October 5, 2013

Falling For Cotton.

So. The good news is I finally finished my Fall for Cotton garment!
The bad news is I was meant to have it done like a week ago. And that I only made half of what I intended to make. (In fairness to me, we had a power outage for eight and a half hours on the day I was planning to finish it up. I guess I could have turned the wheel on my sewing machine by hand, but I still would've been thwarted once I needed to press stuff. Since then... yeah, I have no excuse.)

Anyway. However late or lacking, I love what I did make; just, it's not a complete outfit--I certainly can't wear it by itself. (I'd planned to do a top, too. I don't feel quite as bad about this because Tasha, one of the organizers, had to cut down on her own sew-along plans, too. Also, I was kind of planning on a sleeveless blouse made out of flannel, and, well, a sleeveless blouse made out of flannel kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?)

I'm not sure what to call what I've sewn. Overall skirt; pinafore; jumper... none seem entirely accurate. I'm kind of attracted to the term "mini-pinny," but will probably end up referring to it as a suspender skirt.

So I made a suspender skirt. I've been wanting to for a long time. I didn't have a particular pattern, so I used the skirt from McCall's 7172, but replaced the waistband with the bib (self-drafted) and braces (long skinny rectangles).
And since I didn't have a particular pattern, before I drafted the new waistband I spent a couple hours googling different terms and looking at images for inspiration. I knew I wanted something 40s-ish, but that was about it. The vast majority of pictures I found were reminiscent of lederhosen and not inspiring at all, but at some point I ran across this 1938 pattern on Debi's blog, and loved it. Obviously there are differences to what I made and what the illustration looks like, but hopefully you can tell that I modeled mine off that.
I lined the bib with more of the same corduroy. (Oh yeah it's corduroy, 21-wale.) I always always wear slips so the skirt itself isn't lined. It's really pretty on the inside, though, see? Although clearly the side seams need to be pressed, yet again.
Amazingly I managed to find (in two different locations, probably months and months apart) two packages of same-colored rayon hem tape. (I guess that's a reason why it might be useful to buy it in hundred-yard rolls, huh? Especially since even the two matched packs wasn't enough for the whole skirt--the side and back seams are one color, but for the hem I had to use another.)

My only real complaint is that I realized, a bit before finishing, that it has no pockets. For a while I considered unpicking a bit and adding some like the ones in this image from Rochelle's post on 40s corduroy (last photo--the red ones first, then the green, then the red again), but then I worried they might make my hips look massive. And I liked the smoothness of the skirt front with its long darts. And, most importantly, I wanted the bib to be the focal point of the entire garment; even if I mirrored the curved edges on my pockets, I decided adding visible ones might be too much. Maybe later I'll unpick and add in-seam pockets--if I ever find a suitably-colored lining fabric (not using the corduroy for that bit, because yeah, adding two extra layers of cord, no matter how tiny the wales are, definitely wouldn't be bulky).

In the meantime, though, I'm happy enough to wear it as-is. Provided I can find a shirt to wear it with, I think the skirt'll be a great fall workplace staple. It's warm, and a neutral color, so it'll be versatile--even more versatile due to the fact that (if for some reason I want to) the bib and braces are low-profile enough that I can wear a blouse over the top of them. This is definitely a cake piece, which I need, but it isn't too uninteresting. I am pleased.
Thanks to Rochelle and Tasha for hosting this sew-along. I enjoyed it, and wound up sewing something I needed and wanted, but probably wouldn't have gotten to for... quite a while, otherwise. Yay!

Okay project details:
Fabric: 100% cotton olive pinwale corduroy from JoAnn (which had a seriously limited corduroy selection; I wanted brown mid-wale and this was the closest I got), 2.5 yards for $11.16 (end cuts + coupon)
Pattern: McCall's 7172, with some alterations
Year: 1963
Notions: zipper $0.85; 3 packs rayon hem tape $1.45
Made before: I've made the skirt straight-up, but not with the bib or braces, so kind of?
Make again: Probably not. I don't really need multiple suspender skirts (or if I did want them, I'd probably at least try to vary the style)
Sewing soundtrack: Neutral Milk Hotel + the New Pornographers
First worn: Not yet, but I'm planning to for work tomorrow
Wear again: Oh yes
Total cost: $13.46 (this is by far the most expensive thing I've made for myself in quite a while, but I think it'll prove worth it)


  1. Applause to you! It is a great job. Sometimes life throws us curve balls, but kudos that you are finished! It is adorable and I love how you took a pattern and changed it into what you wanted. It is certainly a vintage inspired piece!

    1. Oh, thanks! I'm glad I got it done, as afterwards the curve balls just kept coming... Looking forward to getting back into sewing now, though, I hope.