Quoits skirt (Simplicity 8250)

Hello folks! I have a skirt to show you today. It’s Simplicity 8250, which is a reprint of Simplicity 3775A.

 

 

I picked this up in my last ‘3 for $15’ haul at Spotlight. I just grabbed a bunch of vintage reprints because I always regret them if I don’t pick them up and then they go out of print. Initially this wasn’t on my shortlist to make immediately. I was a bit put off by how it looks on the model. It looks to me as if the skirt is sitting too low and the bolero too high, or perhaps it’s too small?

Whatever it is, the proportions look a bit odd to me – or too modern perhaps? I’m having the same issues with 8251 which I like in theory but the proportions look very odd and I can’t work out if it’s because of the model, or the actual proportions. They use this model a lot for the vintage patterns and about half of the ones she models have the waist and bust darts in totally the wrong place, while the other half are fine, so who knows?

Anyhow! I posted my pattern haul on insta and a bunch of people commented how much they liked this one, which caused me to give it a second look. It’s a pretty basic pattern – it’s a 1/4 circle with front, back and side seams. Both sides of the front have extensions of an inch or so that are folded over to create that overlap, which is then topstitched down. It would be incredibly simple to draft this oneself. The highlights are obviously the shaped waistband and the patch pockets.

The quoits skirt was sewn at craft camp. The fabric is a mid weight cotton drill-type fabric that I got from unique fabrics in Melbourne which is basically my favourite place in the world. I have trouble finding good bottom weight fabrics in Adelaide so I was thrilled to find this. I was envisioning an a-line type skirt, something 70s ish, maybe S8019, for spring and autumn. But no matter how many times I got out the pattern and put it on this fabric, I ended up putting it back again. It just wasn’t right. This fabric wants to drape and swoosh! Once I decided to make up 8250 it was the perfect candidate.

I sewed a size 24, the largest size. Obviously I made up the version with the shaped waistband! I was concerned that it would fold and rumple, but I find it sits in the right place on my torso and so the curved portion sits up away from my body just enough that it only folds slightly when I sit down and my belly smooshes into it. I used thick sew in interfacing, too, so it holds its shape nicely.

The only negative is that I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing when I sewed it together, and I didn’t take the curves as nicely as I’d like. As a result they’re not really shapely in the correct way. They’re ok, but every time I look at it I notice that they’re slightly wonky and it does annoy me. I would recommend that you do a practice run on scrap fabric before you sew this, as well as marking the sewing line on the backside so you can be sure to follow it. I was only out by a few millimetres but that made a massive difference on the curve. I didn’t manage a great closeup of this on, but you can see it below – there should be more of an overlap in the ‘petals’.

Pertinent to the above, the instructions for this are not good at all. Despite the simplicity (ha!) of the skirt pattern itself, I would NOT recommend this pattern to a beginner, because the instructions are just chaos. To be honest I only glanced at them to see what they suggested doing for the curved waistband, but I went back and checked them before I wrote this blog post and boy! I had trouble comprehending them at all.

There are separate instructions for the shaped vs the straight waistband, but it just launches into one and doesn’t point this out, or mention the places where they differ so if you are sewing skirt B you are totally disoriented. I would have found it easier if they’d done it all in one and then where it differed, said ‘for skirt B do blah blah, for skirt A do blah blah’ but I guess they were following their convention for writing instructions. I also felt that the sewing together of the fronts and the waistband curves are not explained well at all, and the diagrams didn’t really show the bits I needed visual help with.

They also have you top stitch the front before putting everything together, and don’t continue the topstitching onto the curved band. You can see that’s what they did on the modern remake of the pattern. I think it looks messy and is a real missed opportunity for a nice detail. The vintage line drawing clearly has the topstitching continuing up and around the curved waistband, as Liz points out, so that’s what I did.

I basted the fronts together, attached the waistband, and then topstitched everything in one go. Easy. The basting also made it much easier to be accurate with the topstitching and not pull it out of line as I went. I honestly would not like to attempt it without basting. I’m really pleased with my topstitching on this. I tend to rush it and that is not a recipe for good topstitching! This time I went slowly and carefully and it paid off.

I guess they don’t tell you to do it this way because it would make another difference between the way the two waistbands are sewn so they would have to describe it twice and probably take another piece of paper. But they definitely could have condensed other parts of the instructions to allow for this. (I did cut a small hole in it when I was unpicking the basting because I wasn’t being careful. I don’t have any fraycheck so I darned it and you can just see it if you look closely. Oops!)

The instructions have you topstitch at, I think, 1.5cm. I just did it the width of the sewing machine foot, which ended up something like 7mm? I like it and think 1.5cm would seem very wide to me, although it could be fun and chunky. Maybe another time?

They also have you put the zipper in all the way to the top for the curved waistband, but only to the bottom of the band for the straight and add a hook and eye. I did not do this – I find I need a hook and bar for my skirts to sit nicely. My stomach expands when I sit down so without that the waistband will gape. I extended the waistband so that I could put one in. Unfortunately I cut this out a few weeks before craft camp and forgot I’d done it. Because of this and also being uncertain how the fronts went together, I sort of winged this part and ended up with a messy overlap – on both sides!

I fixed it with some hand sewing but it’s messy on the inside and definitely not my best work. Oh well! It does mean it’s got a hook and eye on one side and a press stud on the other which turns out to be kind of good because it keeps the band sitting straight, which means the front curves don’t pull outwards or sag. I have been contemplating re-doing the waistband because of the poor job I did with the curves and the overlap but so far it’s not quite annoying enough to bother doing that.

I also bought a bulk lot of the hooks and eyes on etsy for less than a pack of 4 at my local stores… except my local stores have stopped carrying the large size altogether. And then they have the nerve to complain that online retailers are taking their profits! I’m TRYING to give you my money! Please stock the things I would like to buy and that are your supposed core business, instead of decorative glass bouys and hen’s night novelties!

Anyway. The bulk lot is good because I inevitably end up losing the bars and only end up with hooks and at least my odds of retaining some are better with more of them.

I should also mention I’m still trying to work out how to reclaim my blue wall for photos – the waist on this skirt looks EXTRA high but that’s because I haven’t quite worked out the height the camera needs to be at to get good shots while balancing on my bed, so it’s too low and has the effect of shortening my waist. I mean this is a high waisted pattern but it’s not right up under my boobs like it looks here. You get the idea, anyway.

Balancing on the bed is worth it but it did get a bit precarious…

I hand picked the zipper on the principle that it would actually be quicker than trying to do it by machine and having to unpick and redo it five times. It’s not totally neat but I am getting better at this process, and I actually really enjoy it. I made it centred rather than lapped because I found that easier to work out how to do and I’m still new at hand picking so I wanted to keep it simple for my brain. I also hand sewed the waistband facing down, and hand sewed the hem after letting it hang for a week – it did sag quite a bit on the bias.

This skirt is quite long, so after trying it on I decided on a three inch hem. I didn’t do the gorgeous patch pockets because I felt it might be too much with the curved band, so I added inseam pockets.

I was going to add a lining as well, but because I cut it out beforehand I accidentally cut a lining with a side opening. I didn’t have enough fabric on me to cut one that would open at the back, so I just went without. This means I can’t really wear it now, as it’s too cold, but it will be perfect for spring and even cooler summer days. It’s surprising how much warmth even a thin lining can add!

 

TL;DR

  • Sewed a size 24
  • Added in seam pockets
  • Hand sewed zippers and hems
  • Added a hook and bar to both zips
  • Basted the front overlaps together first, did the rest of the constructing and then top stitched
  • Continued the top stitching up and around the waistband (top stitched the underlying half of the band first)
  • Next time I would take more time with sewing the curves of the waistband, and mark the seam lines to make sure I got the curve exactly right.

 

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Turnstone skirt

Hello lovelies! Here is my new favourite make (my favourite is always whatever I most recently finished, ofc), the skirt from Simplicity 1166.

I’d already made the top, but the skirt was what originally made me purchase the pattern. I don’t buy many skirt patterns because how many variations on ‘cut a rectangle, maybe shape it a little, attach it to a waistband’ does one person need? About three, according to my stash… but I do keep an eye out for skirts with a bit more shaping or some drafting details, and I thought the pleats and shaped waistband of this one would be interesting.

The fabric is a very lightweight cotton denim from DK fabrics. I stopped in to get some silk organza for a presscloth and interfacing, and ended up also getting 3 metres of this at $5 a metre. Couldn’t resist. It’s quite light with a thin stripe through it, and a denim weave, and it’s got a lovely slubby natural quality while also being gorgeous and soft. It’s a dream to wear and I suspect it will wear well. I’ve been thinking about going and getting more to make a shirt, but I think it would make me look washed out if it were close to my face.

I didn’t buy it with this specific pattern in mind, but just because I need some more casual, nuetralish skirts that I can wear with tshirts on the weekend or on casual Friday. I settled on this pattern and then discovered I didn’t have quite enough fabric. This fabric is about 120cm wide, which meant the pattern didn’t quite fit. Which was annoying, since I’d already cut out one front panel. Holding that panel up to my waist I realised the skirt is also LONG, and hit me at a place which made it looks very dowdy, so I folded 3″ of length out of the pattern and managed to fit it on the fabric, just. I had to cut the waistband with the stripes running horizonatally, but I was considering doing that anyways.

Here it is with its intended shirt:

My waist measurement is just over the largest size for this skirt so I held the waistband up to my waist and decided it would be a bit tight, so I added and extra 2″ total to the back waistband. I had meant to add some extra to the side seams when cutting but forgot – and it wouldn’t have fitted on the fabric anyway – so I just sewed the side seams smaller. I also put some elastic in the back – I zigzagged the ends of the elastic to the waistband facing, pulling it tight so it gathers in. I do need it – I suspect the waistband would have fit me perfectly as drafted but then it would have been too tight when I sat down. I don’t at all mind the gathers on such a casual skirt and anyway, a gathered elastic band is better than a falling-off or cutting-in-half skirt.

I do want to move that top button in because it sits where my stomach starts to go in again so right now it sticks out a bit. There’s supposed to be a snap on the inside between the third and fourth button but it sits fine without it so I didn’t add it.

It needs to come in maybe 0.5cm

I also had trouble putting it together. This was about 50% user error and 50% poor pattern writing. I was still a bit sick while sewing this and also did not read the pattern very carefully because it’s a skirt, right? How complicated can it be? Well. I got all the skirt bits together but then they didn’t fit the waistband! I checked and it hadn’t stretched out – I’d stay stitched – although I did find a pleat marking I’d ignored, because I hadn’t been able to work out what the pleat paired with. Always a good sign. Like finding one leftover screw.

I was feeling CROSS with this skirt by this point, so I ended up just sewing it up the back until the skirt fit the waist, and then chopping the extra off. I basted it to the waist and tried it on and it looked… fine, but a bit awkward. I decided I’d go buy some buttons and put them in and see how it hung when properly buttoned.

Before doing this though, after a day of cooling down, I googled to see what other people had made. Seamstress Erin has made one, and mentioned no  issues, and La Sewista has made one – she DID have problems and, like me, couldn’t work out where that pleat was meant to line up. But I could see from both of theirs that their pleats were closer to each other and to the front than mine, and the side seam was not at the sides! You can just see this in the line drawing but it’s not clear, and it’s not explicitly mentioned anywhere in the instructions. The instructions also don’t point out where the pleats line up – they just say ‘sew the pleats by matching up the markings’ or something similar. But there was enough information to tell me that I had done a bad. So I unpicked everything and serged the bits I’d cut off back on. Luckily, in the stripe, you can barely see this at all! Here is the back side of it, so you can see (and also see the evidence of the denim weave:

And here it is on, the join is just barely visible, if you look.

So I re-examined the pattern to figure out where I’d gone wrong. The back panel is actually marked ‘back and side front’ panel, because it is meant to wrap around the front. And there was a pleat line I’d missed – one of the larger size pleat lines is mislabelled ’14’ rather than ’24’ so I’d not seen it. The trick is that there are the two front pleats and then the third pleat goes around the pocket – so there’s a pleat line about two inches from the side seam of the front piece, and another two inches from the side seam of the back piece. The pocket therefore sits in a deep pleat, and it and the side seam are hidden. I found this very hard to photograph, but here are my attempts:

you can just see the pleat seam to the left of the pocket
I’m holding that third pleat open
Pulling the pocket bag out – no dollars but no moths either, thankfully

I still think the sizing is off on the larger size, though. Even after working out my error, the skirt was too big for the waistband – and this is the waistband that I’d added 2″ to! I ended up sewing the side seams at the regular seam allowance, and also taking a bigger pleat. I suspect that the two front pleats should be bigger, and perhaps a bit closer to the placket. From the diagrams, it looks like the front is supposed to be small enough that the pocket bag sits under the facing, which is not the case for me, but perhaps that’s to be expected for the bigger size.

I am still struggling with taking good photos of the insides, sorry.

Anyhow, after a bit of fiddling I got everything together, and the pockets sit exactly where they should, and it looks GREAT. The first time I tried it on after I had sorted out my error I was just thrilled. Luckily this fabric is very forgiving and shows no sign at all of all the times I had to unpick things.

I did consider lining it but decided to keep it breezy and light. It’s long enough that it weighs itself down and I don’t miss the lining. I just top stitched the hem, although I note it drags at the back, just enough that I notice. I thought this might be because I didn’t account for my swayback but I noticed the back hem shows even on the hanger, so I suspect a cutting error when I took the length off. I’ll go back and fix it eventually but I might leave it a while in case the hem drops on the bias. I hung it for two days before hemming, with no dropping, but sometimes it takes a while.

Cat-meo. Cameow?

I also initially put in some square buttons, because they were the only ones I could find that I liked. I knew before I sewed them on that they would always look wonky, and they did. So I took myself off to the Button Bar and Veronica sorted me out, as always, with these round wooden look ones. They’re actually plastic and sewn on backwards because they have an engraved star on the front that I didn’t like. I should have known better than to go anywhere else (the square ones were from Lincraft) but Veronica only works later in the week these days and I bought my buttons on Monday. Didn’t want to wait! Should know better.

I don’t think it really shows in the photos but the placket is a bit wonky at the top. Another time I would top stitch it – the pattern doesn’t say to and I complied, but the wonky is from it rolling a bit unevenly so I would topstitch or at least understitch. I also initially pressed the darts to the side because I find that more flattering, but it looked odd because the side pleat was going the other way, so I went back and pressed them to the front as the pattern directs.

The pockets are pretty small and shallow – they perfectly fit my work pass card, and my phone and wallet fit but feel a bit precarious. Anything too heavy drags the skirt down a bit though so I don’t think I’d bother to change them if I made this a second time. I find the length perfect and would have been overwhelmed if it were any longer. The waistband does fold over the day but I don’t think it looks bad. It just is.

Here’s a TL;DR of the changes I made and problems I had:

Changes

  • I made the largest size – size 24 – for my 110cm-ish waist
  • I shortened the skirt 3″
  • I added 2″ to the back waistband and then added elastic to it.
  • I used sew in interfacing because that was the heaviest interfacing I had.

Problems:

  • The pattern is very unclear about where the pleats go
  • The first two pleats pleat on the front piece
  • The second two pleat around the pocket and side seam – one side of the pleat is on the front, and one is on the back.
  • I found that the skirt was still too big for the waistband, despite having added length to the waistband, so something is very off there.
  • I suspect that the larger size pleats haven’t been sized up enough. If you are making this, I suggest lining everything up to check before you sew the pleats, to see if it will all fit together.

I’m a bit unimpressed with those drafting and instruction oversights, to be honest. I’ve not come across any discrepancies this large before in a Big 4 pattern. However, the original vintage drafting is so clever and neat, and I feel like it gives a perfect amount of volume without compromising on comfort or ease of movement at all. I think this will be the perfect casual skirt – I don’t intend on doing much housework in it but if yoga pants didn’t exist I think this would be the next best thing, and very practical, although I think this fabric might be a bit warm in full summer. I will definitely put this on the list to make again.

 

Winter skies skirt

Hello pets! Long time no see! I wasn’t sure how long it had been so I checked – two months! That was longer than I thought.

It’s winter, which means of course not many daylight hours for photography. I also haven’t been sewing much from a combination of the winter blahs and logistical issues. I’ve been prepping and painting my bedroom – from beige to a beautiful but hard to photograph deep teal. In the meantime all of the stuff from that room is piled into my craft room. My cold, cold craft room. I have actually set up a little corner in the living room and done some sewing lately because I was getting quite twitchy from not sewing anything but I do have to pack it up after this weekend. S has been very patient but I don’t want to make our shared space unpleasant and cluttered. I’m hoping I’ll finish the trim on that room this weekend and perhaps next weekend I can move everything in and get my craft room back!

Anyhow, before all that kicked off, I did sew something. Another Butterick 6285 skirt

I love my other one so much and I wanted to wear it just about every day, so I figured another one was in order. I really needed another black skirt too, so I started to keep an eye out for a suitable fabric. This is 100% poly taffeta from Lincraft, and I originally bought it as a lining but then I decided that I liked it enough to make a whole skirt out of it. I have some poly taffeta from spotlight and it is stiff and basically like a kids party tablecloth, but the lincraft stuff softened up really wonderfully after washing, presses well, doesn’t crease and is a delight to wear. I am so thrilled! Plus it’s only $9/m where spotlights is $15. They have limited colours – only four on the website – but I would absolutely sew with this again. It’s moderately shiny, I wonder if a whole dress of it would be too much to wear to work? Probably.

I don’t have a huge amount to say about this make. I lined it in the same way as last time, with the same fabric. The fabric was super wide, and I got the skirt and lining and pockets out of 4m. Score!

The only downside is that, being 100% artificial fabric, there is no give at all. I made the same size as last time but the waist is tighter than it should be when sitting. If i made this again in this fabric I would give myself an extra cm or two at the waistline. I solved the problem by setting hooks and eyes right at the edge of the waistband, but I think I will go back and add some length just to the waistband. It will still have that gap there above the zip but it will look better. At the moment I always wear it with a longer jumper over it so I’m not too fussed but I would like to be able to wear it as pictured, tucked in, without it looking strange.

I am also considering going back and redoing the hem, which I just quickly machined and it’s quite wibbly, as per usual for me.

I also think, when/if I make this pattern again, I might move the pleats 1″ in to the centre, especially on the back. I think that would make them hang a bit nicer and be more balanced.

This has been in high rotation since I finished it – I wear it at least once a week to work and I wore it for my annual solstice dinner – with my Monet top which worked ok. I’m going to try wearing the top a bit and see how I like it but the sleeves are an odd length so I can’t wear my thicker thermals under it or another top over, so it’s currently still too cold for it right now (if you’re soft like I am. I know it’s not really cold, comparatively, but for lizard people adapted to 35C temps its COLD). But this skirt is a hit and I could probably do one more of this pattern in my wardrobe, if I can find some fabric I like enough.

A big thanks to my partner S for being my tripod for these photos. We went out for brunch and did our democratic duty voting and then found a little park behind a community centre. S held the camera while I did my thing, since I hadn’t brought my tripod and he wasn’t feeling well enough to cope with my fussy photo requirements. I still haven’t gotten the settings right – the dynamic focus mode seems to work ok if I am in exactly the right range but if I’m too close or far I still get blurry ghost face (or blurry ghost back of head!). I need to play with it some more. I edited these photos with Picmonkey (so glad it’s back!) and it was nice to have a bit more control than the dumb photos program that comes with windows gives you. I probably should look into proper software for editing but given that I can’t even be bothered to do a proper hem… #priorities.

Also, a quick note about instagram, which I have linked a couple times here – I have a closed account just because I prefer to have some idea who is seeing my stuff on the internet, so I feel ok posting more personal things than I would on the wider net. Nothing scandalous, mostly just photos of me fitting garments with my stomach out, and endless photos of my cat. I pretty much grant all requests if the person is clearly a crafty person, or just a normal insta user. I only filter out spam accounts etc. If you have a private account and want to follow me maybe send me a message so I know you’re a real person because I do tend to deny those requests. If you’re on insta I’d love to see you there!

Anyway, that’s enough from me, I’ll probably see you again in another two months or so! Stay warm (or cool).

 

Malmaison skirt

Hello lovelies! How do you like my new skirt?

Myself, I am pretty thrilled with it! It’s Butterick 6285, one of Gertie’s patterns. I bought it for the top, the skirt being a pretty simple thing to draft and I wouldn’t have considered it worth buying a pattern for. It’s a full circle skirt, but with four double box pleats – two front and two back – making it very full and giving it wonderful movement.

B6285
B6258

The fabric is a jacquard-print sateen from Spotlight that I bought on impulse at one of their sales. I was there buying 8 metres of fleece for a planned dressinggown and needed a more exciting purchase to bolster my spirits. Full credit to my partner S for finding this shoved at the back of everything after I found a bolt with only 1 metre on it and was sad. He is truly an excellent fabric hunter, and the envy of all the other women trapped in Spotters. I saw the fabric and immediately thought of this pattern and couldn’t get it out of my head.

The pattern is cut on the cross grain – made necessary by the large sweep of the skirt and also lending extra springyness to the skirt – and it’s a real fabric hog. It calls for just on 4 metres for my size, and I used it all – if you’ve got wide fabric it leaves an annoying strip of unusable scraps. Oh well. The pockets I did in a plain white broadcloth I had in the stash, which is nice and tightly woven and perfect for pockets. They peep out a bit and I wish I’d used navy to make them less visible but oh well. I really like the way the pockets sit at the exact right point to add to the flounce of the skirt. The pleats are also places perfectly, and help avoid that weird droopy fold at the front that a lot of circle skirts get.

Technically I am sized out of this pattern – my waist measurement is something like 3″ bigger than the largest size. However going off several reviews, especially Heather’s, I knew that this skirt was drafted big – 3″ too big, exactly. WHY people insist on putting extra ease in circle skirts where it can’t do anything but cause them to droop from your hips, or shift around, I will never understand. However, I shouldn’t complain as it meant I could make the size 22 right out of the packet – in fact I even took a wedge out of the centre back seam for my swayback.

The back has an invisible zip, and a hook and eye. The skirt is actually a bit loose in these photos. The last skirt I made I put the hook and eye in a bit tight, so I think I overcompensated on this – or perhaps I just hadn’t eaten as much the day I took photos. My stomach is the first place to show any temporary or permanent fluctuations for me so… [shrug] It fits ok still but if it stays this loose I will tighten the hook because it does shift around a bit. The hem is just a short 1cm turnup because I didn’t want to loose any length – I initially cut the skirt out 1″ longer but then realised my addition was wonky so went back and cut it as per pattern.

How do you like my photo location? I liked this skirt so much I didn’t want to do another boring wall shoot. Instead I ventured out into my neighbourhood. I tried a couple of other spots which were ok but the lighting  conditions weren’t right, but this path worked out pretty great, I think! Except that I need to stand more off the path so those dang signs aren’t in shot. It’s amazing what you don’t notice in the tiny viewfinder, when lining up a shot. Or is that just me? I walk this path every day on the way to the train, and even though it’s a fairly busy thoroughfare, on Sunday afternoon there were only a couple of people there. I just brought my phone so I could pretend to be checking messages when there were people, and waited for them to pass. I thought I would be terrified of being in such a public place but it was actually really fun! I scouted another couple of places which are promising but closer to a main road (but also closer to my house) so we’ll see if I’m brave enough for those another time.

Back to sewing. The lining is a thick mystery fabric I had in my stash – it’s short because I only had a couple of metres and that’s all I could get. It’s hefty enough that it adds to the swoosh of the skirt in a very pleasing way. I cut it by folding out the pleats in the pattern and cutting the lining from that, as Gertie does here. All edges were overlocked and then sewn.This skirt went together quite quickly, even with the marking and pressing and sewing of the box pleats. It took me most of a Sunday but that was because I stopped and started a lot. Perhaps three or four hours, from cutting to done, not including the muslin?

I think this pattern is very well drafted, and actually quite worth paying for! Which is saying something for a circle skirt pattern. The only quibble I have is that it never tells you to take the basting out of the pleats. It shows them sewn up the whole time. Looking at Gertie’s example and going by my own preference, I took the basting out but I see that some people have left it in. All fine according to preference, but it is an oversight in the pattern not to say.

Look at that glorious box pleat. Wrinkling over the bum not so much, I think I might need to steam that area a bit, since it’s got extra curve because of the wedge I took out.

As you can see I didn’t bother to pattern match, because I couldn’t be bothered. It would be easy enough to do if you cared. I also sewed a small bar tack at the base of the zipper because I find my skirts have a lot of strain there and the seam often pulls apart.

My top is also me-made – yet another Kirsten Kimono tee, with fabric from Rathdowne remnants that I bought on my recent Melbourne visit. I don’t remember what, it feels a bit crepey and maybe a bit rayon-y? It’s very comfortable to wear. I took yet ANOTHER inch out of the front centre of my pattern and it’s finally sitting right, I think. I need to go back and adjust the sleeves back down thought because the scooping of the front has swung them up. They sit ok in this light fabric but I’d have wings in a thicker fabric.

I am really in love with this skirt – it’s so easy and simple to wear, with very little bulk around the waist (I trimmed those box pleat seams at the waistband very aggressively) but it’s full and it is SO fun to move in. Honestly maybe I should have taken a video because this thing is so lovely in movement. Instead, here’s an attempted spinning shot:

I feel glamorous and elegant in this. I probably have enough skirts for now but I would definitely make this again if I could find the right fabric, and I’m excited to make the top from this pattern as soon as I stash dive and find some fabric for it.

One skirt, two skirt

I spent like thirty minutes not blogging this because I couldn’t think of a name for it. I knew the naming thing would get me! That’s too much thinking and delaying for a simple 3/4(ish) circle skirt.

What would you call this one?

But! It’s not just ANY simple 3/4(ish) circle skirt! It is the reincarnation of the one that I had so much trouble with in December. I thought I probably had enough of the fabric left to recut the back, but every time I looked at the skirt I just felt tired. There were sewn-shut pockets and a waistband and the denim was light enough that I just knew unpicking would be a challenge and I might end up with a stretched out mess.

After craft camp, I was looking for a displacement project so that I could procrastinate on finishing the dress I started. What, isn’t that how you get anything done? Well anyhow, I laid out the denim and I figured that with a bit of creative positioning I could get a whole entire new skirt out of my scraps. Hooray!

I just went and checked my last skirt and for some reason I cut the whole front on the bias – like, so the bias runs across the whole of the skirt from the bottom corner diagonally to the opposite top corner. This is not making any sense, is it? Basically idek why I did that, but it made the front hang funny. So clearly a whole bunch  of good decisions happened with the last version… Anyhow, this time I cut the front so the centre front is just on the straight grain. The backs I meant to cut with the centre on the straight grain but I got my pattern flipped around. The centre back is actually significantly different to the centre front because I took a pretty massive wedge out of the centre back for my swayback/big booty. So the seams of this skirt meet at different biases, which is supposed to be a big nono but it seems to be fine so far. I tried to take a photo  of it but it is quite hard to photograph, so you’ll either have to imagine it or lean in real far on this side view:

I guess you can kind of tell anyway, because of how they are sitting. The back side is on the straight grain, so it’s hanging stiffly and a bit out from my body, while the front is draping. I do notice some hem weirdness – the pattern I had made had a shorter back than front somehow so I ended up adjusting on the fly and I think I need to smooth out the curve at the bottom because the centre dip of the circle is too deep and so hangs low. OR it could be because of the bias issue. I am not sure. Any thoughts?

I also need to smooth out the circle at the top at the centre back – see how it’s bubbling up? I think this is part of the on the fly adjustments I made. As you can see, there’s elastic in the back there. Here is how I constructed this skirt.

I cut out the pattern but with the waist area about 1″ lower, so that the waist was wider. I then measured around my waist with 2″ elastic so I had a length of elastic the fit my waist measurement. I cut a straight piece of the denim about 2″ longer than the elastic. Then I basted the elastic, slightly stretched, inside the denim so they met up and the denim was slightly gathered when the elastic was at rest. I then basted this on to the skirt.

Unfortunately I had two issues at this point – one was that I had cut the elastic too long and it wasn’t sitting firm enough. The other was that the denim was not quite as stretchy as I’d thought and so it was quite a wriggle to get into it. So I hoiked it until it looked about right and chopped off another two inches off the skirt, and re-sewed the elastic, totally forgetting that I needed to make it tighter. When I realised, I unpicked only the back section and tightened it, which is why the back is gathered and the front isn’t. This is fine by me, as it offers a much smoother look at the front and minimises the evidence that I am wearing clothes with elastic waists.

Next time I would:

  • start lower at the waist than I did – I’d even take a bit more than I did for this one, say 4″ total off the waist depth. The front seam rolls up a bit, I think because it needs more width, and it is a bit of a song and dance to get into (literally a dance, sometimes) because there’s not really enough ease in that waist to get it over my hips. Starting out right would mean I could be sure not to end up with a wonky curve, like I do at the centre back.
  • extend the length down – I forgot that obviously taking an length off the top means the skirt will be shorter! It’s fine, but I wish I had another inch of length.
  • pay more attention when cutting to get everything on the correct bias!

Here’s the innards:

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I lined it using the same pattern as the skirt but starting even further down and then gathering it. I’m not sure that’s working really well for a skirt with an elastic waist? Anyone lined a skirt like this before? I suppose if I were making the waist wider anyhow I could just treat the lining and skirt as one – I gathered the lining to the skirt fabric on the premise that the denim would stretch, but since it doesn’t really I probably could just treat them the same as each other. You can see that the waistband is serged on, catching the edge of the elastic. I used the selvedges for the side seams and serged the others. Hem is just serged, turned and top stitched. Another lazy, slightly wibbly hem. It’s my calling card!

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Back waistband

All in all, I am really happy to have this in my wardrobe. It’s not perfect – another of my calling cards! But it’s pretty good and I love the simple shape. The shirt I’m wearing in this and the last post is yet another Kirsten kimon, made with a mystery fabric from my stash that I think I got from an opshop but I’m not sure because I don’t really remember. I guess it’s probably pique or something similar, with some kind of poly content but mostly cotton. It’s mildly see through so I was trialing it in pics to see if it’s opaque enough to wear to work. I think I vote yes (especially since I end up wearing a jumper all day e’ry day anyhow. My office is freezing). Earrings are from Have you met Charlie, and I am kind of obsessed with them.

So there you go! I finally made myself that 3/4(ish) denim skirt I’ve been craving, AND successfully avoided having to set in sleeves in my dress. A resounding win! Now I just have to figure out what to do with the other, dodgy dress which I can’t bear to throw out because that’s a lot of good fabric in there! I have issues.

School witch skirt

Hello lovelies! This here is my second and last finished item from Craft Camp. I also rehemmed my navy 6055, and sewed about half of another dress which is still languishing un-finished. It’s also my second attempt at naming things. How am I doing? It feels very strange.

This is another Butterick 6102b6102_env_front.B6102

Last time I sewed view B, but with the pleats un-picked. Actually I took a couple more quick photos of that one for you because my last photoshoot was windy and you couldn’t really see the skirt very well. Here ’tis:

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I did not pattern match on this at all but I love the way the fronts are flipped mirror images of each other – this continues into the centre of the pleat where they meet in a lovely way.

I love this one with the pleats un-picked because for this fabric I wanted a very fluffy skirt, but I do think it would be wonderful with them sewn down as directed.

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It’s one of my favourite things to wear and I get a lot of compliments on it. I thought this time I’d try view D – views A and C are scandalously short, even on short-legged me. Be warned!

The fabric is a black sateen from Spotlight that I’ve had in my stash for ages. I’d used it to make a dress out of so I knew it had flaws – it wrinkles a lot and it attracts lint like WOAH. I eventually gave away that dress at least partially because of the lint issue – I live with a light coloured cat, so lint is an issue that’s not going to be solved any time soon! Anyway, I wasn’t sure I’d like this view of the skirt and I had this in the stash so I figured if it only worked as a muslin that would be fine.

I was also a bit sceptical about the straight waistband. Generally, straight waistbands and I are not friends. But this one seems to be ok – I think the top of the skirt is shaped enough, and the band itself is thin enough, that it’s working. I didn’t adjust for my swayback and you can see the skirt droops slightly at the back, because it sits lower in my sacrum than it does on my stomach. Hypothetically this would be easy to fix another time, but I don’t know that it bothers me so much.

Trying to pose like the pattern image. Haven’t got the right smug facial expression though…

I made a straight size 22, and it’s a teeny tiny bit tight at the stomach. If I made this again I might take just the front pleats perhaps 1/2cm less, and extend the waistband. That said, at least it means the waistband sits where I put it – it’s not obviously or uncomfortably tight, but for a work skirt that I sit in all day it’s mildly suboptimal.

The back is a lapped zipper again, and it turned out ok! Very exciting for me, I am so bad at them. Although I see here that the zipper stop is visible, so I should go back and fix that. I took a 3″ hem, just folded up and sewn with a straight stitch, although it is a great candidate for a blind hem. I also sewed a hook and eye into the waistband.

Here I had sat down for five seconds, and you can see how it’s wrinkled, and it’s also picked up every piece of dust in the vicinity.

I lined it by sewing the pleats, and then laying the assembled front and back pieces over lining fabric and cutting around them. Worked great! I find with the green version that the centre pleat, being a heavy pleat with lining under it, gets caught between my legs as I walk sometimes. This is assisted by the fact that I have terrible posture and lean forward – it happens with my Bon Voyage dress too, and standing up properly ameliorates it. But I figured a straight lining rather than an underlining would work better. I also graded the waist seam very aggressively. The only thing I don’t like about my green version is the waist seam at the CF where the pleat is is VERY bulky. I do think about going back to grade it but it would be annoying to get to so I haven’t as yet.

The pleating in this is really clever and elegant. It’s a bit hard to see in stills but when it’s in motion, the pleats open up just at the right spot and the torso looks slim and the skirt flares out beautifully. I love it a lot. I didn’t actually do a super great job of sewing the pleats to the same length, though, oops. Also the front ones started to come unravelled, so note to self, if I make this again, sew the pleat section a couple of times to give it strength, and maybe even a bar tack? It was simple enough to tie them off manually but I worry it will break under pressure later.

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Close up of wonky pleats

I love the length of this, although I am inclined to wear taller heels to mitigate potential frumpiness. Although lbr, I am just going to wear it with whatever because sometimes (often) I cannot be bothered with heels. I also found out that now I am wearing longer skirts, I have solved one of my enduring problems: how to have warm legs in winter. I hate feeling constricted around my stomach so I very rarely feel able to cope with stockings, especially as even the plus size ones are not made for people with stomachs (looking at YOU, We Love Colours. Disappointing.) Last year I wore knee socks all winter but it does look a bit juvenile, especially when your preferred outfit is a shirt dress! I have tried thigh highs and garter belts and all kinds of things and lots of things are ok but just annoying enough to be discouraging. However! With longer skirts, you can just wear knee socks!

In this photo I am mad because I had just realised I forgot to put the dynamic focus on and so all my previous photos had my face out of focus. But this was my second attempt at photographing this dress, so blurry ghost face photos it is!

And THIS cranky look is for the remote battery, which was dying. not such a risque photo as you can see my bike shorts start soon after my socks end. Unless you’re into that sort of thing, I guess? In which case that’s fine but don’t tell me about it, I don’t want to know. Anyway. Knee socks and midi skirts. Problem solvered.

I am really happy with this skirt and it’s already doing its turn in my wardorbe. I’m not sure how long it will last because it IS very lint attracting. But at least I know now that it’s worth making another in a less irritating fabric!

Plain ol’

Here is the black skirt that I made. It’s the skirt part of a dress pattern from Ottobre Women 5/2011.  There’re three dresses in there that are variations of the same pattern. I made one at craft camp but haven’t gotten around to photographing it, but I wore the skirt today so I asked my boyfriend to take a few photos, since he was around. It’s totally boring, but I’m trying to record what I made so that I remember things, and also so I feel like I actually do stuff.

Please excuse squintiness – it was bright – and the general garden malaise.  I’m in the process of sorting it out from winter neglect, and there’s s*&t everywhere, frankly. Not that there isn’t always, but it’s even more terrible than usual.

It is so, so comfy. I wish I could remember buying the fabric, but it’s some kind of stretch cotton, almost certainly from spotters. I lined it with a stretch satin from goodness knows when/where. I had juuust enough. I just cut out the skirt portion of the pattern with no seam allowances, whizzed it together on the overlocker, overlocked the top of the skirt and the lining together, hemmed it and top stitched the waist. I didn’t bother adding a vent or slit, because it’s stretchy. I was worried that was a mistake but it’s fine. I’m planning another couple of quick skirts in non-stretch wovens, and I’ll certainly draft a vent in that case.

Butt view. I don’t know if you can see – maybe if you peer even closer at my butt – but there’s crinkliness happening at the waist. I won’t bother with this one but another time I’ll do a mini sway back alteration, aka chop off a curve from the back.

Bonus chicken photo, avec rubbish. Because.