Sunday, 18 June 2017

Self-Drafted Mia Mini Skirt

If you follow me on Instagram, at the beginning of the year you'd have seen my little to-do list that I'd drawn up in place of making any resolutions. 99% sewing related, my stitching goals included- Draft two dresses, Make something spooky, Make something sexy, Design and draft a skirt with fitted waistband.

Its the beginning of June and I have just ticked off my final sewing goal!

My Mia skirt is quite simple in design, an A-line shape with centre front seam (!), and a zipper in the back. Instead of drafting from measurements like a pro would, I used the waistband pattern from my recent Shannon Shorts as a basis to draft from. I was really happy with the fit of these shorts so it seemed silly to draft a new waistband with the same fit.

The side seams of my first calico toile were straight out at an angle roughly based on that of another A-line skirt I own. The first try on was a good fit, but realised I could do with a little extra in my hips. I opened up the seams and put some rough little panels in to see what kind of curve was needed to accommodate my hips. I draw this curve onto my skirt, unpicked it then drew it onto my paper pattern pieces. Lovely hip curves!

My other big alteration was my very first hollow back adjustment. So pleased with how well it went! Basically it seems as though every item of clothing, whether ready to wear or made from a pattern sits perfectly at my front but ends up either miles up my back or all runkled in the small of my back. I could see my skirt was sitting a little high at the back, so basically I altered it so that the seam attaching the waistband curves downwards from my hips to centre back, then back up again. To determine how much needed taking out, I pinched the excess fabric at the back (between my bum and the waistline) and drew on a new seam line. It worked perfectly!!

Such a simple alteration made this skirt from something I might wear once or twice but not stand up in, to a total wardrobe staple! I quickly copied this adjustment onto my paper pattern and cut away the excess in the back.

** Side note, there's a really cool article on the By Hand London website for future ref on swayback adjustments**

I took out 1.5cm from either side of the centre back seam, but in my stretchier pleather fabric I took loads more out of the back (a further 1.5 on either side with a 1.5cm seam allowance).

I also cut a lining for the skirt, using the same pattern. I made the front piece a little bigger as I was worried the skirt would still be a little tight around the hips and didn't want that to take its toll on the thinner fabric. I tacked my lining to my skirt before attaching the waistband, making little tucks at the top with the extra fabric in the lining.

The lining was a nightmare to hem. Don't tell anyone, in the end I just ended up overlocking it and hoping it doesn't peek! Any tips on hemming a curved hem with a silky fabric. I absolutely despise hemming everything! I need some tips!!

Didn't insert the lining properly at the zip. I'd attached the two pieces together to the waistband, so when it came to inserting the zip, my pleather and my lining were acting as one, more like an underlining or backing. So inside there's a bit of poetic license going on in the zip area but you could never tell from the outside... and me mam couldn't tell from the inside! So can't be that bad eh?

My experience with pleather was much like my suede adventure, only slightly more predictable as pleather is much more consistent.
1- Always use a leather needle (I had no problems using the same one I used for my suede)
2- Pins will leave holes, so be careful where you're sticking them.
3- It's pretty stretchy so keep this in mind when drafting.
4- Stretchiness could potentially cause chaos when top stitching. The only top stitching I did was on my centre front seam. I could feel the foot dragging the fabric as it went along, so I would advise adding a layer of something you can tear away between the foot and the fabric, which is exactly what I did around the hem to stop it from stretching out on the way round.

So there you are! Hope you like my Mia Skirt! I'm so happy with the fit. I'm really getting my head around the frequent fitting problems that I come up against. I've got my eye on some of these crazy shiny leathers from Identity Store, Matlock, after all, you can never have to many mini skirts can you?



Location: Lilleshall Abbey, Shropshire
Currently listening to: Secondary Swan, Quilt

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Simple Sew Shannon Shorts

I seem to have a habit for making the wrong thing to suit the season. Just as Autumn was coming in last year I made my first pair of Simple Sew Shannon shorts (free with issue 31 of Love sewing magazine) which I loved but it soon got too chilly. My first make after Christmas was the Butterick 5895 tie waist shirt which I also loved but that tie waist and those tiny sleeves made me cold just thinking about it.
I'd put both to the back of my wardrobe until this week. The sun has been out and I remembered that these guys were worth a wear.

It's bank holiday weekend and I'm aching to make something to make the most of my time but I'm uninspired by the local fabric shops and my next Simple Sew blog pattern hasn't arrived in the post yet. What to do?!!! I turned to my stash in hope of answers where I remembered I had another couple of meters of this lovely paisley fabric from the Sew Up North Leeds meet up last November. With the sun beaming down this week and my tie waist shirt being my go-to for the past three days, I was inspired to make it into a matching set with another pair of Shannon Shorts!

My last pair were made of stretchy denim so I altered the pattern to shrink the waistband and take some excess out of the bum. This time my fabric had very little stretch, so I cut from the original pattern and decided I would make any necessary adjustments as I went along.

I love the construction of this pattern. The front of the shorts is split into three parts thanks to the design of the pockets. The waistband features shaping where it joins the top of the pocket to create a great fit.

The only change I made to the fit was to also taper the waistband at the side seams, taking in a couple of cm (1 off of front and 1 off of back) at the top of the band then tapering back out where it joins the shorts. I tacked in the zip to test fit before understitching the waistband with it in mind that I would probably have to make some adjustments. That said, I did not have to alter the centre back of the shorts at all like I did my last pair!

I used a medium weight interfacing on both the outer and inner waistband to add some extra sturdiness to it. I thought I was going to regret the decision as it became harder than expected to stitch the shorts to something so structured. Took a bit of patience but got there!! It was well worth it, the waistband is super sturdy (though not cardboardy!) and keeps its structure.

To hold the waistband down you 'stitch in the ditch' around the joining seam so the inside is held in place. I found it handy to start at the centre front and work outwards so that if the band twists at all you can even it out more evenly as you go.

Once I was happy with the fit, I put another line of stitching just inside of the crotch seam to add some reinforcement to the seat. Don't want to be splitting my bum seams!!

Hardest part was knowing what to do with those turn ups. Before turning up the shorts are laughably long! I was in two minds whether to just hack off the bottom and put a nice neat double turned hem on, or whether to turn up. Turn ups looked cool so they won.
Firstly I turned under a 1cm hem then stitched, then turned under again, this time by about 10cm. Here I put some little tacks in round the top of the turn under just to hold them in place. The final step it to turn back out about half of this width to the front of the shorts, making sure the width is the same right the way round (mine was about 1.5cm), then put some more holding stitches in. From top of waistband to bottom of the turn up is 33cm. Perfect shorts length!

Love teaming this up with my Butterick shirt! The pattern is pretty similar to the Butterick 5895 jeans that are part of the same pattern, so really are a match made in heaven.

Here's to some more lovely weather!!

Location: Sutton Maddock, Shropshire
Currently listening to: The Crystal World, Moon Duo