sewing fast and slow

I’ve been a very tardy blogger but I have been sewing. I had 20 days off work over the Christmas holidays and although I wasn’t the  whirling-sewing-dervish that I thought I was going to be I did manage to sew and learn and fail and succeed. That brings me to sewing fast and slow. I borrowed the title and the general idea from the book Thinking Fast and Slow by Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics winner Daniel Kahneman.  The book’s central thesis revolves around two modes of thought. Fast, which is, yup, fast and also instinctive, frequent and emotional. And slow thinking which is more deliberate, planned, logical and effortful.

One of my rather limp new year’s resolutions was to be a slower sewer. To choose more ambitious projects and give them the time and attention they deserve. To not rush through hems and final touches.  Then I thought about Kahneman’s book. Well, to be honest, this is where the similarities between the book and my sewing thoughts end, but anyhoooo. I decided that I’m going to commit to slow sewing but also intersperse it with “quick and dirty” projects. Things like leggings and simple pencil skirts that I can start and finish in an evening. This way I’ll get the quick fix of fast sewing while still building my skills with the harder, slower projects.

First fast project? A princess seam pencil skirt, started and finished on one Sunday. The kids were here too and I still managed to finish it, hand-stitched hem and all!

In my quest to find my TNT pencil skirt pattern I turned to Burda’s princess seam skirt from 04/2012 (#118.) There are lots of pretty versions floating around the internet and the pattern call for ONE metre of fabric. How great is that? I really like By Hand London’s Charlotte skirt, but that pattern eats up at twice the fabric because of the waistband. I figured, if the princess seam pattern turns out to be good I can afford some of the beautiful designer fabrics I’ve been eyeing at Tygverket in Stockholm.

For this skirt I chose a nubby hot pink and black boucle from the mystery bin at Ohlsson’s on Sveavägen. I think it worked out to about 50 SEK or 8$. About as cheap as you can get in Stockholm. I added an exposed zipper that I picked up at a thrift store for 5 SEK.

The fabric sat in my stash drawer for a couple of weeks. I was unsure whether it looked a bit cheap, or if it would be too bulky for a slim skirt. But I went for it.

Side note: do you ever get overwhelmed by fabric and pattern choices? Sometimes I have so many choices that I end up overwhelmed and sew nothing at all. But I also get like this in the cereal aisle of the supermarket so maybe it’s just me.

I cut a size 38 of the pdf pattern, marked my seamlines with chalk and gave myself a wider seam allowance to account for the unravelly (my word) boucle. I could go down a size next time.

The verdict?

2015-01-20 10.35.12

I love it! (I need to steam out that fold on the front, but otherwise…)

It’s a lovely pattern. Super quick and easy. The instructions are typical of Burda…minimalist. The exposed zipper took me the longest of anything, and that was only because I’d never done one before. I used this tutorial from Threads magazine.

Is it my TNT skirt pattern? If I can get the fit just right, and it’s pretty close now, then yes!

2015-01-20 10.36.43

Not bad for my first go at an exposed zip.

2015-01-20 10.40.10

In the interest of quick and dirtyness, I didn’t line the skirt, but I cleans up the guts with my Bernina 700D serger.

So how about that slow sewing? Stay tuned as I dive into coat-sewing.


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