Can’t stop; I’m late for the rodeo

Evening all! Tonight’s post is coming to you from my kitchen because it’s the only place I can’t hear Len, my octogenarian downstairs neighbour doing bad karaoke to rock n’ roll hits of the 50s. Perhaps it would be ok if he could sing, but the only words he knows to Elvis’ “All Shook Up” are, yes, you guessed it, “I’m all shook up.” Perhaps I should cut him some slack due to his age, but that song’s been around for 58 years. Plenty of time to learn the words methinks.

Anyway, threats of ASBOs aside, you might remember that in 2015 I wanted to join in a bit more with the online sewing community. Y’know, do some sewalongs and hopefully make some new friends along the way. I’m currently hoping that there’ll be a sewalong for the new Granville shirt from Sewaholic, but in the meantime I’ve signed myself up for the Monthly Stitch. If you’re not familiar with this site, it’s a blog to which any sewer/sewist/seamstress/dressmaker/whatever can contribute, as long as you sign up. Each month they run a different challenge – it could be dresses for Frocktober or lingerie etc – and people post their creations within that theme before the month is out. You don’t have to do them all (e.g. I have very little interest in making my own undies, so if that comes up as a theme I will be skipping that month), but it’s really fun seeing everyone’s interpretations. This month’s theme is Denim Never Dies, and since I had some dark denim chambray lurking in my stash I thought it’d be a nice opportunity to give the Cressida skirt pattern from Jennifer Lauren Vintage a go.

Front square

Now, maybe I just lack any sort of imagination, but when I first saw this pattern I couldn’t picture it in any other fabric than denim. It didn’t help that that was how the example was sewn up in Jennifer’s launch post. Like Jennifer, I went for Version 2 with its single line of buttons and its cute belt tabs, but with an inch and a half off the hem because I’m short an the midi length does not suit me.

The Cressida is a half circle skirt, so its construction isn’t all that taxing. What seemed to take the time for me was cutting everything out. With two waistband pieces, two plackets and EIGHT belt tab pieces all needing cutting out as well as corresponding interfacing pieces, I think I spent most of Sunday morning with my scissors. UGH SO DULL. However, all that cutting and sticking was worth it as I think the belt tabs turned out really nicely if I do say so myself. And I do.

Check my killer topstitching

Check my killer topstitching

Once again one thing that set me back was my own inability to read instructions properly, which resulted in me sewing one of the button plackets on the wrong way round. I didn’t notice until I’d trimmed the seam allowances so I had to fudge it a bit, but it seemed to work out ok in the end. I also had issues with the top buttonhole AGAIN so that’s a bit less neat than the rest. Seriously, I do not know what I am doing wrong there. It was the last one I needed to do, all the rest turned out fine, I practised them many times and I hadn’t touched the settings on my machine. So what went wrong?! Any ideas/advice gratefully received!

I don't get it. How can one buttonhole turn out so well and the next turn out so rubbish when I haven't touched the settings?!

I don’t get it. How can one buttonhole turn out so well and the next turn out so rubbish when I haven’t touched the settings?!

I’m particularly pleased with my top stitching on this skirt. My original intention was to do it all in blue so it wouldn’t be noticeable but then I discovered I was out of navy blue thread. I almost ditched the project for the weekend until I could get back to the shop in Balham but instead I decided to go for it with a contrast colour. I can sew in a straight line, right?! Well, maybe in a few areas not quite, but I am really very happy with how it turned out!

I wasn’t quite sure of this skirt as I was making it. I was worried that it would look like it came out of Next’s casual section and end up making me look a bit mumsy, but I’m actually quite pleased with the way it looks. It might make my bum look big (I think circle skirts need a crinoline underneath to accentuate the line and combat exaggerated bum size), but I think it’s really versatile and you can style it in a bunch of different ways. I’ve tried it with a slouchy Breton top, which gives it a bit of an 80s vibe, but I could also picture it in a 70s-style casual outfit. Just need to get me a Farah Fawcett hair do and I’d be set. And if I had a pair of cowboy boots and fringed shirt and I’d look like I was off to a Billy Ray Cyrus concert. I love it when basics can inspire different looks, but I’m probably going to have Achey Breaky Heart stuck in my head for the foreseeable future now. Ace.

Chris tells me Len has shut up for the night, and I am going to do the same. Happy weekend all!

Does my bum look big in this? Don't answer that.

Does my bum look big in this? Don’t answer that.


And a smug face for good measure.

And a smug face for good measure.


13 thoughts on “Can’t stop; I’m late for the rodeo

  1. Caroline Joynson says:

    Looks brilliant. How annoying about that last buttonhole! You will not let that get in the way of enjoying what is a beautiful skirt. Such splendid top-stitching too! 2015 – you are on a roll!

    • Jo Laycock says:

      Cheers! Apparently the buttonhole issue is due to seam allowances adding extra bulk at the top, which automatic buttonholes don’t like. I’ve still got my old machine (one day it’ll go on ebay) which has a four step function so might give that a try with my next one.

  2. Beth says:

    I signed up for The Monthly Stitch last month but haven’t even started my first challenge yet… Eek… Big well done on yours, I love the skirt, it looks very well made. I don’t think the buttonhole looks too bad. At least the button mostly covers it.
    And lol you did make me laugh about the words to Elvis’s songs!

    • Jo Laycock says:

      Yeah, small mercies eh?! Are you going to do the denim challenge this month? I see they’ve just announced block colours for next month too – I’ve got black, so am thinking an LBD might be in order!

      Len is pretty deaf (aurally and tonally) so when we go downstairs to ask him to turn it down his immediate response is “WHAT?” I despair!!!

  3. navybluethreads says:

    Love the sound of your mad neighbour 🙂 Made me chuckle! Great job on the skirt, the contrast stitching looks great. Not really considered this pattern before, but you’ve definitely convinced me it’s a maybe now 😉

    • Jo Laycock says:

      You don’t have to live above him!! I don’t think many people have considered this pattern – at least I’ve only seen a small number on blogs, and even then they seem to be all pattern tester versions. Shame, because I quite enjoyed sewing it up! 🙂

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