Thursday, February 7, 2019

Magical diamond unicorn fabric

In which I cut into precious, long-hoarded fabric, and lived to tell about it.

You have it too, right? That fabric you bought - maybe wasn't even expensive - but as soon as it hit the stash, it became shrouded in legend, taking on a mythical, made-by-diamond-studded-unicorns quality.  And you can never ever ever sew it, unless you find the perfect pattern and you're finally the perfect size and a magical sewing fairy comes and perches on your shoulder so that you will make no mistakes.

Ok.  Maybe it's just me.  If we're being honest, I have many cuts of mythical diamond unicorn fabric.

Like this bright tangerine-colored J. Crew faille (FabricMart said it was cotton, but I'm pretty sure there's a good bit of synthetic in there based on the way it behaved under my iron). I hoarded that for a solid 3.5 years.  I don't know what I was waiting for - I always knew the fabric had to become a skirt. I bought it in skirt quantity.  But I think I built up the fabric's epicness in my head to the point that it was in real danger of gathering dust until my death, surviving purge after purge of excess fabric and never even being unfolded. (Incidentally, I haven't yet gotten all of the creases out of the fabric, as you can see here).

But a few weeks ago, I finally said to myself, "Masha, you can always buy more fabric." It might not be J.Crew deadstock, but there has to be more tangerine faille out there somewhere.  And so, notwithstanding lack of magical sewing fairy, I started cutting.

This is Simplicity 1369.  I cut view C in the size 20 as indicated by my measurements (currently W
33" H43").  Initially it didn't fit that well.  It sat a bit too low for my liking, and was much too poofy.  I ended up taking about 1.5" off the back skirt panels and waistband in order to make the skirt sit higher on my waist (it is drafted to sit 1" below the belly button, which looks a little strange to me given the proportions of the skirt). My belly button is quite low in relation to my super-high hips, so I took it in until it fit well above the belly button.  I also took an additional 2.5" off each back skirt panels to reduce the gathering into the waistband, and thus, the poofiness on the side.  Here are before and after photos.

Pre-depoofing vs. post depoofing.
The pattern is for an unlined skirt, but I lined it by cutting the front and back skirt pieces out of lining fabric (which I bought in the same order as the faille), and using this tutorial. I've only sewn a couple of lined items before, and they were dresses for my girls.  I hemmed the skirt using Flexi-Lace hem tape from the stash, which involves machine sewing the tape to the right side of the skirt, then turning up the hem and catch-stitching it by hand.  That bit took me about an hour in front of a Project Runway rerun.

So, my skirt is not perfect. There are a couple little things about it that irritate me, though I'm not going to go into them here.  Errors notwithstanding, I'm still really glad I finally cut into this fabric.  So it's not perfect. Nothing terrible happened.  And now that I'm done with this project, all that pressure that was hanging over my head vis-a-vis orange J. Crew faille has disappeared in a poof(y skirt).   Lesson learned: I cut into my magic fabric and I don't regret using it.

I think this might be sewing-life-changing. And. I'm now energized to sew the other precious fabrics I've been stashing for ages.  The top contenders, from left to right:

Black and white ikat rayon challis (1.5 yards), purchased from FabricMart 2.5 years ago.

Black, teal and ecru silk woven (2 yards) that I won from LA Finch Fabrics, also 2.5 years ago.

Burberry-esque rayon challis (2 yards) that I bought in Georgia just before we moved, 4.5 years ago.

Nani Iro double gauze (2 yards) that I won in a giveaway, um, like six years ago I think? This one I'm not even sure I like all that much for me, to be honest. But it would probably make a good dress for one of my daughters.

So, now that I'm prepared to sew all the diamond unicorn fabric, I just need to figure out what, exactly to make with them. Got any ideas?

As always, thanks for reading, and I'll see you next time.

January 2019

January saw a return of the sew-jo, fueled both by an island vacation and the fact that I got to meet another IG sewist in person.  Actually, I had met her in person, and had a few good conversations, well before discovering that she was a fellow sewist - our daughters are in the same Girl Scout troop.  So funny that we never discussed sewing, but I guess that's not something I tend to talk about with people unless I know they are interested.  Anyway, after making the IG sewing connection, we got coffee and had a real sewing chat and I found myself invigorated and scrapping to carve out some sewing time for myself both before and after our trip.


1) A test of a not-yet-released t-shirt pattern.  Used 1 yard used of an eggplant cotton/rayon/lycra knit that I bought in February 2018. Completed 1/5/19. Not yet blogged.

2) A beach cover-up for my oldest, made from her dad's worn out old shirt.  This took me about 30 minutes to make and doesn't count for yardage used since it was a refashion.  I simply narrowed the shirt to fit her, leaving the hem length the same, and cut off the sleeves, using the French seam at the armscye as the end of the sleeve so that I would not have to hem anything.  I kept the collar as is. Quick, easy and functional.  Completed 1/13/19. Unblogged.

3) A muslin for a Simplicity 1377 skirt. Normally I would not muslin a skirt like this, but I wasn't sure about the silhouette on my body.  I also had a couple different contenders for final fabric, so I wanted to get a feel for what kind of drape I would want in the skirt, before sewing up the final. In the end, the muslin confirmed that I should not go ahead with the skirt. Glad I muslined. 1 yard used.

4) Another Simplicity 1887 skirt, this time in black linen left over from my long-sleeved Portfolio dress.  This marks my seventh use of this pattern. 1.63 yards used. Blogged here.

5) A highly modified Colette Sorbetto in bright blue linen left over from the Fairfield shirt I made my dad in 2017.  1 yard used plus a scrap for facings. Blogged here.


This month, knowing that I had to account for my fabric shopping in this post actually made me pause on buying fabric a couple of times. I don't expect that to continue.

January Fabric In: 0 yards!
January Fabric Out: 4.63 yards