Monday, May 14, 2007

Barcelona Skirts trial run

Okay, the reveal, prototype one of the Amy Butler Barcelona Skirts tiered skirt pattern. Now before I show you, a few words in my defence...
  1. I've only made one item of clothing before (Lounge Pants) and put in 1 zipper (and that was a very wonky purse) before. Be kind.
  2. I bought el-cheapo cotton for the trial run and it was very very lightweight. Too lightweight.
  3. I haven't washed it, so the tiers haven't taken on that chic frayed look yet.
  4. This is a bad night-time photo with flash (although my shoes are cute).
I've run out of excuses, so I'll just have to show you.


Now taking into account all of the above, I am actually really pleased with it. It's a flattering shape on and it fits well. I can see a few more incarnations of this in my wardrobe for sure.

Being congenitally unable to follow instructions precisely, I made a couple of tweaks to the pattern.

Instead of muslin for the lining, I used a fine cotton lawn. The lady in the fabric shop recommended it as she said their muslin didn't wash too well. My mantra - always listen to the lady in the fabric shop. Unfortunately, I pre-washed the white lining with the brown fabric and the brown released a lot of dye, so the lining looks really mucky. But hey, it's a lining. This was also my thought when I realized I had turned and sewed the lining hem turned the wrong way. Because I don't feel like unpicking it.

I couldn't buy a 7 inch invisible zipper, so I fudged it with an 8 inch and left out the hook and eye from the top of the zip. It hasn't come undone yet!

Actually, the zip part nearly caused me major trauma because Amy's instructions say, "with your invisible zipper foot...." Que? I don't have one. Cue quick Internet search to find out what it is and then phone calls to all local sewing shops. None of them stock invisible zipper feet, in fact one of them thinks I am taking the mickey. Aaaargh. Back to the Internet, where I find a tutorial for putting in an invisible zipper with a regular zipper foot. Hooray.

I also came slightly unstuck with the hem. I discovered it's really tricky to sew a curved hem neatly. All advice welcome. I also need to know what you do to keep the paper pattern in good condition. I was so nervous of messing up, that I actually traced the whole thing onto paper, but it took forever and I think at least one piece is slightly off. I read somewhere that you can iron the pattern onto interfacing. Does this work? Help!

I can thoroughly recommend the pattern to anyone, because if I can sew it, those instructions MUST be good! If you're in the UK, Lisa at U-handbag has Amy's patterns in stock (and delivers fast!) Now all I need is another child-free weekend and I can sew another from a fabric I actually like!

35 comments:

sarah said...

great job, ali! i am so inspired by your lovely skirt! i just won this pattern from sew, mama, sew and saw invisible zipper in the notions and essentially ran scared... i'm going to jump right in. thank you thank you!!

Nancy said...

i think it looks terrific! totally professional, and i really like the fabric too!

Nancy said...

i'm sorry to double-comment, BUT- yes, you can iron the pattern tissue onto interfacing. you can also use wonderunder (or some other double-stick iron on) to iron the pattern to heavy weight canvas.

and way to go with the invisible zipper! apparently different manufacturers actually used to sell the invisible zipper foot with the zipper itself, and it would roll back the zipper coil for you. i am always on the lookout for one of these, because i drive myself crazy using my regular zipper foot (so thanks for the tutorial link!). promise, i'll be quiet now...

Megan said...

Well done you. A very cute skirt. Not to mention the shoes.

erin said...

congrats - it looks great! i am happy to see a finished product - i have been contemplating buying this pattern.

sal said...

Sometimes the best things come with a lot of hassle - it looks great! I tagged you!

caroline said...

wfIt looks great Ali - and well done on negotiating the zip. I had a go at making mine this weekend and it seems we had similar problems/discoveries - the zip, hook and eye, lining, hemming and that it is a really comfy skirt.

What fabric do you have in mind for your next one?

Anonymous said...

cool skirt - well done. Can't wait to see your next efforts if this is what you've done first time around :-)

PS if you've any sewing questions from the basics of hemming to how to retrim your car (!) pop along to www.thesewingforum.co.uk - they're a really friendly lot and have buckets of skill and knowledge between them (I have learned SOOO much) - and they love answering questions

Kate said...

Great skirt - I'vejust had to order this pattern. I never ever worry about the hook and eye and make my zipper to the top - haven't had any problems on skirts so far.

Allison said...

Hi Ali,

I actually trace all my patterns (especially children's ones, where I might need multiple sizes). Here I use a product called easy trace - it's like really thin interfacing.

With a round hem, you need to baste around the edge twice and then gather it in a tiny bit to help it turn in properly. Does that make sense?

TinkerBlue said...

It looks good. This pattern is on my list to try.

Kristin said...

I think it looks fantastic. I can't wait to try this pattern myself!

Sarah said...

Lovely shaped skirt!

I have *never* followed an actual pattern. In fact, I only just got over my fear of measuring fabric accurately instead of vaguely guessing or drawing round something. However, with that link you might just have made (yes, MADE! I totally blame you!) me buy a bag pattern, so maybe, just maybe, I can do this...

Jo said...

I am trying to get the mojo to make a skirt, but am nervous about zips and lining. Yours looks great, cute shoes too!

Zoe said...

I love it - I wish I had the guts to wear skirts more (I'm a trouser person). And I love your shoes too - where are they from (I'm definately a shoe person!!!)

Thimbleanna said...

Great job on a lovely skirt! To work with a curved hem, after you've turned your fabric under, and stitched it, you can run another line of larger stitches, or gathering stitches. Then every so often, just gently gather or ease the fabric into shape to fit the skirt. Not to much in any one place or it will pucker from the front. Your hemstitch will keep it all in place. Hard to explain, but it works well!

hazeljoy said...

told you you'd be first!! all i've managed to do is cut out fabric. well done - it looks great.

julia said...

I haven't yet worked up the courage to make things I could actually wear! I love the skirt though. The only clothing I 've managed to produce so far is a pair of sheep's legs for the nativity play at school!

Julia

Amy said...

Looks great from here. So it's tiered? with a raw edge? That's a cool idea - esp. to use the same fabric for the tiers -- a little more subtle/grown up that way. Love the fabric. Happy happy joy joy a new skirt!

julie said...

great skirt and being a complete dunce with my sewing machine I am wholly impressed at your sewing skills. Definitely a great shape - can't wait to see one in the Amy Butler fabric!

velcro said...

I am very impressed, and you have reminded me that the sewing machine fixers have had my machine for almost a week now,about time they sent it back so well I can break it again

rachel said...

Wow! Look at you in a cool skirt! That shape really suits you and good on you for facing the zip fear! Will you be modelling it on Thursday?

I used to put sellotape over the corners of paper patterns so I didn't rip them with pins (after ripping few...) but after reading about Ottobre patterns I've started tracing them onto that thick plastic sheet for covering floor or furniture when you are decorating. It is clear so tracing is easy with a nice fat Sharpie, pins don't rip it and they roll up to store easily!!

Simmy said...

It looks really great and I'm very impressed. Can't wait to see the next one.........

Rose Vintage said...

Clever you, prototype looks great! Dressmaking friends of my NEVER use invisible zips - far too difficult to put in they advise. Just use an ordinary zip and the effect is the same. Can't verify that one as never done it myself but these are experienced dressmakers....Love the shoes!

Jane x
x

Suzie Sews said...

Wow, you should be please with it, it looks great.
Suzie Sews

Hay said...

Great job! You have done really well, don't forget any mistakes or problems you run into along the way are part of the learning process.

PS if I buy a paper pattern I transfer them onto kraft (brown wrapping to us brits) paper, its the same stuff I use to draft up my own patterns.

Jo said...

That's a great looking skirt! I have plans to get that pattern myself so it's nice to be able to read the trials of someone else first. For example:

invisible zipper foot? argh!

:)

Heidi said...

it's great! I just finished the plain Jane A-line and also had a moment of panic regarding the invisible zipper. I have a reallllllyyyy old sewing machine that has instructions for this very thing! shoes are perfect, too!

Deanna (domestic chicky) said...

Looks lovely...I am glad you were able to get it...I am STILL waiting for my local shop to get them in (and I am on a waiting list!-sheesh!)

Lisa said...

Well done for doing a trial run. I'm not disciplined enough to do those which is why I usually end up swearing a lot!

Your trial skirt looks just great, and your post is really helpful for anyone who wants to give this skirt a try - me included!

Mirre said...

Well done with the skirt.. it looks lovely!
I always find the zipper and the hem the most difficult too!

jennpal said...

nice work Ali!

June said...

I think you've done a grand job and I appreciate your comments about the process. In reference to the pattern business, you can also iron your pattern onto freezer paper. This skirt pattern is also in my stockpile and I really need to move it up in terms of priorities but keep getting distracted by so many other and equally fun projects.

Poshyarns said...

This looks brilliant, I have been admiring Dollydaydream's too. I really want this pattern but am stopping myself until I make some of the other patterns I have bought this year, yup, a whole new stash creeping up...

lindiepindie said...

You actually made a prototype? Good for you! I just have to hem mine up and I'll be done. I left off the hook and eye as well - there really wasn't enough room for it! I'll hem the bottom and post it soon. I have to agree with all of what you said. And I'll add one - quilting cotton + muslin makes for a pretty thick skirt - it hangs kind of stiffly.