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Sew With Me

Creating a Pirate Cats EGL Skirt – Part 3

This is a continuation from part two.

~>: Part 3 :<~

Pieces are cut, and ready to sew! Some quick basics on how I sew: french seams are one of my favorite seam finishes. I use them like crazy in my sewing, because it ends up as a smooth, soft finish that is very comfortable against sensitive skin. It’s incredibly durable, keeping the raw edges sandwiched between the layers of fabric so it will not ravel over time. I take the time to press my seams, because a garment doesn’t look complete without ironing at each step. My instructions will mostly ignore talking about that, and assumes that anyone following along already knows that it’s a part of the process.

When I’m doing cotton waistbands, I typically do a full drawstring waistband of 60 inches, but since I’m trying out a smooth front, drawstring back variation, I’ve cut the two back pieces down to -insert measurement here- inches.

The front will be one piece, and the back will be two pieces with the opening for the drawstring ends in the center back.

I stitch all three pieces together at the edges, keeping an opening in the stitching at the center back for the drawstring ends to come through.

For the opening, I fold the seam allowances over, encasing the raw edges. I stitched the folds down a 1/4 inch away from the opening seam.

For the waistband’s side seams, I serged the seam allowances. I wanted a little less bulk than I would get with french seams here, since these seams are going to meet up with the french seams of the skirt body.

At this point, the waistband is ready to attach to the body of the skirt! But since I still have that to go, the waistband got set aside for the next portion: sewing the main skirt.

Before I sew the front and backs of the skirt body together, I need the pockets to be in place so they’ll be caught in the side seams of the skirt. So I placed each pocket along the side seams, aligning the top edges of the pocket and skirt body.

At this point, I basted the side seam of the pockets to the skirt panel’s sides to prepare for the french seam. The rest of the pocket is still free-floating.

With the pocket sides basted in place, the front skirt panel is ready to be stitched to the back skirt panel!

I love french seams. All raw edges are fully encased, protected, and leaves you with a soft, smooth finish that is incredibly durable. They’re my go-to seam finishing method!

With the side seams stitched, it’s time to hem the bottom edge. I prefer a hem of 3/8 inch, but my design didn’t quite allow for that. So I used a 1/4 inch seam, double turning the edge for a clean hem. I use a hem foot that has a turner attached, but I tend to get frustrated with the turner, so I push it out of the way and turn the fabric by hand for it to smooth out with the foot’s channel.

You can see that even with the 1/4 inch hem, my stitching slightly overlaps the frames of the pirate cat portraits. Oh well.

With the hem done, it’s time to gather the top of the skirt body! After stitching long gathering stitches across the front and back skirt panels, I pinned the waistband side seams to the side seams of the skirt body. Since I’ve designed this to be larger in the back than the front for a drawstring fit, I need different gathering amounts on the front versus the back of the skirt. I gathered each the front and the back panels to fit the waistband.

Hey, remember how I didn’t sew the rest of the pockets on yet? It’s time to get those set in place before the waistband gets stitched on! Part of why I didn’t do this before was because I was utterly winging how to do the top of the pockets.

I ended up hand pleating the top of each pocket and pinning it to the gathered edge of the skirt. The rest of the pocket is pinned into place so that it’s smooth to the skirt panel beneath it. I used the stripes to help me align the front edge of the pocket to where I wanted it to be.

I stitched the front and bottom edges of each pocket twice, about 1/8″ away from the edge, then 1/4″ away from the edge, to the body of the skirt. I also basted the top of the pockets to the skirt panel, so that it’s set in place for adding the waistband.

A nice little close-up of the front corner on one of the pockets. The stitching might be subtle, and not noticeable by anyone else when I wear this skirt, but it should make for durability to use these pockets over the years.

Time to stitch the waistband! I sewed the edges at 5/8 inch which cleared all of my gathering and basting stitches. I mean, I’m not going to remove my basting stitches. I should probably call it stay-stitching, but honestly I’m just lazy to not remove the basting. No one is going to notice.

And here’s how the top of the pocket ended up looking after adding the waistband. Yes, I did go and trim away those random threads. Not too terrible for figure-it-out-as-I-go pockets! Especially since I’m not used to adding pockets into my creations in general.

Welp, that was a huge post, so we’ll break here. Next up, fixing a stupid mistake, adding a lining, and finishing the skirt!

Continued in Part 4

Sew With Me

Creating a Pirate Cats EGL Skirt – Part 2

This is a continuation from part one.

~>: Part 2 :<~

Alright, so the pocket pieces are mostly ready, but now I need to cut out the main skirt. I’m a tall human, standing at 5’9″, so I like my “short” skirts to be in the range of 26 to 30 inches long. Ideally, I’d like this skirt to come out to about 28 inches in length.

To start off, I trimmed away the selvedge along the border side of the fabric, leaving a small amount of the unprinted edge, since the print area under the cat frames isn’t quite enough to do my normal 3/8″ double turned hem. Once it’s fully turned under and finished, no one will see the white edge.

I doubled over the fabric with the print facing up, trimmed away the cut edges to the print, and evened out my edges so that everything would be the same for cutting away the top of the stripes to the length I needed.

Since I want this to end up around 28 inches long, I need to take into account the seam allowances and my waistband. Honestly, cutting it down to 28 inches should work!

I measured my length, marked it periodically with chalk, solidified my cut line with the chalk, and cut!

….at 30 inches.

Not yet realizing my stupid mistake, I cut my side seam to get two pieces for my main skirt.

Here’s where I realized I messed up. And y’know what? Oh well! Maybe I can add some pintucks to shorten the overall length to what I wanted.

For my waistband, I wanted to try something different. I usually make my waistbands fully drawstring waists, with gathering around the entire band. But this time, I want to have a smooth front with a gathered drawstring back. So I cut three pieces from selvedge to selvedge, 4 inches wide.

After that, I trimmed away the non-printed edges, and cut down the front piece to half of my waist measurement.

At this point, I hadn’t yet decided what color of lining fabric to use–debating between gold or ivory–so I skipped that for now. I can cut it out after I sew most of the rest of this up and can set the in-progress skirt somewhere other than my cutting table more easily. Next up… sewing!

Continued in Part 3

Sew With Me

Creating a Pirate Cats EGL Skirt

Hello dear reader! I hope you’ve landed upon this post in hopes of seeing how I created my adorable Pirate Cats skirt, because that is exactly what I’m about to discuss. Last week, I decided it was time to wing-it, creating this skirt with an idea in my head and no pattern to speak of. I wanted to test myself, see how well I could handle a project like this by figuring out my details as I went along.

They didn’t all go smoothly, and there are certainly aspects I would attempt to approve upon if I were to do this style again. Thus I’ll be making note of moments when what I did didn’t work the way I’d planned, hopefully saving you the potential frustration of my little mistakes!

This will be a multi-post series, because I took a carp-ton of photos for nearly every step I took on this little endeavor. I do hope it will be less than five parts, but quite honestly, I won’t know until I’m done. As such, off we go!

~>: Part 1 :<~

For this skirt project, I used the following fabrics:

Pirate Cats Striped Canvas Border Print in Petal Signature Cotton – 3 yards
Gold and Silver Fauxstorical Coins Print in Petal Signature Cotton – 1 yard
Champagne Polyester Lining Fabric – 2 yards(ish)

Disclaimer: The two Spoonflower prints are my design, and I receive a commission from any purchases of those fabrics. The lining fabric is from a fabric house I love to purchase from, and I get no kick-back from purchases made through my link here.

In the spirit of I’m-always-in-a-hurry, I used a grey thread for my straight stitch sewing machine and used the eggplant purple thread on my serger because I didn’t feel like changing it out. I barely serge seams anyway, and none of it should be visible in the end.

I started off with the Coins fabric. (Seriously, I’m not going to type out that long title every time…so henceforth it’s the Coins fabric.) I laid the fabric on my cutting table folded in half, with the selvedge edges together.

For my waistband pieces, I cut three 4-inch wide pieces from selvedge to selvedge. Because Spoonflower’s printing does not extend all the way down into the selvedges, there is a white section on each piece’s end. With the waistband style I decided to go with, there would be math and trimming of these happening later on. For now, cutting pockets comes next!

For the pockets, I took a look at the pockets on my cargo shorts (because guy’s cargo shorts actually have good pockets), took some dimensions, and sketched out this new pocket pattern piece. It’s about 9 inches tall, 6 inches wide, and I decided I needed roughly five inches for that J-shaped opening for my hands. I recommend doing more than that, because these ended up a bit tight for me to put my hands in.

I duplicated the opening shape on another piece to create a facing for the pocket opening. Small, simple, effective.

I immediately took the facing pieces to the serger to get a finish on the interior edge. Once the skirt is done, no one will ever see that edge again. Ever. No one cares about the purple thread.

Next, I stitched the facing to the opening of the pocket pieces, and then serged the edges. This really ended up being a wider seam allowance than it needed, so it’d be best to keep your seam allowance here to 3/8 inch or under.

If you do end up with a 1/2 inch or larger seam allowance here, you’ll need to either trim it down or clip your curves. By turning the facing to the inside of the pocket and pressing the seam, you’ll be able to easily identify areas that need relief by clipping the seam allowance.

After pressing the seamline to make sure the opening will be crisp when finished, I under-stitched on the facing, catching the seam allowances in my stitching. My under-stitching is somewhere between 1/8-inch and 1/4-inch away from the seamline. This helps the facing piece stay to the inside of the pocket and keep the pocket opening stable.

The facing is fully pressed to the interior of the pocket pieces. Mine ended up a little wobbly, but that’s okay. I love having pockets, but I’ve always hated making them. I’ve avoided making them for years after trying to make welt pockets. Don’t start making pockets with welt pockets. This style is far easier, and may help you love to put pockets on things.

Pockets from the outside! Yay!

Threads everywhere! Zomg! …no one cares. Srsly.

And so these get set aside for the next steps:
Cutting the main skirt!!

Continued in Part 2