Maids a milking

So, what do you do when you’ve finally dusted off that work in progress, had a burst of energy on it and nearly finished it bar buttons and buttonholes? Why you put it on one side and start something new of course.

spotty cordrouy

spotty cordrouy

I bought some lovely spotty needle cord in my tourist visit to Guthrie and Ghani – I had the girl in mind when I got a metre (I nearly bought the pink). I decided to make a skirt like a shop bought one she already had.

The shop bought skirt she got for Christmas last year

The shop bought skirt she got for Christmas last year, also spotty needle cord. I always felt this one was too full for the length though

Luckily the Milkmaid skirt tutorial was just what I needed and I liked the look of Justina Maria Louisa’s pleated version.

So, some lovely toning needle cord from my stash for a bit of added interest, some pocket linings (the side you don’t see) squeezed out of leftover green satin from the waistcoat and a purchase of some bias binding later (oh and a bit of sewing) and I’ve completed something from my Christmas makes wish list. (Yeah, I know it’s possible to make bias binding, I’ve even tried the continuous loop method. I can make a halfway decent bias strip that way, but when I try and turn it into binding it ends up looking like a dogs dinner, trust me).

front view

front view – the purple binding is brighter in real life and looks lovely and brings out the purple dots in the fabric. I almost wished I had more to sew some peaking out of the bottom of the waistband but adding extra fabric there would’ve been madness anyway.

back view

back view

If anyone is interested, for the pattern piece – I drafted straight onto the fabric (hurrah for symmetric prints that make straight lines easier). I loosely based the measurements on the skirt she already has, as fittings were out of the question for a surprise present. The skirt front and back panels both had a length of 15″, were 28.5″ wide at base and 22.5″ wide at top with 17.5″ between the pockets at the front. (I did them the same width as I was planning on putting pleats in the front, the tutorial has the back panel 2″ wider than the front). I put 4 pleats in, after which my front was 14.5″ wide at the top. I sewed the pleats down for the first 2.5″ to help hold the line. (I was winging it a bit, I don’t think I’ve ever done pleats before, so these may not be “right”, but hey, they look like pleats).

Waistband wise I made the front 14.5″ section wide like my skirt (so it would have a flat waistband at the front like Justina Maria Louisa’s) and the back 15.5″, so the back of the skirt was gathered into that. I sewed elastic into the back section, I tried to work out how long to make my elastic from the existing skirt, but I think it’s come out a little big. Still I’m not going to adjust it until she’s tried it on as it might be ok and I might make it too small. I’ve never made a half elasticated waistband before, I found a very complicated tutorial and in the end just cobbled something together.

Waistband, folds pressed in, attached to skirt

Waistband, folds pressed in, attached to skirt

The front of the waistband was sewn on first, right sides together, all the way around. Then for the back section I fixed the elastic to the wrong side of the portion of the waistband that would be the inside. I zig zagged the ends in place and sewed through the middle too. Then I folded my waistband down (with seam allowance tucked under) and top stitched from the outside. I hope that makes sense if you’re trying to figure it out, or maybe you know a better way? Anyway, it looked ok to me, just a little baggy.

Elastic in place, ready to fold over and stitch down

Elastic in place, ready to fold over and stitch down

I’m quite pleased with this make, it just remains to be seen what the Girl thinks. I like the contrast colours and the finish. The pocket bags could do with being lots deeper though, they’re only 2″ below the bottom of the pocket opening so much more than a tissue is going to fall out of them (not that they really need to hold much more than that). Now I look at the tutorial photo’s again it’s obvious they should’ve been deeper, oh the perils of not drawing out your pattern piece in advance.

Mini version

Mini version

Oh and I made a matching skirt for one of her dolls (confession time, it was meant to be for a bigger doll but I messed the measurements out), hopefully that will win me extra brownie points and she wont complain I didn’t make a doll sized pocket. So we will have a quarter of the quorate number of maids decked out for milking.

7 thoughts on “Maids a milking

  1. This is such a pretty little skirt and a matching one for dolly is even better. I am sure it will be well received!

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