Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sew Sexy Sew-Along: A Silky Colette Zinnia

I was so excited when my girl Lisette announced that she and the fabulous Nettie and Clio were having a sew-along. They write three of my favorite blogs and I have had the privilege of meeting all three of them in person -- so you know I was in from the word go.

The ladies in charge announced that anything you consider to be sexy was in for this challenge.

Now, I don't particularly consider myself "sexy" so I knew this might be difficult. But I also had the perfect Betsey Johnson bow-print silky goodness in my stash, and, as a bonus, I was feeling like I needed some silky-fabric sewing practice.

And thus my idea was born. A silky, flippy, fun skirt. What could be more sexy?

I even had a good pattern idea. Colette Patterns recently released Zinnia, which, at first blush, kind of looks like a skirt that does not necessitate a pattern. But it does include an option for a lined chiffon skirt. Bingo! I needed all the help I could get for my first shifty-fabric project.

The bow-print fabric is from Fabrics for Less in New York and says Betsey Johnson on the selvage; I have no idea what it's actually made of. I burned a small bit and it stank and melted, so we can be fairly certain that it's synthetic.

It is very sheer and very very shifty.

 But thanks to the Internets, I knew how to combat those issues.

At least in theory.

I used my rotary cutter (which, let's be honest, I use for everything I make) and tons of silk pins and I still ended up with a lot of trimming.

My blogland pal Lauren, who also bought some of this fabric (and made a freaking dress -- she is so brave) was kind enough to advise me about interfacing over email. I had read that one should not use fusible with sheer fabrics and I had no idea what to use/buy.

But Lauren assured me that she was 99.99 percent sure she'd used Pro Weft Lightweight fusible from Fashion Sewing Supply. Sold! I love high-quality interfacing -- why don't I ever buy it? Anyway, I immediately ordered a couple of yards of black (and some white -- and some clear elastic, because why not?)

I lined the skirt in black bemburg rayon from G Street and I used some miscellaneous black silk machine thread from Elfreide's in Colorado and microtex needles from Amazon. I have a stash of short black zippers from my awesome friend Alicia's craft room clean-out and I used a big pants-style hook and eye closure for the waistband.

Every seam is a French seam, except the back seam, which I ran through the serger (and it basically sneezed out the bow-print -- much ironing ensued.)

I also finally learned to use my rolled hem foot with this project -- it's so fun to use! I was so impressed with the uniform double-fold hems. I will definitely be using this foot again.

I made one major major change to the pattern to make my life easier -- I gathered the skirt instead of pleating. After working through the skirt pieces, I had no idea how I could possibly form nice-looking pleats.

So I punted.

The gathers look totally fine to me, though. I basted the skirt and the lining, serged them together and then gathered the waist seam.

Way easier than pleats. I'll save the pleating for cotton, thanks.

I definitely feel sexy and swishy and fancy when I wear this skirt, so I think the sew-along goal was reached. 

I see this skirt as a nice date skirt -- although I should probably make up a cute black silk top so that I don't have to wear a random Old Navy tank top from three years ago, but hey -- I'll get there. 

For now, I'm really happy with this project. And I can say I own a Betsey Johnson skirt, which is pretty awesome. So thanks, ladies, for the fantastic sew-along challenge! <3

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