Friday, 10 May 2013

Polka dot buttonless Kelly

AKA panic sewing item number 1.

I am meant to be on a self-imposed fabric and pattern buying embargo. Compared to most sewers, or certainly most blogging sewers, my stash is miniscule. Practically non-existant. But we don't have a lot of space in our little 2 bedroom flat, so fabric jostles up against pushchairs, fights with old outgrown toys and altercates with paperwork in our solitary hall cupboard. In addition, I actually am spending far too much money on fabric that I'm not using. So I have decided that I won't buy any more fabric until I've worked through some of the stash - and I will be using existing patterns that I already own to do so (excluding free downloadable pattern and giveaway wins)...

Unfortunately I realised that I really could do with a black work skirt for MMM13 (my Charlotte is really too wintery to be wearing in May) and I spotted (no pun intended) and loved this fabric in John Lewis, while killing time waiting for a friend. I have fancied making a buttonless version of the Kelly for a while now, and this seemed like a good reason to try it.

I know that I definitely squeezed my first Kelly into less than a metre of fabric. In fact I know I did, because I made notes on my pattern and I even drew out my pattern layout. So, I bought a metre of fabric.

My handwriting truly is this bad!
But could I get the pieces to fit? I have absolutely no idea how I managed this last time. My fabric this time was 140cm wide and my notes said the denim was too, so not sure what changed, unless I just mis-measured last time? Could the denim have been wider than 140cm?

Anyway, fortunately I had decided already to do the buttonless version, which meant pattern piece 1 became narrower. But since it was to be buttonless, it needed to be cut on the fold... Luckily by folding both selvedges into the centre, I was able to fit and cut all the pieces. Hurrah!

I made a small attempt to pattern match the dots, but quickly gave up when I realised they weren't printed true to the grain. Probably just as well, given my shortage of fabric.

The skirt went together beautifully. I folded pattern piece 1 (front skirt piece) down the centre of the buttonhole placement, and treated that like the centre of of the skirt, making that the edge to place on the fold. I changed the order of doing things slightly, to account for the differences. I used a quilting cotton with a bubble spot as a contrast pocket lining.

I put an invisible zipper in the side (right hand, as you are wearing it) and I just attached the waistband accordingly, cutting it slightly shorter and leaving an overlap, so I could fasten it with a button. 
Side view
The inside is neat because I treated all seam allowances with my overlocking stitch on machine again. I much prefer this to a zigzag, so may start to buy extra thread to allow for it. I could have French seamed this fabric, as it's fairly lightweight, but as per my previous Kelly, I cut this in too small a size (knowingly this time) and so used 5/16th" seam allowances instead. Halfway through I had a "duh" moment, when I realised this is pattern is pretty much made of rectangles, so would be the easiest thing in the world to size back up to the correct size. Next time.

The buttonhole is the only thing I'm not happy with on this skirt. For some reason I decided to make it a vertical buttonhole. No idea why - I don't even know that it was a conscious decision, in all honesty. But now that I've worn it for a day, it is pulling and I can see that a horizontal buttonhole would have been preferable.
After one day's wear. Will this last?
 But the buttonhole is the only thing I don't like about this, and that's not too shabby, is it?

And that's about it!

What I liked
LOVE this pattern. Love the polka dots. It's a useful skirt and I love it with my polka dot blouse!

What I didn't like
Buttonhole directionality

Any alterations to fit?
Cut an XS because I did this last time and I cut out the paper pattern! Reduced seam allowance on side seams by 5/16ths" to make up for this.

Did I change anything?
No buttons at front, instead I cut the front pattern piece on the fold, and added a side zip instead.

Did I try anything new?
See above!

What would I do differently next time?
Horizontal buttonhole. Size up pattern to bigger size.

Will I make it again?
Hell, yeah!



  1. It looks fantastic, and your alterations have worked beautifully! I love it with the polka dot blouse and red shoes. Definitely worth doing the panic sew for!
    And I hear you on the stash - my stash probably doesn't even deserve the name compared to other sew-ers, but I'm trying to work through it too. (I do have the "get out of jail free" card though that I can buy fabric if it's for a specific and immediate project. Patterns are a different story. No will power at all...)

    1. I can't say I'm doing too well on my decision. Restraint is not my strong point, and when indie pattern companies are releasing collection after collection, it is REALLY difficult to abstain!

  2. Its lovely. I'm impressed you managed it on a metre of fabric! I also have a teeny stash compared to others, and it all has a plan. Buy it does get in the way in our 2 bed flat, and I don't have a kid! Your me made may is amazing so far :)

    1. Thanks Katy! It's daft, but I get such satisfaction getting something out of a metre of fabric!

  3. Love your skirt! The more I see this pattern and the options the more I am tempted to buy it... I really shouldn't though..


    1. Yes you should! :) It's so easy to sew and it's really wearable!

  4. Love it! That fabric is really very lovely :-)

  5. What a great skirt and like the others I'm impressed you managed to squeeze it from a meter. I also have a small stash - I don't have room for lots of fabric and I know what most will become even if I haven't decided which pattern. I don't own this pattern yet...

    1. Definitely worth buying it Claire! It's so easy and wearable and a useful addition to your wardrobe! And no, Megan's not paying me to say that... :)

  6. Cute skirt! Can't go wrong with polka dots!!

  7. love it. i have just bought that pattern and itching to get started on it (i have fabric lined up but no buttons) but it'll have to wait til i get back from holiday.

    1. Thanks! Can't wait to see your version!

  8. I love this outfit. I adore polka dots in any form. I also just discovered a lovely comment on my blog that you left last month on my About Me page on my blog. There was a clash between Disqus and BLogger so I never saw it until just now when I was doing some blog housekeeping. Thank you very much for your lovely comment and I'm enjoying looking at your blog now too. I really love your makes. I love your Elisalex dress - its gorgeous!

    1. You are welcome! Thanks for visiting!

  9. You've made another timeless classic H!


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