Poop – Chic ‘N Shit

by samijane613

Solitary Stitch ‘N Bitch

Poopers! I’m back. In the past several months, I’ve taken a rather stupid – in retrospect – break from the blog, and also just about everything else. We could discuss the why and where of it all, but why bother when I’m trying to be better?

In that otherwise regrettable amount of time, I’ve obtained a grill, a sewing machine, plane tickets to Spain, and a new fascination with Doctor Who. I’m eating, learning, planning, and watching, and I finally feel worthy of being HPIC again.

Chic ‘n Shit, in case you were wondering, will be a semi-regular feature (whose regularity has yet to be determined) in which I cull my beginner sewing projects into some sort of list in which you can judge me, and I can link to free patterns and tips for those who are interested. Obviously, I’ll try to organize everything accordingly on my Pinterest Site.

Peace and pennies, Sam

A Brief Intro

A month ago, I purchase a Brother LS-590 Free Arm sewing machine. It’s really easy to use, and, according to my costume-designing neighbor, has a great button hole feature that I look forward to using in the future. I’ve sewn before, but it’s been ages, and I was tired of trying to find things that fit my ass and my style. The machine was on sale at Hancock Fabrics for around $90, which is a pretty fair price for something that has definitely helped me in my deep, albeit lame, struggle.

I’ve also found that once I had the start-up supplies covered, thread and fabric are relatively inexpensive for relatively decent quality. In my quest to avoid fast-fashion, I may have found a really happy solution, provided I can hone my skills to a functional level.

The First Skirt – Total cost: $16.00

This pattern is super easy, and a great confidence-builder for new sewers. At least, it was for me. You don’t need to cut, and you only need a vague grasp of measuring to make it work.

Of course, nothing is ever as easy as it looks on paper. I desperately wanted a seersucker skirt, but I’m cheap, so the fabric I figured I could afford was super sheer. I bought the end of the bolt, so I got $2.00 off at JoAnn Fabrics, but I’ll still never go there for fabric again. Their selection is only ample if you’re into quilting, which I suppose keeps their name from being false advertising. Point is, I had excess fabric, and excess visibility, so I folded the whole operation in half. This was a disaster in the making… until I remembered my iron.

For those of you who think too far ahead, make shortcuts, and wind up with creative projects filled with sadness like yours truly, remember this: if you ever take up sewing, make sure you have an iron and a full-sized ironing board.

I ironed the fabric as carefully as I could before beginning my project, essentially trying to create a single piece of half-sized fabric. From there, I followed the instructions. The only other place I needed to deviate was in pulling the elastic. I could not, for the life of me, find a safety pin, so I used a paperclip instead.

The results were poofy, but charming. I have a wearable, lovely seersucker skirt that I can wear with my Sperry Topsiders that I bought for $30 on clearance at Nordstrom Rack in true Pooper fashion.

Paul is out of town, so the photos lack their normal finesse. But this skirt certainly does not.

Paul is out of town, so the photos lack their normal finesse. But this skirt certainly does not.

The Second Skirt – Total cost: $22.00

Any confidence I earned from the first skirt has been shrunken and maimed with this falsely-named Five Minute Skirt. It took me a week. But in that week, I learned several valuable lessons.

The first is that, despite the instructions telling you otherwise, you should definitely draw out a pattern, cut it, and pin it to your skirt rather than drawing it on. Feel free to laugh at me now, but I’ve only recently completed a drawing class and a functional skirt, so my hubris wasn’t entirely without merit.

The second is that FOE (fold-over elastic for those of you who still buy your clothes like weirdos) is not that stretchy. Not stretchy enough for my back-end, anyway. I messed up the first go-round, leaving several holes in my waistband, but it was fine because I couldn’t get it over my bum up to my waist anyway. Cutting away the mistake and straightening the new waistline, I was able to use a wider zig-zag stitch so the elastic would have a bit more give. It still requires a lot of clenching and wiggling to get the skirt on, but it works.

The last lesson I learned is that stripes ruin everything. I bought an eye-catching zig-zag striped fabric, even though I’d practically memorized the pattern before going into Fabric Planet on Lincoln. If you read it, you’ll see that it requires you to place the pattern at a diagonal before cutting. Obviously, I couldn’t do that because I wanted my stripes to be horizontal. Not only did it create a lot of fabric waste, but it lead to me finishing the hem, only to have it fall apart from fraying in the wash. Luckily, I was able to fix it using hem tape, but that is why it took so much extra construction time. Beyond the fraying, using striped fabric for a first time cutting project requires that you cut very, very precisely to keep your stripes appropriately horizontal. Any hemming mistakes or crooked seems are exponentially more visible. Scattered polka dots are, without a doubt, my new favorite fabric print.

Despite the uneven (un-pictured) waistband, this skirt is really comfortable, and was a good learning project.

Despite the uneven (un-pictured) waistband, this skirt is really comfortable, and was a good learning project.

In the end, both are wearable pieces of clothing, so I’m happy. I hope to move onto shirts soon. Patterns were tricky, though, so I may try the Five Minute Skirt (of lies!) again before I move forward.

Friends, here’s to a new season of Poop!