A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

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I’m pleased to say that I’ve finished sewing my Sew Over It tulip skirt.

Having looked at the pictures, I still need to press the skirt some more, and I may redo the hem. I think it’s bunching a bit because I made it too narrow.

When I stopped my previous post, I still had lots of work to do on this skirt. Further issues I had surrounded the pockets. I had to pin the pocket openings of the two sides together to ensure that the openings lined up without gaping. If I make this skirt again, I will draft my own pocket pieces as I would like the pockets to be a bit deeper. I tried to freehand this a bit when I was cutting out, but it didn’t really work. The positioning of the pockets is also a bit low, so I might try to address that too.

The invisible zip insertion was also stressful. I may invest in an invisible zip foot for my machine in future. However, I’m very pleased with this one for a first go. The first time I inserted the zip, my stitching lines were around 2mm away from the zip’s teeth, so it was totes visible. However, I remembered the trick of moving your needle across to sew closer to the teeth, and this fixed the problem.

I also have to say that once again, I have found the sizing on this pattern totally off. Having measured a skirt that fits me perfectly, I cut a size 12, which is meant to give a 30.5″ waist on the finished garment. However, when I tried the skirt on before putting the zip in, I could see that it would be way too big on the waist. In the end, I had to take a 4cm seam allowance on the back seam (the only place to make the skirt smaller without a MASSIVE headache) for it to fit. Overall, I made the skirt 5cm narrower, which means that I should actually have cut a size 8. I almost always buy size 10 in RTW garments, and my tummy is my ‘problem area’ so I’m really not sure how that works. Still, a victory for making your own clothes and trying on as you go.

I went out and bought some matching thread before attempting to slip-stitch the hem. When I tried on again before hemming, I wondered if the bottom of the skirt was too poofy. But I don’t think it is. One of my weird things about sewing is that I often forget about how the garment will be used when I’m making it. For example, I will forget that you need openings to get in and out of a dress, or I will fail to factor in that a knee-length skirt probably shouldn’t be skintight.

Pattern: Tulip Skirt by Sew Over It

Fabric: 1.1m of wool crepe

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Even though it’s still not finished, I decided to make something to go with my floral Ultimate Shirt. Julie, the instructor, made a throwaway comment about getting a pink skirt in the final class, which I initially dismissed because I don’t really wear pink. I just don’t think it suits me as well as other colours. However, the idea must have lodged somewhere as I found myself thinking more and more about a skirt project.

At first, I planned to finally tackle the pencil skirt. I should probably finish the Sew Over It pencil skirt that’s been languishing in my WiP pile for well over a year, but I’ve really lost my motivation on that project. I remembered seeing the Tulip Skirt in a sewing magazine a while ago and falling in love instantly.

The best thing about this skirt? POCKETS, BABY! Since SOI recently launched a PDF pattern, I decided to ignore my hatred of printing my own patterns and go for it.

I have a couple of wool skirts in my wardrobe that are incredibly useful workhorse garments; sturdy, smart-looking and easy to wear. My favourite navy skirt is a charity shop find that is starting to look a bit shiny, and the zip has a weak point in it that scares me every time I do it up. I’m hoping to create a garment to stand the test of time just like the navy one, so I decided to invest in some quality wool crepe for my new skirt.

Goldbrick Fabrics has become my favourite shop on the Goldhawk Road as I find the staff in there friendlier than most of the other shops. Fortunately they had some beautiful (though pricey) wools.

I wasn’t really intending on making such a statement garment, but the two colours that caught my eye, and that I thought would work with the ultimate shirt, were the two brightest. I decided to be bold and plumped for the hot pink.

Putting together the printed pattern wasn’t quite as horrifying as I remembered from the one other time I did it, though it still took well over an hour.

My beloved navy skirt has a 30″ waist so I decided to cut a size 12. After reading lots of conflicting advice about preparing wool, I decided to ignore all of it and hope the fabric was preshrunk. Real talk: I don’t wash my wool skirts that often anyway.

I did spend some time ironing a swatch of fabric to see if there would be any shrinkage. I used my new silk organza pressing cloth as I don’t want to risk scorching the fabric.

One thing that bothered me was the fabric recommendation given on the pattern, which clearly states that all sizes need 1.8m of fabric. My pieces only needed 1.1m. Actually I just measured and it turns out that my fabric is 1.56 metres wide, which is a non-standard width. Something to look out for in future.

Since decent wool crepe is over £20/metre, that’s kind of a big deal. I doubt I need two fuchsia skirts in my wardrobe, so I’m not sure what I’ll do with the leftover, which is about 0.8m.

Cutting out seemed to go fine, and I prepared the pleats on the front of the skirt and darts on the back. The next step was finishing the raw edges. I was concerned about this because I don’t have an overlocker (I wish I did!) and a previous attempt at zigzagging looked rubbish. However, the crepe frays quite a bit and I don’t think I’ll get a chance to pop to a sewing cafe any time soon.

Fortunately I found this very helpful tutorial on zigzagging by Tilly and the Buttons. She mentions using a special overcasting foot, and when I checked the accessories that came with my beloved Janome, there was one in there! Double zigzagging all of the edges took FOREVER but it looks okay, and I hope it will prevent my edges from fraying. It also used up two full (small) spools of thread and bobbins. I need to remember to buy matching thread for future projects.

Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be a sewing project of mine without at least one really stupid error. This time, when I was pinning the side seams of the skirt together, I noticed that one side was a lot longer than the other. Turns out that I managed to cut the pattern for the long version of the front of the skirt (the version I wanted to make), but the short version for the back pieces. What the hell is wrong with me?

Although I had enough fabric to cut out new back pieces, the idea of doing the darts and zigzagging again was too much. I held the pieces up to my body and, actually, I think that if I do a slightly narrower hem, the shorter skirt should still hit around my knee, which is the length I want. Fingers, toes and everything else crossed!