Like most people, I feel like I need to address the recent British vote to leave the EU. I am refusing to use the term “Brexit” unless absolutely necessary simply because it’s a stupid word. In short, I feel disappointed, sad, scared, sick, anxious, powerless, furious and embarrassed in equal measure. I feel like the times when I was under threat of redundancy, or the times I was dumped by a boyfriend: you wake up in the morning and for seconds everything is OK, and then reality comes crashing in and you have a sort of sickness lump sitting in your stomach for the rest of the day.
I know some bloggers have written that to talk about sewing during these times feels frivolous or trite. They are possibly right, but life does need to go on, and sewing has helped me enormously in some difficult periods in my life, and so it shall again. It’s that ability to concentrate on something to switch off the chattering worry in my mind. And to get something pretty at the end of it! To that end, on to the fluffy stuff.
The idea for a chambray midi skirt came from this one byElena. I initially thought I’d use the Colette Zinnia, which I already own but have never made, but when I dug out the pattern, I realised it wasn’t quite what I had in mind. I liked the pockets of Elena’s, and although I wanted gathering (Elena’s is pleated), I didn’t want as much as the Zinnia gives. And so I decided to hack the Megan Nielsen Kelly instead, to give me my perfect skirt.
In short, I added more volume to the top of the pattern within the pleats, so I’d have more gathering than the skirt would otherwise have had (yeah, I know I said I didn’t want too much gathering, but this tutorial made me think that if I didn’t add more volume, then it wouldn’t be gathered enough! Fickle? Not me, nope. No way), and I then slashed and spread the bottom part of the skirt to provide more of an A line silhouette, and added length to make the pattern midi. This sounds scarier than it was. If anyone is interested, I can attempt a tutorial for how I did this, but I basically used this tutorial get the logic, and then applied that to the skirt.
Rather bravely, I decided to forgo a muslin and just cut straight into my fabric, a light coloured chambray from Fabric Alice on ebay (now out of stock). The fabric has a lovely weave and a beautiful drape. It’s much nicer than the chambray I used for my shirt dress last year, but it does have quite a few flaws and it seems to snag pretty easily. It also creases badly as its 100% cotton. The pockets are made from the same bird print voile as the pockets in this dress. Bird pockets FTW.
|Pocket lining and button details.|
|Gathering and topstitching details.|
Another change I made was to draft a hem facing. This wasn’t part of my initial plan. I used this pattern to determine how much width and length to add to the pattern pieces, as I like how the skirt sits on this, and I find it to be a flattering length. I extended it to keep the deep hem that the Kelly is drafted to have (2 inches/6cm), however when I tried the skirt on before hemming, I really liked the longer length. As I didn’t want to use a narrow hem, I attempted a faced hem instead. I had never used a faced hem before, but approached it like a neckline facing. The only issue was that I forgot to add seam allowance to the bottom of the facing, so it ended up being narrower than intended, but I still think it worked pretty well. It might be a little too heavy for this fabric, as it wants to stick out a bit (like the effect of horsehair braid, but to a lesser extent), but it certainly made hemming on a curve much easier. I would definitely use this technique in future. To counter the longer, potentially frumpy length, I used the button placement for the original Kelly pattern, meaning they stop a good 13"/33cm before the hem and thus flashing a bit of leg as I walk.
Somehow I managed to make my button placket narrower than intended. It’s certainly narrower than my red version, and as a result I had to offset my button holes, so they weren’t too close to the edge. I then in turn, had to offset my buttons so it sits properly when closed, as I did horizontal button holes. I think it looks OK though. The buttons themselves were also from ebay, and are made from olive wood. They are exactly what I wanted. I just hope they wash OK.Although my face in these photos would lead you to believe otherwise, I absolutely love the finished skirt. It came out exactly as I had envisioned. Exactly! And I kind of did it all myself! If I were to nitpick I’d say I could have got away with adding slightly less volume to the gathers at the front of the skirt, and my topstitching could be better, but they do not take away from the skirt one bit. I'm sure this is probably caused by some kind of pattern adustment error, but I actually love that in some photos it looks like culottes. This make was a direct result of my MMM summary – building more me made outfits, by sewing more, versatile bottoms. This fits the bill perfectly. With Lottas it rocks a bit more of a 70’s vibe, but with white trainers it becomes much more modern. It works with a blouse for work, and with a t-shirt for weekends (ironically RTW in these photos). I am wearing it as I type with trainers and a Belle & Sebastian tee! I am now forcibly having to stop myself from making all the things in chambray because it’s my favourite!!!