I haven't posted in way too long, but I think that's because my sewing adventures lately have been more like misadventures. Take for instance the Stella Strip Skirt (a pattern by Kay Whitt of Serendipity Studio).
It all started last month when I went to the local quilt show. That was amazing! It was thrilling to see the intricate artistry of so many talented quilters. Of course I perused the vendors' stalls too, and picked up a jelly roll from an area fabric store's booth. My mom had given me the Stella Strip Skirt pattern for Christmas and I was excited to launch into action.
As a first step, I always wash my fabrics before cutting them, but I wasn't sure about what to do with a jelly roll, having never used one before. I googled it a bit, but there were mixed opinions on the subject. Well, I washed it. I threw all 40 two-and-a-half-inch strips in the washing machine, and then the dryer. This is what came out.
It "only" took me an hour and a half to separate all these strips of fabric from this tangled mass and iron them flat. Oh well, on to the next step.
I had one jelly roll, and after measuring, I found out I would need 44 strips. So I decided to make my skirt like the one on the cover of the pattern that is one solid color with the jelly roll strips alternating between. I had some navy blue fabric, which I had bought quite a while ago. I cut enough strips of that to make the skirt. It was fun arranging the colorful strips.
Then I started serging all the strips together. The jelly roll strips had frayed quite a bit, so I offset them to trim off the shaggy edges like this.
This I knew was going to affect the size of the skirt. When it was all sewn together I folded it in half (because the pleats would take up half the width) and measured. I did need some more strips, so I added them. The process of sewing all these strips together filled a long evening. I suppose you could see it as monotonous or meditative, but a good audiobook playing helps.
After sewing 48 strips together, making 24 pleats was next. I include this picture for anyone who attempts this pattern. This was my first pleat, and you can see I didn't get far enough away from the seam when I stitched it. Go ahead and give it some space, otherwise a bit of the colorful strip will show. I had to take this one out and redo it, but having seen this, the rest came out fine.
I thought I had cut all the strips the same length, but they came out unevenly in the end. I just trimmed them off with my rotary cutter.
The directions say to turn the hemband seam allowance up toward the skirt and topstitch it. I didn't want to run a red or navy line of topstitching over all the different colors, so I turned the seam allowance down toward the hemband and topstitched it in red. That worked out fine, so there's a second option for you.
Here's how it turned out. What do you think? I wore it to homeschool moms' bunco night last week and my dear sweet friends said it was cute. I'm kind of wondering though. I think the navy fabric (called rodeo poplin) was too stiff, because I am absolutely unable to press the pleats into the strips. It just bounces right back. And maybe my color choices were a little too colorful. I kind of feel jesterish in it. But I'll wear it to co-op, and my students can enjoy pretending their teacher is Miss Frizzle (of Magic School Bus fame).