Tuesday, February 23, 2010

So You Think You Can Sew

I made a skirt! I did. I bought a book, called Sew What! Skirts by Francesca DenHartog which guides you through all the requisite sewing techniques and gets you to draft your own pattern that exactly fits your measurements. It's a lovely book, with great instructions that I could mostly comprehend and follow, and once I've mastered the basics, the possibilities will be endless, she said confidently.

skirt side-on bunchiness

I decided to try the A-line skirt with elastic waist, thinking I'd do a really simple practice one first off, but then I couldn't help myself and added a lace trim round the bottom and a pretty fabric for the waistband. In a fit of madness I also decided that putting interfacing inside the waistband would be a good idea as it would make the waistband nice and stiff, but luckily my interfacing was old and came off fairly easily when I half sewed it up and discovered that the last thing you want in an elasticated waist is stiffness.

skirt front on

The waistband instructions were a bit beyond my non-technical brain but luckily I have Jenny on hand with her sewing nous and limitless patience and encouragement. And now that I've mastered *cough* the elastic waistband I'm pretty sure I'll try and get over my fear of zip-sewing because I'm not all that keen on how the elastic waist looks. If you can look past my dazzling model poses you may notice some bunchiness. Being Pollyanna I have put my faith in giving it a good wash and amazingly curing the problem. I love a miracle cure, me.

skirt looking weird

Also. I learned to stitch in the ditch which sounds a bit posh and roolly professional, and the second time I sewed the waistband this technique was coming along nicely. Truly it was. Well, except for a tiny bit at the front of this photo natch. Obviously if I was being graded on this skirt I'd lose major points there, but I'm fairly certain no-one will notice it in real life.

skirt close up

And nobody but me need ever see the abysmal job I made of hand-sewing the gap where the elastic was inserted. Possibly sewing as I sat in the car half-watching Cherub's tennis lesson was not the best idea, live and learn.


  1. You are getting craftier by the minute and you have me beaten ! I have the same book and read it and then went and bought a pattern rather than try to understand it.
    Zips and waistbands are no trouble at all really !
    I am ridiculously excited by your craftiness...

  2. Stomper your talents know no limits.
    You'll be whipping up all sorts of good things in no time.

  3. That book is fab, and even though I'm really scared of zips, I've managed to make two a-line zip skirts without any problems. I say go for it!
    By the way, I really like the trim detail at the bottom - very pretty.

  4. Very cute. I especially like the lace trim.

    Oddly enough, though I really suck at sewing with a machine, way back in sewing class at school, zips were the one thing I had completely mastered, so you should be absolutely fine.

  5. Very impressive. Would you like to be sent some purple fabrics which are surplus to requirements? Zips are not too bad at all to do.
    I am so inspired by all your progress that I have successfully managed to thread my new sewing machine.

  6. I'm so proud! I'm queen of the A-line skirt too. I will never buy another skirt pattern.

  7. Oh yeah - well done! Zips are not too hard - but get teh right sewing machine foot because it makes ALL the difference to how easy it is. And it must be my monitor because that skirt looks a bit BLUE and I know that must be an optical illusion...

  8. Go you! A friend of mine makes me do all her sewing for her rather than try herself. Refuses to learn to make an elastic waist. Your skirt is waaaaaaaaaay better than anything I did in oh, the first 3 years of sewing!

  9. And you've already got the hang of craftiness and sewing for yourself - add bit here and there, do what suits and then wing some part of the sewing. Super cool.

  10. Oh you clever clever girl!

    I have been hankering lately to get out my 50 year old second hand sewing machine and run up a couple of summer dresses, you've inspired me!

    I love that sultry "leaning against the door" pose. I bet that look drives Fixit wild. Kind of reminds me of Liz Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. All that suppressed sexuality. Not that I think of you that way....of course.

  11. Very slinky poses there Stomper!

    Oh and the skirt looks cute, too of course!

    I myself am unable to operate a sewing machine (or should that be unwilling? - in either case I am a sewing dunce)

    It sounds like you officially have the sewing bug :-)

  12. More like all that suppressed gosh- that-skirt-keeps-bunching thoughts. But funny you are Aunty.

    And Sooz is right: of course it isn't blue. It's totally purple.

  13. You're a star! I love the photos, very poised and you look about 20 you glamourpuss, you.

  14. Woot woot! Go you - I love your skirt, drafted from your own pattern!! Love the trim detail. Zips aren't nearly as scary as they sound - jump in and you will be fine!

  15. well done! Your skirt looks fabulous.

    I'm not a big fan of sewing zips, but they are not that hard. Stretch fabric, ie stretch denim or linen is good too if you want to do an elastic waist because you can fit it so there is not much gather at all. I use wide bias binding for elastic casing too - which also helps eliminate the gathering effect. Am quite a lazy sewer really ;)

  16. Great start! Looks great in that slinky leaning pose.

    Wait until you discover FOE - Fold Over Elastic!!!!!

    I LOVE the look of that book.

  17. Ooo! Fantastic! And HOW CUTE ARE YOU?!

  18. Hey, that's fabulous! I've admired that book on Amazon for a long time. You've just reminded me I had a dream about a new skirt last night. hmmm.

  19. Well done you! I like your poses.

  20. Great job. Next THE ZIP.

    Mind you - when I used to make the kids' costumes when they were younger I'd replace all the zips with...velcro. Magic.

  21. Looks fantastic. Look forward to seeing more!!

    PS. LOVE your shoes!!!

  22. Cool. I'm tempted to give it a shot. I sewed stockings for Christmas -- my first ever sewing project -- and would like to make simple skirts/dresses for Annalise.

  23. As I type I'm wearing the one and only zip I have ever tackled (with a bit of skirt attached) and strike me down! They(it) are(was) easy peasy lemon squeezy. Course, there are a few details only I need know about - something to do with handstitching the gap bit while half watching an eight year old swimming lesson while half keeping a two year old from doing dive bombs.

  24. Stomper that is awesome.

    I am fearful of sewing I am afraid - I can hand sew but machine sewing dements me!

  25. Listen to Janet, she's smart.

    Fabbo skirt, and unfortunately an iron (unfortunate because who can be bothered to get the iron out) is the thing that can do occasional magic with bunching. Or can you slip all the bunching to the back, so the front is smooth?

    Of course noone else will notice the bunching, but if it bothers you you won't wear it so much which would be a shame.

    Really nice photos too.

  26. SEW much better (hah)than anything I could do. Really, the one "simple" skirt I made became scrap fabric for someone who can sew. Well done, you! (Love the self portraits, btw!)


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