As you may have read in the previous blog post, my friend Faye has offered to help me with sewing garment samples. This time around, she wanted to tackle a bias cut skirt and top. Check out below what patterns she chose and how she fared with them!
Does my obsession with linen count as an addiction? Perhaps…..but it’s an addiction shared with many who enjoy natural fibres that are cool to wear, get better with age and are a joy to sew. The Italian couturier Antonietta that I used to work with was emphatic that the pressing process was at least as important as the sewing steps in creating a beautiful garment, and linen simply succumbs to the loving pressure of the iron. It obeys and each detail can be perfected with careful pressing. Using a press cloth (especially on dark colours) and a tailor’s clapper makes details crisp and precise.
Tessuti’s Evie bias skirt pattern (despite the terrible cover photo) is well fitting and the waist treatment is perfect. Showing bias in silk charmeuse is not the way to encourage one to make it, in my humble opinion, so do look further than this photo. Linen or a nice even-weave wool hangs well and doesn’t exaggerate figure…ummm…. realities…;-)
The pattern only has one main piece as the front and back are the same, and it’s only half of the piece needed, so you need to trace it on the fold of your tracing material, as you cannot cut bias on the fold. You should do this twice, so you have a full pattern piece for the front and a full one for the back. Seems like a bit of extra hassle, but honestly once you make one bias skirt you’ll want several, so might as well have it all done.
The benefits of bias outweigh the care that must be taken.
Bias fabric has stretch and ‘give’, and a graceful, supple fluidity. It tends to hug the waist area then hang gently from the hips, in a flattering feminine way.
Sewing with bias is different from straight-grain sewing in several ways. Cutting out needs thought and care that the fabric doesn’t slip on the table, remember that it’s very fluid. I always cut bias garments a couple of sizes larger than I think I need, as it must be hung before sewing to stretch out the grain, and I’m not sure how much it will lengthen or stretch or even get narrower. Surprisingly for Tessuti, they don’t mention this in the pattern and give a rather narrow seam allowance for a bias skirt. After I cut the pieces I pinned them to my ironing board to hang for two days before I started sewing. I pinned the skirt with wrong sides together then when I was happy with the fit, I just marked where the pins were, basted, and tried on about 50 times until I was happy. Our sewing friend Susan happened by and gave the thumbs up to the length as cut, so I could even sew the hem without yet another fitting.
I loved the waist treatment of this pattern! I did view B as I don’t consider sewing a zipper into bias fabric one of life’s necessities, and the bra elastic they show has made me a convert of this product. (I found it at the Makehouse in Victoria, where one of their staff describes herself as an ‘elastic nerd’, my kind of gal.)
It’s only about 5/8” wide with a scalloped top and the skirt just skims my hips to put on, then the elastic gently sculpts in to the waist.
I know that I will be making several more bias skirts with this pattern and method and highly recommend the pattern with any of the new washed linens.
Choosing a top to wear with my bias skirt required a bit of thought, as I have a tummy and I’m fussy about where the top landed. Too long, and it looks dumpy; I don’t want the top long enough to come to the fuller part of the skirt. Too short, and well…..there is that tummy. I like the top to land at “the crest” of the tummy, so it hides it enough yet is flattering. The Maya was first spotted by Susan in a Tessuti photo, where they admit that it’s not one of their own designs, but it has generated so much interest that it’s become famous.
It’s designed by Marilla Walker and is also shown on Etsy, I did the shorter version. A simple linen tee is something I have wanted to make, but this is the first one I’ve been thrilled with. Since I’m rather busty, I don’t add that band to the extended sleeve as it’s just not flattering on me. However, I have never liked facings, so for the neck and sleeve edges I did self fabric bias binding and am very happy with it. The pattern calls for French seams which always give a professional finish to a garment, and are so easy to do.
I’m hoping to be all ready for next summer with multiple bias skirts and linen tees from these two successful patterns.