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.

A Delphine Skirt

I’ve had Tilly’s book, Love at First Stitch, for some time but I have to admit that I am a bit lazy and tend to stick to the same well-used patterns. The thought of having to trace off the pattern had held me back from my desire to make the Delphine skirt.

My efforts to buy a suitable material with which to achieve effective pattern tracing have not been particularly successful to date.  The large sheets of white pattern paper I bought from C & H Fabrics were too thick to see the lines through, although I did manage to use them for my initial attempts at a self-drafted vest top.

After all the excitement of finding the Lucienne Day fabric vastly reduced in Peter Jones last weekend I thought I had spotted a product called Pattern Tracing Sheets.  I was sans spectacles at the time and obviously didn’t look closely enough.  When I came to open the packet I discovered it said Plastic Tracing Sheets which is not really what you want to be working with on a warm evening!  Not to be deterred I taped a sheet over the paper pattern and started to trace.  The pen supplied does NOT work!  At least it didn’t for me.  I resorted to a Sharpie but they do not respond well to a ruler – smudged ink everywhere – so I had to do it freehand.  I got there in the end but they were not the neatest reproductions.  I didn’t worry too much as I knew I would have to produce something more acceptable in the future if the pattern turned out OK.  I now have a big roll of proper tracing paper which I ordered from Amazon and which arrived in less than 24 hours.

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I decided to cut out the size 5 despite kyrie_in_kalamityland telling me that would be too big!  I made up a toile in the leftover denim from a previous skirt which I then took apart and cut it out as a size 4!  She was right! I really wasn’t sure the Delphine would be a good shape on me and I’m not 100% convinced but I am wearing it today so I’ll see how it goes.  I think I need to take the waist in very slightly as it has a tendency to stick out at the sides.  The back seems to sit a bit high so I feel like I have to keep pulling it down but generally I’m quite pleased with it.

Quite a lot has already been written about this pattern online so I probably don’t have anything useful to add.  It is a great, simple pattern which goes together really well.  What I am VERY impressed with is Tilly’s tutorial on lining this skirt.  I can’t believe I’ve never lined a skirt this way before!  I have always hand sewn linings into skirts and not been completely satisfied with the results.  I thought I’d try Tilly’s method with this practice version of the skirt and it worked like a dream.  It is so neat and tidy.  I’ve not yet stitched in the ditch to secure the waistband to the facing as I was sewing the hem first thing this morning so I could wear it today!   I also needed something to take my mind off W cycling 25 miles to work, having cycled home last night leaving his his car at the office.  He took one of his famous short cuts this morning so it took longer than expected!  I’ll finish off the skirt properly over the weekend.  I might also be adjusting the hem slightly – I’m not sure whether it is the dodgy mirror in our ladies’ loo or my rushed sewing that is making the hem look wonky!  Further inspection in a different mirror has confirmed that the hem is level but that the stiff nature of this fabric has developed an annoying sticking out area on the hem where I’ve been sitting on it.  Hopefully this will not be the case with a different fabric.  I might have to wear it at standing up occasions only.

The pictures of the lining are awful because the colour has completely bleached out but they do show the lovely neat finish which can be achieved with minimal effort.  No more hand sewing for me!  I did find stitching the lining to the zip tape a bit tricky but I think this will improve with practice.  I expect everyone else has been doing this for ever but, if not, definitely give it a try.  If I make another Delphine it will be in this fabric which I originally purchased for this purpose.

Another thing I’ve never done before is download a pattern which then has to be assembled.  In her last post trishstitched pointed me in the direction of the Mandy Boat Tee from Tessuti Fabrics which is a free pattern.  It is now printed out, stuck together and awaiting some fabric.  It wasn’t as much of a faff as I thought it would be.

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The espadrille soles arrived.  I had ordered the size 3 and they were TOO BIG!   My feet are TOO SMALL!  I’m going to keep them (I mean the soles, obviously I’m keeping my feet despite their ridiculously small size) but the smaller (child like) size arrived in the post this morning and I think they will be OK.  The picture is actually of the larger size.  The flowers were for my birthday and I thought they went together rather well.

My final purchase in London at the weekend was from Muji and was made to resolve the problem of storing all the accessories for my sewing machine.  After having to borrow a spare post thingy from Kay at Clothkits for the extra reel of thread when using a twin needle I embarked on a clear out and not only did I find the post that had been supplied with my machine originally but I also retrieved the triangular tool for unscrewing the foot plate (I had recently resorted to a knife for this purpose), the button hole foot and the darning foot for machine embroidery.

I now have this on my sewing table.  Three little plastic drawers with everything visible and accessible.

Have a good weekend.

Glittering Prizes

W has been on a winning streak recently. Last week he responded to a competition on Twitter resulting in two tickets to see The Rehearsal at the Chichester Festival Theatre (very good) and on Saturday night we finally enjoyed the benefits of his successful raffle ticket purchase at the Transitions Chichester  Fair last year – a dinner for six prepared and delivered to our door by the chefs, Anita and Julia.  The menu for the evening was :

Spinach, pea and mint soup with bread rolls

Lamb tagine

Vegetable tagine

Spicy chickpeas

Couscous with lemon and raisins

Rhubarb crumble with vanilla custard

 

Everything was locally sourced and delicious. The flour for the bread rolls came from the mill at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum. All I had to do was lay the table, heat up the soup and put the crumble in the oven!  Oh, and buy the Prosecco! It was a real treat.

We kept with the local theme and invited our neighbours to share the meal which was lovely. There was so much food the leftovers are being served up tonight.

I had intended to finish the spotty skirt to wear on Saturday night but thankfully saw sense at about 6.00 pm and despite my previous decision to restrict the wearing of too many bright colours together I went for this combination!

Spotty Skirt New Outfit

Spots did make an appearance at the theatre. I made this skirt a while ago with fabric from Clothkits in Chichester. It has a lovely red lining to match the stag’s specs but I made it far too short for daytime wear so it is restricted to evenings with black tights!  This fabric has featured on Tilly and the Buttons but I did make mine first!

Stag Skirt Stag Fabric

Looking at Tilly’s version has reminded me that I had planned to try her Delphine pattern from Love at First Stitch. Maybe with this needlecord?

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It is Kyrie from kyrie_in_kalamityland’s birthday today. One of her early birthday presents was a sewing machine and she’s already made a Coco top! I’d planned to buy her Love at First Stitch but she beat me to it so I have given her Fashion with Fabric from the Great British Sewing Bee to add to her sewing book library.

Kyrie's Present

Cup cake themed gift wrapping!

Blog Envy

I follow quite a few other craft, sewing and food blogs and I often see things that make me realise how limited my skills are! This bag from Trish Stitched is absolutely fabulous. She is so talented. I really love the clock fabric lining.

You should also check out Tilly’s polka dot version of her new Arielle skirt if you haven’t seen it already. I really like the way the lining is incorporated in this pattern.

My new denim skirt is finished and I am wearing it today with this shirt from Topshop. I’m only showing the shirt because looking at its construction has convinced me that I could make something similar from the stretch shirting I bought the other day.  I was disappointed because the concealed zip in the skirt didn’t go in as well as previous ones but it is amazing what some serious pressing and steaming can achieve and hopefully most people don’t study one’s rear end too closely! I was going to line the skirt but decided to try it without as I can always add one later. So far it is proving very comfortable so I think I’ll leave it as it is.

So far I’m ahead of my Me-Made-May pledge as I’ve worn something handmade every day and the above denim skirt is my make for this week. I wore the grey, part cashmere, top yesterday and I am very pleased with it. Another comfortable make.

Grey Top Finished

I also managed to make four more Morsbags on Tuesday evening (and very early morning on Wednesday) so I was able to give them away that day. Only six more to go.  Here’s the latest batch.

Morsbags 11, 12, 13 & 14

All this is really a distraction activity to avoid having to finish the Brighton Pavilion dress ……

Unfinished Dress

I think I might be more inspired if the weather warmed up.

A new Coco top

I have always had a fondness for anything striped, not just clothing but curtains, cushions, ribbon, wrapping paper, bed linen, just about anything really!

However, after my latest making of a Coco Breton top from Tilly and the Buttons using this fabric from The Eternal Maker in Chichester, I have decided to leave stripes alone for a while.  I think I’ll stick with plains and patterns which are too complicated to worry about matching. All went well until I came to the sleeves. Having already unpicked one sleeve because the stripes didn’t match up well enough on the seam I discovered when I came to hem the sleeves that they didn’t match there either! I couldn’t face any more unpicking but thankfully the pattern includes a cuff. I decided to cut this out with the stripe running in the opposite direction and this was pretty effective at disguising the problem. I had intended to have a funnel neck but I didn’t have quite enough fabric and I’m not convinced by the pattern which suggests just turning the edge under on the neckline.   I’ve had this Liberty binding for ages so I decided to use it to finish off the neckline and the hem which I think worked quite well.

It seems like spring might finally be here and my parents’ garden is overrun with grape hyacinths. I love these little flowers and I see that Winnie from Scruffy Badger Time has printed her own fabric with an image of these from her garden. It looks fabulous and I look forward to seeing what she makes from it.

An Invisible Zip

I’ve inserted several concealed zips in the past but only in a sewing class where there was a suitably qualified grown up to help me!  Left to my own devices I’ve always struggled to get it right and this was preventing me making so many of the things I wanted to.  I then discovered Tilly’s explanation in her book Love at First Stitch and suddenly it all became clear.  I’ve now done three in quick succession.

This is another fabric I bought in Ditto in Brighton which is a lovely soft tweed.  The photo doesn’t really do it justice as it is much brighter than this in real life.

Fabric 1

I thought it would fray horribly when it was cut but it was fine and I just finished the seams with a zig zag.

Here’s the zip.  It doesn’t seem quite straight in this photo but it looks fine on and how many people inspect the back of your skirt that closely?

Zip

Talking of Tilly, I’m about to cut out my second Coco top from this fairly heavyweight jersey fabric in a green and neutral stripe from The Eternal Maker.  My first one in a grey and white stripe turned out well but the funnel neck went a bit droopy after a couple of washes.  I’m hoping this one will be better at standing to attention!

Just the hem of one more winter skirt to finish off so I get the chance to wear it before the spring arrives.