Chambray A-line Miniskirt

This skirt story actually starts with a blouse.

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A really lovely part of my job is that I get to work with wonderful people from all over the world… And a cool side effect of that is that they occasionally send me beautiful gifts from all over the world! This blouse is one such item, straight from Mexico. It’s feather-light cheesecloth cotton with gorgeous embroidered flowers across the front and back yoke. I received it on a Friday, right in time for a garden party on the Saturday… I just needed a skirt to go with it.

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I had a clear vision for my skirt – short, simple grey chambray, with a centre-front seam and exposed zip at the back (both design features I loved when I made my denim Brumby). The blouse is billowy so I didn’t want anything voluminous – no pleats or gathers this time. So I drafted a super simple A-line pattern, following these instructions. You basically work from your waist and hip measurements and add a couple of darts for shaping. Then just pinch in the darts and retrace to draft the facings.

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When I came to cut out, I decided to use the fringed chambray selvedge along the hem. This hadn’t been my original plan but upon closer inspection it was just too pretty not to use. I ran a line of zigzag stitching around to stop it unraveling too far. I double topstitched the centre-front seam in white and orange to tie in with the colours in the selvedge and to add a tiny, visible-to-probably-only-me detail (love those). I inserted the exposed zip at the back using the Brumby method.

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And that’s it. It probably goes without saying that this was a super speedy half-morning project. But I do love the result. Especially with my Mexico blouse.

Siobhan xx

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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