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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Chardonnay Skirt - Londa's 2 Cents Worth

I'm sharing today about this recent outfit I created. The skirt is the Chardonnay Skirt from LJ Designs. For it, I wrote one of my 'Londa's 2 Cents Worth", which is $30 for 6 months, $50 for 1 year - just ONE of the benefits is receipt of my Londa's 2 Cents Worth - at least 6 per year... This is a 'taste' - the last one I just wrote. I also 'deliver' a pdf of these 'helps' whenever one orders one of the patterns from me for which I've tested and written one of my 2 Cents Worth (designated with a *** by the pattern name on my websites).

I thought the 'history' and end result of this skirt made quite a I'm sharing it here. It reveals 'real life' sewing...which should never prevent us from stitching on!

The Top is a variation of Christine Jonsons's #426. Read about it at the end.

Londa’s 2 Cents Worth
Chardonnay Skirt

A’ La Mode Collection
LJ Designs

I love most of Lyla’s patterns – and she does a GREAT job of directions. This skirt pattern was the one of the A’ La Mode Collection that most caught my eye – though not as much as the Fajita Skirt. In general, I think this skirt is just OK. I made it of a cotton/lycra jersey knit – and toyed with making it a double layer skirt from the beginning – to help ‘conceal’ body bumps.
Alas – while stitching with my serger around the top – darned if I didn’t catch a fold underneath – and promptly cut a triangle cut right in the center back! At that point, I HAD decided to not ‘eat up additional yardage with making it double layer, but once I’d had my ‘boo-boo’ – I had no option but to put a second layer of the knit on the top.

Here is a picture of me in my (altered) Christine Jonson Princess Wrap top with this Chardonnay (altered)

Pretty perfect green shoes to match, eh? Made out of the knit – I quickly (well not quickly enough) realized that that the zipper down the center front that I had just labored to put in – was NOT necessary – as it easily slid over my hips without undoing the zipper – so out it came. You can’t see the fabric edges, but I opted to go the simple ‘designer’ route and just 3 thread serged the edge – not rolled or anything – just serged and left as is! Seems kinda crude to me – but the designers do it and get top $$$ - so why should I labor further is what I figured…

Even with the double layer fabric, I invested in some of those SPANX to wear under this garment – and felt quite good, actually, that no ‘panty lines’ were revealed! $20 for the SPANX is pretty darned high though!

In general, I found these directions to be the least understandable of any of Lyla’s I’ve encountered so far. I would not recommend this pattern to someone who didn’t have a good grasp of sewing. If you do know how to sew though, it is a neat concept in a skirt.

Fabric Selection: You can use this pattern for wovens as well as knits. With a woven, you would obviously have to insert that zipper. There are no side or center back seams, so the front where the zipper is instructed to go is really the only place for it.

Beware: the wrong side of the fabric shows where the center front drape flops around!
That is not made clear on the pattern envelope at all. If the wrong side of the fabric is not attractive (ie a print), you will have to line this skirt to the edge.

Warning: Be SURE to adequately mark all markings on the pattern onto your fabric! If I were to make this skirt again, I would actually thread trace mark the center front angled stitching line – the zipper placement lines.

The directions start right off with ones for a “Lined Skirt” and there is no reference to lining at all on the pattern envelope back.

Elastic Application

In the Lined Skirt – Lyla calls for 2” less than ‘waist edge measurement of skirt’. I found that very nebulous, and finally decided it would be the measurement of the skirt, with darts sewn out, from zipper placement line to zipper placement line. That is what I did – and the skirt barely hung on my hips. I really need to take it out and make the elastic – maybe 3” even less long than it already is – so my guess would be you could easily make the elastic 5” less than the waist measurement. I don’t see yet why she is asking for you to go by the waist measurement of the skirt, and not your body – I’d do it 5” less than my body waist measurement – or my measurement wherever I would want the top of the skirt to ‘rest’ on my body.

Weird: but in the Unlined skirt – she says nothing about cutting the elastic any shorter at all – I guess she assumed that – but the ‘cutting shorter length’ is under the “Lined Skirt” directions – I found that all very confusing.
If I were to make this skirt again – I would opt for 1” wide elastic and just adjust the hemming then on the front cascade portion of the skirt to be 1” deep.

Zipper Application:
It is confusing, but it the directions for the zipper insertion DO work – you jut need to really follow the pictures, and stitch VERY closely to the zipper coil. Stitching far away at all will reveal the zipper tape. Although – it does seem quite covered up by the cascade portion of that front effect.

I have an additional concern about this design and zipper placement – and that is that this ‘line’ that the zipper is inserted on is NOT straight grain, but at an angle, therefore the fabric is bound to stretch there. Be VERY careful! Again, the cascade will cover it, but…………

Balance of Directions – look A-OK.

Notes about my Double Layer Skirt:
The cascading portion on the front of my skirt ‘belongs’ to the longest skirt – the ‘underskirt’. The ‘overskirt’ is hemmed shorter – I just ‘eyed’ that in with it on my body, pinned, marked, etc…. AND it is cut at the center front just 1” beyond that center front zipper insertion line, and turned and hemmed, stitched down on either side of that front stitched line. Also – I wanted to eliminate all bulk possible under my top that I knew I would wear on the outside of the skirt – so I really narrowed down – shaped that front uppermost edge of the cascade.

Shirred top and Princess Wrap
#426-Christine Jonson
Sleeveless, non-shirred Variation
by Londa

I loved this crossover Princess top from Christine – so when I wanted to make a sleeveless top of that nature to go with my LJ Chardonnay skirt – it came to the top of the list of ‘patterns to consider’.

However, design-wise, I didn’t feel the ‘gathered’ effect of the top’s right side(as worn) into that left princess seam ‘went with design-wise’ the flatter, more angular fold feature of the Chardonnay skirt.

I just cut 2 of the Princess Top Left front and proceeded – obviously leaving out the sleeves.

I found when I tried it on, however, that it pulled funny under the bust on my right side where the left front was attached at that princess seam…
So I ‘stabilized’ it with a piece of elastic stitched from that princess seam to the side seam. It worked just fine.

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