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Hello again! It has been a couple of weeks since my last post and that is because I have been extremely busy sewing other projects and I’m sad to say my challenge was put on the back burner. As the weeks go on, I am finding it harder every day to balance sewing with my daily life (mom and wife roles). Last week, I sewed a few afternoons after work when we usually go out on walks or to the park/library. Generally I sew while he’s napping or down for the night so I felt extremely guilty for sewing during “our time”. So even though he doesn’t understand my guilt nor will he remember that I didn’t spend as much time with him as usual, I promised that I would take him swimming and so I did. I feel that I have finally found something that I’m passionate about and want to do all the time (sometimes I can’t sleep at night because I’m thinking of all the wonderful things I can make) but in the end I realize what is really important and that is spending time with my son and husband . One day my son will no longer need me and I don’t want to live with regret of not spending time with him. I will have so much time to sew when he’s older so for now, I have come to accept that while I love sewing, it is not my priority and I’m OK with it. At times that I sewed while my little guy was awake, I took it as an opportunity to let him climb on my chair and gave him some old spools of thread to play with him and show him the colors. I definitely realized that quality of time spent together is more important than quantity. So now that I’ve gotten the mushy stuff out of the way, let’s talk about the challenge because it seems like my sister and I both struggled to complete this challenge.
I was thrilled to find a wide selection of sewing books at my local library. One of my Instagram friends suggested we do the the one-hour skirt from Brett Bara’s book “Sewing in a Straight Line”. I must say this has been one of my favorite challenges yet. It took me about 3.5 hours to complete my first skirt and that is because I struggled with cutting my fabric. This project has a total of 5 steps so it is easy to follow and it also has fabric suggestions. For my first skirt I chose a lightweight material. Unfortunately, I’m not really sure what type of fabric I chose because I lost my receipt and I can’t remember what it was labeled as (maybe it is Rayon Challis or Chambray). For the second skirt, I used broadcloth. There was definitely a difference in sewing with both of these materials. I would suggest using broadcloth or cotton so you can get a feel for the project and then move on to more difficult materials to sew. I struggled a bit with the cutting of the first fabric because it has a horizontal pattern and I cut it so the lines line up but looking at it now, the lines don’t quite match up as well as I thought. Choosing a solid color may be best if you are a beginner.
The instructions for this project were straight forward and easy to follow. After cutting the fabric as instructed (width = hip measurement/length = 22.5″), I moved on to sew the side seams. Sewing the side seams was a breeze but then the instructions called for french seams. I’m so glad it has a reference on how to sew french seams a few pages before because I have messed them up before so I didn’t want to mess up on this project. What I struggle with is pressing the seams because I don’t have a station where I keep my iron so I have to transfer from sewing machine to dining table so that is a bit annoying. Maybe one day I’ll have a dedicated sewing room! For the first skirt I didn’t measure the french seams accurately but I did pin. The type of fabric is flowy so I felt comfortable in eye balling the french seams. However, I wouldn’t recommend it. Again, I would suggest you take your time and use a seam gauge to help. For the second skirt, I did use a seam gauge and I feel the result is is a bit neater.
After the french seams, I moved on to the waist. Because the first fabric had a pattern, I was able to use it as reference when pressing my waist casing for the elastic. I loved how easy it was to sew the casing and insert the elastic. I do wish I had a bigger safety pin because my waist is rather wide so I had plenty of fabric to go through (LOL). Before sewing the casing opening, I tried on the skirt and it was a bit loose so I cut the elastic band (which was already in place) and then stitched it to a perfect fit. After that I went back to my pressing station and pressed my hem and used plenty of pins to hold together as I sewed the last part of the project. In the second skirt however, after completing the french seams, I pressed my waist casing and my hem at the same time. This saved me some time in going back and forth from pressing station to my sewing machine table and also kept my groove going.
As I mentioned before, working with broadcloth was way easier. The fabric is a solid color so I was able to mark with a chalk and made the process of pressing easier as well. I thought I had cut my first fabric with a length of 22.5″ but I cut it longer so I loved the first fit as it wasn’t too short but not too long either. On the second skirt I did use the length of 22.5″ and it is a bit too short for what I’m used to but I can see myself wearing it with leggings and definitely with shorts underneath (as I did). This second skirt too me about 3 hours to complete, but that’s because I was cooking and taking care of other housework. Not to mention I had to rethread my machine several times and my bobbin case as well because I kept getting thread bunching up (so frustrating). I almost gave up but I pressed on and I can’t complain about the final products.
Another think I struggle with is taking pictures for my blog. I am not comfortable taking pictures in front of other people and posing. I wanted to take pictures of both outfits (on self sewn full outfit) so the logistics of changing are a bit challenging. In a hot summer San Diego day, I wore 3 shirts total, skirt and shorts and a pleather jacket. It’s funny that I seem to care what people think about me posing and taking pictures but at one point I put one skirt over my head and the slipped the other off. I think as I gain more confidence taking pictures won’t bother me. I don’t claim to be a fashionista but rather I want to take pics of the items I have sewn and how I would wear them. I’m glad through the process my sister was also struggling through some of these issues so we spoke through the week and encouraged each other and checked in on our status. I may not be on time or be able to do a weekly challenge, but I’m glad I have my sister along the way to share frustrations and victories. I hope that you are able to overcome any challenges you may face whether they are sewing related or not, we all have them. Let me know how you balance your hobbies and daily life and your thoughts on this challenge. Take Care!