skirt and inserting the zipper, and then fold the lining back inside to cover those raw edges. This really surprised me. Does anyone know - is there a good reason for the difference?

So, as you can see, there are any numbers of issues with this dress.

"But I still love it!", she declares, pivoting on one heel and sashaying out of the room, with her beautiful, full skirt flowing and swirling around her in graceful pink waves.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday Confessions


Okay, this one is a doozy! It is by far the most difficult confession I've made and, if you are faint of heart, I advise you not to read any further...

Well, at least make sure you are sitting down...

My dressform isn't set to my measurements. (Or to anyone's measurements that I know of.)

To be fair, I DID set it to my measurements when I first got it - but then it lost a bunch of weight and it doesn't match me anymore. When inanimate objects start working against you, what's a woman to do?

I know, I NEED to change this situation and start working more diligently on fit.

So, I suspect that I'm pretty much alone on this, but I'll ask anyways. How about you? Tell me about your dressform(s) - what type do you have and how much does it help you with fitting? (Oh, and have you named it/them?)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Talk Back Thursday

Thank you to Claire, Summerset, Vicki and Becky for "talking back" to my Friday Confession last week!

I confessed that I save my fabric scraps. Claire and Summerset generally save pieces of fabric that are 1/2 yard or larger - although they both said that it does depend a bit on the quality (and expense) of the fabric. Becky will save 1/4 yard or more - she is seriously committed to minimizing her contributions to our landfills. (Check out this cool project where she re-purposed a mens shirt from Goodwill!) And Vicki saves quite a few of her scraps too - she says that she is able to use them for small coordinating items and trim on other projects.

The lesson that I took away from all this is that saving your fabric scraps is good IF you actually use them later, but kind of a waste of space if you are just hoarding them because you can't bear to throw them away.

Thanks again, everyone! :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

In the Queue Wednesday

Oh, I'm really excited about this one! I was at Joann's, browsing through the pattern books, looking for potential dress patterns for my 2 sewing students (among the companies that include Spanish instructions on their patterns), and I stumbled across this:
I LOVE pintucks and have successfully made them on my serger before (using the rolled hem stitch, as explained in an older issue of Threads). I think I'll do the sleeveless version. I found this cotton print - I think it's perfect for a light, breezy and just a touch romantic summer top!

You can be sure that I'll get to this one quickly! It's now at the top of my queue! ;)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sew Much Comfort

My "Sew Much Comfort" package came in the mail last week. Sew Much Comfort is a registered public charitable organization that provides "adaptive clothing" to wounded service men and women. I first learned about this organization from Stacy. The basic idea is to provide clothes that fit over medical devices like casts and braces and are easy to put on and take off.
This is a large volunteer organization that, since its inception in 2004, had provided over 40,000 articles of adaptive clothing. As you might imagine, organizing hundreds or even thousands of sewers is a bit of a task, and reading over the material I see that they have some pretty strict rules. First, they have a set of patterns to be used, and those patterns may not be shared or altered in any way. Your design choices include (and are limited to) whether or not to add a pocket. Second, you must submit a sample for each pattern that you would like to use, and your samples are checked for quality control. If you pass, then you are authorized to use that pattern. Finally, all items must be sent through their distribution chain - no dropping by your local VA to deliver things by hand.
Oh, and they are also quite precise about things like pre-washing, sizing, acceptable seam finishes, and fabric types and colors, etc.
It would be possible to take these rules in a negative way, but I remind myself that this isn't about me and my wonderful creativity and incredible sewing skills (ha!), it's about doing something for people who put their lives on the line (and paid dearly) so that I can enjoy living in this wonderful country. And, as I said earlier, organizing that many unknown volunteers undoubtedly does require setting some rules on their end. After all, they can't all be as good as we are, can they? ;)
The kit comes with instructions for two types of outfits:
  1. Modifying an existing article of clothing - the modifications generally involve opening up one or more seams and replacing them with hook and loop tape.
  2. Making something from scratch
The things you can buy and adapt include:
  • Boxer shorts, swim trunks, athletic shorts and t-shirts
The things that you can make from scratch:
  • Pants and shorts
There are 2 types of pants & shorts:
  1. Full-Length Access Pants (FLAPS) - hook and loop tape runs the length of one (or both) exterior side seams, with a snap at the waist, to accomodate casts, braces and bandages
  2. Fixator Pants - an enlarged leg with hook and loop tape along the length of that leg (and waist snap) to accomodate external metal fixator devices
The packet includes detailed instructions for all of the above and pattern pieces for the two types of pants. It also includes some hook and loop tape, elastic for a waistband, tag and size labels and a heavy-duty snap.

They even provide ratios for how they would like the items distributed across different sizes and access on different sides of the body!

So, I think I am going to start by making shorts from one of their patterns. They should be relatively quick and easy to make. I'll show you my efforts and let you know if I pass the quality control check!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Monday Morning Quarterback

Happiness is like perfume: You can't give it away without getting a little on yourself.

The skirts are finished! It took 3 hours, but we were able to finish the waistband on Juana's skirt and all of the hems on both skirts. I think you can see for yourself that everyone was very happy with and justifiably proud of the results! :)

After they finished their skirts, I gave each of them a "congratulations gift" of some of the basic sewing tools: a pair of scissors, pins and a magnetic pin cushion, hand needles, seam ripper, tape measure, seam gauge and tailor's chalk. I announced that they were now officially seamstresses; but they disagreed and said that they would be seamstresses after our next two planned projects.

Our plans, by the way, are to make a dress with a zipper and then a blouse with a collar, buttons and buttonholes - using commercial patterns that include instructions in Spanish as well as in English (Simplicity, New Look and/or Burda). After that, I am hoping that they will have enough of the basic skills that I can set them loose on the sewing world! ;)

Every week there is more chatter during our sewing time. They are more and more willing to try to use some English words and our ability to communicate is steadily growing. I made 2 jokes today - one planned and one off-the-cuff - both of which got a laugh.

The off-the-cuff one happened when Ana asked me where my husband was that afternoon. I replied (all in broken Spanish) "at home" and then followed up with "I hope!". That brought about the knowing exchange of womanly grins that often arise during discussions of men... ;)

The planned one is a bit more complicated. I made a disparaging comment about my Spanish and then said that "I know three words." (This is all in Spanish.) I then repeated the sentence, while counting on my fingers and pretended to discover that the sentence had FOUR words in it, so I modified the sentence to say "I know four words." Then I pretended to count again and realize that I had just added another known word (the word for "four") and so I modified it again to say "I know five words." Of course, more exaggerated pretend counting to determine that that made six words I knew... I let it trail off and they both realized that I was stuck in an infinite loop and burst out laughing. :)

Next Sunday - shopping for a dress pattern and fabric! This time I AM going to request, before we even leave for the store, that they try to find a nice cotton print to make the dresses in. No more fraying polyestor for this "teacher"!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Saturday Supplies

Mail call!

I told you that your responses to my Friday Confessions were making a difference, and here is the evidence! I purchased a new color of (serger) thread to match my upcoming project (see 'In the Queue Wednesday' next week) AND I got a rotary cutter and bias tape maker. I am going to try to make my own bias tape for that project as well! I think that Claire is going to try too - so wish us both good luck! :)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Friday Confessions

Fabric Scraps

I save my fabric scraps. In fact, for the longest time, whenever anyone on PR talked about their "stash" I thought they were talking about scraps! ;)

Why? Who knows... I find it very difficult to throw away any pieces of fabric that I love or pieces of fabric from a meaningful project (i.e., made for someone I love). I tell myself that there is enough left to make something... (True, if that "something" is a bikini for a Barbie doll!)

Maybe it's not my fault. Have the researchers on the human genome project said anything about a "pack rat" gene?

You may be thinking that the above picture doesn't look so bad. Well, as long as I'm confessing... When I opened my closet door to take a picture of my "scrap stash" I was so embarrassed that I cleaned it out first! Here are the rest of my scraps:

How about you? What do you do with your fabric scraps? Do you have a minimum size requirement for keeping scraps?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Talk Back Thursday

Thanks to Emily, Claire, Summerset, Vicki, Elaray and Becky for "talking back" to my Friday Confession last week! I confessed that I round up when purchasing fabric, instead of just buying the recommended amount on the back of the pattern envelope.
This confession elicited a pretty wide variety of responses. Several folks said that they also buy extra fabric. However Summerset enjoys the challenge of fitting the pattern pieces onto the smallest amount of fabric possible and Vicki often buys fabric without a particular pattern in hand (and so just estimates a rough amount).
One amusing note - both Elaray and Becky pointed out that rounding up often results in a surplus scrap situation. In fact, I do have a surplus scrap situation and, in an instance of cosmic timing, I had actually written that up as the subject of tomorrow's confession before they left their comments! So, what's funny about this? The fact that I honest-to-goodness never put two and two together myself until I read their posts! ;)
By the way, in case you are wondering if your responses to my confessions make a difference, the answer is a resounding "Yes!" and as evidence I offer up the following: In the last week I purchased another set of 3 spools of thread for my serger and I ordered a rotary cutter and bias tape folder thingy. Soon I will be changing my serger thread for a new project and making my own bias tape! (or trying to, anyways... Wish me luck!)
So, thanks again, everyone! :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

In the Queue Wednesday

Anther nephew, another shirt... :)
I think this is the last of my Christmas projects. I've already shown you the Hawaiian-shirt-to-be for my younger nephew. My older nephew prefers to wear long sleeved shirts, unbuttoned, over t-shirts. He selected this pattern:

And this fabric:

Among other things, he is... (wait for it...) ...a musician! ;)

Here is a semi-recent school picture, in which he is wearing one of the Hawaiian shirts that I made for him:

I'll probably end up sewing his brother's shirt first, just because that pattern is so much quicker and easier, but, don't worry, I'll get to this one. It's in the queue... ;)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Weekend Project: The Skirts Continued...

Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take small steps.
Saul Bellow

Another wonderful Sunday afternoon and more progress on the skirts! During the week I stitched up two sample waist treatments to show the women. Both used bias tape for binding, but one had a short slit and a single (shank) button with an elastic button loop to make sliding the skirt on and off a bit easier. Ana opted for the simpler treatment with no button, and Juana opted for the slit & button.
We started with the side seams on the outer skirt (sheer fabric) and then (after fitting & trimming as needed), basted the two skirt layers together around the waist. Ana was able to finish her bias tape waistband. She seemed both happy with and proud of her (not yet hemmed) skirt - the first thing she did was slide it on and run to show her boyfriend! As you can see in the above photo, it fit well and looked very good on her!
Juana got her elastic buttonloop attached and the slit seams finished with bias tape. We'll start next Sunday with her bias tape waistband. Then, hems (2 per skirt!) and we're done! :)
Both women decided to skip the ruffle. I think that decision makes sense with this fabric.
It was really nice to see how comfortable both women were with the machine and how much better they are at sewing nice, straight seams with a fixed width! They have really come a long way in a short time!
Here's a close-up of Ana's fabric - still folded in half, so you can see the pattern on the bottom layer through the top layer.

I was able to take my work laptop, with an "aircard", so we had an internet connection to help with communication. It did help, but what helped even more is that Ana is becoming more willing to try out her little bit of English with me. (As much as I've mangled the Spanish language, I can't imagine that she is worried about looking bad. I've got that market cornered!)

For all the course corrections that this project has taken (take inches off the top, forget the elastic waistband, drop the ruffle, etc.), I think the skirts are turning out quite nicely and they are feeling pretty good about them! And they are already excited about our next project - dresses with zippers! (vestidos con cierres) Now, if I can just talk them into cotton!!! ;)