Monday, 27 October 2014

Eek! My first post - Simplicity 1717 - A-line Skirt

My first post on the blog. And my first ever clothes pattern.

Way back in July I headed to my local sewing shop - The Sewing Cafe in Hinckley, Leicestershire, for hour of uninterrupted 'me' time immersed in beautiful fabric, buttons, sewing patterns and great service. I came away very happy and with a new pattern for a skirt and of course the fabric and notions to complete it. Something for a beginner to the clothes making world - Simplicity 1717 View C an A-line skirt with oversize patch pockets.

I absolutely love the results and thoroughly enjoy wearing the skirt, it fits as perfectly as one would imagine made-to-measure clothes should. I finished making it in August in time for a holiday in Spain. But this is such a versatile skirt; I'm now enjoying wearing it with my tights in Autumn - score!

The fabric I chose has a small floral pattern and reminded me of the print on a skirt I had from M&S when I was about 11. I loved that skirt; it was a long A-line style with floaty, floral fabric and buttons down the front. When I got too tall for it my mum shortened it, giving me, and then my sister, an extra few years wear out of it. The fabric I selected for this pattern  has a slight stretch in it, which is forgiving, and it doesn't crease too easily.

Whilst I enjoy wearing it, I can't say I totally loved making it. I made a few 'school-girl' errors - which left me feeling annoyed at myself, and at times I was ready to chuck it, buy some more fabric and re-start! But, I persevered and managed to overcome the mistakes and think the overall result is great - phew!

The main error I made was finding my pattern size! Now, I do know that patterns can be a bit notorious when it comes to sizing; they often don't match up to shop bought sizes; vary from company to company; and in one pattern you may have to 'grade' your sizes. And it seams that my measurements do not correspond directly to 'one' size on this pattern, varying from an 18, to a 10! This being my first pattern, and me being a teensy bit nervous, I cut the pattern and fabric to a larger size than I should have and after sewing the two front and two back pieces together I realised that it was going to be a bit on the large side!

I should have realised that the ease in the garment was too great, and worked out a size to cut using this as a guide - Tilly and the Buttons has an excellent post about this issue here which helped me immensely. Feeling more confident, I decided to cut the already cut and half-sewn fabric to a smaller size! EEKKK! This was a 'lil bit tricky, but totally doable. I lined up the notches and the outer edge and cut the pattern paper at the same time as the fabric with a rotary cutter and ruler (going very slowly obvs!). I then continued making up the skirt as instructed, even if this meant I'd now cut it a little too small around the waist (opps - you live and learn!) - I managed with 5mm seams here! It's an Amazing Fit pattern, the idea being that you baste the front and back together, try on with the basted on yolk and then adjust. Well I clearly did quite a bit of adjusting (and swearing having to use the seam ripper - again!), and eventually took the sides in by an inch or so at my hips on both sides too to get a little bit more of a fitted look. the extra adjusting meant that the facing was a little large inside, having made the whole garment up by this stage I wasn't prepared to unpick again, so settled on a small tuck made at the side seams as below.

Apart from the pattern sizing issues, and the problems this caused, I will be using the pattern again as the finished skirt is a great addition to my wardrobe. Lesson learned here - I'm definitely making a muslin one up next time, just to be sure! And I'm thinking a colourful corduroy one maybe?

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