And family members have other agendas, I mean if you have managed to convince them to leave you alone while you sew, you can't really ask them to drop everything they are doing to come and help just right now this very minute right?
One of the sewing thing I find very difficult to do all by yourself is to hem a full skirt. I love full skirts, I love fabric, I love wearing tons of fabric. On this particular dress, I wanted a gathered circle skirt with a center pleat, more fabric to wear, more hem to sew, probably all by my own lonesome.
While reading up on how to draft such a skirt, I came upon a possible solution for hemming it without help, so I decided to try it out.
In commercial pattern making, they calculate the skirt overhang and draft the pattern pieces accordingly. We can't do that because we don't use the same fabric for each skirt, but I thought if I do the hanging before the sewing, I could then trim the skirt to the right length using the pattern. Would this work?
Before working on the bodice, I basted the skirt and lining pieces at the waist so they wouldn't stretch and hung them with "weights".
The next day, before sewing the skirt together, I placed the pattern pieces on the skirt pieces and I removed the excess. I was very happy with this solution, feeling clever you know, then I had my moment of interstellar emptiness which brought me back down to earth and, the dressed finished, I hemmed as I would any other skirt.
By that I mean, I made 2 rows of stitches about 4cm apart, used them as a pressing guides, pulled on the top row to ease the fullness, pressed again, did a machine blind hem with the accompanying foot and removed the basting.
I'm not sure this would work other fabrics, but with Ikea curtains, which didn't stretch all that much, it did the trick. And I didn't have to wait to hem the skirt, so this dress was finished in a couple of sewing sessions. Almost instant gratification!
The bodice is from Vogue 2512 for which all the fitting work was done and the skirt is a modified Simplicity 8943, which I kind of messed up. I have all this fabric in the front and much less in the back, I really should have put a pleat there too to balance it out. Call this a designer newbie mistake.
I can live with it as it's a much less visible mistake than an uneven hem, the next full skirted dress should be better.
As always, when I do something like this, I feel like I have made an important discovery that will revolutionize the home sewing business, only to discover that it's standard practice in other corner of the world. If you try it out, please let me know how this worked for you and if we, as member of the sewing collective, can improve on this. We will all win.