A Whole Mess of Shiny Mabels: Bachelorette Party Sewing

colette mabel 3

Welcome to Miami, and welcome to my life at thirty.

A good friend from college hosted her bachelorette party in Miami this past weekend. Aside from too much alcohol and a lot of sweat, a girl can’t complain about friends at the beach for two days.
This friend used to wear shiny homemade skirts for all of our ultimate frisbee tournaments (because college.). So when the order came down  for us all to bring an item that reminded us of the bride for a gift bag, one thing lead to another and three of us came up with this.
.colette mabel 5
We had some time constraints: I had four days between Hawaii vacation and leaving for our trip (it’s a tough life, I know) and neither of the friends I was doing this with are super comfortable with a sewing machine or a pattern. Rather than self-draft like our bride did in college, I went ahead and bought the paper version of the Colette Mabel pattern. Too many sizes to cut and sew in too few days to be messing with self drafting, even if the self-drafted garment is essentially made up of six rectangles. Two of us cut out the patterns on a Sunday, I did the major assembly (skirt pieces together and waistbands together ) on a Tuesday, and we had assembly-line construction, reinforcement stitches and pressing done on Wednesday. For ten of these babies.
There’s not a whole hell of a lot to say about the sewing experience since the pattern’s so fast, so I’ll leave you with some quick notes:
1. If you’re using plastic-y fabric, size up. This biz is from Spandex House, and it’s essentially a slick four-way stretch on one side with a plastic-y metallic coating on the other. My measurements put me in a size small, but the medium fit me. Basically, the coating makes the fabric strain far more than a normal knit does. We had to do double cutting once we figured this out.
2. Something is (maybe?) up with the waistband. I had the benefit of sewing size small through x-large, and on each one the front waistband was about 1/4″ taller than the back. Normally I’d have chalked that up to user error with the pattern, but, you know…so.many.sizes.cut.
I put that out on the Instagram, and @colettepatterns replied saying that was something with earlier patterns that had been modified. I’m not entirely sure if that’s the case, since I bought mine recently, but I did purchase a paper pattern and not a fixable pdf, so who knows. @colettepatterns recommended sewing the waistband pieces together from the top down — which goes counter to the ‘directional sewing’ stuff I’ve read on the internets, but now you know. Match the top of the waist bands. It wasn’t too big a deal that I sewed from the bottom up, knits are stretchy, we’re all going to be okay.
3. We didn’t hem. The short length is super short. F Your I.
4. The back seam is on a straight edge and has no shaping of its own, so I just cut the back skirt piece on a fold after the first few.
5. I used just a straight stitch for all sewing, with a slightly longer length. I also used wooly nylon in the bobbin (BUT NORMAL THREAD IN THE TOP) which did seem to make a stretchier seam. One of my sewing buddies used that same system for a reinforcing stitch sewing about 1/4 into the seam allowance so there’d be no popping.
And that’s it. Adults, in shiny fabrics. You’re welcome.
colette mabel 2


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