I bought Design-it-Yourself Clothes: Patternmaking Simplified, by Cal Patch, several weeks ago and have been eagerly awaiting the end of the semester so I could try it out. The first project is a very basic A-line skirt. The book carefully explains how to measure yourself and transfer these measurements to a pattern for a custom fit. First, I needed some basic supplies, including a roll of paper and a curve ruler. It was fun going to the fabric store for the first time in months, and I spent quite some time finding the right supplies as well as fabric for my skirt and for another project. When I got home, I immediately started working on my skirt. It was a little painful to write down my measurements, but the book stresses that honesty is important for proper fit. Drafting the skirt was easy; the problem was deciding on length and sweep. I decided I wanted a shortish skirt so I went for a little above knee length. I also wanted a fairly straight shape, more like a pencil skirt than an A-line.
I got a new serger last summer, but I haven’t had a chance to learn how to use it yet. Since I was in a hurry to get this project done, I decided it wasn’t the time to experiment. Instead, I tried the French seams recommended in the book and they came out beautifully. The zipper was another story. I am not so good at zippers anyway and my first foray into invisible zipper territory was not very successful. I couldn’t get the invisible zipper foot to fit properly on my Hello Kitty Janome sewing machine, and rather than getting out the Singer, I decided to go ahead and sew the zipper in with a regular foot. It came out okay, but not great. I may fix it when I learn how to properly sew a zipper, but for now I’m leaving it as-is.
When I tried it on, I was dismayed to see that it was a little big around the waist. Perhaps I measured too generously or didn’t make the darts big enough. I finished the skirt less than an hour before I was planning to wear it, so I didn’t worry too much about the slightly big fit, but I do plan to take it in about an inch when I get a chance.
I can’t decide whether the darker color in the design is black or brown. I used a brown zipper and decided to wear it with a brown shirt and tights, but I think it would go with black, too. Versatile!
So my first experiment with patternmaking was somewhat successful, in that I got a wearable skirt. However, I definitely need to work on my zipper skills and taking measurements.