Tuesday, June 8, 2010

It's Getting Steamy

Our bedroom has been taken over by un-ironed and wrinkly shirts. Being at home a lot, I've been filling up some of that time with cleaning and tidying, but no matter how much I clean, I can't find a place to put the giant pile of un-ironed dress shirts. My seven year old iron has recently been leaving little presents of iron deposits on my boyfriend's shirts, leading to a big build up of things to be ironed in the closet, on the dresser, over the chairs...and so on and so forth. So although I usually tell him not to buy things just because they are on sale, I immediately said YES to the steamer.

And I swear it wasn't just because I needed it for my new pink skirt.

Speaking of which, this is my most recent sewing project, and I finished it with mixed emotions. I had these grand dreams about this skirt, flowy and girly, with its beautiful pink floral print, which,, according to Clinton and Stacy on one of my favorite shows "What Not to Wear," should be very flattering because the size of the print should match the size of the person. In most stores, you find small, dainty prints, and the larger, bolder prints are either ugly or really expensive. With this new skirt, I was able to create something that was beautiful, affordable, and fit "The Rules." Well...I had some good times and some frustrating times with this one. I got the waistband issue all figured out. I went to a store in Cambridge that, while they have very outdated fabric and smells like the merchandise has been there since they were in style (probably early to mid 90s), they have a plethora of lace, edging and elastic. Did you know that you can make your own JCrew underwear? Well with the elastic sold there, YOU CAN! In any case, I found some super cheap elastic and lace, and this mimics the elastic in one of my favorite Ann Taylor skirts. This time, the waist was easy and turned out great. I pinned the elastic, stretched out, along the fabric, where I left lots of room unlike last time. Once pinned and in the right place, I folded it over and sewed it in. The elastic is sewn together at one end, creating a one-piece band, but is not sewn into the fabric, so there is room to stretch and gather naturally.

I wanted this skirt to be different than the last two, which are fuller and flowy and don't fit very close to the body. I tried doing some pleats, but didn't like that, and didn't have enough material to add a ruffle. So after trying it on, I made it a little snug around the hips and flaring out more at the bottom. It was a subtle change but enough for me to feel like I wasn't making the same skirt in another fabric. I did this by trying it on and pinning it on each side to the snugness I wanted, then sewing the sides together. The material is a bit heavier and more coarse than the last two, which meant after washing it, it came out extremely wrinkly. And here is where the steamer comes in.

The steamer arrived in just two days (thanks to Amazon Prime!). My boyfriend was really excited to use it, but found at first that it took some time. This was a little disappointing, as we were hoping that it would shave some time off the routine. After about an hour, however, he got in a groove and found it to be very easy and quick. My skirt, I must say, was probably the most problematic of all the garments. I blame this on the fabric. I have found that I gravitate towards pattern first and texture once I get home. Hopefully, next time I will spend a little more time making sure I like the fabric's feel and not just the look. But anyway, after two full steam sessions, it is mostly wrinkle free and looks great. I think I'll get past the coarse texture because it is pretty flattering, and a great pattern. I'm hoping I will still be able to find a fabric to make a matching shirt, as in my previous post I told you how the matching shirt was a big failure. Good thing I have a couple tanks in my dresser that match! This project required a bit more time focusing on fit, and a LOT more time ironing out the wrinkles. Overall, I'm pretty happy with it. Next...I'll be making my first dress. Wish me luck!

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