Colette Meringue – II

Well I think I’ve made this skirt far more difficult than it needed to be, somehow.

First – fabric choice. I deliberately chose a fabric that wasn’t on the recommended list because I love wool and I love the idea of how grey wool would look in a skirt for work. However, there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s bulky (problem: facing is possibly too fat and I shouldn’t have interfaced it either in retrospect) and drapey (problem: the scalloped hem, which may not hold its shape).

Secondly, facings and linings and attaching them to each other and to the rest of the skirt has me pretty much beffudled. Last night I must’ve been tired or something because I had to unpick and start again on a few different items.

To start with, I sewed the lining pieces together with one side facing the wrong way. Ideally, you sew it up so that seam allowances are inside the skirt, between the lining and the outer shell and that the darts also face away from your body. Essentially the right side of the lining faces you and the wrong side faces the skirt shell. Except that I did that wrong last night. My lining fabric is very thin and silk, so I didn’t want to unpick the pieces I’d sewn together because it was potentially going to tear the fabric. And given the facing would cover the darts inside the skirt, no big deal.

Which leads me to the next problem. The facing. I think I either failed to follow the instructions in the book or just got myself completely confused. Probably both. I began by following the skirt instructions and sewed the two facing pieces together at one side seam.  You will see in the photos that I later finished the facing hem using some lace I painstakingly unpicked from an old blouse. (Note. The lace was sewn and overlocked onto the blouse fabric in such a complicated and neat fashion that I am once again shocked by the cheapness with which you can buy clothes and embarrassed that I probably bought it on sale for $30 or something. Judging by the lace embellishment, the blouse must’ve taken some poor lady in a sweat shop hours to sew together. Thank god for the TCFUA who fight for these women).

I then attached the lining to the facing, with wrong side of the lining facing the right side of the facing (so that once stitched and flipped back over, the lining and facing would both have the good side facing inwards. I won’t lie. It did my head in, working that out. I sewed them together with a small (presser-foot sized) seam allowance so that eventually the join would be hidden under the facing of the skirt.

But the next part’s where things really went pear-shaped. As per Sarai’s marvellous instructions in the book, the facing is added to the lining then they are added to the garment at the point where the instructions tell you to add the facing.

I began by pinning the facing and lining to the skirt’s waist band, all the way around. I lined up the open side of the lining/facing with the inserted zip on the dress and then pinned around. Again, it did my head in working out which bits to pin where so that everything would face the correct way eventually. And as it happens, I got it wrong. Although I thought I’d followed the directions in terms of which side of the lining seam to leave open at the top to allow for a zip, when it came to pinning everything in place, I’d done something wrong. I think that what I did wrong was leave open the wrong side of the facing seam because when turned the correct way out everything didn’t fit together. As you can tell, I have completely confused myself. In any event, the correct way to fix it would have been to unpick the entire facing/lining seam, which runs along the waistband. But for reasons explained above I wasn’t keen on unpicking that much stitching from the lining. I worked out that what I could do was stitch together the still-open seams along the side of the lining and facing and sew up the other side. This was time consuming, fiddly and frustrating to fix, but I got there in the end.

Pinning the shell to the lining/facing, ready for sewing involved pulling the lining out of the way and then pinning the facing and skirt right sides together, as shown below:

The next part is difficult, but Sarai’s instructions are very clear. You need to sew the facing along the waist of the skirt but also INSIDE THE ZIP SEAM ALLOWANCE. This seemed kind of counter-intuitive to me until I pinned it, turned it out to the correct side and then looked at how the zip poked out between the facing and skirt. Below is my picture of the parts all pinned together, as per figures 9 and 10 of the instructions given on page 58 of the book.

Figure 11 of the book and the instructions that accompanied it really had me confused. I just couldn’t work it out. And I think the reason for that is my lining – it still needed to be sewn in along the zip opening as well. So instead of the additional stitching indicated in Figure 11 of the book, I completed the steps immediately before it, turned the skirt the correct way out, pinned the lining seam allowance along the zip line (including inside the ‘cover’ provided by the facing) and topstitched it in place. I suspect this is not the correct way to perform these steps, but it looks relatively neat altogether anyway. I then trimmed the corners and understitched the facing to help it sit more neatly when turned the right way out.


The next thing was to attached the scalloped hem facing. This I’ve done, but because of my thick fabric it’s going to require a bit of TLC to get right. I think I’ll have to topstitch the hem to get it right and I’m a bit worried that the hem is going to be ruined by my fabric choice. But that’s for later. Stay tuned for more on my excessive over-complication of a simple and well-explained skirt pattern…



One thought on “Colette Meringue – II

  1. Julie says:

    wow, this post leaves me daunted….
    there is no doubt that proper clothes making is a precise art and that is why I have thus far stuck to easy kids dresses and skirts. But this is very inspiring, can’t wait to see the finished product.

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