My crochet wool skirt wasn't holding up - literally - around my waist. What to do? Flax fiber to the rescue?
I spent weeks creating a crochet skirt that I got compliments on every time I wore it. My head was getting big - but so was the skirt's waistband as the day went on! By late afternoon I was stuffing a bit of the skirt into the back of my leggings. Thankfully, I was testing the skirt out during cooler winter weather.
But, this skirt is for summer wear, and I knew I needed to 'fix' it to make it wearable throughout the day without stuffing it into leggings!
My first thought was flax fiber. I have written about Patty at Aker Farm in Enfield, NH, and her flax fiber. I wondered, could she make me a lighter weight flax yarn, a DK or sport weight that would match the thickness of the yarn used to create this skirt? If so, I had a plan!
I emailed her, and she replied right away - great minds think alike as she told me she was working on sport weight! The yarn is 2-strand and she could send me some right away. A larger volume of stock will be available on her website in May 2022. Knowing she hand processes the flax from growing it to spinning, I felt lucky to get a preview of the fiber. You can check out how flax is processed into fiber in an earlier blog post.
I had to wait a few days for the fiber to arrive. Once it did, I immediately crocheted a few rows of single and half-double crochet onto my skirt. Initially, I only reduced the waistband by a few stitches each row, hoping that the fiber's stiffness would be sufficient to hold up the skirt. I added a button and tested out the newly adjusted skirt.
Unfortunately, the skirt still sagged. It wasn't falling off as it did with wool alone, but it became apparent that the skirt waistband was just too large. I had not adjusted the gauge correctly on the pattern. It called for cotton yarn, not wool and the give (or ease) is different in the fibers. Not a surprising mistake considering I am a newbie at garment creation.
I also like clean lines, and with buttons already adding a belt wasn't my first thought. So I needed to find a solution that fit my esthetic as well as my body. Lengthening the skirt a few more rows while reducing stitch count was more desirable than adding a belt.
Before adding the flax fiber, I noted that the top of this skirt had a wool crocheted edge. This edge created a more professional look and allowed for the easy vertical insertion of buttonholes. Thus, I couldn't simply add to this edging without creating an odd look. I knew that the finish would not be as clean on this 'fixed' skirt (see image above). I added some extra stitching to the inside with buttons for stability but could not do so on the buttonholes' side as it would show. I also had to put in a buttonhole while crocheting horizontally. Not quite as posh a finish but I needed to make my skirt wearable!
On my second attempt to make the skirt hold up, I also had to decrease rows to make the waistband smaller. I continued with 1/2 double crochet stitches and decreased every 6th stitch for the first row and 10th stitch for the next row. I hoped it would do the trick.
It became apparent that I needed an additional button, a small one. I picked one with a similar color to the flax fiber and stitched it on. I realized I had not made a buttonhole, but the crochet stitches themselves would work as a buttonhole for this small button. Since the buttonhole was part of the stitch, I could adjust the skirt during the day by moving the small button over a stitch or two - bonus!
Finally, after snugging it up a bit more, I realized moving the additional large button on the flax would also improve the fit without affecting the drape of the garment. I am now pleased with the fit, and although the fibers do differ, I believe the skirt is wearable, and most will focus on the stitching of the lower part of the skirt and not the band.
Lesson learned - don't give up - there is an answer to be found for every issue! Now I need to find a solution for the poor fitting cardigan I shrunk in my new washer when the installers switched the HOT and COLD taps. Look for this fix in a future post!