The 3-hour Skirt

In sewing, as in many aspects of life, sometimes you just need a quick win. I have a couple of WIPs which are sitting sulkily by my machine. They need love and attention and energy and dedication and I will get back to them. But the other night I decided to skip right over them and make a quick and easy skirt instead.

The fabric is an upholstery-weight Cath Kidston print I picked up in the UK. I love it because it’s not in-your-face CK (i.e. pastel-coloured and covered in tiny blossoms), instead it’s dark and moody and has a huge amount of detail. It reminds me of the Funnybones storybook, a childhood favourite – “In the dark dark town there was a dark dark street” etc.

  IMAG0025To call the skirt pattern “self drafted” would be a laughable over-sell. There was no drafting involved. I used the whole width (no side seam finishes = win), eyeballed the length, stuck a couple of box pleats in front, added a waistband, inserted elastic in the back half of the waistband only (anchoring on the inside), turned up the hem, aaaand DONE.

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3 hour skirt – BOOM. I was so proud, I dug out my hitherto unworn “MAKER” bling for photos in the park.

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See how it glistens in the soft autumnal light? Love it.

Siobhan xxx

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

Neon Pocket Zinnia

We just got back from Japan – an incredible, wonderful, beautiful place with stunning food, lovely people and AMAZING fabric. Tokyo even has a fabric town people – heaven!!

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I had a whole plethora of “travel clothes” projects I wanted to whip up before our trip, but only managed to execute the one. I am pretty delighted with it though. The pattern is the Zinnia skirt by Colette Patterns. I was inspired to have a go by The Stitchery, a Glasgow sewing space & blog. Their Zinnia sewalong is by far the most in-depth I’ve seen and I’d recommend it to anyone wanting to have a first go at garment sewing. The team really use the pattern as a launching point for teaching you lots about about fabrics, stitch types and all kinds of other useful things.

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I used two fabrics I got for Christmas 2013 (thanks mum!) – a dark teal floral print and a bright almost-neon yellow, with gold detail. Both from wonderful Ray-Stitch.

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Not the most obvious pairing perhaps, but if you look carefully the floral does have hints of bright yellow and, well, I love it. I made the patch pockets in the yellow, and covered my buttons to match. I even did the topstitching in a matching neon yellow thread. It’s one of those tiny details probably no-one will notice, but it makes me happy.

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This skirt got a LOT of wear in Japan. It packs down to nothing, the gathers mean it hides creases pretty well, it’s light and airy, it’s a nice length that feels appropriate for temple-hopping and lends itself to eating on the floor. And the pockets are a perfect size for phone/small purse/snack. All in all it is a great travel skirt and I can definitely see myself making multiple versions.

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One of my Japan highlights was wearing this skirt (whilst fabric shopping) and having an older Japanese lady complement me on it. Without a word of English (and without me speaking a word of Japanese) she said/mimed “ooh did you make that? It’s lovely. I like the coordinating buttons and pockets very much”. I nodded enthusiastically, beamed a “thankyou” and skipped off down the street.

Siobhan xxx