Friday 30 April 2010

Birthday Skirt

Today is my birthday (Happy Birthday toooo meeeeee!). Bizarrely it is also my other half's birthday, oh and his twin sister's. So there is much birthday celebrating going on in my household this weekend. My brother and his lovely wife are coming to visit us and we are all going out for tapas. As I don't get out much, I wanted to dress up and feel pretty for our birthday dinner. So I have made myself a skirt! I am still shocked by this amazing feat, especially as I didn't have a pattern, so I made one myself. I don't start small do I?

This is the first skirt I have ever made. I may now know how to use a sewing machine but my clothes sewing skills are non existent. Before starting my skirt I spent a lot of time on the internet looking for patterns. A simple A Line skirt is obviously a rare pattern as I couldn't find one. I think it is because it is so easy most people who have tried clothes sewing know how to make one. So I looked for a tutorial instead. I found several: (bit too straight for me) (both of these two are stretchy skirts) (waaaay to complicated, a wrap skirt is beyond me just yet, but maybe one day) (bit too long and flowy) (Didn't want to make an elasticated skirt as I knew I was short on fabric) (Yes! This is the one!)

The tutorial I used from isew, made the pattern incredibly easy to create. I decided I wanted to make the skirt around knee length as I didn't want anything either too long or too short. Plus I only had a metre of fabric to use. One thing I will say to inexperienced sewing people is that if you are going to make a garment that has lines on it get more fabric than you think you will need or you are going to be tearing your hair out! And yes my fabric had stripes in it. Do you remember this?

This one of the fabrics I bought at the Sewing for Pleasure show in March. I wanted to make the black floral print go horizontally round the skirt, but due to fabric constraints I had to make it go vertically. I also wanted to put the giant rickrack several inches up the skirt as a kind of divider. Again this didn't happen due to fabric constraints. I barely managed to get enough fabric to make a knee length skirt, and had to chop the bottom 1" off the pattern piece in order to fit it onto the fabric whilst lining up the two pattern pieces. (Why didn't I know that plain fabric is much easier to sew with????) In order to lengthen my skirt I used the rickrack on the bottom hem. I think it worked brilliantly. Here is my finished skirt in all it's teal, grey and black glory.

I am so pleased with my first endeavour into skirt making. I even lined it with white cotton, which really helps with the way the skirt hangs.

I inserted a zipper using this tutorial, and all the following in sequence, which was pretty useful.

I fully intend to add a hook and eye to the top of the zipper, to neaten up the edges and also to reduce the strain on the top of the zipper. The seams that got ripped when inserting the zipper have got a little bashed up, but I'm sure after the first wash and press, they will be fine. Until then, its going to be covered by my linen shirt (shh, don't tell the ironing police). Where the rickrack met at the side of the skirt got a bit messy, so I just tucked it up inside the skirt and hand stitched in place. The gap, really isn't that noticeable and is better than the weird overlapping waves that were there before.

I managed to get the stripes to line up, and I really like the way a triangle of spots is made along the sides of the skirt.

I love the way the rickrack prettifies the whole thing, and that it came about through pure necessity. I was going to use that rickrack no matter what!

And yes, the fabric does match the feature wall of our lounge. That colour has seeped into my subconscious and leaps into a lot of my purchases at the moment.

I think that the necessary changes to the way I envisaged this skirt, have made it work better than I anticipated. I think the floral pattern and the spotted panel going vertically up the skirt is much more striking, unusual and slimming. The way the stripes meet up at the seams gives a great chevron effect, which wouldn't work as well with the floral pattern meeting up, and the rickrack on the hem just looks plain fabulous.

Making the pattern from my own measurements has also ensured that I have an incredibly comfortable skirt that sits on hips and doesn't cut into my waist. This is a major requirement in my life because all of my pain in situated in my pelvis and abdomen. Clothes that press on my waist and stomach cause me increased pain. This skirt will be great for sitting down at dinner tables and will probably be a firm favorite for travelling in, because sometimes even elasticated waists are too tight.

I hope to use this same pattern to make another similar skirt from the other fabric I bought at the NEC. I want to get that finished over the next few weeks, in time to be worn on my holidays. Until then I think this new skirt is going to worn to death. Comfort and style in an invidual fabric, what more could a girl want?


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