‘there will be bulk’

That’s my alternative version of There Will Be Blood, in which Daniel Day-Lewis faces the harsh realities of sewing thick fabric. It could start with what he already knows: making shoes, striving to avoid unsightly heft and to maximize the comfort of the wearer. It would end with jeans and some heartfelt hammering of seams.

1070Somewhere in the middle I’d have DDL make the skirt from Simplicity 1070. I’d say, “Daniel, only I and a reviewer for Threads* have sewn the skirt from the pattern. Everyone else has opted for the jacket and the tops, so please consider what’s kind of insane about the skirt.” And I’d point to the ostensible pointlessness of inserting a zipper into a knit and fiddling about with interfaced facings and darts. But then I’d have him soldier on, much like I did, worrying mostly about the dreaded BULK at the waist.

He would do a great job, leaving everyone nonetheless in a state of puzzlement about the pattern’s mismatch between the recommended fabric (KNITS ONLY!) and a construction process that is really geared toward wovens.

I’m still in that state, even though I do like the finished skirt. The pattern was one of my mad sale purchases (it cost maybe $1.99?). Accidentally, a little out of my size range, because where my bottom departs from my top in the crazy, inexplicable Big Four sizing seems to be also their preferred splitting point between the smaller and larger sizes. Still no clue how to cut and fit the Big Four tops, but at least I know what I wear from the waist down.

Which was almost no help here because that was the size I didn’t have. So I embiggened the seam allowances, figuring that a pencil skirt best be baste-fitted before the final sewing anyway. As a result, I don’t know how what I cut relates to the sizing at all. The important thing is that it worked, and yes, I am able to sit in the skirt. I hadn’t thought to create photographic evidence of that, sorry. The closest are these shots of me holding up the living-room wall:

Steady there, wall.

I also chopped off some length, as you can see. I’m not convinced by the arguments in favor of mid-calf pencil skirts as being somehow the “correct” length. I enjoy not looking stumpy.

The fabric is a windowpane-patterned ponte from Jo-ann Fabrics. It caught my eye instantly, and that doesn’t often happen to me at Jo-ann. It’s a nice fabric, though a little on the thick side. Yes, things were getting bulky when it got to attaching the facings, because apart from the facings, there were also four darts and the zipper to contend with.

You can locate the front darts more or less in the photos above. And I invite you to spot the zipper and one of the back darts in the shot below:


My strategy for making things less bulky was the triad of grading seams, pressing, and praying that it all works out in the end.

The project came with some tough questions that neither the sparse pattern instructions nor googling answered for me. The crucial among them was: what needle do I use to attach the zipper? Do I hand-pick the zipper?

Well, YOLO, or Carpe diem! if, like me, you grew up in the olden days and watched Dead Poets Society unironically. I went for the universal needle and survived. And so did the ponte and the zipper. I didn’t much appreciate all the fiddling with the walking foot, then the two zipper feet, then back to the walking foot…

I was toying with the idea of a blind hem but in the end I decided to hem it even more invisibly, by hand.

Here’s what the inside of the skirt looks like… in a photo that looked less blurry when I checked before:


Another thing I spent precious time puzzling over was the chances of the waist stretching out immediately into an unwearable mess. The facings were interfaced with knit interfacing, but still… So before I tacked down the facings, I attached a strip of stay tape below the waist seam. Maybe that’s the real YOLO moment of this skirt?… Well, it’s snug but wearable now, though I wouldn’t wear it to a dinner probably.

Brainwave or mistake… brainwave or mistake?…

Serene hanger shots:

Verdict: don’t know yet. Time and fabric recovery will tell if it works. It looks good right now.

*Threads pattern reviews… They’re not really reviews, are they? They basically tell you how many pattern pieces there are and maybe also to be careful at certain points. But there is no criticism or even a hint of opinion in them, which is what I don’t really get. Still, thank you for making the skirt, Threads reviewer, you helped me decide to give it a go.


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I write about sewing, knitting, and may sometimes be tempted to talk about books.

5 thoughts on “‘there will be bulk’”

    1. Thanks, Amanda!

      Now you got the wheels spinning for me: maybe it should be a show in which DDL takes on a different project each time as a character from one of his movies. I imagine him making a quilt as Abraham Lincoln. The theme of the quilt would be “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Occasionally the Threads reviewers do mention a mistake in the pattern, or omission in the instructions, but not very often. Oh well, the photos are good even if they are always on a dressform.


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