Last year at the Spoolette swap day I picked up a piece of fabric that had blue roses on it. It was a polyester which I don’t normally like but because it combines my favourite colour with my favourite flower I was drawn to this piece.
I decided to make a skirt with it to wear at an event in March. Because of the polyester fibre content I decided I wanted a lined skirt. I found the perfect simple pattern in my stash Butterick 5431 (again it came from the swap day) I wanted a simple pattern as I had never made a lined skirt before. I read all the instructions, laid out the pattern pieces to trace them out and couldn’t find my size. I then took a closer look on the outside of the pattern envelope and realised it wasn’t my size.
I went through my pattern stash again and found a similar skirt pattern Simplicity 2184 view B but it wasn’t lined (which is probably why I didn’t choose it in the first place) I used this pattern and instructions to make my skirt but added the lining in via the instructions from the Butterick pattern.
Confession I get confused with seam allowances and how much you need to add if you are going to overlock (serge) all your edges before doing your seams. The skirt is made up of 4 pieces cut on the bias. I have never cut a pattern on the bias before. I needed to added a little extra as my hip measurements were a bit bigger than the pattern. I added extra to both sides of each pattern piece but thinking about it afterwards perhaps I only needed to added extra to the centre seam sides, or do you add more to the sides and not the middle? The end result is that skirt is a little puffier than I wanted but it isn’t the end of the world.
The lining is attached only at the waist band so it moves freely from the outer skirt underneath. I used a black cotton voile. I made it a couple of inches shorter so it wouldn’t be seen.
Looking at my check list of things to consider when making clothing
- Comfort √ Yes it isn’t tight and I have room to move
- Classic √ Yes it is a bias cut A line skirt
- Creative / Quirky √ Yes the rose print is very 3 dimensional
- Natural Fibres √ Yes to some extent as I have used cotton voile as the lining
Originally I had made this skirt just to wear to Australian Sewing Guild’s 20th birthday lunch in March but have decided in the last couple of weeks I can also afford to go the Sydney Spoolette’s Frocktails event in February so this skirt is going to get 2 uses soon. I know it will be in my wardrobe for years and will get use whenever I need an item that is just that little bit special.
I had leftover colouring in fabric from when I made the Colour Me Happy skirt back in January so I have made a second one.
This skirt is pretty much identical to the previous one except for some reason even though I was wanting to make the same size I cut my fabric out wrong, when I stitched it up instead of fitting a 7 year old it fitted maybe a 3 or 4 year old. I sliced off my seams and started again. I actually went to a department store and measure a skirt to see how big I should make it this time, keeping a tape measure in your bag when out shopping comes in handy. I was running out of fabric so this skirt has 2 side seams instead of just the one seam like original. I did all my seams for this one on the overlocker.
This skirt is to go with the bucket hat I made a couple of months back. I again will also add marking pens in with the skirt for the child to use.
I have completed my skirts for the Pattern Review One Pattern Many Looks contest. The pattern I used was Simplicity 1071, after doing my test skirt to check the size I have made the skirts in XL.
For my first skirt I used a cotton lycra called Pigeon Lace by Tyglycka. It was love at first sight when I saw Zebra Fabrics post a photo of this fabric on Facebook. I am not a white person but this print is amazing. The piece is 180cm wide too so you are really getting your money’s worth from it. It feels so soft and light.
For the hem I used my coverstitch machine. I wanted to keep it very simple. Sadly my tension may have been out a bit or I hadn’t feed the fabric through smoothly so my hem isn’t sitting flat. It isn’t a total disaster as it looks like a pin tuck finish. As the print is so busy really it isn’t that noticeable as you don’t really see the stitching on the hem line. I brought this fabric with the intention of making this skirt. I purchased a little extra than the pattern required so hopefully I will have enough to make a matching top.
For my second skirt I used some black cotton lycra I found in my stash, most likely I brought it from Spotlight last year. It has a slightly heavier feel to it. I wanted to make a classic black skirt. To add a little interest to the skirt as classic doesn’t need to equate to boring I added a trim to the hem line.
To attach the trim piece I first did a double folded hem and secured it with a row of stitching – confession I just eyeballed it and didn’t get out my hem gauge to check it was even. I pinned the trim onto the folded area and did a row of stitching either side of the ribbon detail. I wasn’t sure how stitching a firmer piece of trim onto a stretch fabric would go but the hem line doesn’t stretch and this is a heavier fabric so it works well.
I love the trim piece and can proudly say I made it up myself. At the ASG Simplicity Industry Day this year I picked up a roll of black cotton lace. I weaved some 9mm satin ribbon through the eyelet holes in the lace. I love the combination of them both. They both add interest to the skirt. The ribbon was the only thing I needed to buy in making these skirts as I had everything else already in my stash.
The skirt pattern itself is so simple to make up – a front, a back and 2 pieces for the waist casing. It is a great pattern to have in your stash as it is so basic you can change it around by changing the fabrics or trims or length of the hem.
Looking at my check list of things to consider when making clothing
- Comfort √ Yes it is super comfortable
- Classic √ Yes it is timeless look
- Creative / Quirky √ Yes the blue fabric is a little different and the black trim is one off (unless I make it up again)
- Natural Fibres √ Yes I have used cotton lycra
I’m happy to say my new skirts are perfect for me. They are a simple skirt that is comfortable, they will fit in with other pieces of my slowly growing “Me Made Collection”
I have decided to enter a competition on Pattern Review where contestants take one pattern and make 2 or more versions of it by changing the fabric print or embellishing it with trims or changing hem lines. I have decided to enter it as a personal challenge to see if I can do one pattern many ways. In the past I have made the same Aline skirt pattern in multiple fabric prints but never changed anything on it.
The pattern I have chosen is Simplicity 1071. It is really basic pull on skirt pattern. When I took my measurements I discovered I was between sizes of L and XL I decided to do a test skirt first before cutting into my good fabrics to see if the XL would be too big.
The fabric I have used in this test skirt is a cotton knit. It similar to the fabric I’m using in my skirts. I purchased this fabric earlier this year as part of a bundle from Melly and Me. I hadn’t gotten around to using it yet. I had few pieces to choose from but holding up my pattern pieces that I had traced out discovered this green piece was just the amount of fabric I needed.
If you look up close it has tiny polka dots and little green petal things. The fabric is actually dark enough that you can’t see through it too much. In this photo it looks very crushed and that is because I have been wearing at home around the house a lot the last couple of weeks.
I still haven’t hemmed it and to be honest it may never get hemmed. Unhemmed it falls on my knee line. It is so soft and comfortable. I normally wear pj pants and shorts at home but this is nice to have on. As I mentioned it isn’t too transparent so I can wear it when I have delivery people over or if I go down into a communal area of my unit block. My neighbours have seen my in pj’s anyway but I never wear anything too revealing or inappropriate. This test skirt is the perfect house skirt. Using more of the knit fabric bundle I got I may make more house skirts. I am happy with this size and have cut my competition skirts out using this size.
I know cats are often associated with those who craft but I’m a bird person. I don’t have any birds of my own but I am fond of the local avian wildlife that come to visit me. When Emma Jensen designed her Melba fabric range last year for Ella Blue Fabrics I instantly fell in love with it and this year I was lucky to get my hands on some.
This is another A+ Skirt by Make It Perfect. This is skirt number 5 that I have made using this pattern. Once again I stuck to the most basic version of the pattern. I really should get adventurous and try making one with the pocket option but I was so obsessed with this fabric I just wanted to get the skirt made so I can wear it.
This was the item I attempted a coverstitch hem on for the first time. To recap I missed sections of the hem line as with coverstitch you work with the garment right side up so you can’t see the fold line underneath. I have since learnt that when you’re doing a coverstitch hem a good tip is to first baste it all the way around and use that basting stitch as a guide between your needles so that you have to something to follow by eye. I haven’t tried this out yet but I will do that on my next hem I coverstitch.
To fix them hem I decided to fold it over again so effectively it is a double rolled hem like I have done on all the previous skirts. I used a monopoly clear thread to stitch it into place. I initially tried to do it by hand but the stitches weren’t even so I figured the sewing machine was quicker to get it done and by chance if you do look at the line of stitching (which isn’t noticeable from afar) the stitches would be even.
As you can imagine this is my favourite skirt at the moment.
Recently I was lucky enough to do another workshop with the talented Anne Whalley. The theme of this workshop was “Know Your Style Profile and Choosing Best Patterns For Your Body” As I’m still trying to figure out if I even have a style this was a great workshop for me to attend. If you were to ask me what my style was my answer would be I don’t have one. I don’t dress up for work or out. I throw on what ever is clean and moderately appropriate.
We begun the workshop by filling out a questionnaire given to us by Anne so she could learn about each persons lifestyle, clothing preferences, personality. One by one Anne went through each persons answers and asked additional questions. Afterwards she wrote down 4 statements / words that she thought summed up what each person was aiming for when they make an item of clothing. It sounds odd but it was a like a checklist of things to consider when choosing an item of clothing to make or buy. My 4 were
- Creative / Quirky
- Natural Fabrics
I would totally agree with all 4 statements. I am super fussy with clothing, if it isn’t comfortable I will not wear it. I like clothing that is breathable so stick to natural fibres where I can. In clothing I want items that I can wear today and in 10 years time, I don’t do fashion trends. My personality is little odd and off centre. I like things that are a little bit different. I like to put my own twist on things. So yes those 4 statements are me. I am also pleased to realise the patterns I recently purchased from Simplicity fall into that classic category. The pieces looked comfortable and they looked like I could wear them for years and years.
For my work wardrobe which is where I’m really missing items as I want to take it from daggy to professional but not overly corporate (I’m sure that is an actual style if not it is mine) Anne wants me to focus on looking at jacket styles. She has given me homework to check out classic styles of jackets at the shops and see if there is any in particular that I like. One thing Anne did stress is that it is wonderful to have a wardrobe of things that you have made but it is ok to buy items if they it is missing from your wardrobe and fits in with your needs. You can thing concentrate on making all the other pieces in your wardrobe. I think jackets fall into this category for me. I’ve made a couple of zippered vests before so I guess a jacket is just a step up from those.
There was only 4 us of in the workshop so Anne held it at a café. I really liked the intimacy of the small group because it felt like you were chatting over coffee with friends which basically you were. Each of us brought different fabrics and patterns (or photos of them) with us to get Anne’s thoughts on if they would suit us or not. The 4 of us were very different in personality, lifestyle, sewing needs. It was very interesting to see the needs of each person. Anne also pointed out colours and styles that anyone could wear no matter what they looked like. I was really surprised to learn that a teal coloured jacket that I threw on that day after having in my wardrobe for about 10 years was a colour anyone could wear. I may have to start wearing that jacket more..
I found the workshop very beneficial. I came away from it with lots of ideas and tips, not just what patterns I should look at making but also how I make my clothes. My gift making is my primary reason for sewing and anything I do for charity or myself comes after that. Instead of feeling guilty for spending a heap of time working on my clothes I need to break up my clothing making into chunks, working on bits at a time. Cut the pattern out one day, sew a set of seams another day. I love this idea as it makes it feel all more manageable. I’m already looking at my 2017 plans for gifts and I’m going to take what Anne said on board and organise my sewing / craft time better so that I can fit everything in that I want to and not feel guilty about doing anything.
I have a small problem in winter when I have flannel sheets on the bed and wear flannel pj pants I stick to the bed which is a small issue when I need to turn over every 30 – 60 mins. I wake myself up as I have to really put effort into moving and the bed really jerks around. My solution was to make some pj’s in some silky fabric that would slide against the flannel. By chance when I was clearing out my linen cupboard I found a queen size polyester satin top sheet that I never use. It was just the thing I needed to make my pants. I love the idea of upcycling and it is something I really want to do when I get the chance.
PJ pants have been on my todo list for ages, months ago I drew up my pattern Simplicity It’s So Easy. I did the size XL It is a nice basic pattern and that was all I needed.
I’d never worked with any type of satin before but that didn’t faze me. It was very slippery as I was trying to place my pattern pieces on the fabric but I had a solution last year I purchased a foldable cardboard cutting board at the Simplicity Industry Day. Laying that on the table first than placing my fabric on top instantly made it more stable to work with. This was the first time I’ve used my cutting board and it won’t be the last so if your ever thinking about one I can recommend them.
I overlocked all my edges first then stitched it on the regular sewing machine. I cut my fabric a little larger than the pattern as I wasn’t sure how much would come off when I overlocked it. The pattern says you can easily make it on the overlocker and to be honest next time I will. It took longer the way I did it this time but never mind I still ended up with the same result. I did have a laugh just before I stitched up my side seams I looked down and thought “Oh crap I’m making scrub pants” If you have ever had to wear scrubs that tie at the side you’ll know what I’m taking about.
For the elastic I went through my stash to see what I had. I decided to go with the a knit elastic I found, it was the right width and felt nicer than the woven elastic I had of that same width. I stretched the elastic around my waist until it felt comfortable and marked it with a pen I then added about 1″ to the pen line before cutting. Silly me forgot to measure how long I cut it out of curiosity. Once I threaded it through the casing I tried the pants on to check the fit before sewing the elastic together. Threading elastic through casing is one sewing job I just don’t like. A nappy safety pin is now going to live by my sewing machine for this purpose as I struggle with anything else.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to determined the front and back of these so by chance I left my elastic gap in the back (I never checked when making the casing) So I did some decorative satin stitches to close the gap and identify which way they go.
Originally I tried to use the border pattern at the end of the sheet as a feature at the bottom of the pants, however when I tried on the finished pair they were miles to long. I should’ve actually cut the them and fixed it properly with a double folded hem but I just folded the ends up and hemmed them that way. As you can see I had to take them up a lot.
These pants are by no means the neatest sewing I’ve ever done. There are pleats in my hems and a few other tiny flaws but it doesn’t matter I still ended up with what I wanted pj’s I could wear that would slide on the flannel sheets and they cost me nothing. I’ve tried these out and yes they work. The pattern is unisex and I’m really happy with it. The fit does look a little bit loose but if you adjust the elastic to your waist you’ll be fine. These aren’t fashion items they are functional comfy pants to wear at home. I live in pj pants summer and winter, I don’t want tight ones I just want ones that stay up without my having to hold them. I’ll be making these again but I will be adjusting the length. Also next time I think I will just do them on the overlocker and only do the hems and waistband on the machine. I need to get more knit elastic too as it is perfect. They still do look a little like scrubs but I’ve never seen scrubs this fancy or this flammable 🙂