|NL 6843 - TNT denim straight mini skirt. It's my go-to for work and play. Note that my version doesn't have a button waistband, I just use a hook and eye above the zipper. That's what comes of not reading the instructions. (And, I prefer it.)|
You may be thinking: Kristin, honey, that's the power of revisiting a pattern with a tape measure.
Trust me, I get that. I'm the fit-obsessed lady living in this body. One thing you can say about me: I don't wear blinders.
The thing is, I wear the skirt I made with the original pattern all the time - and it fits well (except for the now-altered lower abdomen area). Admittedly, fabric properties weigh into the equation. But the fabric I used was a stable denim with about 10 per cent stretch - same general stretch amount as the (rayon) denim I used to make the new version. I do recall serging the side seams on the last version because I had very little seam allowance left for those seams, once I'd inserted the zip. And the version I made yesterday now has healthy 0.5" side seams. So that does account for much of it, I suppose.
What did I do to alter the TNT?
- Added a tapered 1 inch (0.25" over 4 seams) to accommodate the need for more space in the lower abdominal zone
- Made the darts narrower (over 6 darts, this gave me about an inch of extra circumference in the waist)
- Added 0.25" along back seam (to accommodate zipper width and to give a bit of extra room in the derriere)
About working with the rayon denim: You know I love this fabric. I've never gone back (online, no less) and bought 3 batches of the identical fabric before or since. But the rayon denim is more rayon than denim. That's what gives it the silky drape. It also makes it very tricky to sew in darts and - apparently - regular zippers (which this pattern calls for). Even after interfacing, I ended up having to use an invisible zip. The regular zip would not insert without producing wavy fabric between the zipper opening and the seam to hold the zip in place. Intriguingly, this fabric is not tricky to sew on the width (where you might imagine the stretch properties would make it so) but on the length.
About my new way of inserting a "bulk free" waistband: I like to think I made this up, need being the mother of invention and all. Of course, I'm pretty sure I just came up with it for myself (what with the world of sewists being very large and smart).
For starters, can we take a moment to admire how prettily finished this thing is:
OK, here's what I do:
- I remind myself that I'm making a waistband and not a facing. Because the very first problem I ever encountered in sewing continues to dog me. I don't know why I cannot keep the construction of these two different waist finishing methods separate???!
- I make the waistband 5 inches longer in circumference than required. I like to have extra room to maneuver.
- Let's assume I want a waistband of 1 inch depth. I ensure that the waistband is @2.25" deep.
- I like working with a 0.25" seam allowance at the waist. If you prefer more, make the waistband deeper, i.e., @2.5".
- I interface the waistband pieces and serge the LONG edge that will NOT be attached at the waist. Finishing this edge is key - you could overlock on a machine.
- I pin the waistband onto the skirt, determine how much fabric I need to cut off so that, with a turned under edge, the fabric will meet the edge of the invisible zip.
- Then I unpin, cut off the waistband "extra", turn under the short raw edges (these will abut the zipper teeth), and press. Now I know the waistband will fit my skirt, made in the fabric of the day (with all of its properties), perfectly.
- I chalk the 0.25" seam allowance. This is one of the only times I bother to do this, when sewing. But there's method...
- I fold the serged edge of the waistband to meet the chalked line that denotes the seam allowance-to-be. I make sure that the serged edge is placed ever so slightly over the chalked line (vaguely eating into the seam allowance-to-be). Not even 1/8", just a smidge.
- I press the waistband. Now my waistband is about 1" deep. I repin it to the skirt to prepare it for sewing.
- I go to the machine and stitch the waistband to the skirt with 0.25" seam allowance. I just follow the chalked line.
- I then press the seam up towards the waistband fold. I repress the waistband and, from the wrong side, I pin the serged edge of the waistband down onto the skirt ensuring that the serged edge just covers the stitching line that attached the skirt to the waistband. The original pressing job should ensure this, but you want to be sure.
- Then I turn the fabric to the right side and I pin in the ditch of the seam where the waist meets the skirt top. I turn over the fabric to ensure that all of my pins have covered the serged edge of the waistband on the wrong side. That's how I know I will sew it down when I stitch in the ditch from the front of the skirt. I also know, since I've done careful math and pinning, that my ditch seam, on the wrong side, will run through the line of serged stitches and will practically disappear on that wrong side. It produces both a tidy exterior and interior!
- But best of all, because you don't turn under the wrong side edge (you serge it and leave it flat), it produces a more sleek profile for the abdomen that doesn't need additional bulk.
And finally, because I really am trying to post more photos of me (since I know worn garments show things "relevantly"):
I guess this is a selfie, albeit a headless one, since I took the photo through the mirror. I should have moved the yoga props first but, live and learn.
Today's questions: Whatcha think of the skirt? Do you know about my waistband technique? Have you used it with success in the past? What's your TNT dress up/dress down handmade skirt? Let's talk!