For my first non-bag/not-made-in-a-class sewing project, I picked McCall’s 3341, View C, a simple knee-length A-line skirt. At first I wanted to take a class on making a lined skirt, but thanks to the multitude of blogs and online tutorials on the subject I decided to jump in on my own. I certainly learned a lot with this project: how to make a lining (the pattern is for an unlined skirt), how to put in darts, and how to grade seams and clip curves so my facings would lie flatter. Not that I was entirely successful in all of this; here you’ll see my control of straight lines leaves something to be desired:
I did get a bit sloppy with my seams and didn’t finish the edges. Nor was I aware of understitching, and instead I sewed the facing directly to the lining. I’m actually quite happy with the result, but I’ll try understitching on my next project.
I also learned that, as with knitting, sewing your own clothes does not save you any money. The prevalence of cheap, likely unethically produced clothing ensures that one can almost always buy a ready-made product for much less than the cost of making it from scratch. The fabric for this project–quilting cotton for the skirt itself, and cotton voile for the lining–was at least discounted, having been found after a few good digs through the cramped bargain basements of local fabric shops. Because of the nature of mass textile production, it’s much harder to stick to ideals of sustainability when it comes to sewing, at least if you can’t afford to spend $50/m on organic, minimally processed cotton. Compromise is inevitable, unless you have the time to spin and weave your own fabric (not likely to happen, at least with my current lifestyle).
My next project may involve drafting my own pattern. The size 14 (that’s a dressmaker’s size, mind, not a rack size) fit well enough, but it’s still made for a generic body type and could of course fit better. Being short, I should have made View D, as View C originally came pretty far down my calves and was subject to some rather severe hemming. There are a couple of Burda and Vogue patterns I’d like to make as well, but I’ll probably alter them. What I’d really like is to take a class or two in tailoring and learn how to make truly well-fitting clothes for myself. After all, if I’m going to go to all the trouble of making something myself, it at least ought to fit better than a piece off the rack, right?