another journey finished

Finally, at last, the skirt is finished. I feel it has achieved the delicate balancing act of being able to get on and off my bicycle without a wardrobe malfunction, whilst also achieving a flattering shape. This is one of the few patterns I am going to put in the bin. I will not inflict this on anyone else. It would not be kind!

A few modifications I added (to the long list already shared previously) to complete the final look. I didn’t create a full duplicate of the shell in the lining, I attached the vent extensions to the outer shell vent as otherwise it would have been a lot of fabric. It now happily hangs in place.

To ensure the vents stayed in place (they had an annoying habit of flipping out) I top stitched the crease where the folds are so they are inclined to stay in place. Though I still need to be careful when sitting down so they don’t crease too much.

I do actually quite like waist band which is a good width. Wearing it for a full day made me wonder if it could do with being a little more snug. But we all have our days when a bit more room is needed so maybe this isn’t a bad thing!

Courtesy of a friend, here are some “in action” photos to show I can cycle in it, and yes I did cycle to my friend’s house as well as to work today in that outfit.

its a blooming miracle!

After about a month and a half of picking this project up and putting it back down again the end is actually in sight. A solid weekend spent focusing on getting the fit sorted and ploughing through the remaining details means apart from hemming the lining and finishing off the lining insertion its actually nearly done!

Suffice to say I will NOT be using this pattern again. I have nearly lost sight of how much I have taken this in by. I actually have generated some shape compared to the cereal box I had before and feel happy about how it looks. But it has taken a LOT of work. I don’t think I will be making any more straight skirts either based on this experience. I think what I have created is more a hybrid between this and a pencil skirt.

I have also finished another little child project today, photos of that to be shared shortly. In addition to that, I have made a cute PJ pattern for a charity for children needing heart operations. I love the fabric (tepees) and its currently drying on a rack.

I’ve cut out a shift style jersey dress for my friend’s little girl which shouldn’t take long to make up as its not lined. All these little projects are good for honing technique and I a lot more confident about using jersey compared to in the past.

So – the latest photos of That Skirt.

lets get this straight – this better fit

It appears I made an error in judgement when purchasing my skirt pattern. Due to the lack of modelled skirt back I naively assumed it would be more fitted. Apparently this style of skirt is more straight up and down. I, when it comes to my back, am not. Suffice to say it has been a learning curve (pun intended) and one I won’t forget!

Counting up the alterations made so far:

  • initially took in the side seams at the upper hips by a quarter inch on each side.
  • pegged in the side seams (tapered) to the hem by an inch and a quarter
  • taken in the back seams by 1.5cm each (tapered) from the mid hip to where the vents start.
  • reduced the curve at the front seams just below the waist band to reduce the excess material in this area. Probably by another quarter inch.

Plus that’s just to the lining. I then have to transfer the last two actions to the skirt itself. Good job I have a sturdy stitch ripper. Then I have to reposition all that lovely piping.

However, the good news is that it is looking a fair bit better in terms of shaping. The back vents are looking a little odd as I need to still hem this and attach it to the main skirt.

pipe down, peg in, raise up – the long awaited skirt

Ah yes, something was mentioned about making a skirt a while ago. Then it all went quiet. Because deep down I knew Simplicity 2475 was going to require some fitting work. I’ve not had much fun in the past getting some projects to fit. So when I know it needs doing I find distractions. Like other projects!

Anyway, having completed my “little” projects (literally in size and scope) there was no putting it off any further. So this evening I sewed the front and back of the skirt together, and did the one alteration I knew wouldn’t be too bad – by pegging the hem in by a total of 2 inches. It instantly looked better.

But, better does not mean finished. Oh no, that would be far too easy. The front is not looking too bad, but a side profile makes me look like a cereal box. A pencil skirt is supposed to be slightly more shapely than this, no?

So, as my housemate has suggested, I may end up taking in the back seams to create a bit more curve. Unfortunately this is the skirt that I chose to add piping to. Which means if I do make any changes I have to sew it all back in again. Any minute now, I’m going to have a small fit – of frustration.

This is why I like A-line skirts. I know what I am doing and the shaping is far easier. Still, you learn by trying. Even if this is turning out to slightly more trying that I had hoped. Wish me luck readers!

The fit so far. With hem pinned up at the front and front waist band seam allowance turned under.



a nautical sidestep

You know when you have plans for some fabric. Then lay everything out. Gazing at your patterns pieces. It dawns on you. This is just not going to work. Because there is no way near enough fabric? well, this was the beginning of this project. Which was going to be turned in to dungarees.

Instead, it got be a little dress. With the cutest striped puffy sleeves with a polka dot lining. This truly was a blend of leftovers. We had the lining from making my corset (yup, I know, it needs to be finished), the fabric from the Colette skirt (need to find some missing pattern pieces), the sleeve lining from a previous little dress, and the rick rack from aforementioned dungarees when I decided it was going to work on it as planned.

Its from Newlook 6236, a project I have made several times before (a great value pattern!) and perfect for the amounts of fabric I had available. With some design modification and tweaking (I bound the sleeve edges with bias binding instead of sewing an exposed shoulder armhole seam) it all came together.

Speaking of which, the dungarees are almost finished (button holes required), as is the matching romper. The skirt I have been working on using Simplicity 2475 has a completed shell and lining, and I need to sew them together, add a zip and hem then this too will be done.

So, some more blog posts to follow shortly!

another project blossoms!

So this project was supposed to be started AFTER I finished the skirt I had originally purchased the fabric for. This was the “use up the scraps” idea I had when, as per usual, I saw there was an opportunity to make (a little) something extra. My original skirt pattern is all cut out. Then it ground to a halt.

In the intervening period I have gone on holiday, returned home, got a nasty cold, had a weekend away and been madly busy at work. My little brain had hardly any functioning power left at the end of each day and I wanted something I could still “do” without fitting worries. Hello little dress project. It got bumped up the queue.

I am intending to use the same pattern (Simplicity 1207) again later in the year as I have bought fabric to make the coat option, and will make a matching dress. So I thought this would be a good trial run. I increased the size to a 5 (it only goes up to 4) and made a few alterations.

* used an invisible zipper
* I didn’t have enough fabric from the scraps to cut the front skirt on the fold so it has a centre front seam
* due to fabric constrains reduced the hem allowance by 5mm. I’m glad I did as this is deep enough and I can see any more and you would have had to have eased it in more
* added rick rack decorative trim
* added bias binding to the raw hem edge, both as a finish and to give the hem more body as the fabric needed some support to prevent it being too floppy.
* used french seam finishes apart from the sleeves. Bound the bodice/dress hem in bias binding to prevent fraying.

I felt the colour blocking worked well, but left the hem area looking a little plain. After some pondering I decided to go with rick rack and chose colours which matched with the flowers in the bodice. It’s a shame the dress didn’t include more of a polished finish for the inside of the bodice, but by adding the above details it now looks pretty nice. This is my first time making scallops. They are pretty, but tricky to get symmetrical. I had to do some revisions before they turned out ok.

Tomorrow I am hosting a sewing afternoon with friends, so hope to finally get cracking on the skirt. I have fallen slightly off the wagon and got some more fabric today (it was on offer, sigh) which is a nice cotton stretch light weight denim to make another skirt. At this rate my wardrobe will have a nice selection. Plus hopefully I will be better at making them!



bound to be more work – bear with me

I have this bad habit of being unable to pass up rescuing leftover fabric. I can’t allow it to go to “waste”. So, when cutting out my previously reviewed purple skirt, I quickly calculated there was going to be some left over. Out came the children’s patterns and a vintage Burda, with careful pattern piece placement, just fit within the amount available. At this point my carefully planned project took a detour. Feel free to wince.

In my defence, I did read through the tightly crammed text to try and understand the construction and notions. It said there was a zip. I didn’t cut the back on the fold. When looking later more closely at the back pattern piece it said to cut on the fold. Oh dear. I also subsequently discovered I was supposed to add seam allowances (the pattern didn’t mention this!).

The result, is a dress with heaps of bias binding to make up for lack of seam allowances, my first project, bar making lingerie, where the whole thing was sewn with a 6mm seam allowance, a DIY modesty panel, and instead of trying to follow the instructions I did my level best to ignore them. Not my usual approach! The finished result, whilst cute, has sorely tested my patience. I think this is my first and last vintage Burda. I don’t have the perseverance to deal with this kind of stuff!


Another difference to the pattern is that the bodice I made has a full lining, including the sleeves. I thought this was more comfy that just a facing. I am pleased to say I didn’t buy anything new for this project, it all came from my stash!

The following is actually a project from last year, which was too big for the (than little) recipient. When the little boy I made this for had finally grown in to it he had started walking, so I had to cut the feet off. The onesie still looks pretty cute though! It’s made from stretch terry cotton which makes it very soft. It did create loads of fluff though when sewing. This is Simplicity 1767. At least I can say I gained some more experience sewing stretch fabric.


I am about to cut out my next project, a pencil type skirt with back vents using up some more stash fabric. This time some home decoration type cotton that was given to me by a friend in a floral print. I intend to make it more interesting with piping. Watch this space, hopeful it will be less hassle than the above!…

A fit that didn’t skirt

I happily got started on Newlook 6106, another A-line with more flare than the last version.

The fit was off and very weird. I flat pattern compared measurements with another A-line skirt I had just made. Instead of my usual size 16 fit the ease/size was much bigger. I went down a size to a 14.

After trying on the skirt with all the seams sewn (but not the waistband) it was STILL too big. I took it in at the side seams by another cm (so 4 in total for the circumference) from the waist and graded to the size 14. Finally, it fit better.

Imagine my shock when adding the waistband (cut down to a 14 as well as I thought there was no way a 16 would fit) when I discovered it was too small! I had to use 5mm seam allowance. Luckily this was just enough space.

The corduroy is slightly thicker than recommended. I was worried it wasn’t flaring out under the weight. Luckily, my seam finishing technique (bias binding) helped enormously and by the time I had flipped the hem over it recovered it’s bounce.

The waist band facing is made from a plain cotton. I used a very sturdy interfacing (I think part of my past skirt disappointment is from not using thick enough interfacing) which created a thin but stiff band. I also used my overlocker to safely trim close to the seam to minimise bulk.

I’m very happy with the result, but still puzzled by the fit. I think fitting closely around my waist and upper hips is more flattering and I plan to do this more in future. I just need to wait for the weather to warm up……


A line(d) result

Despite my earlier concerns that my newly finished skirt would be immediately relegated to winter storage it has had an appearance today, along with some tights as the weather has turned chilly.

I am very pleased to report it was both warm, comfortable and cycle friendly.I think, after wearing it all day, it is more a cross between an A-line skirt and a pencil skirt given the hem width. The lining made it very practical with tights and I was thrilled with the waist. It didn’t slide down and dig in. Something that normally happens with clothing usually.

So, here I am wearing the skirt, forgive the slight horizontal crease marks, they have been accumulated from a day spent sitting in front of a desk at work and my nice neighbour took some photos of me after I returned home.

Having been properly inspired by this experience I have now cut out another A-line skirt (with more flare at the hem) from simplicity 6106 using a purple pin corduroy. Using the above skirt as an example to check fit I feel more confident that I am on the right track. I don’t hunk – given this is a summer skirt, that it will be fully lined. But having just bought some more unpressed bias binding (bright yellow for contrast!) I think some more hong kong finish will be used…..

A for effort?

If you have been following my posts for the last months you must have wondered when I was going to return to making adult sized clothing, given my recent tendency to make pint sized versions of outfits. Fear not, today’s post is something made for me. It is ridiculously out of season given the temperature is finally above 15 degrees, but when has logic been a centre piece of my sewing choices?

There are some reasons behind my decision to make this particular item. I have mentioned my stash busting aim and this fits neatly into this goal. How to make use of fabric with out getting too bogged down in a long project. A while ago, after making a skirt to go with the jacket to my sister’s wedding I had been enthused about skirts and bought some more fabric to make another pencil skirt.

Subsequently, I decided after wearing the version I had already made this was Not A Good Idea. Pencil skirts do not allow you to stride about, and are certainly not cycle friendly, which is my mode of transport to work. So my lovely herringbone wool languished in the stash pile.

I then decided to revisit this piece of fabric and reconsider my options. An A-line skirt seemed a good idea, allowing freedom of movement, appealing to my aesthetic and suiting  my more pear shaped figure. The pattern box was duly rummaged through. Happily, I had a vintage pattern from the 70’s picked up for a bargain which included an A-line skirt with minimal darts (didn’t want to have anything too bulky with the wool).

It’s since undergone some modifications! here is a list:

  • shortened by 11cm (can’t believe the length, normally they are too short!)
  •  increased the waist from size 28 inches to more like mine
  • modified the waistband so it had a facing instead of a turnover and colour blocked it with the main skirt
  • added a lining
  • reduced the depth of the hem to 4 cm instead of 5.75 and slightly increased the depth of the waistband as I didn’t want it to roll
  • added interfacing to the waistband (hard to believe this wasn’t in the instructions)

I also, in an effort to make this a really polished item, spent extra effort on finishing everything off nicely. So, to stop the seams fraying madly, I applied a hong kong finish, overlocked everything else to minimise bulk, top stitched the waist band to get everything to lie flat, and used lining fabric for the waistband facing.

I just have to add the zip, and then its done! I am feeling pretty pleased with the result. It just goes to show the extra time and work does pay off. So, here’s what it looks like so far.The bright red at the back is where the zip needs to be added, and won’t be visible once this has been inserted. Oh, the lining is from a bargain I got where it was only a few pounds a meter. I bought something like 6 meters of the stuff and haven’t had much use for it since. Nice to have a fitting project for it, it’s very good quality.



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