Edit: I wrote this post back in June, but never got round to taking the photos.
So, after writing in my MMM round up that I had zero desire to wear skirts, and bearing in mind that our summer thus far has consisted of about 4 days in April (seriously, it's blowing a gale outside and temps are hovering around 12°C (about 50°F)), it seemed the obvious choice to make a summer skirt.
Let me back up a little. About a month ago, my friend Lorna contacted me. She attends a craft group with some of her friends, and one of them had suggested their next project be dressmaking, specifically an easy skirt. We quickly ruled out the standard dirndl style skirt, that is often a beginners project, as Lorna herself doesn't wear that kind of thing (benefit of being the organiser/communicator with the "expert"!!), plus they were keen to avoid zips. I had a think, and while browsing online, stumbled across a Cath Kidston skirt which reminded me of Marilla Walker's Ilsley skirt. It is gathered, but not full, it has an interesting hem and crucially, an elastic waistband, so no closures. Win!!! I obviously also offered my services for the evening to help them.
Then it occurred to me that I really ought to make the skirt first, so it sounded like I vaguely knew what I was talking about and to allow me to anticipate any problems or tricky bits. By this time confidence had deserted me, and I was feeling like a fraud (what do I know about sewing?), with the weighty responsibility of ensuring the ladies hadn't wasted their time and money.
The fabric is vintage and was from my stash. I won it a while back in a giveaway hosted by Ruth from The Polished Button. She described it as a "chambray like cotton", but it is unlike any cotton I have come across before. It is super drapey, and frays like mad. It also, after washed, kind of wrinkled up, a bit like seersucker, on the stripes, although it wasn't like that before prewashing, so I'm unsure if it's meant to be like that or not. I chose to iron out the wrinkles, but it wasn't easy. It could take a medium hot iron, so it's clearly not all synthetic. Maybe a mix? It also gives off a musty vintage smell when pressed, despite being washed. The skirt took less than a metre, so I have another metre left for another project.
The stripes run vertically down the length of fabric. I did consider cutting on the cross grain, but after my striped tee and my polka dot trousers, I was keen to avoid stripe matching. Of course, I then realised I'd still have to match the pocket and the waistband, so I opted to cut them on the cross grain, but then I realised I'd still need to stripe match the front and back waistband pieces. Sigh. This was meant to be a simple project. Anyway, it all worked out OK, although my stripes at the pocket could probably have been better placed. Never mind.
The skirt is a free pattern, although Marilla asks for a donation to a Breast Cancer charity, which I gladly gave. As it's free, the instructions are complete, but brief, with no diagrams or photos. As a visual person, this is not my preference. Getting a neat finish on the curved hem is quite difficult, and I kind of failed here. Mine is a bit of a mess. I am blaming the fabric. The rest of the skirt is very straightforward and is a nice simple sew.
The verdict? Meh. I wasn't feeling it. I think it's probably the fabric, which, with the vertical stripes, reminds me of pyjama bottoms, and the length is kind of awkward on me. Plus I thought I didn't have anything to wear it with, although having teamed it with this Primark tee for the photos, I'm coming round.
And the craft night? I'll save that for another post! :)