As the weather gets warmer and my mind turns to spring knits (cardigans, yay!) I have been thinking a lot about what I hope to make this year to wear WITH the knits. I decided at some unnamed point last year or the year before that I wanted to try sewing again…REALLY try, not just do my usual attempt at knocking something impossible off and then giving up when it didn’t turn out! So I decided to put my teacher-training to use and ‘scaffold’ my learning. (see? making all that education count for something, right? Hah!). This is what I did with knitting and it seems to have worked out admirably, so I am determined to have it work with sewing.
After taking a class at Ray Stitch last year I found myself pleasantly surprised by how much more advanced my sewing skills were than expected. I discovered it wasn’t me that was causing all those shonky seams, but the horrifically bad sewing machine I’d been using! Well, not ALL me, anyway! 😉
So I bought a new sewing machine, a low end Janome from John Lewis that seemed to have more than enough features on it to baffle me for years and figured this time I would start slowly and at the beginning. No more rushing, as is my wont.
A few days before Unravel I decided I had nothing to wear, so pulled out the gorgeous Kokka fabric that I purchased at the Village Haberdashery during last year’s Great London Yarn Crawl and printed up Pattern Runway’s free Easy Gathered Skirt pattern.
I’d made a toile of Sewaholic’s Rae Skirt a few months before, thinking I would make that in this fabric but found it wasn’t full or retro enough for what I was after. After a few wears I also decided that the all around elastic waistband created a combo of maternity-look/annoying crotch-ride that I couldn’t live with – thank goodness I’d made it in a cheap fabric to test out! This skirt is much fuller, less a-line and has a flat band on the front of the waist which is much more elegant without a belt.
Pasting the pattern together probably took the most time for this simple skirt. I decided to use a contrasting fabric for the pockets so I would have enough of the fabric left over to make a matching top one day and found the sweetest sleeping fox fat quarter at the local shop, Thimble-Ina. And yes, the biggest draw was that I liked the idea of having foxy pockets.
The fabric has the most beautiful teal selvedge with Japanese lettering so I decided to make this a tiny detail on the right side waistband. I love little unexpected elements like this and hope to incorporate more of this kind of chance detail in my hand made clothing.
I could have finished this in one sitting, but decided to rest when I got tired and not push through so things didn’t get sloppy. I took my time and carefully finished the edges with French seams, which I am a little obsessed with. I was super proud of finally figuring out how to do the pockets as well. It wasn’t brain surgery, but just one of those little triumphs!
My pattern matching needs work. I somehow managed to get one side of the chevrons to line up…but not the other. And the waistband could have matched the line below better than I managed, but overall I don’t think I did TOO poorly for a very first attempt at pattern matching. If anyone has seen videos on methods of doing this when cutting out fabric, I’d love to see them. I wasn’t really sure what I was doing!
All and all I am super chuffed about this skirt though. It is perfectly full and flippy when on and will be a perfect summer skirt with a tank top.
I went a little crazy with the high of my success and purchased more fabric and a bunch of patterns from Deer and Doe last week during a rather brutal post-show cold so more sewing talk soon! Going to have the best summer dresses EVER!