A summer skirt...


Earlier this week my friend Melanie and I shared a sew-along day across the miles... The wonder that is the internet made it possible to send our progress photos and ideas to each other in an instant. It was great fun! You must go see the wonderful 1940's style tweed skirt Melanie made!! She is a creative wonder and inspiration! For our sew-along, I made a skirt too! :)))



A while ago I had ordered a 2 yd/meter length of what was listed as a dark indigo light denim/chambray. It seems much too thin to be denim to me, I think it's more a chambray in a denim blue. Great quality fabric, though. I purchased the fabric from On Trend Fabrics, a UK-based shop via Etsy. Anyway, also in my stash I had two Simplicity/New Look skirt patterns. I went with the one on the left in the photo, the 6053, and I made the skirt in view D, which has a longer A-line silhouette. 


For a seemingly simple project, it turned out to be a difficult one. On the pattern packet is printed *easy 2 hour* ...uh, huh... It took me two days to finish this skirt. I encountered a lot of problems with fit, and that is why this project took more time than anticipated. I had hoped to knock this out in one afternoon! ha... I had cut according to my measurements, but the waist turned out to be w-a-y too big. It took me the better part of the sew-along afternoon to figure out how to deal with 4 to 5 inches (10-12 cm) positive ease, which is considerable... I had already added the zipper when I realized just how badly things were going. Adding darts was the only way to "save" this one, short of taking it all apart (zipper too!) and re-drafting the pattern. The front piece for the skirt had no shaping darts, but I added two to help start cinching in the waist a bit... more about darts in a moment...


Day two of this project saw more work on the waist, as after the darts for the front and the back, the waist facing had to be altered for a smoother fit. And then the hem... The skirt hem was a not so smooth going at times either, trying to ease that circular shape. Using the blind hem foot and function on the sewing machine was a good choice. The hem falls just past my knee. 



Back waist view... The back piece of the skirt pattern allowed for two darts, but I had to increase the number of back darts to three more, making a total of FIVE shaping darts for the back of the skirt. The spacing for the extra darts on the back worked out pretty well, all things considered. The waist cinched in more, but not affecting the hip area too much.

I won't even show a close up of the zipper... A lapped zipper was called for in the pattern. But the seam allowance given was just not enough, in my opinion, to create a good lapped zipper. This was actually my first time doing a lapped zipper application. I had looked at some tutorials on how to install the zipper. What I didn't know, until after I had cut out my fabric, was ideally how much fabric ought to be allowed for a lapped zipper. After a lot of struggle I got the zipper installed, although it's not the best lapped zipper there ever was, as the pull of the zip wants to pop out from under the lap fold. Lessons learned



The fit is not perfect. The waist is still a wee, tiny bit loose. But with the right top it works. And if I wear a cardi, the wonky zip is hidden! It is wearable... possibly even wearable in public! The fabric was great to work with, and it feels soft against the skin and has a nice drape. The fabric was quite wide, so I was able to cut the fabric along the width fold, and so I have a good bit of this blue chambray fabric left. I'm thinking of sewing a top or tunic with the leftovers, if there is enough, and depending on the patttern. (As a side note, I'm trying blue as a color to wear. Black has been the basic color of much of my wardrobe since I was about 12... LOL! Now that I'm maturing, and sporting a more silver-thread look with the hair, the color black--especially near/around my face--is looking a little harsh... What do you think of the blue?!

This is not the first time I have had difficulties using a Simplicity pattern, or any of the other Big 4 company patterns (Vogue, Simplicity, McCall, Butterick). Just w-a-y too much positive ease for a small person like me. And sometimes the instructions aren't the most helpful. This is the last time I will use a Simplicity clothing pattern. I'm very keen to try patterns from some of the independent pattern designers/companies-- Sew Over It, Tilly and the Buttons, Colette Patterns, Sew Liberated, Itch to Stitch--to name a few that are on my list. Perhaps something to plan for during the autumn/winter for next year...

Not the best photos, I'm afraid... they were taken in evening light, and it was getting very cloudy too, rain promised (yes, we've been finally having some rain!)...  Goodness me, I complained all the way to the end here! Sorry about that! LOL... In spite of the sewing difficulties, I did enjoy the challenge! And hope Melanie and I will be able to share another sew-along next summer! 

Do you, or have you, sewn your own clothing... or maybe re-fashioned ready-to-wear clothes? Wishing you all a LOVE-LY weekend now! :)))


Comments

  1. oh my! what a story of not giving up! and it was worth it.
    you're the first person who has had the same experience I ever had with the pattern problem. NEVER did one ever fit without all kinds of adjustments. I was always so small. but they just were OFF! and I wasn't as talented as you at 'fixing' their mistakes.
    I didn't know if that was the problem... or what. and I have a slight case of scoliosis which never made anything fit well across the waist and back! but it was always reams too big anyway! and I had bought the pattern according to their measurements!
    I honestly think they're what squelched my desire to sew! there were no other patterns at the time... and no internet … not like today's world where you have options! KUDOS for sticking with it because it's a fine skirt!
    and when your hair turns silver... I discovered the same thing about black! my colors are now navy and cream. I used to wear a lot of white. but cream seems to be better now. go figure! xo
    and p.s.
    we won't even START on zippers! LOLOL!

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    1. Oh, my Tammy...you too?! Such tiny ones are in the same club, huh? ;) But I didn't know about your scoliosis... Very intersting to hear about your sewing experiences. Pretty much every clothing sewing patter I've ever tried as always entailed some adjusts--sometimes pretty major adjustments. Sometimes I have given up... LOL! I didn't want to give up on this skirt. I had bought the fabric with skirt in mind, and I'm glad I stayed the course. I won't be making this pattern again... even though I know what to do now! Blue and cream--NICE combo! I can see where cream will be a better option in time, what with skin tone changing too. So much changing right now... LOL! ;)

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  2. I love the skirt. And it looks darling on you. You see the flaws, of course, I see the fabulous finished product.

    And color -- yes, blue is a good univeral. We all seem to wear it well no matter what our coloring and there are so many shades to mix and match. I say yes!

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    2. Whoops... had a problem putting in my own comment, here we go again... haha! Thanks so much, Jeanie---you are sweet! I guess I'm too good sometimes at seeing my flaws... ;) I used to think black was more versatile, but I'm beginning to see how blue can be just as adaptable a color to wear. I've always liked blue, just never wore it much... Funny, that!

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  3. The skirt is perfectly wearable ...so mission accomplished! I always have struggles with fit when I sew .It really puts me off and frustrates me. So I do understand why you had to complain all through your post. But it turned out nicely. It's a basic skirt and the fabric and color should match with most of what you have. I hope you will enjoy wearing it multiple times.Please don't be put off by the struggles you had.

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    1. Thank you so much--for the cheer, and encouragement! :) It's not always easy with sewing, especially sewing clothing. To spend so much time, effort, money, etc... there's a real desire to want it to be perfect. But not everything is, and sometimes we just have to try our best--and that's the best we can do. :)

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  4. I like the blue very much!!! and the top is cute!! and the skirt looks great to me! :) I think it's so fun that you had a sew along!!! yay! My friend Juliana makes lots of things and she always says what worked and what did not, and I never thought it complaining as much as saying how it was to make! http://urbansimplelife.blogspot.com/ is her blog fyi. I love seeing the pictures of you! I owe you an email!!! I love that you are making things and blue really is a lovely colour on you! God bless you!!! a HUG sent!!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Elizabeth... :) And for sharing your friend Juliana's blog...love seeing all she sews--for herself and for her children too-WOW!

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  5. I am so happy that you persevered through your sewing project and came through with an adorable blue skirt. I love the blouse that you had on too. I think you are a marvel and working through all of the difficult parts; I am sure taught you a lot What a fun thing to have a sew a long with a friend. I loved that idea.
    I too have worn a lot of black so I think this blue is perfect for you.
    I used to sew many years ago. My mother was an expert seamstress and even made my wedding dress. I sewed a lot in my earlier married years. I wasn't as good as her and I always got an neck ache doing it.
    I was one that thought I could get the project completed in an after noon and it always took me longer.
    I admire you for sewing. I think you are such a good example of learning how to do the basics of what we should all know how to do. Someday, we could be without the convenience of all that we have now.
    Loved reading this one. I do hope you wear it in public; it's such a cute skirt.
    Sending loving thoughts and hugs your way and have a spectacular weekend with your dear hubby and Luna.

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    1. Many thanks for your sweet thought, LeAnn! And such fun to hear about your mother's sewing. My Mom taught me to sew... and she still inspires me, and I aspire to sew as well as she did. She doesn't sew these days, but we still share the sewing! :) It is very satisfying being able to make something, something useful, and beautiful too. We live in a age where we take much for grant, and much can be had at a store, or on-click shopping online. I like being able to know how to do something and cultivating good-to know skills. I hope to wear the skirt next Sunday to church. :)

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  6. Well it looks good on you. Blue is your color for sure. Oh my! I don't sew now, but I did sew for many years almost all my clothes, including my wedding dress, wool suits, and coats. I never followed the instructions after I got comfortable sewing. And then being a patternmaker for 25 years I no longer bought the patterns. You did good at improvising.

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    1. Thanks for the kudos, Marilyn... especially as you KNOW how to sew and had been in the pattern industry so long. LOVED hearing about all the things you've sewn... especially your own wedding dress... and coats A coat sounds as big a project as a wedding dress... LOL! :)

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  7. What a fun idea to do a sew along with a friend! Hmmm, I have a skirt pattern I'd like to make--gotta find some fabric first.
    And YES, you look great in blue! Which is my favorite color!

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    1. A sew-along across the miles is such fun, Willow. It really helps you get going and get focused and make something useful and beautiful. A bit of an "accountability partner" while getting the project done. ;) Good luck with your skirt... hope you'll show it at your place soon! :)

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  8. What a great example of tenacity you show us Tracy and stick-to-it-iveness! I an sorry you had so many problems with this, but what a beautiful skirt you have ended up with. I Love the fabric and the colour. You look just darling in it! I also took a look at your friend's skirt, that is also lovely. How wonderful that you could do this together via the magic of modern technology! Yay! Love and hugs, xoxo

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    1. Thanks, Marie! Technology helps with so much! :)

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  9. From the description of how wide the waist was, I wonder if the skirt was meant to be worn at the hips rather than your natural waist. Anyway, you've compensated quite well. And the color is very complimentary.

    When I was a kid, my brother and I would have sewing-reading contests. He'd read through the Chronicles of Narnia while I sewed on my project. Yah, I know, not at all comparable, but we had a good time :-)

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    1. Your sewing-reading contest with your brother sounded FUN, Anne! The Chronicles of Narnia... I've not revisited that one on a long time--should do! The skirt was meant to be slightly lower from natural waist which would have been OK, if not my preferred waist... but even so, it was just way too big. Doing the darts and reshaping the waist cinched it in more, and helped bring it more toward my natural waist... so while it was a bit of a headache, it worked out in the end, and I have something that fits and looks OK!

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