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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


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Thursday, October 4, 2018

Construction details reversible Lisette knit skirt

I am in the process of doing my twice a year sewing of samples for the Fabricville blog, Fabricville being the Canadian equivalent of Joann's in the US or Spotlight in Australia, although probably bit more fashion fabric oriented than either one.

I am working with some really interesting suede knit that has a rayon/poly knit fused to the back of it - nicer on the body than some of the scuba versions, I thought.

This has not been previously announced but this fall is also my season to work more intelligently with my cover hem. 

I have a Juki 1500 which is a great machine - I bought it because it handles the bulk of cross seams without hiccups. So it's a strong machine and trouble free but not one for which there are many attachments. 

Of course now, due to many evenings spent in the bath with my phone which I shouldn't use suspended above water (already have had one repair because of that and let's not even talk about the cracks in the screen), I realize that a cover hem binder is a great attachment but one that I don't have for this machine.

As a result I have bought from some mysterious source in China a generic version that is about the size and appearance of a bicycle gear and I have no idea how I am going to attach to my machine before I can even attempt to use it.

Current Facebook group advise suggests drilling your own attachment holes (Ha) or machining up a nice attachment platform in the sheet metal shop some people seem to have out in the garage. 

We actually don't have one of those sheet metal set-ups here  since our garage space is currently filled to the brim with semi disassembled snow blowers, what I am told are investment motorbikes, ride-on lawn mowers inherited from my high speed driving late father-in-law, and towers of winter tires.

No room for a sheet metal substation. as useful as I am sure they are.

So as a fall back I note that some woman are just taping their binders in place with packing tape.

That's probably what I will do.

None of this is on topic because I haven't figured out how to stick the binder to the machine much less use it, so don't expect to see much activity on that front real soon. But I thought you might find this an interesting topic.

I really do want to start using my cover hem for more than basic hemming, so I have been inspired by this two-side fabric to make a reversible skirt. This might be useful when I travel.

Am I the only one who puts literally nothing much in her suitcase and still can hardly lift it once the top is zipped closed, and routinely pays excess weight baggage fees every time she flies?

I need a ton of multi-purpose clothes.

The pattern I used to make my skirt is a beauty Jalie's Lisette:

This is such a nice pattern with a great peg shape and a really nice contour yoga style waistband in View C, which is the view I have made before.

There's something really important you need to know about the Lisette however and that is that it is tight, negative ease tight, and really requires a very stretchy fabric and a really flat abdomen to avoid the dreaded belly cupping.

The first time I made this skirt I liked it but really decided that I was just too old to look like I was in my second trimester. 

When I measured the pattern I also discovered that this knit skirt had been drafted to be about 3" less body measurement in the hips, so of course it was extremely body conscious.

So this time when I used this pattern again I took the measurement of my own hips - 40" - and added that 3" and then selected the pattern size for 43" hips. My idea was this would give me a knit skirt that would just be exactly my measurements, but because it was a knit still stretch enough to be comfortable.

Pretty crafty thinking for a person who cut this out in her slippers and an apron over a nightgown just after breakfast I thought.

Here is a shot of the original skirt, the one in my usual Jalie size laid down over the skirt I made in the size of someone who has hips 3" bigger than mine (also representing a 40" skirt, if you are not confused already):

Sorry the grey skirt looks wrinkled. I grabbed it from my to-be-given-to-someone-smaller pile, for the picture.

Now back to my fabric. One side is navy fake suede and the other a grey knit, sort of like a T shirt. Since I travel a lot with family everywhere and I had this brainiac idea to make a reversible skirt, I decided to use my cover hem on the "wrong side" the grey jersey, to cover up the seam allowances.

In my own mind I figured I would have two skirts, one a nice classy suede one, and the reverse a sort of atheleisure look since the reverse side of me, not the maturing dog walking basement sewing side, is so hip.

So here are the technical details:

1. Side seams. Stitched these first on my sewing machine with a stretch "lightening" stitch. A triple stretch stitch or a narrow zig zag would do just as well.

2. I trimmed the seam allowances down to about 1/4", knits don't fray, and cover stitched from the right side, more or less centering my stitches on either side of the seam. I had navy serger thread in the needles and a grey wooly nylon in the looper. Here and there some of the raw edge of the seam allowances peeked out past the cover stitch loops but I just trimmed those away after with my trusty duck billed scissors, which did, as they so often do, save my life.

Here is what that all looked like:

3. Of course when I considered the next step, which was the hem, I realized I wasn't as smart as I thought I was. Of course turning the blue suede to the wrong side to hem would mean there would be a blue hem allowance on the grey side. I solved this by pulling out an old school trick from this old school arsenal and put on a false hem.

A false hem, in case you are new school, is simply a strip of fabric sewn along the bottom of a garment and when this is turned up the seam becomes the hem fold and therefore is invisible. I stitched a grey side of the strip (I sewed it in a circle to match the circumference measurement of the hem)  to the blue right side of the skirt which of course gave me a hem allowance on the grey side that was also grey when I turned it over to hem. I cover hemmed the hem just like I did with the seams.

So this is what the hem on the skirt looked like from the right side:

And the turned up hem with the raw edge more or less covered by the cover hemming on the wrong side:

And here is what the seam joining the false hem to the skirt looks like when the hem was finished:

4. Having warmed up on the hem I did more or less the same thing for the waistband, that I split in half along what would have been the fold line, added seam allowances. This allowed me to make a waistband that was one side blue and one side grey. I then stitched the waistband unit to the top of the skirt, blue right side to blue right side, then cover hemmed that done like I did the hem and the seam allowances:

I am pretty pleased with this project. I have done a lot of sewing for other people recently, and I was so happy to do that, but it did feel good to invest a bit more time than was necessary on something I can wear.

Next I am making a jacket to go with this (my daughter has worked hard to keep me from veering off to matchy match with only mixed success) and when the whole deal is done expect some pictures of all of this on me. 

But in the meantime I thought you might find the construction details interesting.


sdBev said...

Double sided tape has been used successfully by some to stick their accessory to the cover stitch bed. I like the tape with the foam inbetween.

Kay said...

Very nice.Clever solutions to use on pretty clever fabric. I would go looking for some myself if I didn't already have four projects sitting on my kitchen table right now. I like the pattern too. I've been dipping my toe into Jalie at your recommendation, and so far I'm pleased.

And don't you find that solving these sorts of problems one of the best parts of sewing?Just one of those creative solutions will make me feel good about myself for days.

SewRuthie said...

very clever double sided skirt.
I have not bought one of those contraptions because of the who attaching thing.

Anonymous said...

Yes, how DO suitcases get so heavy? Of course ours has at least one can of prescription dog food, and maybe a book or two. And a bag of quarters as those sometimes are direly needed for parking and the dryer. And one outfit for the opposite season to where we are going, just in case. That's not heavy. Knitting projects are light. But still.....I don't get it.

Great skirt. You can dodge matchy matchy by wearing the blue side out skirt with the grey side out jacket, especially if you make a blue and grey (and maybe fuchsia?) blouse to go under all. In your spare time.


LisaB said...

I've read of folks using that blue tacky stuff to attach binders, but as my industrial machine is already set up for them, I've never tried that myself.

I recommended checking out Debbie Cook's coverstitch pages found here:

She explains the different types of binders and how to adjust them as well as many other helpful coverstitch tips.

SewPaula said...

When I first got my cover stitch machine, there were a number of people recommending Blu Tack or Sticky Tack putty as a way to attach the binders to the machines. ITs the stuff that we used to use to put posters on our college dorm walls without damaging the paint.

Another thought is using 3M Command Strips. They have the tabs for easy removal and you can buy just the tabs. I use some for attaching an LED light to my old Singer 401.

Jodie said...

Very cool details. Thanks so much and I'm impressed - I'm not nearly as clever after breakfast in my robe and apron. : )
But how did it fit? I have "outgrown" my straight black skirt and will make myself a new one. I'm considering this pattern for style and comfort but have no desire to look like a sausage in a too tight casing or in my 2nd trimester (as the kid is 20 and in university that would be an "oh gawd" moment). Inquiring minds want to know!
Glad that you were able to sew for yourself. Hopefully that means things at home have leveled off some.

Kathleen Meadows said...

That hemming technique is brilliant. I'm storing :)that away for future reference! I overlap seams and love my coverstitch with colourful wooly nylon in the looper. So the coverstitch shows on the right side I just leave the edged raw and overlap the seams. I saw it done on the shoulder seams of shirts we bought my husband at the Hemp Store :)

Barbara said...

Jodie I found that using the larger size basically my hip measurement plus 3" gave me a nice smooth but not too tight skirt. I will post pictures I hope the end of the weekend, jacket included.

Anonymous said...

Great skirt idea. Love this post.

Anonymous said...

Actually have material I could use for a similar skirt...only need a Juki 1500 now!

loretta gjeltema said...

Great information! Now, put that phone in a ziplock baggie and it will keep it dry in the event of minor accidents. It works fine, right through the bag.

beckster said...

This is quite ingenious, but I don't own a coverstitch, so don't have this opportunity to problem-solve. I think this is an approach I would like to use for my wardrobe simply to limit garments in my closet. I will have to think on this one. Hope things are going as well or better than can be expected in your neck of the woods, Barbara.

katherine h said...

I have been using Blu-Tack to attach my coverstitch binders for years now. One of the advantages of blu-tack is that if you need to change the position of the binder slightly to get the stitches where you want them (the position of the binder changes with different fabrics) you can just nudge it a little to the left or right as you are sewing, easy-peasy.

Here is a link to Fehr Trade's collation of binding tips

Some additional binding tricks I have learnt since that compilation is that different fabrics are suited to different width bindings. I have binders in a few different sizes, and the I use the narrower ones for nylon lycras or rayon knits, the wider ones for rib knits and in between for cotton knits. Also, some fabrics tend to stretch as they go through the binder, resulting in a slightly gathered look of the body of the garment. If this is happening, hold some tension on the body of the garment as it is fed through the binding, so both are stretched a little as they are stitched.

Happy sewing

fiberchick said...

Cool skirt. I buy all kinds of weird sewing attachments to use on a variety of machines. Blue tack holds everything in place! BTW had to order a second copy of your book because the first one is already too loved LOL

/anne... said...

I bought my Juki from in Bayswater, an outer eastern suburb of Melbourne. They mainly sell industrials, so they already get attachments made for some of their industrial machines.

Anyway, last year they got a binder made for the Juki 1500 which is actually designed to attach without drilling holes :-)

It only comes in one size, but if they have enough interest, they may order other sizes.

And I'm looking forward to a new coverstitch book coming out shortly!

Italianlady said...

I love your blog and I have your book. Please keep writing about sewing, family life, and memories. I hope you know how much your blog means to people, I can almost always relate to your comments. Thanks for writing for us.
Constance S.