chebe: (Purple - DanceLikeNooneisWatching)
Fourth skirt from the 'Sew What! Skirts' book, Short and Sassy (page 73), a simple square (a.k.a. handkerchief) skirt with elasticated waist. ... Well, almost. I added a yoke. I've added yokes before, but this time I was following the 'very simple low-waist skirt block' (page 134) from Winifred Aldrich's 'Metric Pattern Cutting for Women's Wear'. This particular block is good for easy-fits and fabrics with stretch/elastic waists. The only alteration made to the general instructions from 'Sew What! Skirts' (SWS) was that the circle was measured as my hips, and the waistband left out (as the yoke took care of that).

Construction is very straight forward; sew up the side-seams of the yoke, make the elastic casing, insert elastic. Add yoke to skirt (slight gathering may be needed). Hem.

Okay, ready for the maths? Really pretty simple, promise.

In theory )

Adding yokes or not is simply another variation you can try. There are also other waistband and closure methods that can be used. There are so many possibilities you can make, and all without buying a single pattern!


In practice )



There we are. A little light twirly skirt perfect for dancing in. And I've learned a lot about how square and circle skirts are made so I'll be able to make the next one perfectly first time. I'm also loving the yoke block based on Aldrich's block and am looking forward to trying the other blocks.
chebe: (Sewing Machine)
Third skirt from the 'Sew What! Skirts' book, Got No Ties (page 67), a wrap made from loose-weave fabric. Funnily enough when I first looked through the book this was one of the skirts I was sure I'd never make. I'm not sure why exactly, just have little experience with loose-weave fabrics, so they just seem to be not my thing. But then, I was in Hickeys during the stock-take sale, and found this purple/black/white tweed for only €8/m. It sat there, looking at me, all soft, warm, and purpley. I figured I should at least try the skirt.

Got the fabric home, discovered it's polyester and acrylic, and dry-clean-only. "Nuts to that," I said, and chucked it in a 30-degree wool wash. Put it through the tumble-drier (seemingly losing half of it in the process), and then discovered to my delight not only that it survived but that ironing is not required.

I did up a pattern on paper this time, instead of directly on the fabric. Basic A-line, fitted-waist layout, but no zipper. I made sure to use my low-waist measurement, and while I curved the front waist, left the back waist straight. I also increased the extend/overlap section to 8". I think I settled in the end on a 19" length, which hits me just above my knees. A nice length on me. However, it's extremely hard to photograph.

Skirt photos )

I didn't have snap tape, so I used two little metal snaps, one on the end of each of the wrap edges, and then secured with a kilt-pin. Then I enjoyed fringing the edges, and now have plenty of material to stuff my next pin-cushion.

I have complained about the clarity of instructions in this book before, and I'm saddened to see that the trend continues. For this skirt they never mention what to do with the waistline, you're left to infer that it's the same as for the hem, yet a close inspection of the photos shows that this isn't true. Other than that though, the instructions are fine.

Okay, I 'fess up. I mostly started this because I'm so unhappy with my sew-along mock-up. I think I'm going to have to make up another one, because simply, I'm not cutting the fashion fabric until I'm happy with the mock-up. So, my apologies to anyone waiting on me to go through the next few steps, it may be a while. Starting in to another mock-up is daunting, and messing with my sewing mojo, so I needed to do something fairly straight-forward that would give me almost instant gratification. That's how this skirt happened. I also have the pieces for a top cut out, but I probably won't get to sewing that up until tomorrow.

Hmm, I feel this skirt needs a pocket or two to give it more interest...

The Breezy Beach Wrap

2010-Sep-04, Saturday 03:51 pm
chebe: (Default)
My second skirt from 'Sew What! Skirts', the so-called Breezy Beach Wrap. I mentioned earlier that I found the instructions hard to follow, and the resultant skirt is not great.

Here, let me show you. )
chebe: (South Park)
I mentioned in an earlier post about a book I'm using to make skirts. I'm currently on my second skirt, the 'Breezy Beach Wrap' (wishful thinking), and am finding some of the instructions quite confusing.

Firstly, you have to cut out two pieces that overlap, with right-sides together, that you then sew onto either side of the main(front) piece. Only... when I tried this I ended up with the back edge sewn to one side of the front piece, and the overlap edge of the other back piece sewn to the other side of the front. I should be okay because my pattern is non-directional, but I am still worried about the lines of the skirt lining up right.

Secondly, it says to sew the two strips of waistband together (on the short edge as far as I can make out) to create one much larger strip. Except, now I'm left with a strip of fabric that seems way, way too long.

So I went looking for any possible errata that were published. There are at least three versions of this book. The first one was published through Storey Publishing in the States. They seemingly put up errata (which have since disappeared) and republished a corrected version in 2006. My copy of the book was published in 2007, by UK publishers David&Charles, and still contains the mistakes. With no errata I could find on their website.

For those interested, here is what the errata pdf contained once upon a time:

Sew What? Skirts
Page 65 Half Circle Wrap:
All you need is 1 length of 42"–45" fabric (about 2 1⁄2 yards for the average person), plus 1⁄8 yard for the waistband and ties. If you are larger than average, or prefer a fuller skirt, it’s better to use fabric that is 58"–60" wide (about 3 1⁄2 yards, plus waistband yardage).
. . .
You will need to add to the W measurement to allow
for fabric overlap in the back of the skirt. To do this, measure where your waistline will be, then add 12" to 14" (or the amount you want it to overlap). Divide by 3 and round up to the nearest 1⁄2". Then make your string compass as instructed.

p. 117 Nature's Child:
under Stuff You Need it should read:
2 lengths* of 42"–45" fabric
3⁄4–1 yard of complementary fabric


No mention of any of the problems I'm having, so maybe it's just me... but I'd be interested to hear thoughts from anyone who has tried these projects.

Adventures in Sewing

2010-May-07, Friday 06:43 pm
chebe: (Default)
I made a skirt yesterday. One from the book 'Sew What! Skirts'. I'm not sure if I mentioned this book here before or not, but I like it, and recommend it, even if none of it is metric, and it says you need a sewing machine. It basically teaches you how to make skirts to fit you, without patterns. It involves a little bit of maths, and some rulers, and really what you are doing is drafting your own skirt blocks, for one time use only, directly on the fabric. I made the first skirt, called 'Singing the Blues', a drawstring A-line skirt, only I didn't add the pocket or the rickrack.

It took me about four hours, including re-threading my overlocker, and learning how to sew a buttonhole on my machine. I ended up making the skirt a bit too big (I have to stop rounding up my measurements!), but I think it still works in a Summery kind of way. I actually wasn't too sure about the fabric, it's floral, and reminds me of Hawaiian shirts. Yet the colours are striking and bold, and the flowers themselves remind me of blood-red splashes. It's certainly not the sort of pattern I'm used to wearing. But it is a medium-weight cotton, and the selection was poor.

I wore it to work today. That was quite a bold move for me. I have never worn anything I made myself out-of-doors, except costumes. I suffer from thinking that nothing I can do is good enough, for whatever that means. But I did, and received several compliments on it, none of which were 'Did you make that yourself?'. I aim for a handmade look, not homemade. And, I say this with relief, I think this a step in the right direction.

Photo behind cut )
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