Finally Finished!

At last we have a starfish skirt!  This is the tulip skirt from Sew Over It featured in Simply Sewing magazine and I love it – and so does Doris!

The free pattern accompanied Issue 5 of the magazine and the instructions have been divided into three instalments.  My lack of patience meant that I pressed on regardless.

There are only four pieces to the pattern : front, back, one piece waistband and a pocket.  You may remember that I made a toile which resulted in me raising the pockets by 2.5 inches because I couldn’t reach them!  There are darts at the back and two large pleats on each side at the front which create the tulip shape.  I chose the shorter of the two lengths but realised at the toile stage that this would be way too short and so I added a couple of inches.

The instructions were easy to follow and the skirt came together really quickly.  I’ve never really gone in for pattern matching before but because this was such a big bold pattern I decided that I needed to make an effort to avoid it looking messy at the back.  I’m not sure of the ‘official’ way to do this so I just cut out the left hand back piece,  individually pressed under the seam allowance and then lay it on the remaining fabric, lining up the large starfish.   I then measured across ⅝” to the left, i.e. under the already cut piece, for the other seam allowance, marked this on the fabric and removed the cut piece.  I then reversed the pattern piece, matched up with the markings and cut out the right side.

I’m quite pleased with the result for a first attempt, the large starfish match pretty well across the concealed zip, although the smaller ones are ‘pointless’ in a couple of places.  The zip also went in quite neatly.

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I wanted to line the skirt to help support the ‘tulipness’ of the skirt and used a crisp, spotty lawn that I’ve used before and always seems to appear on the remnants table in C & H Fabrics.  As before I used Tilly‘s instructions for inserting a lining with a concealed zip which works like a dream and gives a really lovely finish.

I particularly like the pleats at the front, perfect for helping to conceal any sticking out in the tummy area!

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The problem came when I arrived at the hemming stage.  I can only think that I must be an odd shape but the hem dipped down a substantial amount at the front and I just couldn’t get it right.  Cue a visit to my mother to stand on a stool and rotate while she pinned and my sister offered helpful comments.

Finally it was level but this involved a variance of more than an inch from front to back!  I then had to unpick and re-sew part of the hem on the lining, which I had already done in line with Tilly’s instructions, as it was poking out at the front.  I finished the hem with bias binding.

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I think it was all worth it.

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I do have a confession though.  I was so keen to get started on this skirt that I didn’t wash the fabric first and I just know it is going to shrink – which will be a problem as it is a perfect fit.  I can’t bear to think about it but given that I am the sort of person who can’t wear anything white for more than about five minutes without getting it dirty I could have a problem on my hands.  I may have to resort to dry cleaning, which I really don’t like,  and keep the skirt for special occasions.

Fabric Splurge and a Tulip Toile

Note to self : always make up a toile when trying out a new pattern, it makes all the difference!  I finished one for the Sew Over It tulip skirt from Simply Sewing magazine on Friday evening and discovered the following :

  • I love the shape of the skirt
  • The shorter length is definitely too short
  • The pockets are far too low down for my (short) arms to reach
  • I do not have the patience to wait for the next issue of the magazine for the rest of the instructions so am just going to get on with it

As a result of these discoveries I raised the pockets by 2.5 inches and added a couple of inches to the length of the skirt.

The pattern instructions are very clear and comprehensive,  although I questioned using the same seam allowance for stitching the pocket pieces to the side seams initially and for the main seam allowance.  I decided to do what I’ve done previously, ⅜ for the initial stitching and ⅝ for the main seam.

On to Saturday morning and a visit to The Eternal Maker, (a) because they are out of town and have their own parking and (b) because they have a very nice coffee bar which is an ideal place for W to sit and read the paper while I shop!

I came away with these three …

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The blue chambray will be used for the Cynthia Rowley jacket.  It is a really nice weight and I think it will work well.

The double-sided (stripes and spots) jersey is seriously lovely.  It is made up of two thin layers joined together and is incredibly soft.  I’ve not decided what to make with it yet but probably a Coco-type top if I can squeeze it out of the amount I’ve bought.

Yes, those are blue starfish and yes I am making the tulip skirt out of this fabric!  W looked decidedly unsure when I showed it to him in the shop but now it is well on the way to being finished I think he is convinced by the choice.  I love it and think this could end up being one of my favourite makes to date.

I made another zipped purse at the weekend from the Simply Sewing pattern, this one was for a birthday present to hold some fancy lip balm and cuticle cream.  I did make a small piece of bias binding from the spotty fabric for the zip pull but the binding was too wide for the tiny hole and ended up in tatters – hence the pink ric-rac.  The binding attempt was another first – following instructions in Simply Sewing (that magazine really has proved worth the investment) and using a tool I bought ages ago and had never even taken out of the packet.  It is SO easy to do I might have a go at making a longer length.

 The floral fabric was left over from this dress.

The big reveal of the starfish skirt will follow soon.