Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Miss Peggy Walks in the Woods

Happy Thanksgiving week, friends! Or, my dear international ones, Happy Week of American Friends Posting Pictures of Turkey Dinners on Instagram! This week has been much busier than expected, with family coming in early and wedding plans demanding attention, so my promised princess seam FBA post will have to wait until this weekend. In the meantime, I'm going to channel Macy's and parade out some giant balloons finished objects.

First up. we have my wearable muslin of the Peggy Skirt from Bluegingerdoll Patterns. 

This fall, I've made a point to sew up more separates. It would be easy to sew up dress after lovely dress, but in the chillier months I love having layers to pile on. A skirt that works with sweaters and boots is priceless! Ergo, when Abby from Bluegingerdoll released the retro high-waisted Peggy skirt, I bought it the same day.

The Peggy skirt comes in three waistband variations--straight, curved, and sweetheart--with eased-in faced pockets and optional waistband tabs. For this first one, I used inexpensive polished cotton leftover from my Elisalex muslin, so I went with the simplest construction possible: a straight waistband and no tabs.

The Peggy skirt was my first Bluegingerdoll pattern to sew up, though I own both the Mae blouse and the Billie Jean dress, and it was a joy to create. One of my favorite things about sewing with indie patterns is, of course, the packaging. Bluegingerdoll added some great personal touches in this arena: heavy weight pattern paper, a pretty Kraft paper envelope, and a twine closure. Lovely!

Even better, the pattern itself is a mentally stimulating project. At every step, there is something to differentiate it from a Big 4 straight skirt. There are two small tucks in the front--which not only add visual interest, but increase the ease of movement--in addition to darts in the back, the aforementioned bagged pocket, a lapped zipper, and button waistband closure. While all those details don't make it an ideal beginner's pattern, I absolutely loved them. 

The only true weak spot of this pattern is, in my opinion, the instructional insert. Perhaps it's because I began sewing with Simplicity patterns, but I prefer exhaustive directions and these were a little skim. Like some other indie companies, the Peggy instructions periodically referred one to online tutorials, instead of providing all the directions right at hand. If you don't already know how to do a lapped zipper, for example, have your computer at the ready!

For the pocket, specifically, I wish things had been clearer. It was such an unconventional construction that, without a really great diagram, I ended up sewing my first one incorrectly. Though it doesn't show on the outside, my pocket facings are inside out, as a result. If this wasn't a muslin, I probably would have re-done it, but my first rule of muslin-making is not to be a perfectionist. I absolutely love how the pocket turned out, however, gaping just the right amount to be cute and hold my cell phone perfectly.

Fabric wise, the polished cotton I used for this Peggy is a classic red with tiny white polka dots. It wrinkles like crazy, as you can see from these photos, and was a quickly regretted sale purchase. Y'all, I bought five yards of this stuff for some unknown reason. Five yards of icky-feeling, slippery, polka dots. Thank heavens for muslin making! This is no longer staring at me from the stash and I've actually ended up liking both garments I made with it.

There weren't many changes to make for this skirt either, just a few pesky fit adjustments. As the pattern was drafted, I was between two sizes, so I cut the larger one and graded down at the waistband by three inches. Aside from that, I took a much larger hem than instructed -- a little over five inches, in the end. The Peggy skirt is designed for a vintage-inspired length, with the hem falling a few inches below the knee. This skirt length can look adorable on some people, but I'm decidedly not one of them. So, I indulged myself and took a deep hem instead, which put it at the top of my knee. Much more flattering!

In the end, this turned out to be such an adorable skirt. I absolutely love the high waist, which seems to work better in this skirt than my other autumnal love, the Zinnia, and could wax poetic about these pockets for days. I won't, though! Instead, I'm already making another one for Thanksgiving day, in a large scale wool plaid. This is the perfect pattern for a TNT cozy skirt. If the Peggy is anything to go by, Bluegingerdoll Patterns is an indie to keep an eye on. I can't wait to try out Abby's other designs!

The details...

Things I Loved:
  • The pocket! It's a genius little design, once you have confidence in the method, and adds a really special detail. 
  • The pattern! I love when indie pattern companies opt for thicker pattern paper. It's so much nicer to trace and cut around. 
  • The waistline! High waists can be uncomfortably restrictive, but because of the front pleats in the skirt, the Peggy is delightfully comfortable. 

Things I Changed:
  • Cut a smaller waistband.
  • Took a very large hem - over five inches. 

Things I Would Change, If I Made It Again:
  • Add the tabs! I love this design detail and will definitely implement it next time around. 

Notions & Fabric:
  • 8 inch zipper
  • 1 vintage button
  • Two yards of cotton - $8
  • Fusible Interfacing

Construction Time:
  • Three hours, including the hand-sewn zipper and hem.

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