Summer Sewing

Despite my lack of postings, I have been quite activity sewing this year. One of my favourite patterns has been the Arielle skirt from Tilly and the Buttons. I’ve already made two for school and am planning on making another before term starts again.

But as I needed a new ‘summer’ skirt to wear this week, I thought that it would work well in a lightweight denim.

I found the lightest denim I could at my local Haberdashery and also picked up some fabulous buttons and almost matching gingham bias binding.

My Singer has a really good buttonholer, especially when you consider it’s from the 1930s. It is oddly soothing to crank the handle and watch buttonholes being created!

This skirt is really easy to fit. Plus as I seem to be a lot taller than Tilly (or her target audience) the long line skirt finishes almost exactly on my knee. I did shorten it by one buttonhole for this skirt as I wanted something a little above the knee.

Lastly, the finish on the inside is really nice, I like how the bias binding completes it.

When I have access to another person I’ll try and get some photos of it on…

This pattern arrived at the start of the holidays. I’ve been looking forward to starting it for a while.

It’s from Simple Sew (and they have quite a few other patterns I have my eye on). I bought this fabric to make it from, a polka dot medium weight cotton and a turquoise skirt lining.

Normally I try and encase my seams, as I don’t have an overlocker and my sewing machine can only do straight stitch. When I make tops I tend to use French seams, but these are too bulky for skirts. Then I came across a flat felled seam (courtesy of this very helpful tutorial). So I thought I would do a test to see if it worked with my fabric.

It worked well on a straight seam, but I was unsure how easy it would be to do on curved seams (and this skirt has a lot of curved seams!).

I am quite pleased with the final finish of the skirt, it fits really well (and I am going to have to make some more with different patterns!)

When I added the lining (despite the skirt pattern not having a lining – I had to improvise) I was quite pleased to discover that the way I had made it meant that no raw seams are visible!

Sorry – just felt like showing off the fabulous fit of this skirt again!

You may remember that I was going to make a skirt for my daughter using some black fabric printed with roses. Well, yesterday I got the pattern ready and laid it out on the fabric. It was then I realised that I have made a critical mistake – I hadn’t checked the width of the fabric before buying it. The fabric was only 115cm wide, but I needed it to be 140cm, especially as one of the pattern pieces was 60cm wide from the fold.

So after trying to think of a way to use the fabric I already had, I finally admitted defeat and headed to the haberdashery to buy some new fabric.

My daughter had asked for something tartan if possible (if I couldn’t find the same fabric but wider). I sent her the above picture for her to choose a colour and she went with the black (you’ve got to love smartphones!).

Fortunately, as it is polyester it didn’t require pre-washing, so I could start cutting out pattern pieces straight away.

I did a test seam, as the fabric was fraying a lot. I tried out both a French seam and just stitching along the edge before seaming.

The French seam was far too bulky, so I had to go with the stitching 5mm from the edge of the fabric.

The Burda miniskirt pattern instructions were surprisingly difficult to follow. Especially the lack of instructions on how to make the pleated part. Fortunately, I found this set of instructions that helped me work out the pleated skirt.

After a hectic afternoon (and evening) of sewing, the skirt was finished. One happy teenager!

NB: a word of warning, if you are going to make this pattern add some extra for the hem. I added an extra 4cm, but only used 2cm for the hem because it came up very short!

Yesterday was a busy day. I finished my Mathilde Blouse. The adaptations worked perfectly, so now the neckline sits in my collar bone and the blouse finishes just below my hips.

I mentioned before that I have a Singer sewing machine from 1934. Due to my eBay stalking, I also have a 1940’s buttonholer.

It comes with a series of cams that you put inside for different size buttonholes. The first things I did when I received it was to make a buttonhole sample strip. This means I can test buttons to check which cam I need to make the right size buttonhole.

So with buttonholer attached I finished off Mathilde with its buttoned back.

While I had the buttonholer out I also made the buttonholes for a shirt I finished ages ago. I copied an existing shirt to make this, and I’ll post at some point about how I did this (basically brown paper and lots of patience!).

Onto the next project: The Mini Skirt.

My teenage daughter has asked to help me make a mini skirt for her. So I found a pattern on Burda Style for a sequinned pleated mini skirt.

I have spent the morning (while waiting for said teenage to wake up!) printing out and sticking together the pattern.

30 A4 pages that need to be patiently trimmed and tessellated together. I’ve still got to trace the pattern pieces (and add my own seam allowance, because the pattern doesn’t have them), but that will have to wait until I have an awake teenager to measure.

In the meantime here is the fabric she has chosen for her skirt:

Red roses for the main skirt, very dark blue lining. She’s hoping to wear this skirt tomorrow – I think that means I’ll need to go and wake her up (again!).

By sheer fluke, my zip arrived in the morning post. So I had no excuse but to crack on with the skirt. Unfortunately, I don’t have a zipper foot (yet – I am stalking eBay for one), so I put my concealed zip in by hand.

After sewing up all the seams, inserting the lining and sewing on the waistband; it was time to try it on.

It is a pretty good fit, I didn’t need to take any in on the hips. I placed pins on the knees to show where the hem will need to sit. Although the skirt is now finished, I’m going to take photos when it’s light.

Finishing all the hems, waistband, lining and concealed zipper took an awful lot of blind hemming. I forgot how long this takes, but it does look good.

Next project will be this:

I might already have some black polka dot fabric and turquoise lining on its way to me at the moment (love online shopping!).

I’ve been busy today working on my Charlotte skirt (thoroughly enjoying being on holiday from school, so I have time for this!). I sew on a vintage Singer sewing machine. Mine is a 99k from 1934, it only sews with a straight stitch, but I have been collecting different feet attachments to enable my machine to do more.

I knew I needed to finish the edges of my seams, as the fabric was fraying quite badly. Normally I would use a French seam, but I didn’t want the extra bulk along the hip line. So I thought I would try out my ‘new’ attachment: a zigzag foot.

I tried out finishing with both a zigzag stitch and a straight stitch to see which gave a better finish.

The top one is zigzag, the bottom is straight stitch. I felt the straight stitch looked a lot better, so I went with that one. I am planning on using pinking shears to completely finish the edges, but I need to borrow my mum’s shears – until I can get my own pair.

After a busy afternoon of sewing, I have completed the outside and inside shells.

Now I need to wait for my invisible zip to arrive before I can continue. Hopefully, it will arrive tomorrow!

As I am currently on my Easter holiday, I thought I would take advantage of the time to make some clothes to wear to school. I like wearing pencil skirts, especially high waisted ones. So I thought I would have a go at making the Charlotte Skirt from By Hand London. They have a fantastic set of tutorials on their website.

So I picked some bi stretch fabric (I’ll find out the specific type later) from my local haberdashery and some skirt lining. By making my own skirt, it means I can have any colour I like (instead of the sea of grey and black in the shops).

I spent the day preparing my pattern and fabric. So I washed the fabric and while it was drying I traced my pattern.

Although tracing takes longer than just cutting the pattern, I think it’s a good idea, as then I can always make another size later. So armed with a pencil, ruler and tinned spaghetti hoops I traced the 3 pieces.

I always iron my pattern paper first, that way it doesn’t have any creases that change the shape of the pattern. Plus there is something very satisfying about ironing huge sheets of tissue paper – and normally I hate ironing!

I pinned out and cut my pattern pieces from the fabric and transfered all the dart templates using tailors tacks.

So now I am ready to start sewing the skirt shell (but I might cut out the lining before I get out my machine, otherwise I won’t have any table space!).

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