Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sew What Skirts - A Review

Sew What Skirts - A Review

So 7 months have passed since I received the book Sew What! Skirts as a Christmas gift. While browsing the super sale on closeout fabrics at my craft store I fell in love with a polk-a-dot satiny rayon fabric...it was $2 a yard and I thought it would be perfect for the circle skirt in the book. I bought up the fabric and then let is sit around on my craft table.

In a flurry of 4th of July activity I had to run to the craft store again (getting red white and blue regalia for our camping trip - wanted to decorate our tent with bunting). Anyway - as I ran through the store I passed a gingham type stripe fabric with some metallic silver accents...I thought hmmm this might make a really cool prairie skirt - that would be just perfect for the music festival we would be attending that weekend. Ya know a twirly-grab-the-hem and dance kind a skirt. SO I bought some fabric (which was also on sale) and brought it home.

I have to say I had to read the books directions MANY times. I thought I was all clear but on both skirts I hit stumbling blocks. The premise of the book is that you can make skirts without buying formal patterns - instead you take your body measurements and work from there. This is a great approach for me and is what initially drew me to this book. I took my measurements and all started well...but then there were a couple parts in each instruction set that made me wonder. Honestly I think I ended up over thinking the whole thing. I had to bring both part done skirts to my mom and ask for clarification. I was just not understanding the directions as they were explained and I consider myself an intermediate sewer. I did notice that in the book it was mentioned in both skirts instructions that there was an aspect of each that made them the two more difficult skirts to put together - so I assume the rest of the book will be down hill for me tee-hee. Despite my issues I still give the book high ratings! It leaves so much room for creating on your own and I picked up a couple new techniques with each one. And in the end - when in doubt - trust yourself. Just because the book words the instructions one way does not mean there is only one way to the finish.

Here is the prairie skirt. The book shows it made with different fabric at each tier...I opted for one thinking it would be less busy...the fabric really didn't help with the busy factor...ah well! It is hard to find a top that matches other then black or white and I'm not to sure about those either. This skirt took so much time for the gathering...the bottom layer is about 1.2 miles long. In the end I think it was too much fabric for my size and some of the layers sort of balloon out as opposed to laying flat. BUT this thing dances like nobody's business. You can easily grab a hem and dance your heart out! Extra bonus was that I learned all about no-roll skirt elastic (won't twist in the washing). I bought the widest variety and it is perfect for flattening some tummy for a super waistline look.
Here you can see some of the extent to which you can pull up the hem line. Next time I wear it I will have to take some action shots.
Ok - so this did not end up being worn to the wedding. I had fears it was not going to turn out and then I would be miserable all night in my icky skirt. So I finished it up for a bridal shower. And I think I am in love with this one! It has some imperfections and I learned a lot in the process but it is a nice finished piece and I am even wearing it at work right now. I learned how to sew in a hidden zipper - easier then I thought. I also learned to stitch in the ditch - which is my new favorite technique! Lastly I made a button hole that was not wonky! Now I just might be able to get my shower curtain project started - I was dreading the button holes.

This is a full circle which comes down to near my knees. I was going for a sort of June Cleaver type look. I added a thicker waistband which I also lined with interfacing to give some stiffness. See what I mean - you can really customize a project with your own measurements. No patterns to alter!
And here it is getting the spin test. Ahhh so fun to treat my inner little-girl to a twirl! A big thanks to Tim for taking ump-teen photos so I could see how it looked on me...ya know sometimes mirrors dont tell the whole story.
Next I hope to create one of the wrap skirts or a-line skirts with an awesome linen-like table cloth I picked up for $3 at the GoodWill.

There are two Sew What! Skirt flickr galleries that you can check out to see other peoples handy-work. This one is an open ended sew along and this one is another Sew What! skirt gallery. Both galleries have discussions going on about the skirt patterns and such - so if you get stuck this may be a place to get some help.

So do you have the book? Have you tried any of the skirts? Leave me a link - I would love to see what you created.



Anonymous said...

So much fun...you're making me want to learn to sew! :)

Jess said...

love both the skirts - they both turned out really nicely.

Kelly said...

This was a great post! I just saw this book last night at a store and thought briefly about buying it. I am only a beg.intermediate sewer though...so I chickened out. Maybe I will give it a try, as your skirts were pretty cute!

Ellen said...

Your skirts came out great! They would have come in handy for the concert we went to last night- Cherry Poppin' Daddies. Swing-jazz!

Dayna said...

Thanks all - I am glad you liked the skirt.

Erin - you should definitely give sewing a go. It is so much fun to create something yourself. There are so many great places offering classes too.

Jess - thanks!

Kelly - You should definitely check out the book. There are way more skirts in the book that would have probably been easier to make...I need to check them out myself. The directions are good - I just think that they are written differently then I think about things...so in essence I make things harder then they need to be :) Thanks for stopping by!

Ellen - Thanks! You are right these would have been perfect for a swing-jazz concert - HOW FUN!

Vicky London said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vicky London said...

I bought this book as well and recently tried my hand at the a-line drawstring skirt. I found the instructions to be confusing and the amount of "ease" that was in the measurements made the skirt gigantic. It was so big I had to take the side seams in by about 4 inches on each side. When I was finally finished I thought it was terrible looking. I'm not sure when I'll pick up the book and try again.

I got another book called SEW Everything Workshop that I found much easier to follow and successfully made a wrap skirt that is cute and flattering.