Creation: Michelle The Third

Following my third incarnation of Sewaholic’s Alma, I began my next project in my fall sewing plan, which is yet another third incarnation. And another female name as well, Michelle (I know that technically Sewaholic patterns are named for streets and areas, but Alma happens to be both a street and a name). Michelle is a Burdastyle pattern from back in the glorious day when patterns were free and the sense of community was high. What happened?

Yep, side seam pockets!

Yep, side seam pockets!

I have previously made two summer versions of the Michelle Skirt, one yellow and green and one pink. It is a comfortable, easy skirt so instead of finding and tracing something new I chose the easy way out. The fabric is a duchess satin; shiny, quite stiff and 100% polyester, which played into my choosing a looser skirt for winter. I wouldn’t want to wear polyester too close to my body and since it’s not very good at keeping warm, some sort of outer layer was excluded. Full skirt with tights under – polyester can work for that. The burgundy fabric has been in my stash for a good 2.5 years so it was time to get it out in the air. The grey fabric was purchased to provide contrast and it’s the same fabric type, just another colour.

Hardest bits: pleats and folding polyester ribbon trim.

Hardest bits: pleats and folding polyester ribbon trim.

The pattern is pretty straight-forward and easy, plus the old Burdastyle’s instructions were quite detailed and had illustrations. (Forgive me while I daydream of old Burdastyle). I had no issues putting this skirt together, the hardest part was the pleats, but that was only due to the fact that it’s impossible to draw on polyester. Yes, I know tailor tacks, but I just pinned where the pleats went and stitched. It worked for this skirt since the pleats were short and straight, the method would not have worked well on darts (that piece of tip is sponsored by experience; having tried and failed). Another hardship was adding the contrast ribbon since my polyester fabric would not press. Synthetic fabric has a life of its own, I tell ya. Michelle The Third (14) Being older and wiser than when I made my previous versions I decided to add inseam side pockets. Since I plan to wear the skirt to work, having pockets is great for tossing the phone in when going to meetings or, what I do more often, to the coffee room. I traced around my hand and drew a pocket shape. The pockets were added to the side seam using By Hand London’s tutorial. Of course this made the step “sew side seam” a bit harder, however pockets are good to have. They’re a bit too small so I must struggle to get my hand in, however, I am quite happy with the placement and sewing of them.

Back view. Perhaps I saw the facing with a seam allowance a bit too big.

Back view. Perhaps I sewed the facing with a seam allowance a bit too big.

My fall wardrobe plan goes in the colours of grey and burgundy, which I have captured in this skirt. I am a bit worried that the fabric makes it look too home-made, but I think I will have to wear it to find out. Paired with my grey Alma, to take it from party to work. Two pieces down, five to go! Are you worried that your homemade clothes look “too homemade”? How do you avoid that? Do you ever daydream about the old Burdastyle as much as I do?

2 thoughts on “Creation: Michelle The Third

  1. I don’t worry that much about my sewing looking too homemade. One thing that I’ve seen mentioned, though, is to use the right kind of fabric for the garment. Another thing is proper pressing, which I understand was hard in this fabric.

    I haven’t sewn anything with polyester satin since my graduation ball gown almost 10 years ago (maybe I’ve avoided it?) and I don’t remember if I got the seams to lie flat. Have you tried using a press cloth on it and a bit higher temperature? I did a quick search for pressing tips and this thread looks pretty good: http://sewing.patternreview.com/SewingDiscussions/topic/36022

    I think the skirt is pretty, but in my opinion it would look better if the seams were pressed more flat. I hope some of the tips work for you.

    • This fabric was bought 2 years ago and I wouldn’t have bought it today, but I wanted it to be used. It was hard to press and I had a low temperature, maybe I will try your tip and use a prss cloth and a higher temperature – I agree that pressing is vital to the finished look. Thanks for your tips!

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