About me

My photo
I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


Follow by Email

Follow me on Instagram


Friday, September 23, 2011

CNN, my leatherette skirt, and Vogue 8750

I finally finished Vogue 8750, despite 125 students and the environmental hazards of nearly being hit by flying kitchen fragments on a more or less regular basis.

Here it is on me and in sort of a bent leg detail that is meant to show you the interesting seaming:

I managed to actually get this done by going AWOL to the sewing room and drowning out the sound of heavy equipment by turning the Sewing TV up real loud. I love the news and so my channels of choice were CNN and CBC Newsworld.

I did a lot of watching this guy do interviews:

Somewhere along the way, I made up a "what if" scenario if Anderson Cooper ever showed up here and decided to interview me about this skirt. Here is how I think that would go:

AC 360: We are joined here tonight by Babs who has just finished the completion of a not leather skirt at the age of nearly 58, a project she has been planning on returning to ever since she did that thing with the iron on her first attempt in 1978.

Now Barbara how did you train for this project?

Babs: Well Anderson I have been making skirts now for 40 years. I have fully explored the waistbands that are too tight and the facings that are too loose. I have made them in velvet with the nap running up the front and down the back and am sure nobody noticed. I have made denim wrap arounds with ties so thick they didn't make bows and I have done the centred, the lapped, the hand-picked, once with pearls, not real, in each stitch, but now work exclusively with invisible zippers because you can re-stitch them 8 times and the stitches don't show from the right side. I find this a plus.

AC 360: Interesting. Can you tell us more about this specific project? My team here did some research and most not real leather is referred to as faux or pleather - what's with the leatherette?

Babs: Well Anderson I went back to the source on this one. Since this particular piece was bought by my next youngest sister in that discount place near the access road behind the Winnipeg airport, my suspicion is that it is leatherette, although I am almost certain, about 87%, that she didn't grab it from the car upholstery section and not tell me. This one of my sisters is pretty honest.

AC 360: Interesting. Now tell me if there were any moments in this project during you really, and this is not an age-related question, doubted you would be able to go the distance?

Babs: Good question Anderson. I was a bit concerned about the curved inserts to be honest. Four of them, two front and two in the back. Those can start pretty good, but you know how it is, once that presser foot starts moving and you start moving those pins-in-the-seam-allowance out you can just see it advancing - one layer longer than the other, like the Wave of Doom - and you know that you are going to be left with a 3/4" at the end. But this is a pretty well-drafted pattern and that almost didn't happen.

AC 360: Yes but to be honest did you trim off any extra at the end of the seam? 

Babs: Can you notice anything in the picture?

AC 360: The pictures are kind of blurry.

Babs: Exactly.

AC 360: Interesting. We are running out of time here so in closing I have to say I noticed you didn't top-stitch the hem.

Babs: Good eye. I was going to but I was pretty pleased with my top-stitching, yes I know the picture is blurry, but trust me on this, and I figured a stitched hem would ruin the effect. I got some double-sided tape and used that instead. Man is that stuff slick.

AC 360: Interesting.  Finally Babs do you have any wisdom you would like to share with other women of your generation considering a leatherette skirt?

Babs: I sure do. First this is a cheap project. Second my leatherette has a very smooth knit backing so I didn't do a lining. It held up well at the Greek restaurant I made my husband take me to last night since he demolished my kitchen. Secondly, it doesn't show the dog hair and does not require ironing, I really mean that, and only used a rayon setting with a press cloth during construction. Third it is easy to maintain. The Tzatziki came right off with Windex. Fourth when I wear it I feel unbearably hip and cool and since I really am not either hip or cool I feel this skirt expresses that perfectly. It's not really leather either. And BTW this is a killer pattern - really slimming, makes this 18 look like 10.

AC 360: A 14. Keeping them honest.


Marie said...

a ten in my book, what the hell does Anderson know anyway?

Bunny said...

OMG, I love AC. Your piece is just too dang funny and you got his style down pat. Love the skirt, Babs!

debbie said...

Love the skirt and the way you paired it with the tights (?) and ankle boots. I'd like to see it with a slightly shorter top. I think it would balance better. Just my humble opinion.

Love the AC 360 aspect of the post.

Patty said...

This was great fun! and I can hear Anderson's voice in my head when I read your 'interview' LOL

cyberdaze said...

Great skirt, and I really enjoyed the 'interview'. What's wrong with trimming the ends of the seam off anyway :-)

Amy Jo of BlueHippoArts.com said...

Oh my goodness. You crack me up! I've been reading your blog for a while and just love it, but this post... oh man! Hilarious! Seriously laughing out loud in my pajamas this morning while reading it. Cute skirt too! ~~Amy Jo

Barbara said...

Good point Debbie but I am fairly belly conscious. May experiment though.

Sixinthenest said...

A lovely skirt and a wonderful read! Thanks for sharing!

Paula said...

Fabulous skirt, fabulous post, funny right down to the Windex.
Paula in Albany

valerie carisella said...

You are a hoot! Love your skirt! Its hard to discern if I enjoy more your sewing or writing!

Sandra said...

AC's "Interesting." LOL
Great interview, Babs. It's almost like you anticipated AC's every question. You nailed it!
Fabulous skirt; looks great on you. You are inspiring me to start moving away from all-on classics to fabrics and styles and features that are new and fun. Thanks!

Mae said...

I really need a skirt that 1) doesn't show the dog hair 2) cleans up with Windex and 3) makes me look hip and cool, but I'm worried the combination of leatherette, menopause and a tropical climate wouldn't work. It's definately working for you though. You claim you aren't hip/cool/size 10 but I don't believe you.

gwensews said...

You are just so funny! I love AC. Your skirt is fabulous. Hope the reconstruction of your kitchen goes quickly.

Debbie Cook said...

OMG, this is the funniest thing I've read all day. Well, OK, not today because - you know. So the funniest thing I've read all yesterday and tomorrow. And I adore AC. I go to sleep with him every night. Meaning, that CNN is replaying AC 360 when I'm dozing and he's in the background as I start to slumber. Yes, I'm one of those idiots who leaves a TV on all night for background noise. ;-)

And your skirt is rockin!! And, of course, AC would know his fashion, right?

Texan said...

Really like the skirt, it looks very nice on you! Hope the kitchen is moving fairly quickly.

Okay I'm back to the books, test on Tuesday!

Audrey said...

Great skirt. You definetly look hip and cool. I never thought about the clean up advantages of leatherette.

Rebecca Clayton said...

Too cute for words--you, your skirt, and your "interview.!"

Summer Flies said...

Great interview! I love it! What a laugh! You always crack me up!

catspec said...

Just saw your outfit here on Facebook under Vogue patterns postings....hope they asked you! Looks terrific!