Nandos, naps and a swishy skirt

Apparently it is a beautiful day outside. I wouldn’t know too much about that. I’m writing this from bed due to a persistent hangover after a top notch wedding yesterday. Who am I to refuse a free bar? The only thing that is going to get me away from my duvet cocoon is the promise of Nandos, and even then I’m not convinced about having to change out of my PJs.

Anyway, while I steel myself into making it to the shower, let me tell you about the outfit I made for yesterday’s festivities.

50s pleated skirt front 2

Cos I’m rubbish, and so was the weather yesterday, I had to re-iron the outfit and take the photos today. Make up hides a multitude of sins…

Staying true to my wedding sewing plans for this year, I made a party-worthy outfit all by myself. And when I say all by myself, I’m including the patterns too (check out my sewing swagger). The skirt is the 50s pleated skirt from Sew Over It Vintage, which has you draft the pattern yourself so it fits you perfectly, and the top is one that I copied from a RTW top from Oasis. There’s probably too much in there for one post, so I’ll leave the top for another day and talk about probably the swishiest skirt I’ve ever made instead.

I bought the Sew Over It Vintage book a couple of months ago and immediately fell in love with the 50s pleated skirt.

INTERRUPTION: Chris has just told me to get up so we can go to Nandos. Back soon.

Several hours, Nandos and a nap later…

So anyway, as I was saying, I loved the skirt. It has a nice big box pleat at the front (which, unusually, is a separate pattern piece), and the rest of the skirt is gathered for a flowy, yet flattering look. And because I lack imagination and because I think I’m becoming a bit of a Sew Over It fan girl, I decided to copy the one in the book. I wanted something that would move nicely on the dancefloor (again, I need space to pull those special shapes one only sees at a wedding) so it’s made out of swishy red crepe. No stashbusting on this one – I didn’t have anything suitable in stock so I bought three metres with the intention of making a matching top (that will come later).

50s pleated skirt front 1

I like how the pleats on the front create a flattering front panel.

But before I could cut into the fabric, I had to make the pattern. It wasn’t difficult to do – all you need is your waist measurement, plus your desired length – but you do need to concentrate to get the pattern right. There’s a few calculations involved, but it’s basically a series of rectangles with a bit of slashing, pivoting and spreading to make a curved pattern. The instructions are clear enough, if a lot briefer than Sew Over It’s usual standards. I did go rogue on one of them though – the back skirt is basically the same piece as the front save for a notch. The book tells you to trace a separate pattern piece for it… Ain’t nobody got time for that, so I just traced a single piece and wrote a reminder on it not to add the notch for the back pieces.

In all, it’s quite a simple sew. I made it over the course of a stressful week at work, snatching an hour or two every evening and it all went pretty smoothly. If you can stitch straight lines, you can make this skirt. At first my machine didn’t seem to like the fabric and skipped stitches everywhere, but changing the needle to a sharper, finer version sorted that little problem out. I put the invisible zip in at the end of a long, long day and although it took me a long time to get my head round it in my tired state, it went in first time, and it’s probably the best invisible zip insertion I’ve ever done. Considering the first time I attempted it, the skirt I was working on was angrily thrown to the other side of the room, I feel I’ve come a long way. Look at me, growing as a person!!

50s pleated skirt back

How’s that for an invisible zip?! If I had had a matching one in my stash you really wouldn’t be able to see it! Yay! 🙂

Anyway, it all went smoothly until I sewed the snap on the waistband, again at about 11pm after a hard day at the coal face. I’d done it really neatly and was really pleased, until I realised that it had two male ends. Doh. Oh well, easily sorted.

I’m properly chuffed with this skirt. It’s very flattering, with the pleat giving the illusion of a flat stomach, while the gathers add a bit of fullness. I had some lovely comments at the wedding yesterday, and it held up well to a night on the dancefloor. It was a light up dancefloor, which is clearly awesome. The skirt will be making an appearance at other weddings this year, particularly once I make the matching top, so there’ll be more swishing and more crazy shapes (read bad dancing) to come.

And if you’re wondering, Nandos sorted me right out.

Joanna's wedding dancefloor

I was particularly crap at taking photos yesterday, but here’s a dancefloor shot with (l-r) Chris, me, Joanna, Cecilia and Neil. Joanna’s now mother-in-law made her dress and it is beautiful – golden silk overlaid with lace, with a small train. She looked so elegant!


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