Going with the flow...

Going with the flow...

You just kind of know with a blog title like that, it means that very little is happening over here....although its not for lack of trying...

Its been a chaotic couple of weeks..

We have had half the bedroom floors ripped up, sanded and finished - so we have bedroom furniture everywhere and are sharing rooms for at least another week...

The yard is being re-graded and trees are having to be removed - two hard winters in a row with another on the way are not kind to some of those huge old trees very sadly..

The painters are in.... and I have house guests..

Not that I am complaining in any way - I love that things are happening,  but between the dust, interruptions and noise, its been hard to do anything meaningful.

But, some hand sewing and hemming was more than doable and I did finally finish my skirt, ready for Paris!

and I am all kinds of happy with this, in such a neutral colour it seems to go with everything, and the length is my favorite, as it works well for summer or winter..

The pattern is Marfy 3171 which I last used in May of last year.... chopped off at the waist for this version.

and forgive me for harping on (again!) but I think this is one of the most beautiful patterns I have ever seen.  The way the skirt falls and flows is simply gorgeous and a real lesson in great pattern drafting.

There are five panels in total, the center front is a double width cut on grain, and the two side and two back are on bias..

Technically, I confess, I am not sure why this works as well as it does, but it appears that the center front provides a foundation as well as the support needed for the bias panels to fold and curve - which stops them from collapsing off grain, in a way almost forcing them to stand away from the body and hold their shape?!.....

Resulting in a pattern that works in any length or indeed fabric (I've used silk charmeuse, silk gazar and now embroidered organza)

The only downside to a skirt with this length and shape is fabric yardage, it needs a lot....four at a minimum, five to be sure....

Which was a problem as the fabric I wanted to use was only 42" wide and two yards long.

I imagined I would have to cut what I could of each panel on the embroidery and then piece together the missing sections with some hand sewing....with no option of pattern matching at all.

But Susan took one look at it and decided that grain lines would not be much of an issue...due mostly to the intricate dense embroidery....there is so much thread that it removes any normal grain rules.

Which made the whole piece the perfect size....

and while I did think of using the scallops briefly for the hem, I eventually decided it would be more aesthetically pleasing to have a very neat strong hem (I did save each and every left over piece to use for a top eventually)

So, then my big question was how if you cut off grain, can the skirt drape as it was designed? 

Susan assured me that by cutting the organza underlining, silk underlayer and lining on the correct grains,  it would take the embroidered upper layer where it needed to go.

and it did...those other three layers working perfectly together just carry the organza along for the ride.


Some construction details..

I cut all the layers a little backwards this time, starting off with the fashion fabric, laying this onto the pink silk charmeuse and then laying both of those onto the white organza, so that I could ensure all the motifs on the fabric looked cohesive.

and once the side seams were sewn, it then spent a couple of days hanging out on a rug so the bias could do its thing....before I could hem it.

(Each layer hangs independently from the others, they are only attached at the side seams...which allows the skirt to flow gently and the bias to work properly)

As the fabric does not fray I was able to just fold the hem...

and use a simple catch stitch to hold it...

I then did the same to the underlining and silk but this time keept both the organza and charmeuse together.

As you can probably see from the picture above the hem does not run in a complete circle as it would with a normal skirt....

I treated each panel as a separate garment, leaving one inch of the side seams on each joined panel unfinished.  By folding this inch section to the wrong side and hemming each individually it removes the ridge and stiffness that is created when you sew over a seam, thus allowing it to drape and curve as the fabric intended......

Susan also suggested that no seams be pressed - again to allow the fabric to move organically.

The waistband is a simple petersham ribbon..I thought initially of adding a fabric waistband and facing but the sheer weight of this skirt made me think that it would be constantly rolling and moving...

But by treating this almost as a waist stay and making it really snug, it serves two purposes - it keeps the skirt firmly anchored to my waist and is stong enough to take the weight of what has become a very very heavy skirt.

I finished it all off by stitching in each ditch and by using a catch stitch to keep everything neat and joined to the lining.

Look at my pretty lapped zipper (Susan did it!)  and the tiny spot of naked skirt...unfortunately there was just no way of getting around the small amount of damage I mentioned in the last post

Eventually I might sew a little piece on but its so small that I really don't mind, its far from a perfect skirt anyway!

For the lining I choose the thinest crepe de chine I could find...I was already feeling a kinship to Little house on the Prairie and really did not want to add any more bulk if possible!

Again, the bias hung around for a couple of days and dropped four inches in some places (thought I'd include my new lovely view!)

and I finished it all off with a very quick narrow machine stitch...


So...anyone want to take a guess whats on my sewing table this week?!

Yep - that would be boucle, charmeuse and trim for a LFJ..

After a shopping trip on Friday to the city with my mother in law,  I feel like I am now on a Project runway deadline to have this finished before Sunday so she can take it back with her!  Not sure I am going to achieve this but I'm optimistic :-)



I also keep meaning to list all the books I have been reading, there have been some really good ones... I'll have a full run down next week, but these are worth picking up..

The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling) this is the second of the series, and although there has been mixed reviews I think these are fantastic.

We are water - Wally Lamb, I can't say I loved this, but I had to finish it.  A tough read, beautifully written, but I found it so hard to have empathy for the main character.

Sous Chef - Michael Gibney,  24 hours in the life of a chef, I was mesmerized (and grateful I don't work in a kitchen!)

Still life with breadcrumbs - Anna Quindlen,  another really good easy read.

The guest cat - Takashi Hiraide  Translated from Japansese, just gorgeous.  A small 140 page paperback... I have read it  twice already.


TV- The honorable woman.  A Sundance original series...( I-tunes download)  I am going to stick my neck out and say watch this.  Its complex, with extraordinary actors.  Well written, and facinating.

It takes a couple of episodes to get a real idea of just what is going on, and its not something you can half watch...but seriously its by far the best thing I have seen this year..


Thats it, I'm off to thread baste a jacket...

I will be back on Wednesday as the amazing Marina of Frabjous couture nominated me for a blog hop, and I am determined to have it written by then...


Have a great few days :-)


The blog hop

Cotton embroidered Organza and divine Guipure...

Cotton embroidered Organza and divine Guipure...