Couture skirt and my Etsy shop
Happy New Year, dear bloggers and readers! I hope this year will be a great one for all of us! Let's jump into another 365 days of sewing and crafting!
Since my last post, I did not feel like blogging, but that doesn't mean I was sitting with my arms crossed. As my main goal for 2013 is to use fewer patterns, I've been putting my efforts into drafting, using various books and methods. Not all of it has been successful, but I am improving. Another confession to make: I've entered into a knitting frenzy. Maybe it's something about touching soft fibers, or maybe because of the little yarn shop? In any case, one jumper is ready and I have a few other knitting projects already lined up.
On the sewing front, I have finally managed to finish this flared skirt using couture methods from my lessons with Susan Khalje.
Adding organza strips to the pocket edges creates a neat and crisp look. This little detail is often omitted from the "Making of" description on patterns but I think it makes a big difference.
On the subject of time distribution, hand-sewing took me over 70% of the time. I used the sewing machine only to sew darts and to put the eight panels and the pockets together. The rest of the garment was hand-sewn, including attaching the horsehair braid.
A few points about the waistband. Claire Schaeffer in her book Couture Techniques says that only three techniques are used in couture to finish the waist edge of skirts and pants: the self-fabric band, the faced band, and the faced edge, which does not have a band. I hesitated between the second and third options and it took me a day to think it through. But then I remembered that during my seminar with Susan Khalje, she said that there is no right or wrong; the couture techniques are there to be used when appropriate for a particular construction or design. So I opted for the latter solution: a faced waistline. Following the instructions from the book, I attached a piece of grosgrain ribbon to both the seam allowance of the skirt and the underlining. For this, I used fell stitches or appliqué stitches. When working on the bottom part of the grosgrain, I snipped it to fit the curve of the waist and overcast the raw edges. So far I have worn this skirt twice and I don't feel any discomfort due to the choice of waistband.
It took me a few weeks to finish this skirt. Most of the work was manual, repetitive and sometimes even boring. I tried to entertain myself by watching movies and listening to audiobooks. In the end, it was so worth it! When I pick up the skirt and feel the weight of it, when I wear it and feel the soft touch of silk - I am glad I spent all this time making it and used quality materials for it.
That leads me to my final point: the opening of my Etsy shop. I am not offering couture skirts, oh no! I am just re-selling Japanese sewing notions which I used for this project and which are so amazing and nice to work with! During my seminar with Susan, many seamstresses praised my basting cotton and silk threads, saying that they cost a fortune in the US or Europe. One of them encouraged me to re-sell them through Etsy. At the moment, I feature only three products: needles for hand-sewing, basting cotton and silk threads. I want to reiterate that I make absolutely no money from this shop: the price is based on the real value of a product + Etsy fees + shipping. You are all very welcome to have a look and leave me feedback. Are there any other products from Japan which you would like to see there?