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Skirt is a four letter word

2011 October 17
by elizabeth_admin

How to describe my weekend?  Hmmm…  Here are a few terms that come to mind:

  • Spirit-crushing
  • Soul-sucking
  • Ginormous waste of time
  • Most frustrating time spent since forever


What am I left with?

  • A skirt that almost fits
  • A slit that almost slits
  • A hem that is almost flattering
  • A lining that almost works
  • The feeling that I never want to sew again.  Ever.


Yep, I think that about sums it up.  After two muslins, trying on the skirt once to tweak fit as I constructed it, I am now the proud creator of a skirt that doesn’t fit.  It’s too curvy in the hips and generally too wide.  I should have used a more drapey interfacing on my hem and slit — they’re too stiff now, especially considering how drapey this cashmere corduroy actually is.  I couldn’t figure out how to attach the lining to the slit so as to make it invisible and not affect the drape of the slit negatively. 

The way I see it I have three options left for me and this skirt:

  • Eat a pint of Breyer’s Butter Pecan ice cream every day for the next two months.
  • Throw the skirt out of my 24th floor window and let the winds carry it to the Verrazano Bridge.
  • Take in the sides seams on both skirt and lining and re-insert the zipper for the umpteenth time.  Basically, completely re-construct the skirt all over again.

Guess which one of these options I am leaning towards!  Big hint: not the third one.

Here are some crappy pictures of the skirt.  Enjoy.  Or not.


Please note that my complaints have nothing whatsoever to do with the pattern itself, Simplicity 5259.  All problems with this four letter skirt are due to operator error.  Did I mention that I suck at sewing?  Did I mention that all the hand sewing has cramped up my left hand?  And did I mention that I hate this skirt?

PS:  I am still on the fence about these shoes.  They are platform loafer pumps.  I think the platforms give off a faint whiff of “lady of the night” vibe.  What do you think?


38 Responses leave one →
  1. Christy Z permalink
    October 17, 2011

    I think you are being too hard on yourself! I think it looks nice. I would agree that it could be maybe an inch shorter to hit at the smallest part of your calf (hard to tell exactly). But it seems like you could shorten it and the slit would still be long enough. I hope you end up liking it when you aren’t so close to the weekend stress of it.

  2. Helen permalink
    October 17, 2011

    Oh honey that sucks. 🙁

    I think you should go eat lots of ice cream tonight ( but perhaps not for two months, eh?) and stick the skirt in the back of a cupboard somewhere until you feel like looking at it again. You might (and i do say “might”) want to tackle it again and it would be such a shame if that lovely fabric went sailing through the skies over NYC.

  3. Meg permalink
    October 17, 2011

    You could see if anyone at Occupy Wall Street wants it!

  4. October 17, 2011

    Here’s what you do: Shorten it by about 1.5″. Wear it with a cobalt or royal blue. Keep the hose. Keep the shoes. Carry an animal/snake print clutch or handbag. Enjoy a small portion of ice cream, knowing there are so many us out here who would give their eye teeth to have such a gorgeous coloured skirt in their wardrobe.

  5. Nancy DaQ permalink
    October 17, 2011

    I actually think it looks nice on you. I agree with a previous poster that it could be a smidge shorter but that’s a matter of personal choice and not difficult to do. Step away from the skirt for now; you’re tired of it and nothing you do at this point will make you happy.

  6. October 17, 2011

    Aw, I’m sorry you feel so dispirited because it looks like a lovely make with that waist facing and carefully inserted lining. Please don’t give up on sewing!

  7. October 17, 2011

    I think it doesn’t look as bad as you think it does. Maybe you are too close to it. I say, chuck it in the Magic Wardrobe and let it age a bit. Make something fun and easy. Even maybe *gasp* something crafty or home-dec-ish. Then maybe you will feel better about sewing clothes in general and the skirt in particular.

  8. Lillie Jae permalink
    October 17, 2011

    I love the shoes…

    Take a deep breath and a day or so off and the skirt will come together.

  9. October 17, 2011

    What’s wrong with the skirt? I think it looks fine!

    The shoes do give off a “lady of the night” vibe, but that is hot!

  10. October 17, 2011

    Don’t eat the ice cream!! Well ok not everyday for two months, as you will only regret it in the end!

    I actually really like the colour and texture of this skirt, they go great with the opaques. And perhaps it all needs is a little shortening but I agree with Lillie Jae – put it to one side and just don’t think about it for a while. There is more to life than sewing! (Yes, seriously!! :-))

    I’m a great advocate for taking your time and enjoying your sewing. You don’t want it to feel like a chore! Don’t give up!!

  11. October 17, 2011

    Okay, put this skirt in the back of the closet and pull it out in a couple of weeks. You are just sick of it at the moment:) The color is gorgeous on you and you are way too critical – the curse of most of us who sew. We are our own worst critics.

  12. October 17, 2011

    No comment about the shoes at all, at least you can wear heels – I can’t anymore – so they look perfect to me. As for the skirt, I am sick about it for you. I have been in the exact same boat before as you have probably seen on my blog. I know you don’t stink as a sewer – what about all those “looks perfect to me” sheath dresses you’ve made, and that gorgeous coat from last fall???

  13. arnysews permalink
    October 17, 2011

    I have a feeling there is a certain redhead who would gladly take the skirt from you, just to relieve you of your pain of course!
    I agree with the other commenters and think it looks fine. Maybe you should send the skirt to the magic wardrobe for a little time out for being so unruly 🙂

  14. October 17, 2011

    Awww Elizabeth!
    It’s definitely time to put the skirt in the magic closet and see if it looks better in a month or two to you. To me it looks fine now!
    Your post gave me a good laugh by the way. I totally needed it! Rest assured that your sense of humor is still intact. (oh and I may have just eaten some ice cream myself…)

  15. October 17, 2011

    Oh is it wrong to laugh when you are so dispirited…
    The skirt looks fine to me except that I like them on the knee as it makes you (me) look taller. Having said that I don’t think the length is a problem per se. I like the style of the shoe. I like the comment about the cobalt blue jumper (sweater, top) and I think blotting your face and having poor quality photos is reinforcing your thoughts. You are a terrific seamstress and have made some wonderful things, including this skirt. Two words – Magic cupboard!

  16. October 17, 2011

    I think that skirt would fit me, you should send it here. I could mail it to someone else, your skirt could travel around the world!

  17. October 17, 2011

    Awww. The construction on the inside looks so nice! And actually I think it loks pretty in the photos! Perhaps it could use a bit of tweaking, but overall the fit doesn’t look so off as you describe it. I agree with many others – put it aside for a while, in the closet, not the sewing space. Take a good honest look at it, maybe at the start of November? See how much you really want to change, then change it. The skirt has a sort of fabulousness to it that should not be wasted on the winds.

    As for the shoes – they are hot! I totally don’t get “lady of the night vibe” at all though. I think maybe it has something to do with regionality? If they aren’t made out of clear plastic, and don’t glow, sparkle, or jangle, there is no “lady of the night” connection for me. Perhaps I just watch too much CSI…

  18. October 17, 2011

    Well, you certainly expressed yourself eloquently. Perhaps you can light it on fire before pitching it out the window?

    Your shoes are smokin’ hot.

  19. Jodie permalink
    October 17, 2011

    I’d step away from the skirt. I mean, cashmere! You’ve had a frustrating experience times 25. Stick that skirt in the back of the closet and make something fast and fun (usually pj pants in my world). And perhaps a dish or two of ice cream as stress burns calories (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).
    I think the shoes rock. I’m envious as I’m a teacher and on my feet most of the day so I choose comfort over everything else.

    Hang in!

  20. October 18, 2011

    You aren’t seeing what’s really there. The only thing that struck me about it was that you might want to shorten it a bit. The colour is amazing. And I like the shoes; they look classic to me.

    Put it away for a few days and then see how it looks then.

  21. Kelly permalink
    October 18, 2011

    Love the shoes, love the skirt.

  22. October 18, 2011

    The photo of the hem attached with criss-cross stitches, are they hidden and attaching under the lining? If you release the lining and let it hang alone that may help. Make or buy a great belt, tuck in your shirt or thin sweater and the feature will be your waist and not your hem length.
    As far as the hips being larger than you want, well have you thought about needing that little bit of ease when you sit down? Corduroy will grow as you wear it and spread crosswise where it needs it so having some hip ease to start with will delay that inevitable result…think corduroy pants with baggy butts and baggy knees…you need some ease to start with.
    Sometimes garments look “sad” and have grown during the construction with all our handling, pressing, removing zippers, re-attaching zippers etc and maybe sending it to the cleaners for a steaming might help. Lay the paper pattern on top to check and see if has spread from the day you cut it out, if it has, a steaming will help.
    You could have bought that skirt off the rack without the lovely lining and waistband facing details and been perfectly happy so please don’t be so hard on yourself. Throw on a cool scarf, new belt and strut your stuff with those divine heels!

  23. October 18, 2011

    Ahhh poo! Seems like the soul-suckin’ anti-sewing gremlins have crept into your mind whilst you were sleeping – ‘cos the skirt looks fab to me! As said above I think shortening by 1-1.5″ would suit you better. And as for the shoes – I’ve been sighing over pics of the very same styles in fashion magazines for weeks, so v. sexy librarian to me (all business-like at the front – but smokin’ heels from behind!).

    Re: the interfacing/drape of the hem – is the interfacing fused on (BTW you can’t tell if you have any drape/fluidity issues from the still pics)? If it bothers you loads, maybe it c Can it be steamed off and maybe replaced with a lighter weight tricot interfacing instead?

    Perhaps time away from the skirt for 2 weeks+ is best before looking to tweak it again, it’s just going to p*ss you off to pick it up again too soon. I vote make some more of your fab-tastic linen trousers but in something lounge-y around at home so you can cuddle up on the sofa with a small bowl of ice cream for comfort 🙂

  24. October 18, 2011

    Shame you don’t like it. It looks quite nice in the photos. the problem is you are aware of the problems – others may not notice.

  25. jay ray permalink
    October 18, 2011

    I understand how you feel (been there myself more times than I care to mention) but I honestly think your being too hard on yourself – and your skirt! The poor thing has been unpicked/resewn/ altered so many times it’s not surprising it looks a bit sad. Yes it looks a smidge long but otherwise I think Jo Ann has a great idea in getting it steamed. I am sure that will perk it up no end. Remember a tight skirt looks great when yout standing still in front of the mirror but (unless the fabric has plenty of stretch) you are going to want to sit comfortably and get in and out of cars etc without it riding up to your waist and staying there! I love the shoes definitely not even a hint of ‘lady of the night’ about them .

  26. SusieR permalink*
    October 18, 2011

    I’m so sorry you’ve fallen out of love with your skirt. It does sound like it was a royal pain… such a shame. I do love it with those shoes and that green sweater. How about a break: throw it in a bag for a few weeks and work on something easy and fun to reinstate your passion for sewing (which you do NOT suck at, by the way)… you’ll find your way back to it if it was meant to be… xos

  27. October 18, 2011

    So sorry about your skirt! Take a deep breath, put it aside for a week, and try once more. The fabric’s beautiful, the fit is close, and you’ll be able to get it right. (And it beats fixing a misbegotten top, right?)

    I’m in the minority here, but the shoes look weirdly old-lady to me — like a modern version of Enna Jetticks. Although some of those were pretty cool . . . just not right, maybe, with a contemporary skirt.

    Not that you should listen to me: my first, and only, concern with shoes is comfort, and I’m in love with Five Fingers, which definitely wouldn’t go with your skirt.

  28. sewer permalink
    October 18, 2011

    Wow, sewing really is largely trial and error. Actually, I’ve read more than once that once a certain level of sewing has been reached (and you appeared to have reached it) most problems are caused by the pattern, or a pattern that hasn’t been fit correctly. Maybe you should try refitting it again in the future. Or, if you can, draping something similar off your own measurements by yourself or with a tutor. I don’t know why people think they can do all this stuff by themselves. It takes professionals years to master these skills.

    I dislike high heels in general, but I’m not loving the shoes.

    Everyone’s different, and I’m no expert, but I don’t think that hand sewing, done ergonomically, should cramp up your hand. Have you looked into your technique? Are you not taking breaks?

    If it makes you feel any better, I’m taking a rigorous evening sewing class, we’re making a shirt, and I’ve sewn about 10 collarbands and still have not finished one that’s good enough to put on the blankety-blank shirt. A simple collarband.

    But I have learned a lot about the interaction of different interfacings and fabrics and experiments with different presser feet.

    • sewer permalink
      October 18, 2011

      Please ignore the typos above. I forgot to say that it doesn’t look bad to me, but I tend to take people at their word, so if you’re not happy with it right now, I believe you. Good luck with it.

  29. patsijean permalink
    October 18, 2011

    I have studied your photos and cannot see the problem. I agree that one doesn’t want corduroy too tight. Your skirt is the classic straight skirt fit, not the pegged look popular today. I prefer the classic fit. You are probably not used to that and it “feels” too big. If it were my skirt (I am 5’2″), I would shorten to just below the knee bump. Also, for that slit lining problem, I would shape the lining in a curve as Nancy Zieman does and just let it hang free–easy fix.

  30. October 18, 2011

    I’m sorry you’re sew bummed out, but I think you’re too close to the project, if you know what I mean. Your skirt looks lovely. I do not see any issues with the fit in the pictures you’ve posted. When I was taking Gertie’s bombshell dress course, she emphasized not over-fussing with the fit of a garment, because it’s counterproductive. I would agree with her. Your skirt looks wonderful. And the shoes! Well, let’s just say they’re completely on-trend, never mind that I’m trying to find a pair like that right now that won’t break my bank.

  31. October 18, 2011

    Oh, rats! That’s awful! I don’t think the fit is noticeably bad, but if you notice, that’s still a problem. That sucks!!!

    I say chuck it in the magic wardrobe for a few weeks. Then you can decide on the fit, and if you have the energy to take it in—when you’re not so close to it.

    But do eat the icecream. You totally deserve it.

  32. October 18, 2011

    First, the fact that they are loafers cancels out any lady of the night issue with the shoes. They’re fantastic.

    The skirt color is great and I think that any non-sewist (those not in the know) would say it fits just fine. (Obviously that doesn’t help you.) BUT there is ample evidence that you are a skilled and talented sewista on display in this post (look at your perfect catch-stitching! your lovely waistband facing!) So, chuck it somewhere that you are not going to see it for a week or two, and then go back to it when you’ve had some time to unwind.

  33. beth permalink
    October 21, 2011

    We can all tell you it looks good, just do this or that, but it won’t matter. Your construction looks awesome, but if you don’t like the way it fits (and we all know we look completely different in a mirror to ourselves, and in real life, than we do in photos on a blog), and if you don’t love how it looks, you won’t wear it. I totally understand, because it happens to me all the time!! Although my construction skills are pretty good, my fitting skills need some more practice and practice too often requires “wasting” time on garments that end up in the give-away-bin…. I took a little break from sewing garments for myself a couple months ago and focused on fun, little projects, like easy dresses for my 4-yr-old daughter, pillows, softies, etc… all in pretty quilting cottons! After several weeks I felt ready to tackle a jacket and… I’m…slowly….finishing…….it……..Sigh 😉

  34. Mary permalink
    October 28, 2011

    It is a great skirt.It fits fine I think what is possibly throwing you is the length.It typically is less flattering to have horizontal lines at the widest part of something. Also, not sure if this is the top you would be wearing or not but with this top you are cutting your body in half, think of porportions in thirds. I would wear a top tucked or a at least a top that is shorter. The shoes are completely on trend-keep. try them with a pair of nude microfishnet hose that will create a longer leg line or even a much sheerer black pr of hose.

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