Secret Sewing #1

I’ve finished some more bits from my pile that have been hanging around a ridiculously long time, I’m edging closer to starting my selfish sewing wishlist.

Back at the beginning of our glorious summer I made my youngest a twirly skirt and posted a photo on the dreaded facebook.

Well, an old friend I’d kind’ve lost touch saw the picture with asked me if I’d make her one and I thought Why Not. I got some measurements and a design brief of Blues and Greens and sketched the dimemsions on the back of an envelope. There wasn’t the right kind of fabric in my stash so darn it I just had to go shopping. I couldn’t find the a nice floral with a solid blue background like I was looking for, but in the end I settled on these.

Shopping haul

Shopping haul

The assistant was most curious with my definite requests for random amounts of fabric and ribbon.

I made the a front and a back panel with two side seams, which meant I could get two pockets in. I didn’t want seams in the middle so I didn’t use 4 panels even though it meant buying more material. I cut the top tier pieces from the width of the fabric and the middle and bottom tier pieces sideways-on parallel to the selvage edges.

So far so good

So far so good

I started with enthusiasm determined to finish it in time for a full summers wear. I was surprised how long the gathers took to do, I hadn’t appreciated how much more sewing would be involved for an adult size. As I went I daydreamed of things to do with the left over fabric pieces (several are already littered around the blog). And congratulated myself on judicious use of selvage edges to eliminate the need to finish the seam between bottom and middle tiers. And then things started to go wrong….

Problem no 1: Loopy back part of stitch stitch machine malfunction issues, suddenly, for no apparent reason, no change of thread, nor fabric, nor tension.



I put it on one side for a few days in a sulk and to let the machine get over it. Then unpicked it and tried again. Second time lucky but some momentum lost.

Problem no 2: Pockets. I wanted to use some scrap skull and crossbone fabric for the pockets to add a dash of secret humour and grit to the girlyness. So I paused to make the first three sunhats so I’d have the left over fabric. Trouble is that as well as losing momentum, I didn’t really have enough fabric leftover. I tried making a half skull and cross bone half spotty pocket bag but stuffed it up. So I went for plain spotty and stuffed that up too. I drew around my hand but forgot to add ease or enough seam allowance, the latter as I managed to work out how to insert a pocket bag and still French seam the sides but forgetting that meant leaving more seam allowance than my normal half inch. So the pockets ended up a little small.



At this stage in theory I just had a quick waistband to do and I was done. I was contemplating pressing on despite the fact that I knew the pockets were too small, but there was another issue I couldn’t really ignore…

Problem no 3: sizing issues

Hmm, could this be a tad on the large size?

Hmm, could this be a tad on the large size?

Obviously my now lost calculations or my cutting had gone a little wrong somewhere.

At this point I put the skirt on one side in the corner of my dining room and tried to ignore it. I felt pretty stupid that it had gone so spectacularly wrong and didn’t know what to do next. I did buy some more fabric to make the pockets bigger but couldn’t face unpicking the french seams. So it languished.

Eventually my friend asked for an update and I picked it up again. I checked that she didn’t want a riduculously full skirt, but she didn’t want to look like a hobbit, so some alterations were needed…

In the end it wasn’t too big a job. First I unpicked one pocket and added another one with ease and a proper seam allowance included and amazingly I could now get my hand inside. Then I decided to make the skirt width at the top (before gathering into the elastic waistband) the hip width plus 1 inch ease (+ seam allowance). This meant cutting just over half the skirt away. Eek.I slept on it, did it, added the other proper sized pocket, finished the other seam, made the waistband casing, added elastic and in no time at all I had a skirt…

Ta da!

Ta da!

Then I just had to finish a little something extra off and it went in the post. And amazingly it fit and she liked it. I have a photo to prove it but not permission to post it so you’ll just have to trust me on that one.

6 thoughts on “Secret Sewing #1

  1. It’s great to have a skirt with a story behind it 🙂

  2. Pingback: Prolific Project Starter | Secret Sewing #2

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  4. Pingback: Prolific Project Starter | Waste Not Want Not / Buy 1 Get 1 Free

  5. Pingback: Prolific Project Starter | Women’s Clothes I’ve made

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