Syo is sixteen right now, and home from school with the pandemic. Which causes all kinds of angst and strain, although she’s pretty happy not to have to get up in the morning.
It’s also meant we get to spend a bit more time together, now that she’s not at extracurricular activities every. Single. Day.
Anyway, a week or so into quarantine she presented me with the above image (and a few others) of a skirt she’d like to make.
Me being me, I instantly began scrolling through my pattern database picking out pattern options. No, she clarified. She wanted to draft the pattern from her own measurements.
So we did. I dug out the only hard-copy pattern drafting text I have, Suzy Furrer’s Building Patterns.
I confess I don’t love this book, maybe because I don’t find the diagrams terribly inspiring. I have preferred Metric Pattern Cutting or Patternmaking for Fashion Design. Syo hates working in inches, so I’m sure she would’ve preferred Metric Pattern Cutting as well. But I don’t own those ones (I should really fix that) and the library isn’t accessible so we went with Furrer. There were some things I liked—the skirt draft was a nice, self-contained module, and there were clear charts to mark down your measurements, and tables to walk you through all the necessary calculations.
What I didn’t like as much was the draft itself—it uses a larger front piece than the back, so the side seams are thrown slightly to the back “to make the backside appear smaller” (Syo said, “why would you want your butt to look smaller?”), and takes the exact same amount of dart out of the front as the back, except that some of the back dart is shifted to a shaped centre-back seam, so the back darts actually end up smaller than the front. Given that it’s only in the last few years I’ve had a shape where ANY front dart was useful, and my athletic sixteen-year-old has a flatter tummy than I ever did, this didn’t thrill me. And while I liked the part where some of the rear dart shaping was taken up in a shaped back seam, for this particular design it would’ve made more sense to omit the CB seam—which we could’ve done but it would have been a bit more complicated than with a straight centre back seam. If the fabric she picked had been a plaid, we would have done it, but for this subtle diagonal we didn’t bother.
It was fun to discuss the features she wanted, and what would go into drafting them. How to draft facing and lining pieces, and adding ease to the lining. Which side would be best for the invisible zipper.
How to make the front of the skirt as short as she wanted while preserving the length in the back (you can maybe see how curved the back hem is… we probably should’ve spread the curve out better, but she’s happy so I’m going with it.
She’s more willing to unpick when she made an error or we changed our minds midstream than I am. When she hemmed the lining inside out, she went back and unpicked. I know for a fact I’ve never willingly hemmed a lining twice.
I’m really proud of how she did on the invisible zipper, given how they can be finicky and it’s a pretty hefty fabric. And also on sewing up the seams below the zipper so they ended tidily.
So yeah. My kid made a skirt. I provided guidance, some hands on but mostly just verbal while I juggled the twins. Pretty proud of both of us, frankly. I wonder if I could get her to sew something for me… 😂