I was finally able to sit down today to start on one of my outfits. Very aware that time is running out (we fly out on 19th August) i decided to start with one of the skirts in a pattern i’ve made before, as this was a) the first time i’m doing this without my mom to hold my hand and b) the last time i made anything (hand holding or no) was a long time ago.

I got a book out of the library as well, the Reader’s Digest book of Sewing.. and thank god i did. So useful as a reference point, this is one i’m definetly going to keep a look out for in charity shops n the like.

I started out by reading the instructions – always useful – then put the pattern out onto the material as the instructions instructed. to my amazement i had close to, if not enough, material to make not one but two skirts, although it did help that i wanted to make this skirt quite a lot shorter than the pattern called for (the pattern was for mid calf length, i wanted just below the knee).

the pattern i was making up is on the far right, but intended to be knee length rather than mid calf

An old Butterick's pattern - the one i was making up is on the far right, but intended to be knee length rather than mid calf

This is what comes of buying a remnant, you sometimes get more material than you need (although i did get the guy to check that i didn’t have *less* than i needed.. LOL).

pattern pieces all laid out on the material

pattern pieces all laid out on the material

With some trepidation i got to snipping. I hate cutting. Its the point of no return, and i always check and double check.. this pattern is quite simple, only 4 pieces to cut out, but two of them are on the fold, and to make it more difficult, i’m the next size up from the largest pattern on the fold, so i was trying to enlarge the pattern as well.

pieces all snipped out

pieces all snipped out

The initial working up – sewing the darts – went well, but i realised quickly i needed a zip. They didn’t have any zips the right colour in the size required in the shop that day, and i had resolved to get them another time, but i realised that i needed the zips fairly early on. Then i had a brainwave… i still had a bin bag of clothes ready to go to the charity shop in the hall, with a couple of skirts in.. see if one of them was long enough? i found one in a dark blue colour, which was okay, and long enough, so i got to unpicking the zip out of the skirt. How’s that for frugality?

ultimate in frugality - reusing zips!

ultimate in frugality - reusing zips!

once the zip was out of the old skirt, i set about putting it into the new skirt. I screwed up once, had to unpick the stitches and resew it, but its not difficult.. just fiddly. Sew the two back panels together from the bottom up to the point where the zip goes in, then sew – seperately and in larger stitches – from the point where the zip goes in up to the top. working from the wrong side of the material, turn the zip to face the wrong side, where the seam is, then, with a zip foot on the machine, sew from the bottom of the zip down to the top of the zip, either side of the teeth, then across the bottom.

zip out of the old skirt and all ready to be reused

zip out of the old skirt and all ready to be reused

When you’re happy with the stitches, remove the large stitches making up the seam covering the zip and bob’s your uncle! one zip!

et voila! one zip in the skirt!

et voila! one zip in the skirt!

Once the zip was done, the back was brought together with the front, material front facing in, and the side seams were sewn together. Once that’s done its time to try it on, before the waistband goes on (so if you have messed up, there’s less unpicking to do). In my case it looked fine, a little tight, but fine.

front and back attached to each other

front and back attached to each other

then the three parts of the waistband were sewn together – the two back panels to the front panels – and then attached to the waistband of the skirt. At this point it became apparent that i’d done something wrong, and as i’d already attached the interfacing (and i don’t have a lot of that) i had to bodge it together. It looks fine, unless you look really closely – and i don’t mean when i’m wearing it – but anyone who knows about sewing clothes would be able to see where i went wrong. the waistband wasn’t quite long enough, and i hadn’t gotten the zip in quite the right place, so instead of folding the waistband inside the skirt as the pattern called for, i made a little waistband to go ontop of the skirt, with a little button to hold it together. Not pretty, but it works.

all done - except the hem

all done - except the hem

A button and a length of ribbon looped around the button later (to hold it together) and the skirt is finished – as finished as i can, anyway. Hemming a skirt when you’re on your own is not a good idea, and i can’t ask Michiel to help. So.. with my parents visiting on 8th August… MOMMMMMMMMMM (said in iritating teenage whiney voice)… can you help hem the skirts? please? pretty please? with bells on?

the bodge, close up

I’m quite impressed with myself, even though i bodged it a bit. I made a screwup, was able to rectify the mistake (not brilliantly, but at least i don’t have to throw it out). i’ve learned from it, and i’ve completed one skirt in one afternoon – i think the whole thing, stop to finish took me around 5-6 hours, which is pretty good going.

I’ll post a photo of me wearing it once the hemline is done 🙂

Next: another skirt – this time the one with the lovely border i want to use at the base, and then the top, when i feel brave enough!!!

Also tonight, sez grabbed me online and asked if we were up for a visit tomorrow. We are, and we’ve agreed to go to Wagamama‘s in Manchester city centre.. Michiel and i have been salivating over the menu all night, and we really can’t wait now.. I’ve been trying on clothes all night trying to decide what to wear, and finally settled on a wraparound skirt, a vest and belt, as its going to be warm again tomorrow. Should be fun!!!

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