Wednesday, September 14, 2011

September 13th

I finally got around to making something for Self-made September! I decided to tackle this UFO. It's another shirt skirt. When I tried it on again before I started sewing, I realized why I had abandoned it. There were some fit issues that bummed me out.
The button placket (is that what it's called?) was gaping pretty badly, and there wasn't much extra fabric around the upper hips to give it more room. Recall that I cut off the sleeves and then sewed up the sides; where the sleeves were cut off, there is less chest area fabric, and that was also where my hips started getting wider. After some fiddling, I discovered that I could deal with the issue partially by raising the top of the waist closer to my natural waist. To do this, first I cut the top off a little above the top button. I added four darts at the new top of the waist to take a total of about 3 inches out of the waist area. The darts were about 4 inches high. Then I used the part I had cut off as a waist facing. I made an error in this part, but I was able to work with it and get it usable.
The idea of the waist facing is that you sew the right side of the fabric to the right side of the facing. Then you flip the facing to the inside so you are left with a clean line at the top of the garment. Well, I needed the finished waist line to be about an inch down from the raw one, so I lined up the edges of the facing piece and the garment piece and sewed an inch down from that. The error was that the facing piece was not very deep, especially on the back pieces, so when I flipped it, there were short pieces sticking up that were hard to flip to the inside. (I'm not sure if I've described that clearly, but you can see it above.) I planned on topstitching on the right side to keep the facing down, but I was worried that because it was so short, it would stick up anyway. To deal with this, I pressed all the layers of the facing away from the right side and did a narrow zigzag stitch close to the seamline. That helped catch the frayed bits of the facing and keep the short parts better-attached to the longer parts so I could treat them as one layer. Then I flipped the whole facing over and topstitched on the right side of the fabric. It worked like a charm. Next time, I should either have a deeper facing or line the facing up so there will be enough sticking out at the bottom.

After dealing with the facing, I sewed up the sides for good and pinked the inside. Then I resewed a few places on the bottom hem that had come apart. I knew that I would probably need to add snaps to the button placket because it was still gaping a bit, even though it was no longer under much tension, but I was so eager to wear it but tired of working on it that I decided to do without for the time being.

I wore the skirt with this polo shirt for a tour Jon and I did of the new library addition at the University of Chicago. As soon as we got home from the tour, I added three snaps between buttons on the skirt. I had been getting a little too much breeze. The tour was really neat. We got to go down to the five-story compact storage facility where they are storing millions of journals that are not as likely to be browsed by patrons. There, they are stored by size (rather than subject) in these bins, and if someone requests one of them, the system knows what bin it's in and sends a crane to go retrieve it and send it up to the first floor where a friendly librarian gets it out of the bin. The whole process only takes about five minutes. They can hold seven times as many volumes in the same space as browsable stacks, and they can climate control this area more easily to preserve the materials. It was really interesting to hear about this awesome system and to imagine the way they decide what to store in compact storage instead of open stacks. This picture is me in the basement with a crane behind me in the stacks. The pictures at the top of the post are me outside the new library. The first floor is this big reading room with a cool glass dome. They also have the digitization and conservation units in there, so we got to see how people re-bind books. They have a blender in the conservation section to whip up paper pulp patches for damaged books. (And to make margaritas for the awesome parties they throw?)
p.s. I love this skirt! I am so pleased with how it turned out, and I think the curved hemline is really cute. I was worried it would look too much like I put a shirt on the wrong part of my body, but I don't think that's the case at all.

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