Liz completes another skirt!

I think I mentioned that I had ambitiously purchased some lovely red lycra stretch fabric to make a skirt. I chose to cut out the same pattern as the black & pink floral skirt: the Workshop Collection Lotus skirt. I found laying the fabric out on my carpet worked better than on my cutting table as it kind of “held” to the carpet and did not slide around. That made pinning & cutting the pattern much easier. Yes, it was hard on the knees & back but you can’t have it all – right?
Everything went well until it came to finishing off the edges of the front flounce and hemline. I could not leave the hem just neatly cut as you can with some knits as the layout of the pattern is unusual so the edges were not along a grain so there was some unraveling. I did not want the risk of runs happening either. So I cut some of the scraps and played with different techniques:
1. Narrow 3 thread hem on my Janome serger? No……… not the look I wanted.
2. Rolled hem on my Janome serger? I discovered I really liked this as it gave a wonderful picot edge. I used red serger thread in the needle and wooly nylon in the 2 loopers. 

Picot edge effect

I was so excited I whisked along the front edges of the flounce as well as the hemline of the skirt. It looked wonderful on the flounce but ugly on the hemline as it pulled and puckered a bit too much for my liking. I should have listened to the voice in my mind reminding me that coverhem is really the only way to go for difficult stretchy fabrics.  Oh dear…. I was disappointed but figured out it could easily be fixed: simply cut off the hemline edge with my rotary cutter and then used the Coverhem Guide on the Janome CPX to do a 2 thread wide coverhem on the hem. How did I know it would work? This time I practiced first to check I liked the result + adjusted tensions for the tricky fabric I had ambitiously chosen. Good, I was happy so I finished that task.

Great (only?) way to treat lycra & similar fabrics?


1. Do NOT iron lycra without a press cloth. I am serious. It will melt if you are not very careful. Certainly will leave an ugly imprint from the iron. I am happy to tell you I do not have to say “ask me how I know”. THIS much I did know before even switching on my iron!
2. Do not try to work on your garment without practicing with fabric scraps first. This way you can adjust Differential feed, stitch length etc until you are happy with the result you are getting. Remember there is nothing wrong with making adjustments to your Janome serger or Coverpro/CPX. That is what the knobs are for – it is extremely unlikely you would get away with no adjustments and practice pieces if you choose the fabric I just did.
3. I found it much easier to start & finish my coverhem using a little “stoppie/startie” like quilters use for 1/4 inch piecing. This way you sew off the “startie” onto your hem edge & the same in reverse at the other end. Much neater & easier.
4. If you perhaps tend not to think ahead like I did not in this case, you might like to consider that you will more than likely need special underwear when you choose figure hugging fabric like this! Unless, of course, you are a slim and trim “20-something”. Sadly, I am not but the correct underwear does wonders for this skirt! 

5. I eliminated the side zipper from this skirt as the stretch of the lycra made a zipper unnecessary. I merely added a broad band to the top edge of the skirt dividing it into 1/4’s to have the fullness evenly distributed. I stitched with a narrow elastic stitch on my Janome sewing machine first and THEN took it to the serger and went over top of that with a 4 thread stretch knit program. Great, neat result. I have found if you do it first on the serger, you have to worry about pins not hitting the blade and when you serge & cut, you are committed! No going back. So it works better for me for projects like this to sew first. Then check I am totally happy with the gathers/fullness and then serge & cut for neat finish and professional result. 

Here is the finished skirt: No, I did not take photo of me IN the skirt as I was alone in the office with no-one around to act as photographer. Nothing to do with the underwear story. Moral of the story: there is always a plan. Mine was to pin it to the ironing board & photograph it there. It worked even if it hangs flatly!


About lizafrica

I am the National Education Manager for Janome & Elna Canada (including Artistic Creative products) and I LOVE to sew! I have been employed full time in the sewing and quilting industry for almost 30 years so I bring a wealth of sewing knowledge & expertise to this blog. I enjoy all forms of sewing from quilting to sewing garments to machine embroidery and software. Pretty much everything in my life is seen through the eyes of a passionate sewer! I am constantly on the look out for fun, innovative and inspiring ideas to share with you all on this blog. I also love to read, knit , travel and spend time with my family and friends.
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