I have a friend in my local sewing group who adores the skirt pattern in Vogue 1247 — she’s customized it for her taste, altered it so that it fits her just right, and has now made it like 14 times and counting. I have no doubt that I’ll eventually catch up to her with the Hummingbird. Since making my first one, I’ve worn it like 3 times per week (don’t tell), so it’s a really good thing that it goes with so much. This one started piecing itself together in my mind shortly after that one was finished, and this week, I finally got the chance to execute it in actual fabric.
I made this skirt from a heavyweight linen that I got locally from The Common Thread. I don’t do dry cleaning, and I really love how soft linen gets as it’s washed repeatedly, so I gave it a head start by prewashing/drying at least four times (I lost count) before I cut my pattern pieces. It’s no longer crisp but still has lots of body, and will only continue to soften more over time. Love linen.
The only thing I kind of regretted with my first Hummingbird skirt was that the dark, striped fabric made it hard to see the awesome panel seamlines on the front, so this time I fixed that but good. I browsed around teh interwebs for piped panel skirt inspiration and found a few, though these two were most in line with my ideas. (And great minds think alike, because that first one was Mikhaela’s inspiration for her awesome piped Hummingbird too!) I decided that I wanted something dark and blueish, so I dove into the stash and considered solids, stripes, and prints. Eventually I decided that I liked this one the best — it’s Kona cotton in Slate. My second choice was the plaid that I ended up using for the pocket bags. (Fun fact — even in the largest size, the Hummingbird pockets fit perfectly onto a fat quarter! So, next time you find a cute one that you don’t know what to do with, there ya go.) We got exactly zero in-focus pics of this, but…
I’ve sewn piping lots and lots of times — it’s one of my absolute favorite details — but I’d never made it “flat” on a garment, without even the tiniest cording inserted into the binding. My biggest concern was this: because I wouldn’t be able to feel the piping through the fabric as I can with corded, it wouldn’t be evenly exposed. Sometimes that’s not so big of a deal, but I knew that my seriously-contrasting piping would look really bad, really fast unless it was precise. I thought about this for a while, and I looked at many, many tutorials online, but I couldn’t find anything that I felt would *ensure* alignment. So after a couple of days, I had an epiphany about how to get it just right, and it worked brilliantly, so I made a tutorial. And NO, I don’t think “epiphany” is too strong of a word to describe a sewing technique; why, do you? :)
The fitting step in the pattern gives you the option of pegging it in toward the hem, if you want to. I didn’t do that on the first one because I didn’t want to mess up the fabric’s stripes along the side seams, but I was keen to try it this time. I started by just tracing the Pink view’s cutting line (only down to the Orange view’s hem), but that didn’t end up being quite enough, so I went in another 1/2″ per side seam. I can still take a long stride, and I really like the silhouette of this slight pencil-esque action.
Oh and did you see this zipper? I’ve sewn regular zips aplenty on bags, clothes, etc., but this was my first invisible one. (Apparently, this was a Skirt of Firsts.) I really didn’t know what to expect, because I’d heard almost an equal number of opinions about it being sooo difficult to get right OR the easiest kind of zipper evah. Huh. Well, since Steph had posted some videos on sewingcake.com about how to do it, I decided to try those first. People… There was no unpicking, no bump or ridge or pocketing or whatever, it was totally invisible and aligned at the top. To be honest, since this is the first one I’ve tried, I don’t even know what’s different about the technique Steph uses! But if you haven’t liked the results you’ve had with invisible zips so far, I recommend checking this out. In case that isn’t obvious. ;)
OH AND GET THIS… if you don’t already know it, as I didn’t. I was talking about my skirt in one of the discussion posts in the Hummingbird Flickr group, and I was saying how I planned to just embrace the wrinkliness of the linen until it eventually relaxes, because life’s too short to iron. Susanna, the owner of Strömming Design in Sweden, told me that the wrinkles can be caused by the fabric not getting completely wet during a normal wash cycle. Apparently linen takes a really long time to fully absorb water, and I imagine that linen this heavy would take even longer. SOOO, if you presoak the linen for a couple of hours before washing, it will wrinkle less. I tried it and it seemed to help a lot! It came out unwrinkled enough for me just to throw on and wear under normal circumstances, though I did still press her just a bit for this photo shoot. Huzzah!
Full disclosure (updated since original post): I used to work on the Cake Patterns team. Therefore, I didn’t do “reviews” of Cake, but I still posted reveals, along with tricks and tips. But I couldn’t be considered objective, so take that for what it’s worth. :)