Tulip Skirt

Tulip SkirtSo, this post has been a long time coming! I actually made this skirt way back in February but only got around to taking photos this weekend. So, given that you will have to excuse the odd crease as I have worn it a lot since then and on the first day I was well enough to not look a total mess and the light was good I didn’t want to waste any time cracking out the iron!

So, when I made this skirt, I had just signed up to the #VintagePledge, but I decided that I wouldn’t dive straight in to a vintage pattern. In fact, I went for the complete opposite extreme and picked a brand new one! When I saw the tulip skirt from Sew Over It had been released as a pdf pattern I knew I just had to have it. I love full-bodied skirts but I’m not sure that they really suit me all that well, I much prefer a pencil skirt. Well, the tulip skirt lies right between, the pleats add lots of fullness but the shape is maintained.

Stash Busting instead of buying new

P1010661eThis pattern calls for a fabric with a bit of body to it so that it holds the shape. Instead of rushing out to buy new fabric I decided to be good and take a look through my stash. In fact, I chose to use the same fabric as my previous make – this Megan dress. The fabric was so nice to sew and I was happy to be working with it again. I was also glad that it wouldn’t be going to waste! However, I had only just over a metre left and the pattern called for 1.8 m. I wasn’t put off though and decided to forge ahead anyway.

The pattern offers two different length options. Given my lack of fabric I opted for the shorter one but even so had to take another inch off to make it fit! I cut out the waistband facing and pocket pieces from a different fabric to reduce the amount of main fabric required.

Despite this project having lots of new-to-me elements it was actually really quick to sew. The first hurdle was the pleats in the front of the skirt. Even though I had never done pleats before these were super simple and the instructions made everything clear.

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Also, pockets! Can you believe this is the first garment I have added pockets to? I think I will be adding them to everything I make in the future as they are so simple to make, yet add so much practicality . Again, the instructions were clear and I never felt like I was struggling with this new technique. The pockets are just about visible from the outside but as my lining fabric is such a nice match I don’t think it matters and the added practicality of pockets clearly outweighs any negatives they might bring!

 

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One problem I did face with this make was the lack of an obvious right and wrong side on my fabric. This tripped me up a bit when it came to adding the pockets and sewing the side seams. I somehow managed to join the front piece with the wrong side facing out. As you can’t tell the difference on the fabric this is not a problem. It does however mean that my pleats are now going the wrong way. This does alter the look of the skirt a little but I still like it and can’t wait to make another with the pleats in the correct direction!

It seems that every time I insert an invisible zip it gets a little bit worse than the previous one. I still think my very first one on my first Delphine skirt was the best one I ever put in! This one is not terrible but you can see it in places. It doesn’t quite reach the top of the waistband but I think with this fabric it is not too noticeable. Also, I did not have a zip in navy or green to hand and so went ahead with a black one – it’s supposed to be invisible right so this shouldn’t matter!

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Any ideas about the slight gaping in the fabric around my hips?

 

I am so pleased with my pattern matching at the side seams. It wasn’t something I was particularly working hard to achieve. I like to think it makes cutting the pattern pieces out much easier if you place the top of each piece on the same point in the pattern repeat. This means it is a nice happy coincidence that the horizontal stripes match up.

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This was also the first garment I have made that has had any kind of hand stitching. The waistband facing is hand stitched. To be honest I was hoping to just turn under a little less than the seam allowance and use the same stitch-in-the-ditch technique as I used on my waterfall skirt. However, for some reason the waistband facing was shorter than the waistband in places so this was not going to work. I think this might be due to the different types of fabric I used cutting and stretching in different ways, but I’m not certain. I slip-stitched the facing to the skirt by-hand and I really like how it turned out. This makes me happy because I thought I would easily get annoyed with it. Patience is not always my strong point and with hand-stitching you need to take the time to keep it neat.

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Not sure how my hair has magically change from brown to red in this photo!?

Finally, I only turned the hem up by 1/4 of an inch, pressed and then another 1/4 inch before pressing again and sewing in place. This doesn’t look quite as neat as a wider hem but given the lack of fabric and shorter length cut it was about all I could do to keep it decent!

The details:

Pattern: Tulip Skirt from Sew Over It

Fabric: Tartan and lining from Fashion n Fabrics, St. Albans

Notions: Invisible zip, Gutermann thread in navy

Alterations: Size 12 short length, Shortened by 1 inch

I love this skirt and think I will get a lot of wear out of it. It kind of reminds me of a school skirt with its pleats but definitely in a good way! I can’t wait to make another and can see it quickly becoming one of my favourite patterns. It seems pretty versatile and the different length options open up so many possibilities.

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Can’t post about a skirt without an obligatory twirl photo

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and this is what happens when I get dizzy from too much twirling!

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Facebook.

A new dress is for life, not just for Christmas

With only two days to go before Christmas I decided I couldn’t possibly not make a new dress for the big day! I even had thefabric ready: the navy and emerald tartan (I only used a tiny bit for the hem of my Lou Lou dress).

Megan

I’ve been meaning to try remaking a pattern that I’ve already tried in the hope that it would save a lot of time, particularly at the fitting stage so it seemed the perfect opportunity to make another Megan dress as I really loved the fit of my first one.

 

Not having to fit a toile can save tons of time!

I know it sounds obvious (right?) but I guess I just hadnt really ever thought about how much quicker it would be to make a pattern for the second time. As I am still relatively new to making my own clothes the excitement of new patterns is still a major driver when I choose what to make next. However, given that this was a project with a deadline, makiing a second version of a project I know I can get a great fit on was the perfect plan.

The fabric was wonderful to work with, it just seemed to glide through the machine. I wish I knew more about fabrics so that I could look out for similar things in future. Maybe someone will be able to help me figure it out! The only issue was the large checked pattern required a lot of matching. In fact, I didnt really bother too much other than pinning it when folded so that the stripes remained straight and symmetrical about the centre. I just let the side seams take care of themselves (but shh, don’t tell anyone)

stripe matching

In terms of fitting, I pretty much used my toile from last time as a pattern piece. In fact, I only adjusted one thing and that was to make the bodice longer by 1.25inches so that it sits a bit lower down rather than creeping up right under my bust.

megan top

I also added a centred zip. I chose to do this for a few reasons. Firstly, and probably most importantly they didn’t have an invisible one in the colour I wanted. Secondly, as my fabric was a little thicher than the one I used last time I didnt want to get stuch with bulky seams around the zip which can sometimes make them tricky to open and close. I had also just seen this tutorial for one over on the Colette website and really wanted to try it out.

Megan zip

Unlike last time I decided to leave the length of the skirt as in the pattern as I largely intend to wear this dress in the winter over tights I quite like the extra length.

The only other change I made from last time was to redraw the neck facing pattern pieces to match the new shape of the neckline after the FBA and it worked really well – no more weird protruding neckline. The only slight issue is the zip does sag a little at the neckline so I still need to figure out why that is happening but it’s fine if I just wear my hair down over it!

The details:

Pattern: Megan dress from Love at first stitch

Fabric: Navy and emerald tartan?

Notions: 56cm Navy zip, gutermann thread in navy, light weight iron on interfacing

Alterations: Full bust adjustment, 1.25 inches added to length of bodice

I really love this dress and it was the perfect thing for Christmas day, smart but not too over the top for dinner with family!

H.

 

Lou Lou Dress

A few months ago I noticed a new pattern from English girl at Home appear: The Lou Lou dress. It was her first dress pattern and so when Charlotte was looking for people to make and review the pattern I jumped at the chance and was delighted when she gave me the pattern to try.

Lou Lou Dress on HsHandcrafts

I chose to make view A of the dress – a simple shift dress with a cute lining poking out of the bottom. The dress is designed as a summer dress and calls for a lightweight fabric. Many of the pictures of Charlotte’s own look lovely and airy for the summer. However, it was already early Autumn when I had time to begin work on the dress. I decided to go with a navy twill for the main fabric and a navy and green tartan for the special lining fabric at the bottom. As this lining fabric is visible only at the bottom, the pattern allows for a different lining fabric for the full lining. I decided to go with a green lining to match the green in the tartan.

Lou Lou lining fabrics

As the dress is quite loose fitting it was recommended to go from the bust measurement alone. As, with every pattern (and almost every sewer in the world) I fell between 2 sizes. I decided to go with the larger size as I didn’t want to risk the garment being too small. The pattern was also designed to fit a B cup and so knowing there was no way that was going to work for me I decided to do a full bust adjustment adding 1 inch to the front pattern pieces for the lining and main fabric, I also added a bust dart so as not to add any length due to the FBA.

The sewing was actually quite straight forward and the instructions were really easy to follow. In fact I was really surprised to discover that I had just completed my first fully lined dress without only problems. The only thing I might change is possibly understitching the lining especially around the neckline because I have a feeling it will start to poke out after a few hours of wear.

After a quick try on I realised I probably could have gone with the smaller size as the dress was pretty loose everywhere, but this was easily fixed. I took 1/2 an inch off each side seam and resewed the arm holes. I also chose to take an inch off each of the shoulder seams. This made the armholes smaller and lifted the neckline up but this was more for personal preference than fitting issues.

The only problem I now have is the back does sag a little and I’m not sure if this is due to some of the adjustments I have made or if this would have been a fit issue all along

LouLou back

I especially like the detail of the contrast lining at the bottom of the dress. I feel like it allows you to have a layered outfit look without all the bulk.

Lou Lou layers
The details:

Pattern: Lou Lou dress from English Girl at Home

Fabric: Navy Twill from ebay, Navy and green tartan and green lining fabric from Fashion Fabrics in St. Albans

Notions: Gutermann thread in Navy

Alterations: Size 3 with FBA, 0.5 inch taken from each side seam and 1 inch taken off the shoulder seam

I really enjoyed making the dress, especially the fact that I made a fully lined dress for the first time. The instructions were nice and easy to follow. I like the layered look although I am not convinced of the style on me. Given the fact I added the full bust adjustment it feels very big, although once I put some heels on I did feel much better – perhaps it is not one for my everyday style but needs dressing up a bit!

H.

Secret WIPs

It’s that time of year where everything I am working on is toward a gift of some kind. So many of my friends and family are having birthdays, housewarmings, babies…and Christmas is just around the corner. So unfortunately there is a lot I am working on at the moment that I just cant share with you right now. However, I do promise that once gifts have been received I will show them to you in all their glory! I am also going to try and squeeze in a bit of selfish sewing this weekend so hopefully that will be something! In the meantime take a look at this sneaky little fabric purchase from today! I just couldn’t resist!

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