Red Chambray Kelly Skirt

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Evening folks! Forgive the slight summer hiatus. It was unplanned. There were multiple (very welcome) guests and an exam to prepare for and a few other real life-y things. Anyhoo, I hope your Julys and Augusts have been superdooper.

This pattern has been in my pile for a looooong time (cough *September 2013* cough) but I finally got round to it last month. It’s Megan Nielsen’s Kelly skirt and it’s a lovely quick make. In the interests of blogger integrity I’ll admit that mine took a couple of weeks, BUT that is only because I was snatching 30 mins here and there. If you were more focused than I, this would be real quick I promise – 1 day max.

I used the red chambray I got with my Fabric Rehab voucher. It’s a deliciously soft cotton and is extremely wide – check out the layout below!! I ordered two meters and there’s plenty left for a t-shirt or something.

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Despite being a really straightforward sew, the Kelly has a couple of fantastic details: striking box pleats front and back, and these realllly pretty pockets. I’ve never put pockets in this way before but they add such a lovely detail. I lined them with scraps of contrast print and topstitched them with a double line of white.

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I was worried at first that the chambray would be a little too soft for the pattern but in the end I think it works pretty well. I did strengthen both sides of the placket (bit where the buttons/buttonholes go) and the waistband with some pretty serious medium-weight interfacing though, which feels nice and strong. The only thing I would say about this fabric is that it’s preeeeetty crease-enthusiastic so by the end of a working day (i.e. lots of sitting) she doesn’t look nearly so crisp and lovely. Clearly she’s meant for long strolls by the lake rather than office time – fair play.

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(mmmm wrinkly!!)

I found some pretty little multi-coloured wooden buttons which go really well with the chambray (M actually spotted them… and as such takes full credit for how well this whole project turned out). I faffed around practicing the buttonholes for a while before committing them to the skirt and decided to go with a thread that matches the fabric, rather than the white I used for the topstitching.

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There are a couple of fit issues I noticed on my first wear, both of which have also been noted by other bloggers. Firstly the waistband is a little gapey. It fit’s along the bottom edge but not along the top, if that makes sense. I think this is because it’s a single straight piece and I’m, well, not. If I make this skirt again I think I will try and shape the waistband to account for this. I think I can live with it on this one. Taking the waistband off would be such a faff!! Secondly, like other bloggers, I get a little bagging going on between the waistband and the first button underneath. I’m hoping this will be much easier to fix, by adding a little popper /snap fastener to keep things straight.

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On the positive side, I’m really happy with the finish I achieved on this one. It’s one of my neatest makes to date, pretty inside and out, which is supercool (in a nerdy seamstress kinda way). And, if I manage to address the two points above, it’s definitely a shape I can see myself wearing a lot. All it needs is a Nettie to play with. She is definitely nearing the top of my to-sew list!

Lastly, check out the mural!! It’s the same wall around the corner from our flat that I’ve used before, but someone has done this amazing paint job on it. However, I thought it would make a supercool background but am now thinking maybe it’s a bit… busy and insane?? What do you think? Love it? Or does it give you a headache? Be truthful now!

Siobhan xx

Mathilde Blouse

My latest make is the puffy-sleeved, button-backed wonder that is the Mathilde blouse, designed by Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons fame.

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Blouse lovin’

Of all the Sewist bloggers I follow, I find Tilly particularly inspiring because she came to sewing later on (i.e. as a grown up), fell in love, and in just a few years has built a passion in to a business. She also makes lovely patterns and posts really helpful instructables on her blog to boot – superstar.

The Mathilde blouse was a project of firsts for me. To kick off it’s a downloadable PDF pattern – never done that before. But it’s actually very straightforward. You just print it off (using the test page to check all your settings are in order/the printer gremlins aren’t up to no good), then match up the helpful numbers, stick it all together and voila. You then just treat it like any other pattern – find your size, cut it out.

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Sticking the pattern pieces together

Other firsts included decorative pleats, French seams (so fancy and so pretty, check Tilly’s blog for instructions) and machine-stitched buttonholes, using the buttonhole foot and a 1-step buttonhole function. That’s right, a foot that you snap on, that uses one of your buttons button to calculate and create a buttonhole the right size – it’s actual magic. I had a small snaffoo which was that mine didn’t seem to realise when I was back to the beginning of the hole, so I had to stop and switch to a zigzag stitch to finish each buttonhole. If anyone knows how to solve this (Janome Decor Excel II), lemme know. Otherwise, no big deal.

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Buttonhole foot = wizardry

I did adjust the pattern just a smidgen. It’s deliberately straight-seamed and loose-fitting, and whilst this isn’t usually my style, I decided to go with it, particularly having seen ladies of all shapes and sizes looking gorgeous in it. But having finished it off, and worn it for a day, I had to admit it felt a little maternity-wear on me. So I went back in and curved the side seams just a little. This was fairly heartbreaking to do, on account of the above-mentioned beautiful French seams (lesson learned – be sure of the fit before you finish the seams) but I feel much more comfortable in it now that it curves a little. And having read Tilly’s post on sewing for your style, I’m hoping she won’t mind too much!

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Siobhan xx