Monday, December 26, 2011

Universal, and Magic Pencil Customization

Whew! What a day we had yesterday at Universal, and oh! my poor aching legs. Sad, really, that a full day of walking does me in. I was wearing the brown ankle boots I bought for my Thanksgiving trip. Since they have man-made cushioned heels and soles, they were actually quite comfortable all day long as I knew they would be, and wearing them let me also wear a pair of my newer jeans without hemming or walking on the bottoms. It isn't the boots that I'm feeling today — just the constant use of out-of-shape leg muscles and creeping up on a certain age.

The crowds were ENORMOUS, so I ended up splurging on Express Passes that let us bypass the long lines. Expensive, yes, but probably worth it just in eliminating the irritation factor. The crowds were also enormously international and we felt our Americanism was quite the minority. But since it was Christmas Day, it was to be expected that the park would be filled with folks who don't celebrate it. Of course, there were a few rude peeps here and there as there always are, but by and large and especially with a swarm this huge, everyone else was pretty nice, friendly, and polite — even if we didn't understand a word they were saying to each other. I'm always impressed by international visitors' English skills when speaking to their hosts, even those Brits with the funny accents. ;-)

I haven't really been into the Harry Potter phenom (although I'm thinking I should really read the series via my library and Kindle) but Alex has and he was impressed with that new area of the park, and commented many times on how great the details were. The new Harry Potter ride was very well done too and impressed me, a theme park cynic and non-HP fan. The roller coaster in that section is still the "old" Dueling Dragons now renamed Dragon something-or-other, and it is still a screamer. I did all the coasters and other rides with Alex, except for the one where you end up dripping wet. It was quite warm yesterday (around 80), but I still wasn't up for walking around the park soaked to the skin. I have to say that every time I was strapped into a seat, I felt a little smug that I actually now fit into it comfortably. Or as comfortable as one can really feel when strapped into a seat right before plunging 400 feet. ;-)

My cell battery died way early in the day due to me leaving the screen on by mistake, so I didn't get many photos. Alex has some on his phone that he'll forward to me when he wakes up. Hopefully, they turned out OK and I'll be able to share a few.

* * * * * 

For the sewing part of today's entry, I wanted to document the changes I made to the Magic Pencil Skirt for you and for the review I'll write up later.

The pattern piece on the right, below, is what you get in the pattern. It's the only piece, which is part of what makes the Magic. It's cut on the fold once for the front and again for the back. In order to add a kick pleat, I needed to add a CB seam. Since it's only one piece to trace, I decided I would do that instead of hobbling on to the original envelope piece. So, I traced the pattern and added a 5/8" seam allowance at the CB. Onto that, I added a 2" wide kick pleat extension. I didn't use any magic formula to decide how high to place it. Just keep in mind that if you place it too high, you run the risk of showing your undies. Thankfully, my guess as to placement turned out just this side of safe in the undies department. I should probably lower it an inch for the future.

After cutting, you'll now have three pieces instead of two. Sew the darts. Next, since there is no zipper here, sew the CB seam from the waist edge down into 5/8" of the kick pleat extension and lock stitches. Then continue your sewing but now using basting stitches to sew the remainder of the kick pleat. Press the seam allowances open. Then clip the corner at the kick pleat on the *right* extension, flip it over onto the left and from the right side, sew the extensions in place with an angled line of stitching, as shown below.

Remove your basting stitches and press the under flap to remove the basting crease. (Since I used a stable knit, I didn't finish the raw edges of the seam allowances or pleat. No one will see. But if this bugs you or you're using a ravel-y fabric, finish your raw edges as your first step, before you sew the CB seam). Continue with the pattern instructions, and obviously, start your hem at one side of the kick pleat and end it at the other, so you don't sew it closed at the bottom.

Speaking of undies, I think that's what's on the sewing room agenda today. While I really want to sew about 20 more skirts, I do realize that my closet is getting pretty full of them so I'm forcing a mini break. I don't know how many undies I'll get through because assembly-line sewing kills the mojo for me, but I'm going to make a stab because in the end, I really do prefer my self-made undies. I have a few pairs cut out from before the weight loss that I'll need to recut smaller and I also have some knit scraps from recent projects to add to the production.

I also realized when getting dressed casually yesterday for warm temps, that I'm really, really lacking in the short-sleeved tee department. Which is ironic, since I used to have so many. Well, I still do, but they just don't fit anymore. So I need to alter some smaller/shorter, toss some, and add a few new ones to the wardrobe.

Anything good on YOUR sewing agenda today?


  1. Merry Christmas - sounds like a busy day! I'm de-lurking to say, Christmas dinner is happening here today, so I'm into pies, potatoes and stuffing at the moment. Although yesterday I whipped together 2 long sleeved knit ts for my growing step-son. Hope to get two more put together today. But you are right that assembly line sewing is booorrrring. However, it's winter in Alberta and he needs them.

    Take care good luck with the undies!

  2. Love that magic pencil. Your illustration of how to add the kick pleat is so clear and understandable. Thanks for showing that. I am seriously thinking about getting that pattern. Love the way it fits you. Is the top part tricky?

  3. O.K., you sold me - I just ordered it!

  4. Hi Faye,
    The top part is EASY! You follow the "formula" Pamela gives for choosing your elastic length - which worked perfectly for me - and then serge it to the inside waist edge of the skirt, fold down to the inside, and topstitch/coverstitch. No twisty elastic when you're done, and using the formula, you end up with a fairly flat elastic waist and not a bunch of gathering.

  5. All sounds great :-) I was with family on Christmas Day but came home today desperate to sew and have made two bean cuboid covers. Exciting stuff hey!

  6. Thanks for the easy instructions on adding a kick pleat. Glad you and Alex had a great Christmas Day and tried something new this year. I am still recovering from our Christmas Day (had 14 for lunch)but will try to generate some energy today!

  7. Debbie, I love the new outfit...I am considering making BOTH pieces! I am wondering about the possibility of making the style using you see any major problems there?

  8. Your skirt looks fabulous, Debbie. I'm tempted to order the skirt too.
    Is it a special elastic that you use for the waistband?
    I see it is the panties parade coming up next. Happy Sewing.

  9. I started to make pointe shoe bags as a surprise for the girls in my daughters ballet class. Each one will be in a different fabric (so they can tell them apart) - its good way to use up scraps!

  10. Hello, my New Years resolution is to thank everyone whose sewing blog I read. I have been glued to yours this year and you have inspired me in many ways including weight loss measured by clothes sizes, and sewing with gusto. All good wishes to you and your family. At Christmas prayers in our 12th century church we said a prayer for the US marines in honour of your son! I hope that you have a healthy, happy and peaceful year ahead.

  11. Oh I so miss Florida!!!!! in the winter and at Christmas with all the snow birds and foreign visitors. I even miss Universal and Disney!!!!

    Now having said that, I thank you for the helpful info on adding a kick pleat. I like those in most of my skirts. I just purchased this pattern recently and when I finish with my sewing of tops/blouses I want to give this a try.

  12. I sewed one thing today. A small snap bag to hold the two pillowcases I gifted my niece with. Totally an extra but we celebrated with family today which allowed time for extras. As expected, she liked the snap bag way better than the pillowcases.
    And I agree, assembly-line sewing kills any interest of being IN the sewing room fast.

  13. That's one good looking skirt! I bet you will wear it a lot. Thanks for the instructions for adding a kick pleat. Enjoy working on the undies!!

  14. I did all of the cooking and most of the prep work on Christmas day, which exhausted me so much that I took the 26th off from -- everything! I finally got back into the sewing room this morning and have been plugging along at a project...

    Universal Studios sounds like a blast! I hate to spend more for the Express pass, but if it's that crowded then they make sense. We considered doing Disney this year but realized it would be about $1000 for one day -- far too much.

  15. I've recently become a HP fan and my next universal trip will definitely include the ride. Enjoy the sewing break. Love the magic pencil skirt and your write up.

  16. Hi debbie: Really missing your posts!! Hope all is okay!!


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