UFO Revisit 1: Taffeta Bird & Blossom Pleated Skirt

After wrestling with the sloper and losing, I decided to put that aside and attack my piles of UFOs instead. That’s UnFinished Objects as Frabjous Couture calls it.

Step up, Ms Rustly No-Breathing Skirt.

Remember this atrocity?

Not only does it strangle my middle and make my torso look matronly, it also itches the hell out of me with its plasticky zipper stops. I made the mistake of not sewing these into the waistband seam allowance. There were also weird tugs and pulls here and there. In short, unwearable.

And after a tweak here a tweak there?

Et voilà, a tad better. Just.

I totally redid the pleats and waistband. The latter is now more like 3/4″ thick. I don’t feel like a Square squatting over a Trapezoid anymore. The pleats are now angled to flare out over my Lager-than-I-thought hip. So there’s the unsightly diagonal drag lines zapped. Sweet.

This last tweak was a big lesson for me – and you too: same technique + different cloth = maybe  not as you thought. Now I so love forgiving potato sack cloth and hate, I repeat, hate stiff unyielding – and unforgiving – taffeta. Buy it at your (and my) peril.

In the process I lost a little bit of length. It moved the irritating zipper stops closer into the seam allowance, but I hacked off the plasticky zipper stop coatings anyway and blanket stitched over the end of the zipper coils with soft embroidery floss. You can never be too paranoid!

And good thing that I did too. For when I tried the skirt on, guess what, it’s still a bit too tight. It seems that (a) I’m in Absolute Denial about my expanding waistline, and (b) I was over-optimistic that 3/8″ ease would be enough, what with layers and layers of pleats and all.

In the end I had to trim off as many layers as I could. Gone the extra layer of stiff waistband interfacing seam allowance. Gone too are the seam allowances of the inner layers of the pleats – they are now left dangling below the waistband. I hoping the Fray Check and tacking them together will be enough to keep the skirt in one piece. We shall see if that again is wishful thinking.

And last but not least to be gone is the hem of the waistband self-facing. Instead of turning up and slip-stitching to the bottom edge of the waistband as I normally do, this time I extended the facing below the waistband and stitched in the ditch. So the facing hem isn’t caught in the waistband.

All this effort did eventually pay off and now I can breathe a sigh of relief. In the skirt. Phew.

And the final flourish

A few more stamens for a few more flowers…

…and few more feathers to send the birdy soaring

And a bit of wacky styling with home-made leopard mini-beret
for that OTT grand coming out party

1  down, 5 more to go!

Stay tuned.

Hmm…yet another no-breathing skirt

I’m very good at these: No breathing clothes.

Normally it’s a case of not knowing where to add the absolutely bare minimum of ease so that it doesn’t come out dowdy. But this time I was simply in denial. I absolutely refused to believe I’d go beyond 27″. I mean, even 27″ seems like a lot. Middle age spread? No way! Not yet!

Actually, the mistake is probably in going with a thick waistband. At my waist I may be less than 27, but go a bit further up and all bets are off. The rib cage refuse to be reined in. (Though all those recent treats for extra hours at work probably didn’t help.)

And the boobs are definitely heading south. So unless it’s empire waist, the top of the waistband should never venture too close to my underbust. Now I know.

So style it all I can, this one I just don’t love. Even though the color combination I do like.

Will have to sleep on it. Maybe add it to the TBA (To Be Altered) pile (AGAIN! See previous post) so that I can at least breath in it.

Failing that a bit of nip tuck to shave off a few inches of flesh maybe? 🙂

Taffeta no more

If I thought yesterday was bad I had seen nothing yet. Almighty has arranged a catastrophe for today.

Which idiot sewn the pocket to the back???

A side seam pocket that swings to the back…

Damn seam slippage

waistband seam slippage…

Pouff in all the wrong places

…& worst of all a skirt that’s puffy in all the wrong places for my not-quite-petite-but-still-too-short frame.

That’s after I courageously attempted fabric painting free hand & lovingly added hand embroidery to the said damn skirt!

Wasted effort

golden plum blossoms

Flight of fancy

& birdy want some

And I thought I was being so clever! Sigh, never ever tempt Fate.

I suppose it doesn’t look too bad on the dress form. But all that swish sure makes one feel wide. (And actaully the dress form’s me + heels I can’t walk in.)
Tafeta skirt back

This was the original plan for the tafeta, acquired…

Original plan for the tafeta - CdG top

Plan A – CdG top S/S ’88

…well, if the inspiration was that ancient, so must be the fabric. (I actually have lovely silk chiffons that the moths have gotten to first.)

So anyway, I went for Plan B instead as Plan A with its butterfly wings isn’t practical in damp squib Blighty. And Plan B is…


Which probably used to look something like this:

Ich liebe bier gern?

It was a vintage German drindl skirt, which I got at Canal Jeans
(remember them anyone? SoHo has so gone down hill. Bloody Bloomingdale! How uncool!)

Anyway, with no cleavage to boast I dropped the wench look for this…

…and got so much more mileage out of the skirt that I thought I’d try it again. Perpetual sewing novice that I am I hadn’t factor in the difference in drape. Doh!

Will just have to make the best of it (with minimum effort – I’m not loving tafeta no more) and hope to get more than one wear out of this Heidi Take 2 skirt.