Sometimes something lovely happens to break through the grey cloud. Word on the street is I'm into sewing- and now my neighbours all know about it. So it was super lovely when the people across the way posted me this pattern. I was even more excited to find it was a pattern I actually wanted to make!
Fabricwise- Its another gem from my Autumn 2016 Abakhan stash. I'll admit it wasn't what I was looking for. After the success of my (faux) suede panels on my jacket (which it's finally just about cold enough to wear!), I thought this skirt would suit something suedey. So I'm shuffling round Abakhan with this overflowing basket finding a few dodgy pleathers but not quite suede, when the area marked Scuba caught my eye. Having just read up on all the pros of using Scuba in the recent issue of Love Sewing magazine I thought I would investigate.
Scuba is a knit fabric made from 100% polyester. It can come in varying weights and can be printed or plain. It's strong, stretchy and also drapey. So basically my dream fabric!
What caught my eye was subtle- a black fabric but with a quilted quality. Abakhan had a few different pieces, each with different patterns on the quilting. I hastily picked some up, excited about its wrap skirt potential, only to find the piece underneath was quilted with houndstooth shaped stitching!! It's really really subtle but went straight in the basket. Forget suede. Houndstooth scuba is probably about as good as it gets!
The pattern is made up of 7 pieces, but it's only 3 paper pieces to cut out. The front and back are exactly the same apart from extra for centre back seam allowance on the back piece. The front is cut on the fold, but instead of cutting on the actual fold, I did my usual trick of cutting the piece on single layer fabric then flipping it over to get the other half. I wanted to make sure the bottom of the skirt lined up with a straight line on the houndstooths and was struggling to know what the bottom half was doing when I tried to lay out on the fold. I find it's often pretty tricky to find the exact grainline when working with stretchy fabrics so I think it was well WELL worth lining up the pattern with the quilting lines. The facing is also just one paper piece following the same idea- one on the fold for the front and two with additional seam allowance for the back. The third piece is the wrap piece that sits on the front. The different skirts you can make with the pattern all have slightly different wraps and different lengths. After the success of this mini skirt I am actually tempted to make a full length floaty one to maybe team with a brown belt and denim jacket. Okay, getting carried away as I have neither floaty fabric or brown belt... Or a denim jacket that fits! Oh and the sun's gone in for this year so maybe we'll get on it for next June?
The front and back have darts- I tailor tacked these instead of tracing wheel... Which makes me feel like an adult! Then making up was really simple! The pattern suggests you start with the centre back seam as far as the zip but I found I took a little extra in when I put the zip in and stitched a new centre back from the bottom of the zip. The wrap piece also has a dart to match the front dart so I made sure I pressed one towards the centre and one towards the side so try and avoid as much bulk as possible at the waist. The wrap piece is then hemmed on the outer edges. It says 2.5com but I think mine was more like 2cm, maybe 1.8cm, just because I was unsure about having such a large hem. The wrap is tacked to the front piece and the front is sewn to the back.
I try on and find it is much to big... Because scuba is bloody stretchy!
But it's fine! Everything is fine. This pattern was gifted to me by some lovely people who I don't really know! You can't get mad when you're working on a project that has grown from kindness. I'd already guessed this sizing issue was on the cards, so as I mentioned I took a little extra in at the zip, only about a cm or so. Then I set to work on the side seams. I stitched a further inch in from the original seam line, therefore taking the skirt in by 4 inches (an inch off of each edge). I tried on and it was much better, but still needed a little more 'grab' at the waist (yeah okay, so I'll take it where I can). Just at the top I tapered in the side seam 1 cm- again making it a total of 4cm all the way round. Happy with fit, I made these alterations to the facing. I simply added the 1.5cm seam allowance to the extra inch then the extra centimeter (gotta love sewing, we all use metric and imperial side by side all the time right?), used this as the new seam allowance, checked it fitted inside the skirt then trimmed the additional fabric down.
The facing is stitched to the skirt, then understitched. I have so much love for understitching! Especially as my sewing has been getting more and more accurate. So satisfying! Then theres a bit of faffing about to stitch the facing to the zip tape at the opening which is always so much faff but I have learnt to use the zip foot to get a really nice stitching line on either side of the zip opening and hold everything in place.
Then it's hemming. I made quite a swift job of this- overlocked the bottom and turned up a really narrow hem as the skirt was looking pretty short already! If I'd had the extra fabric to play with, I would probably have liked to do a 2cm hem to match the hem of the wrap opening, but it really doesn't look any worse for being half the width.
To my surprise, the skirt was finished! I put a few sneaky stitches in the waist facing to hold it as the side seams. I've never made a skirt without a waistband before so quite enjoyed the different approach.
I was finished in a day, including cutting out paper and fabric, and all ready to wear for the evening.................. Too bad I got stood up this weekend, eh!!! But you can't be mad when you're making a gifted pattern out of dream fabric. Thanks to my lovely neighbours for saving me from what could have been a dodgy weekend!
Currently listening to: La Malvada Creación Del Dr Ilusión, Los Peyotes
Location: Hillsborough Walled Garden, Sheffield