Welcome to day 2 of the Skirt Sew Along!
Today we'll go over what you need to complete this project, as well as some optional items you might want to pick up now, or consider for future use.
I'll talk about each item individually, so you'll understand how much you need, what we are doing with it, if there are possible substitutions, etc.
- main fabric (see amount table)
- quilting cotton (1/2 yard)
- 9" invisible zipper
- zipper foot (regular foot is fine)
- matching thread
- basic sewing notions/tools
- invisible zipper foot
- (1) hook & eye - size 1 - round eye
- rayon seam binding - 8 yards
- Dritz Wash Away WonderTape
- Dritz Superboard
- - Necessary - -
This skirt works best in medium weight fabric with some body, but not a lot of thickness. There are a couple places with a few layers of fabric and those happen to be across your stomach and in the middle of the zipper. So stay away from heavy canvas type fabrics, heavy denims, thick wool, anything that feels stiff, etc.
A "bottom weight" apparel fabric with some drape is ideal: twill, light weight denim, stretch denim, stretch cotton, corduroy, wool suiting, a medium weight linen, etc.
Quilting cotton also works ok for the main fabric and can be a nice weight for a summer skirt. It doesn't have as much recovery as a bottom weight fabric though, so it tends to stretch out and hold wrinkles at the waist and hips. So while it's not ideal, but it definitely can be done.
Matching prints isn't difficult, but you'll need additional fabric and patience. Small stripes are easy to match (you don't need extra fabric) and it won't be obvious if they don't match up perfectly. Plaids, and other more complicated prints, will be trickier. Add 1/4 - 1/3 of a yard of additional fabric to your amount.
The fabric amounts are for fabrics with or without nap, so they are calculated for all the pieces to be cut oriented the same direction. Fabrics with nap, directional prints, and some fabrics look slightly different when viewed from the other direction, so by default I consider that the pieces will all be oriented the same direction during cutting. We can play around with the layout during cutting to maximize the use of the fabric.
To figure out how much you need, find your hip and waist measurements in the "Body Measurements" amount table (page 2 of the pattern document) to determine your size and corresponding fabric amount.
If you are in between sizes, go up to the next size. We'll adjust this when preparing the pattern pieces (1/9/15) and/or during fitting (1/16/15).
If you are a mix of size measurements--say your hip is closer to a large, but your waist is a medium--pick the larger size. We'll adjust for this when preparing the pattern pieces (1/9/15) and/or during fitting (1/16/15).
If you plan to make the xl larger, 2" yards of 45" fabric, or 1.5 yards of 60" fabric should be sufficient.
Clothing patterns generally give amounts for 45" and 60" wide fabric, so both are available in the table. To be honest, I rarely see apparel fabric in these specific widths, and mostly see varations in the 50" range. So unless you find a true 60" wide fabric, use the 45" width amount. There will be some fabric left over, but you'll find a good use for it.
We'll use this to line the front of the pocket & face the waist. It won't be visible to anyone but you, but it's a cute detail, and the lighter fabric helps with keep the seam bulk down. You probably have enough fabric in your stash for this, but if you need to buy fabric get 1/2 yard.
You'll need a 9" invisible zipper. YKK Unique is my favorite invisible zipper brand. The tape is soft and flexible, which is nice for clothing.
If you can't get a 9" zipper, an 8" zipper is fine for xs - m sizes, and a 10" is good for the l - xl sizes.
Invisible zippers can be installed with the regular zipper foot, and people have been doing this for a long, long time. With a regular zipper foot you will need to work a little bit to keep the stitching line on course and as close to the zipper teeth as you can, but it can be done.
An invisible zipper foot makes sewing invisible zippers really easy. If you think you'll make more clothes, you'll want to get this foot for your machine at some point. More info about this foot is available in the optional supplies section below.
For clothing it's nice to have thread that is a good match for your main fabric. Select the closest color to the background of your main fabric, and go with the darker shade if there are two that are a pretty close match.
Basic Sewing Notions/Tools
You'll be using your machine, scissors, pins, marking pen/chalk, and maybe a seam ripper (though I'll try to help you avoid using it!).
- - Optional - -
Invisible Zipper Foot
As mentioned above, an invisible zipper can be installed with the regular zipper foot, but it is easier with the invisible zipper foot.
This special foot has channels that hold the zipper teeth out of the way so you can sew as close to the teeth as possible. This is the key to the invisible zipper and this foot makes putting in these zippers so, so easy! Once you are set up and off to a start, the foot will guide you right down the zipper.
You'll probably want to get a foot designed specifically for your machine. You might also see something like this little all-purpose kit, but they aren't great. They are however cheap, so maybe it's worth a try if you aren't sure about your clothing sewing future.
Hook & Eye
If you don't use a hook and eye above the zipper there will be a small gap of about 0.25" above the zipper. I have a bunch of skirts without a hook & eye and the gap doesn't bother me. I can't see or feel it. So you don't have to use a hook & eye, but they are a nice finishing touch, and if you like to tuck your shirt in, you probably want one.
Get a Size 1 (or 2) hook & ROUND eye. There are straight eyes and round eyes and the difference is the straight ones are for fabric that overlaps, and the round ones are for edges that meet--which is what we have here with the skirt. The package will indicate whether they are straight or round, with some mixed packages like the one in the photo.
Rayon Seam Binding
For the first skirt, a basic zig zag stitch is going to be the easiest option for most people. I'll talk about seam finishing options on 1/11/15. For now, just know there are three main choices: zig zag or overcast stitch, seam binding, or serger.
If you happen to have a serger, or don't mind the basic zig zag finish, you don't need seam binding. But if these aren't possible, or appealing, binding your seams is going to be your best option.
Seam binding is easy to use and inexpensive. It is time consuming though, so give that zig zag a second thought...
Dritz Wash Away WonderTape 1/4"
This is a double sided tape that washes away in the laundry. It's pretty awesome for basting zippers in place without needing to use pins, or hand basting.
I don't usually use this with the invisible zipper, because the invisible zipper foot is so great, and I don't need the extra stability. But anytime I'm using my regular zipper foot, this tape is very helpful. If you're going to use your regular zipper foot, consider getting some of this tape.
This fold-up cardboard cutting mat is a sewing room staple for me. I have two and would feel a little lost without them.
The grid will be helpful if you need to make some alterations to the pattern pieces.
It's also nice if you have limited space for cutting. My cutting table is small (and messy), so I lay the Superboard out on my bed when I'm cutting larger pieces and need more room.
I also pin my pattern pieces to the board and then trace around them with chalk or pen. By "pin" I mean I stick pins straight down into the board to hold the paper in place.
Ok, that's it for today. Leave a comment if you have any questions. We'll meet back here next Friday to prepare the pattern pieces.
Have fun shopping!
Skirt Sew Along Schedule:
1/2/15 - taking measurements
1/3/15 - shopping list
1/9/15 - preparing the pattern pieces & making fit adjustments
1/10/15 - cut pieces
1/11/15 - seam finishes, sew skirt front & back
1/16/15 - install invisible zipper, sew front to back, fit adjustments
1/17/15 - finish waist
1/18/15 - hem
1/23/15 - bonus post - making a fully lined skirt