The sewing binge stay-cation got off to a mixed start. I’m working with a lightweight charcoal tropical wool for a suit. I started with a Burda pencil skirt to learn how this wool behaves. Later, I’ll move on to the jacket.
The wool is whisper-light, so I thought to underline with silk organza. Basically, underlining/backing is an extra layer of fabric basted to the fashion fabric for body and stability. Threads has a great basic primer on the technique.
Like a good sewist, I read Sherry’s guide to underlining with silk organza and poked through my tailoring, sewing and couture books before I settled to business. I knew I needed to cut the silk a little wider than the pattern pieces, to allow the wool to stretch. As I laid the pieces on the fabric, I had a brilliant thought- Cut the underlining on the bias!
Of course! It would allow plenty of stretch across my backside in the fitted pencil skirt! This is what happens when you’re a “jump in and try new things” type of person. New Rule: Only try 1 new thing at a time!
Yes, it stretches at the sides, but it pulls up the bottom. It’s kind of a cool effect, and I might be tempted to “just go with it” except this is the bottom half of my suit! I want it to look tasteful and crisp, not “interesting.”
Speaking of tasteful, I think this looks like Spanx. I used the same pattern before, on a medium weight linen. While the linen skirt is figure-hugging, it’s not quite this revealing. Perhaps the difference is in the fabrics? Linen relaxes, wool and organza less so?
At any rate, I’m not too upset. I’ll recut the skirt section, and underline it the right way. I want to lengthen it, and I’ll probably play with the seam allowances, too. If you have experience working with light wools and have any wisdom to share, I’d really appreciate it.
I am quite pleased with the waist facing. That’s a grosgrain waist stay, and some fusible bias to crisp the top edge of the skirt. I raised the original waistline and shaped it, because I need waist definition.
I can’t always account for the ways fabrics behave but I did learn how to better handle the wool/organza combination. I keep thinking about Fearful/ Fearless Sewists. Maybe the difference comes down to whether or how well a person can learn from their mistakes? I think that’s a key “bridging the gap” sewing skill.
None of the books said it (maybe they didn’t think they had to) but for the record- Don’t underline a close-fitted wool pencil skirt with silk organza cut on the bias.