29 May 2012

Sewing Challenge No. 8: Edwardian Skirt for the 1912 Project

Welcome to our humble blog... this is part 8 of a series in which a total novice learns to sew.

The 1912 Project policy has changed: now participants can request patterns to test, instead of using whichever we've been sent.
received #0020 before this change. It's lovely, certainly much nicer than anything in the stores, but since I don't love it to pieces, I shrank it by an arbitrary 80% and made it doll-sized, out of the lining of an old suit jacket. --the jacket my husband was wearing when we went to get our marriage license, actually.
I cut it out, not in accordance with good sewing sense, but using Shel Silverstein's method of testing whether a window is open: chuck a brick at it and see what happens.
That a total beginner chucking a brick at this pattern as the lining pinned to it slithers away results in a beautifully-aligned skirt, even in miniature, says a lot in favor of the pattern.
However, I forgot the scallops.
You what?

I am still trying to decide what my approach to sewing is.
"If we're going to do it, let's do it nice," echoes the voice of Rabbi St. Helens. And indeed my instinct is to sew twenty stitches to the inch.
"If all you want from this pattern is to find out how a skirt comes together, slap it up with basting while you're waiting in line at the greengrocer's and save your attention, time, and effort for greater things," urges - I am not sure whose voice, but it won. So somewhere between the onions and the bananas, I forgot the scallops.
Not sure if I should be embarrassed about this or not, but the doll it's sized for won't mind, and it did come out pretty.
I think I'll follow all the rules of Careful Seamstering next time, just for exercise.

Click here if you are a 1912er or other wandering seamstress who wants all the fiddly details on the pattern.

 Pattern Name and Description
VPLL #0020, Ladies' Scallop-edge skirt. You can find it hereIt's a long, Edwardian-style skirt, vintage 1912. Instead of sewing the edges of all the skirt panels right-sides-together (as in most other skirts) you scallop one edge, finish it with bias tape, and tack it to the outside of the garment (a bit like a very elegant wrap skirt sewn shut), then attach a row of purely decorative buttons.
Pattern Sizing
I shrank it to 20% of the original, and traced it off the computer screen. It's designed to fit a fashionable Edwardian. For this potato-shaped baby doll it required a generous hem.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing  it?
Yes - minus the scallops...!
Were the instructions easy to follow? If not, what needs to be changed?
Yes. It'd be nice if the names and numbers of the pieces could be included in the instructions - I kept having to re-open the PDF with the pattern pieces to check which was what.
The cover illustration, with its awkward Edwardian posture, really does not do the garment justice - perhaps it should include a photograph of someone's finished product.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? 
It's very tidily put together. I thought the series of PDFs would be unwieldy, but they were very easy to use, even without a printer. Every step is spelled out so clearly that you could make this with no prior instruction at all.
Pattern Rating: 1-Not a Fan, 2 – So-So, 3 – Good/Average, 4-Better than Average, 5-I LOVED IT! and why?
I'll give it a 5: I used slippery, floppy fabric and put in almost no effort at all, and it still came out beautiful, with all the seams in the facing perfectly matching the seams in the skirt proper.
Fabric Used
Black jacket lining
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made
I believe this would be an easy pattern to alter. I didn't reinforce the top, since it's just doll clothing. I will probably sew in my unscalloped edge right-side-to, or dress it up with some easier treatment than scallops - a straight line of complicated ribbon, maybe.
Sewer’s Skill Level
Total beginner.
What skill level would someone need to sew this pattern and why?
It's probably tricky to bind the scallops, but you could just tuck in that edge and have an ordinary skirt. It could be a first project, no problem.

Would you recommend this pattern to others? Conclusion.
Yes. Very easy, very straightforward, all the pieces matched up beautifully - a great beginner's pattern. This was an ideal introduction to skirt construction.

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