Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Suanna - Pattern Instructions

Are you ready for easy, rewarding, woman-empowering sewing?

Good. Me too.

I said before that if you can sew in a straight line, you can make a Suanna. That's true! You'll also need to be great at ironing, kinda-sorta measuring, eye-balling, streaming Netflix, and maybe watching CSI Miami, if making fun of Horatio is your thing. (It's a vice of mine. Ha! See? Miami...vice? Ok I'll stop. [dramatically puts on sunglasses]).

A disclaimer before I get going: I've never tried to write directions before, and it was a challenge! I never knew how many times I'd want to write the word "fold"...


Style Description: Suanna is a maxi length wrap skirt.  All pieces are made with only two cuts into the fabric.  Bottom and side edges are finished with a narrow hem; button on the inside of the waistband closes the skirt, with further closure achieved by attached waistband ties.

     - your fabric (amount TBD below)
     - one 1/2" button
     - regular tools and notions: thread, pins, etc.

For Suanna's length, your fabric should be close to 60" wide.  To test your print and width before buying, know that one selvedge should be towards your waist and the other at the floor. The fabric will hang long past your feet right now, but no worries - you're going to cut it!

In all reality, guys, you don't actually need to measure anything, so don't stress. Wrap some fabric around your waist and buy what feels good and seems like enough + a little extra for good measure.

But if that doesn't work for you...
How much fabric to buy depends on 3 main things: waist measurement, hip measurement, and how much over-wrap you desire. You'll want to get a cut of fabric that is at least your hip measurement.

For example - 
     waist: 28"    hip: 40"     wrap: moderate
I suggest buying a length that's at least 40 inches long. 

For my orange Suanna, I think I had just over a yard and a half of fabric. (I wish I measured - sorry!)


Print Placement
1.  If you're using a print, you will want to test its placement in different areas on the body. The three photos below show different placements - look at the waistline to see differences.

Chartreuse triangles at the top - it's ok, but I don't love it.

Black triangles at the top, which is ok, except for the fact that now
the chartreuse hits the hips and looks dowdy. Bleh.

WIN! Turquoise triangles at the waistline move the chartreuse to below
the hips and the black lines frame the hips. To my eye, this placement is flattering.

Built - in Waistband
2. Once you place the print, press at your fold. The fabric you folded to the inside will become the waistband.

3.  Working with the folded fabric, place the raw edge on the fold, wrong sides together, and press.  (You now have double thickness of fabric.)  Fold that same piece in half again towards the original fold, creating a thick built-in waistband. I think the picture below explains it much more clearly than words do.

Left side of the photo (above my hand) shows the first fold and press
Right side of the photo (under the iron) shows the second fold and press

4.  Fold your built-in waistband to the inside along your original print placement line. With all this pressing and folding it can be easy to forget where you want things to go!
Stitch 1/4" from the top edge. Stitch 1/4" from the lower edge of the built-in waistband. From the right side, you should have two rows of stitches.

Waistband Ties
5.  Remember I said not to worry that the length was super long?  You're going to use all that extra length as the material for the waistband ties. Wrap the skirt around your waist and determine where you want the skirt to end (leave room for a narrow hem!). Cut off the extra length.  My print made this really easy, as I could follow a line in the design.

In the photo above, I've already cut off the length. 

6. Cut that new section of material in half length-wise.  You now have two long pieces of fabric about 4 inches wide.

Fold each piece in half length-wise, right sides together.  Stitch one short end and the long edge. Make sure to leave one end open so you can turn the piece!

Cut away extra fabric on the long edge and at the stitched end. It will make turning the piece MUCH easier.

Turn both pieces and press. You should now have two long waistband ties.  Set them aside for now.

Finish side edges
7.  Finish each raw edge, excluding the hem, with a narrow hem. Your print may help you sew a nice straight line so you have a flowy drape in the overlay.  Here's a photo of a finished side edge at the waistband.

Button Closure
8.  Experiment with how you want to wrap the material.  How much overlap do you want to have? Have fun with it.
Once you decide where you want your button closure to be, just pin it closed.

Pinned at the top where I will put the button closure. In my left hand I'm holding the overwrap for the skirt.

Here's how the overwrap naturally falls.

I'm pointing to where  my closure will be.

9.  Attach the button to the wrong side of the overflap waistband.
Create a buttonhole on the right side of the underflap waistband.

 For my skirt, I decided to make two overlapping buttonholes - one pre- and one post- pasta dinner, haha! Seriously, a series of buttonholes is a great way to make the skirt more adjustable.  Two was enough for me, but you could certainly make more if you like.

Attaching the waistband ties
10. Here's another one of the really flexible parts of Suanna: waistband tie length. Though mine are really long, yours don't have to be!  I like having the option of wrapping them around my waist twice for a more casual look, or just once for a more elegant, long closure.

To suit my personal taste, I attached my ties just in front of my body's midline on each side.  Fold under the open edge on the unfinished tie ends and attach.

Lower hem
11.  Finish the bottom edge with a narrow hem. That's it!!

There you have it, the pattern-free, measurement-free Suanna!