Tapestry Anémone Skirt

In the spirit of New Year I had a bit of a tidy up and reorganisation of my sewing room. Part of this involved picking out three patterns I was going to make next and stacking them up with their respective fabrics and notions. It helped me both rationalise my stash, review my pattern collection and kickstart me back into sewing after a bit of a hiatus. I’m fairly hopeless at the NY resolution thing, but I think this 3-pattern queue practice is something I’m going to try and keep up this year. #cluttergoals

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This skirt was on top of the list. I was inspired by the RTW trend of woven mini skirts that was around during the last couple of years. Skirts in this category typically have a complex woven texture, sometimes described as “aztec” (hello cultural appropriation), and a simple shape that gently flares out from the waist.

I bought my fabric on Etsy. It looks to now be out of stock (sorry!) but they have some other similar pieces. I love the colour combination – turquoise, navy, peach and little flecks of coral that pop a lot more in real life. I ordered some navy anti-static polyester at the same time, to use as lining. Whist I definitely don’t need extra layers out here, I think this is a skirt that would work well with tights back in Europe’s cooler climbs.

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Whilst searching for the perfect pattern – essentially something  which would help me keep those stripes straight – I came across this awesome post by Tasia of Sewaholic, who had the very same project idea as me back in July. She used Deer and Doe Anemone as her pattern of choice – a panelled skirt where each panel flares out slightly, meaning the hemline can be kept straight. Based on the feedback of Tasia and other reviewers I decided to take 2″ off the top and add 2″ to the hem, making it slightly less dramatically highwaisted, and slightly more modest. Having made those adjustments to the paper pattern I cut a straight size 40 and made no other fitting alterations.

I cut out on the flat, using the hemline and notches to make sure the stripes all lines up across the pieces. I managed to squeeze everything out of 1m of fabric, although I did have to stagger the pieces to make them fit.

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I was terrified that the fabric would unravel as soon as cut into it but it was surprisingly nice to work with. Nonetheless I zigzagged all my pieces before starting assembly, just to be sure. The instructions that come with the pattern are pretty sparse and assume some basic knowledge, but would be fine for a confident beginner. The only divergence I made (apart from skipping the peplum) was to machine stitch the hem. This was partly because I wasn’t sure the thick woven fabric would stay cleanly folded up if it was just hand stitched to the hem… but also partly because I hate hand stitching (yes I said it), and the fabric is so busy that the machine stitches disappear anyway.

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The final verdict is two thumbs WAY up. I love this skirt. I love the shape, the fit and I’m super proud of my stripe matching. Having finished it I wore it two days in a row, the ultimate (self) compliment. I’m hoping this is a good omen for 2016 and there’s plenty more successful sewing ahead!

Siobhan xx

P.s. here’s a funny outtake Mauri captured of me enjoying a fleeting cool breeze like a labrador with its head out the car window… It is SO HUMID at the moment people and I am not built for it. Send ice.

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2015 Blogging Amnesty

Happy New Year!

It’s that fun time of year when everyone is looking back over last year’s makes and setting goals for 2016. For my part, 2015 was full of wonderful new experiences. I moved to Rwanda to start a new job, meaning I got to explore local fabric markets, buy beautiful waxprints, and meet fantastic local sewists.

I haven’t actually counted but I’m pretty sure I sewed more this year than ever before. Since I slacked off blogging towards the end of the year, I thought I’d put an amnesty post together with some of the things I made but didn’t get round to sharing.

First up – True Bias Southport Dress in Nani Iro double gauze.

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This was my second go at this pattern (first one here) and I love it. It is the perfect floaty maxi dress for hot weather and I’ve already got a third version in mind. I also love this fabric. I internet stalked it for an embarrassingly long time before taking the plunge. The print is just gorgeous and it’s super soft and comfy to wear. I did have a bit of a mishap with the pattern however. I tried to scoop out the neckline a bit but overdid it and had to take up the straps to compensate. this made the waistline a little more empire-line than intended, but I love it anyway. It definitely gets a lot of wear.

Next – Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt in anchor denim

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This is a great quick little sew with some lovely details. I love the huge pockets and topstitching. I also love the gently curved shape of the waistband. I previously made the Kelly skirt, which has a straight waistband and I can say that the curve makes a huge  difference to the fit. I’ll be using it as a reference point for other patterns in future.

Next – Sew Caroline Out and About Dress in horse print jersey

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This is the first of two makes from right at the beginning of the year. This lightweight jersey fabric is too fine for this dress really (it’s a tweensy bit see-through), but it does make it lovely and cool to wear, even with long sleeves. It also hangs in a draped slinky kind of way, which I tell myself stops it from looking like a giant nightie… right??

And last but not least – Deer and Doe Bruyère shirt in plaid flannel

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I have no idea why I never got round to blogging this. It’s maybe my proudest ever make, as it incorporates lots of first time techniques – flat collar, sleeve plackets, back yoke etc. I’m also ridiculously proud of my plaid matching. I followed Lauren’s awesome tips, cutting the yoke and placket on the bias for contrast and using the notches to carefully match everywhere else. It makes me geekily happy every time I wear it, which is every time I go home to Europe, or to the cooler regions of Rwanda. I love the nipped in shape of this shirt. It’s definitely on the to-make-again list for this year.

And that’s my amnesty done. Ready for a fresh start in 2016. I can’t wait to see what this year brings!

Siobhan xx