Saturday, January 23, 2010

A skirt that fits

Well I did it! I made a skirt that fits and that looks good. It even has a zip. (Mum, you can get up off the floor now!). And a hook and eye for that professional finish :) Of course the process wasn't without its mistakes, challenges and improvisation. It wouldn't be one of my sewing projects if it didn't!

I used the principles contained in Sew What! Skirts, which I blogged about here and drafted an interfacing template by roughly tracing around a skirt I already have, folded in half lengthwise. (I use a big roll of sew-in interfacing for drafting all my patterns - it's great because it's cheap, clings to the cotton and folds up easily for storage. It also doesn't tear like tracing paper, etc.)

Then I laid the pattern onto the fabric I chose for the skirt - an Anna Griffin Circles Light Green 100% cotton. Unfortunately the fabric wasn't wide enough - even though it was a 150cm bolt. The hazards of a spare tyre! So, this is where the improvisation came in. I cut a reduced front and back on the fold and then sewed up the side seams with a basting stitch. I held the 'skirt' against my waist and worked out how much extra fabric I'd need to insert as panels to get a good fit. I then cut two strips of white (Kona solid cotton - snow), matched the curve of the front and back skirt pieces by laying them over the strips and trimming the strips along the gently curved edge.
I pulled out the basting stitches from the seams (one at a time) and sewed the panel seams. On the front left seam, I sewed up to where the bottom of the zip (placket) would be and basted to the top. At this stage I held the skirt up to my waist again to check the fit. It was still slightly too small, so I cut about three inches off the top of the skirt to increase the waist circumference. This meant I had to adjust the top left seam to ensure there was enough depth for the zip. I followed the zip sewing instructions in my Janome manual and it worked!

I then folded over the waist twice and sewed it down, as well as sewing a double-fold hem. I'd chosed a gently scalloped hem, so I sewed the curve very carefully - I didn't clip the inside fold, as the curve was so gentle. Then I tried the skirt on - it was a good fit around the hips and bum and it was the right length. My belly, however, is still a bit rounder than I'd like, so the fit wasn't so good around the waist. I followed the Sew What! Skirts instructions on making darts (so easy! who knew!) and put two in the front and two in the back. Voila! A perfect fit.
The upside of putting the darts in after I'd sewn the waist is that when my belly shrinks (which it will do over the coming months!), I can unpick the darts, increase their size and resew them. Too easy. I'm very happy with how this skirt turned out - I even wore it work on Thursday. I think I'm just about ready to cut into my much-prized Saffron Craig Nest fabric.

Speaking of work, it's going fine. Four days a week is good, although I'm still getting used to saying bye to everyone on a Thursday afternoon. Things are really busy, so the first two weeks have absolutely flown. It'll be Christmas again before I know it. I have also started my new exercise regime, going for two runs this week. Sadly though, my tired old back didn't like that rude shock very much and when I bent over to pick up Tristan yesterday, it 'went'. I am now in complete back spasm and can't do anything except lay flat on my back reading. I can spend a little time sitting upright, but I don't want to push my luck. No doubt it'll be fine by Monday, just in time for me to go back to work, of course :)


Louise said...

I love the skirt! I'm hoping to make at least one thing for myself this year, goodness knows I bought enough patterns and fabric for it last year ;)

AJ said...

Wow Lily! Love the skirt how clever you are! I'm thinking about getting that skirt sewing book...worth it do you think??

Hope you back is better soon!

A Spoonful Of Sugar said...

What a great skirt Lily! It looks cool and professional - I could use a few of them in my work wardrobe too:) Glad the transition back to work is going smoothly.