Sew together for summer

I’m taking a new tack with Me Made May. I’m doing a daily post on Instagram (I’m @stuffjohasmade in case you’re interested) but on here I think I’ll just do a round up at the end of the month. Part of this is sheer laziness, but it’s also because we’ve invested in a fancy camera and the weather’s suddenly gone from grotty to glorious, so I’m suddenly a bit more interested in taking pictures.

First up, it’s my entry in the Sew Together for Summer contest. The competition is the brainchild of Sarah of Sew Sarah Smith (@sewsarahsmith), Monika (@rocco.sienna) and Suzy (@sewing_in_spain) These lovely ladies seem to have read my mind; all I am making at the moment is shirts and shirt dresses, and all you have to do to join in is whip up a shirt dress and share it on Instagram!

So for my entry, I decided to revisit an old faithful. I’m flying back to the UK next month for a wedding and obvs I need a new dress. I’m trying to sew things from my pattern stash rather than buying new, and the Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress seemed perfect for the task. I’ve made it a few times before, I know it fits nicely and it’s reasonably simple to sew up.

Front

This was taken on the roof of our building. It’s a bit of a sun trap and has awesome views over Lake Union to downtown Seattle. It’s basically what sold me on living there. And there’s a chicken coop up there too!

I picked up my fabric in Dry Goods Design in Seattle. It’s a lovely, buttery soft cotton lawn with a nice handle, and was a dream to sew with. I had no issues working with it, apart from when my machine decided that buttonholes were a bad idea. I had to unpick a few but they generally went off without too much bother. The buttons themselves are from another shop in Seattle, Nancy’s Sewing Basket. It’s a great shop with a brilliant range of dressmaking fabrics and notions, but it’s at the top of a massive hill (a bit of a feature in Seattle) so I’ll be visiting only when I have a good shopping list. Seriously, that hill is steep.

Back

The back. Plenty of space in that hem for bad wedding dancing. 

I’m pretty pleased with the finished result. The wedding’s in Norfolk and I’m hoping for some good weather. The dress feels light and airy, so should see me through the day right up to the point where we’re drunkenly singing Take That’s Never Forget at the end of the night. And isn’t that what weddings should be about? Dresses and drunkeness?

Collar close up

Here’s the collar. The fabric is so nice to work with that it was easy to get a crisp finish with my iron. 

Bonus top!

I… ermm… accidentally bought too much fabric and ended up with enough left over to make a bonus top! I managed to squeeze out a new version of my copied RTW top. I wore it this weekend when we visited Bainbridge Island for a spot of exploring and wine tasting. Mostly wine tasting. I had to have a nap when we got home.

Photo May 20, 13 28 55

Pre-wine tasting. 

On the cutting table: May

I’ll be honest. Right now, I’d rather be outside. Seattle is gorgeous today – the sun’s out and it’s so warm that I’ve even got my legs out. I want to be out and about enjoying it, but Chris saw fit to swipe my keys this morning and I am stuck in the flat till he gets back this evening. Blogging it is.

I’ve got a small backlog of makes, but since they all need to be photographed let’s chat about my sewing plans for this month instead! As American bureaucracy is forcing me to be a lady of leisure, I think I can manage four projects this month:

I’ve been promising myself for ages that I’d make myself a basic, multi-purpose white shirt. I finally found the perfect medium-weight cotton shirting in District Fabrics (my new local fabric shop) so I’m getting on with making the Sew Over It Ultimate Shirt. It’s already half-finished, but I made a mistake with the sleeves that I haven’t corrected yet. Tomorrow’s job will be to get it finished!

Part of my Me Made May pledge was to finally do something with the sand washed silk that’s been sitting in my stash for the best part of a year. After seeing Leigh’s gorgeous version, I’ve plumped for the Alex shirt dress from the Sew Over It City Break ebook. I’m just wondering if I have enough fabric now – the pattern calls for 3m, and I have 2m, but I managed to eke my shirt version out of much less than the recommended length…

Sandwashed silk

This doesn’t do justice to the colour. It’s more of a petrol blue. 

Continuing my Sew Over It fangirling, I’m going to make the Vintage Shirt Dress for a friend’s wedding next month. I don’t have any fabric for this yet, but I’m looking forward to scouring the fabric shops of Seattle to find something. District Fabric is lovely, but there’s another good one in Capitol Hill and one in Queen Anne that I haven’t tapped yet. I feel a tour coming on!

Side

My last Vintage Shirt Dress. Can’t wait to wear this one again. 

Finally, I’m halfway through a mammoth quilt, inspired by this one I found on Pinterest. I’ve done the top so far, and since it’s queen-sized, I’m wondering how I’m going to fit it through my machine. I’ve bought a walking foot, and I’ve been watching a free Craftsy class about making my first quilt. I may have bitten off more than I can chew for a first quilt, but I’ve enjoyed picking up new skills so far.

Quilt top unfinished

One quilt top. It’s HUGE. 

In the time it’s taken me to write this, the weather’s turned on a sixpence. Clear blue skies to an almighty thunderstorm in less than an hour. Perhaps I’m better off locked in the flat after all…

Anyway, what’s on your cutting table this month?

My last-minute Me Made May pledge

I, Jo of stuffjohasmade.wordpress.com, sign up as a participant of Me Made May 2017. I endeavour to wear handmade clothes at least five days a week for the duration of May.

Hola! Just ducking in before the sign up deadline to say I’m taking part in Me Made May this year (check out the So Zo blog for the details on how to take part). I’ve stuck to the same pledge as 2016 as my work wardrobe is largely out of action while I wait for my US work permit so I’m limited to casual wear. I suppose I *could* wear my work clothes if I wanted to, but I’d much rather be comfortable. And anyway, I think sticking to five days of me-made casual clothes is a decent challenge for my current circumstances. 

As a side challenge, and because I have a bit of time on my hands at the moment, I’m going to do something with the 2m of sand-washed silk I’ve had in my stash for a bit too long. Question is, what should I do with it? The current contenders are either a rather luxurious Alex shirt dress from the Sew Over It City Break e-book, or their pussybow blouse, both of which I have in PDF format… The dress would be for general wear, whereas the blouse would be more of an office-to-bar sort of thing, so wouldn’t get the immediate wear. I may be talking myself in to making the dress here – what do you guys think?!

My other hope for Me Made May is that I get back to blogging a bit more. I’ll try and do a MMM round up each week but I’ll also share some of my recent makes. I have the time; I should be writing. 

Are you taking part in MMM this year? Are you using it as an excuse to get something done? 

Getting ruthless with my pattern stash

I’m not much of a hoarder, but like most I do accumulate stuff at a rate of knots. Moving continent has given us a great chance to have a bit of a purge and if I can’t take it, it’s either going in storage or to the Tooting Oxfam.

As we’re going to be travelling light I can’t take much sewing stuff. I’ll be buying a new machine in the US  and I’ve been thinking about what equipment I can take from my sewing box to get me started. This means some pretty straightforward decisions, but I’ve had to be ruthless with my many paper patterns.  The ones I know I’ll never make went straight to the charity shop. Then I had to choose what would make the trip and what would go into storage. I limited myself to taking ten essential and versatile printed patterns, with the aim of creating a capsule wardrobe.

So what made  the list?

  1. Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress – great office wear in the winter and makes a wonderful summer dress in cotton lawn
  2. By Hand London Anna dress – multi-purpose dress that works in all the fabrics, plus the instructions are so clear on inserting an invisible zip. I forget how to do it every time, but the BHL ladies help me through.5dafceed-c554-42e6-845d-6a2dd38025cel0001
  3. Tilly and the Buttons Cleo dress – I made one of these the other day and now I want more! Watch out for a post on this coming soon.
  4. Deer & Doe Chardon skirt – I wear my Chardons all the time – in the office and at home. You will be seeing more!Anchor chardon front
  5. Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt – I’ve worn my previous versions of this into the ground. Need more.
  6. Tilly and the Buttons Arielle skirt – this is purely a work skirt for me, but I love it as it’s so different to my usual fit n’ flare skirts.Arielle pose
  7. Sew Over It Ultimate Shirt – I’m taking the class at the moment and I’m pretty pleased with my progress. It’s a fitted shirt that will work best for smart/office wear.
  8. Grainline Archer shirt – it’s been in my stash for ages. It’ll be awesome for all sorts of casual wear.
  9. Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top – I haven’t made this one either, but it’s a wardrobe basic, and the online class will hold my hand as I get to grips with jersey.
  10. My copied Oasis top – I’ve made loads of these, but they’re so useful to have for layering under cardies.50s pleated skirt front 1
  11. Simple Sew Shannon trousers (free with Love Sewing magazine in Sept/Oct last year) – I haven’t made these yet but I will need some pants, and these wide-leg trousers will suit my eastern European shotputter’s legs quite nicely.
  12. By Hand London Victoria blazer – because I need something to throw over the top of everything.

So I may have gone slightly over my target of ten, but I’ll just have to sit on my suitcase to get it closed (and let’s not talk about the bonus home décor patterns I ripped out from some sewing magazines. They totally don’t count).

How about you? If you could only take a few patterns with you to a new place, which ones would you choose?

Cock-a-doodle-hen-do

Happy Sunday all! I’m taking a break from a massive clear out to bring you today’s post. We’re having a spring clean because on Friday we went to the American Embassy in London and had our visas approved! We now have around about a month to get our stuff together and get out to Seattle, which means a mad rush to sort things out.

Anyway, I’m here today on much more frivolous business. A few weeks ago, I had a rather belated hen do. Since Chris and I went from proposal to marriage in the space of six weeks, I didn’t really have time to have a hen do, so I decided to do it after the fact instead. I gave my bridesmaid a few stipulations (karaoke, a drink or two, and absolutely nothing that indicates we’re on a hen do – e.g. No willy straws or fluffy pink stetsons), but otherwise she had free rein. I was in the dark about what was happening until the day itself, and Gillian was being quite cagey about the dress code, so I figured I’d need something that would take me from day to night with ease.

The Alex shirt from the Sew Over It City Break e-book seemed to fit the bill nicely. I am having a major SOI fan girl moment. All I seem to make at the moment is their patterns. They do fit me nicely, and the patterns are all things I want to wear, so why not?

alex-front

The concept of the City Break book really appeals to me. I’ve been thinking about capsule wardrobes for a little while now, and with an impending move abroad, it sounds like an appealing idea. While I like all the patterns (apart from the Mia jeans – they’re a bit skinny for me), the Alex shirt was the one that stood out for me. It’s loose fitting, can be lengthened into a dress and has rolled up sleeves. These details make it a nice introduction to sewing shirts without too much hassle – no collar stand and no fiddly cuffs.

My Alex is made out of a lovely drapey rayon I’ve had in my stash for so long I can’t remember where it came from. I love the drape of rayon, but it can be difficult to cut out as it moves around a lot, so I cracked out the spray starch to help it stay put.

The pattern and instructions were really easy to follow. The only bit I found tough to get my head around was the enclosed yoke. I couldn’t work out how to twist it so that the inner yoke could be stitched nicely all in one and turned through. I got a bit confused and ended up with a Möbius strip instead of a yoke several times, so after one bout of unpicking I decided I’d pin and test first, which saved my tears.

alex-yoke

The fabric is quite busy, but I assure you this is the yoke and the pleat in the body.

My only other criticism of the instructions was about attaching the collar. It has you out the collar on before you sew the side seams. This struck me as a bit odd and turned things into a bit of a faff when you have slippery fabric flying about everywhere.

alex-front-close-up

The collar and almost invisible patch pockets. I also didn’t bother doing buttonholes as I can fit it over my head without any bother. 

The fit’s pretty good. It’s supposed to be loose and relaxed, so I had plenty of space in a straight size 12 to fit my child-bearing hips (a pretty standard adjustment for me). I started doing the sleeve tabs but when I sewed them on, I realised they were too thin and positioned too far down the sleeve for my liking. I like rolled up sleeve to sit in the crook of my elbow, but these were more bracelet length which would just annoy me. So I left them off, and made a note to draft a thicker tab next time round.

alex-side

So how was the hen do? Well, I got my karaoke but I was also made the leader of a routine to I Wanna Dance With Somebody (video of which I hope will not see the light of day). We went out for dinner and then went for drinks and table football in Bar Kick in Shoreditch. I had rather a lot to drink but I was also the table football champion of my own hen do along with my friend Joanna. I don’t think they let us win…?

Big life news

I’ve been quiet for a good while on here basically because it’s been all change since I last checked in in September… Last time we met, I was merrily sewing up door stops and cushion covers as part of getting our flat ready for sale. We had grand plans of buying a house in Walthamstow (market proximity was a plus) but that all came to a bit of an abrupt halt.

A few days before we were due to put the flat on the market Chris was sort of made redundant. I say sort of, because his company were shutting down their London office and moving operations to America. He had three options: find another role in the company in London, redundancy or move to Seattle with the job. We had a chat about it, went to visit Seattle for a week, decided we really liked it and opted to move out there! We’re currently in the middle of the visa process, and all things being equal, we expect to be flying out by the end of February. Sounds pretty intense, eh? You don’t know the half of it!

My being able to move to America with Chris and staying there legally is really dependent on us being married. So, Chris popped the question on our anniversary at the end of October and six weeks later we got hitched! It was always going to happen anyway, and I’m informed that he had the ring for several months before he proposed but this sped things up considerably. We decided to have a quick and quiet wedding in Merton registry office in London, with a buffet and drinks at his parents’ house afterwards – just immediate family and friends.

If the stress of organising a wedding in six weeks wasn’t enough, I decided to make my dress too! I was already doing the 1940s wrap dress class at Sew Over It anyway, so I thought why not just make that my wedding dress? It made sense to me – I had dedicated class time to get it done, I had fitting help and (most importantly) it took a massive headache out of finding THE dress. And the teacher, Dominique, didn’t freak out when I told her the occasion!

I managed to get most of it done in class time, with just hemming to do by the end of it which I did while Chris was on his stag weekend. I was really pleased with how it turned out – while some bits were quite fiddly (the neck line binding in particular), it came together quite nicely, which is pretty standard for Sew Over It patterns. It’s a good job too, since this is probably the most important dress I’ll ever wear!

The wedding itself was lovely, and despite my dad tripping down the stairs as he walked me down the aisle and a bit of a mix up with the rings, it all went smoothly. We couldn’t have done it without the help of our family and friends. Chris’ family really pulled out the stops and transformed their house for the day, and my bridesmaid Gillian was brilliant at being decisive, and listening to my rants about cake arrangements (that’s another, long, story). We’re both really happy and looking forward to new adventures!

Anyway, here’s some pictures!

vows

Vows

just-married

Just married. Prob the best view of the front of the dress that isn’t obscured by my bouquet

rings-and-flowers

Rings n’ flowers. I loved my bouquet – the florist got really excited that I was wearing lavender and not ‘Cadbury’s purple’. I think she’d seen a lot this year… 

bridesmaids

Me and my bridesmaids, Anne and Gillian

confetti

Confetti: can’t speak for Chris, but it was so windy that not one bit of it landed on me!

car

Oh I felt so classy in that car! Here I am desperately trying to keep my dress closed in the breeze. 

cutting-the-cake

toast

I love this photo – so much going on in the background.

photos

Getting papped. 

A good vintage

As soon as I announced that I had a posting schedule I knew I would break it. This post is coming to you a day later than planned because I have spent the weekend gallivanting in Dublin. It was a nice little trip – visiting a friend to catch up on Eurovision because we missed it when it was aired last week. Like many others, Eurovision is a bit of a tradition for us. We always try and watch it together and according to my score sheet, my douze points this year went to Belgium. I never pick the actual winner…

Front

Yes, it’s blue like all my other clothes, but it’s stash fabric, so what’re you gonna do?

So anyway, here’s my latest make! It’s a Sew Over It vintage shirt dress and I am just a teeny bit pleased with it. It’s my second version of the dress, having made the first in a class earlier this year. That one probably won’t get blogged – it’s a perfectly wearable dress but there are so many things I’d do differently (like sew the buttonholes in a straight line) that I’d rather show you a completely successful version. Like this one.

Side

The armholes are finished with bias binding. 

My latest attempt is made in a lightweight cotton lawn from Goldhawk Road which will be perfect for summer, if it ever turns up. The guy in the shop said it was Liberty, but I’m more inclined to believe it’s Liberty knock off. It doesn’t feel silky like tana lawn and it had a printing imperfection near the selvedge which probably wouldn’t happen with Liberty fabrics (I like to think their quality control is a bit more advanced). Nevertheless it’s super pretty and it was really nice to work with.

Back

The dress itself is easy to make and fit. It has pleats in the waist instead of darts and it has a lot of ease around the waist. I made a size 12 and added an extra inch to the bodice length as my first version sits a little bit too high, and I wanted to be able to wear a belt at the waist. It’s not a difficult project – the sewing is straightforward as long as you’ve marked everything up properly. The hardest part was attaching the collar. The very clear instructions have you sandwich the collar between the bodice and the facing so you’re sort of attaching it blind, although there is a pattern marker to help you. It’s a bit of a faff, but it does produce a nice neat finish.

One of my triumphs with this dress was definitely the buttonholes. My first version used thicker fabric which meant my machine had a hissy fit at the waist seam. I must have done the first buttonhole above the waist at least ten times, and that’s not an exaggeration. But on this dress the buttonholes went in like a dream, and when the machine went a bit haywire I calmly unpicked, rethreaded and carried on. Eleven buttonholes later I heaved a sigh of relief and congratulated myself on holding my temper.

buttonhole

I mean, look at the state of that! Ripped out SO. MANY. TIMES. 

I can’t wait for warmer weather so I can wear this dress without freezing. It’s a flattering shape on me and will be brilliant for work – I don’t have enough summer work clothes so this will really help. I’ve got a few other fabrics in my stash that would suit the pattern – I just need more time to make them up.

What are you making at the moment?

Detail

I added belt loops where the pleats meet at the waistline. This photo doesn’t show them very well, but I also really like the buttons – they’re a little bit shell-like but with an offset square carved out of the middle. Simple, yet sweet. 

Me Made May round up no. 2

It’s Wednesday, so it’s time for another Me Made May round up! (FYI I’m trying to keep Sundays for finished garments and Wednesdays for general chat)

5th

Day 5: My grey rayon Mathilde. I think I need to revisit this pattern – I noticed the darts are sitting a bit too high on my bust. This is my hipster pose on the streets of Kentish Town.

Day 6: You’ll have to take my word for it that I wore my white patterned Scout tee. I just forgot to get a photo.

7th

Day 7: An unblogged Tilly and the Buttons Clemence skirt in floaty double gauze. Later on that day I would flash Tooting High Street, Marilyn style, thanks to a sudden gust of wind, but here I am in the queue for Sainsburys having done a big shop. BTW Margaret on the till is ace. She told me to say cheese and everything.

8th

Day 8: My favourite of my Grace dresses – finally getting to wear it now that the sun’s out. This is Sunday’s BBQ and those are chicken kebabs.

 

9th

Day 9: My Mortmain. If I make this again, I will also take a look at the darts. I should have done an FBA but didn’t bother at the time. Still a wearable dress and good for this warm weather. This was taken at the top of Parliament Hill at Hampstead Heath on my lunch hour, and that is Canary Wharf in the distance.

10th- resize

Day 10: My latest Zinnia taken while cooking a chicken and chorizo paella. I love this skirt. I also love that paella.

image

Day 11:  Blue Hollyburn. I like the shape of this skirt, but it’s been worn pretty regularly for two years now and the colour is starting to fade. Might be time to remake in something less washed out. Another kitchen shot – tonight’s tea is spinach and feta filo pie from Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals. It takes an hour, easily.

So what have I learned so far? Well, judging by these photos, I am definitely in my blue period. If it’s not denim or navy, I clearly don’t want to know! It certainly looks like I need a bit more colour in my life. I’ve been half-following Christine Haynes’ take on the Wardrobe Architect project which has a section on colour palette and I’m toying with the idea of doing it myself in time for this Autumn (not right now – a project like that needs a bit of attention and right now I’m focused on sewing my list and from my stash).

I’ve also noticed a couple of patterns that I still love, but need to revisit because they don’t fit as well as I’d like/the colour has faded/I just haven’t made it in a while. These tend to be clothes I wear all the time, so it’d definitely be worth the effort.

How about you? Has Me Made May provoked any flashes of enlightenment yet?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shhhh! Secret separates!

You know what today is? Today is too nice to be indoors, that’s what today is! I’m started writing this in the back garden, where I was monitoring the barbecue while Chris made a salad. We had ALL the meat. Moroccan chicken kebabs, mini spiced lamb burgers and herby lamb steaks. It’s more than enough for two people in one sitting, so hello leftovers!

In between sunning myself and eating a small barnyard this weekend I’ve been working on those wedding outfits! Remember that swishy red skirt I made the other week? Well, I’ve made a matching top so with the skirt it sort of looks like a dress, but it’s so much more versatile as separates.

Simple top front

Coming soon to a wedding near you…

I wanted a simple top that would look good tucked into the skirt – so something flowy with a bit of floof, if you will. I turned to the Sew Over It Vintage book again for inspiration. It has some lovely drapey tops, but nothing simple enough to go with the skirt. Luckily, all the tops are based on an easy, loose fitting bodice block so I could make my own (with a bit of help from Chris, who took my measurements). There aren’t any darts to mess about with and it has kimono sleeves, so it really is just a case of transferring your measurements to paper.

I only needed two toiles before going onto the main event. The neckline on my first version needed to come in by an inch to cover my bra straps, and I dropped the waist line by another inch so that it hit my belly button – both of which I sorted out on the second toile. The only thing I changed from the block to the final top was dropping the hem a further eight inches to hit my hips and I added a facing to the neckline for a clean finish.

Simple top side

I’d show you back photos, but I have been experimenting with salt spray on my hair today and the back looks awful. The top is basically the same on the back as the front, so you’re not missing much. 

The final top is made out of the same red crepe as the skirt. It’s a really easy sew. The most difficult thing was attaching the facing, and after that it was just a few straight lines and some hems. It’s super simple, but the fabric is what makes it special. The crepe flows and drapes really nicely, so it’s perfect for floofing out of the matching skirt, but it also looks good worn untucked with jeans, which is great cos I’ll get more wear out of it than just at the wedding receptions of 2016. And now I’ve got a block that can be made into loads of other tops, so wins all round!

Simple top dummy

Unfloofed. 

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!