Saturday 17 May 2014

slow skirt

Way back when the winter was still lingering, I took an old sheet, a borrowed pattern and started sewing a skirt.

It was almost finished before I came back to England. After two days travelling in my suitcase, I pulled it out, creased and crumpled, to show it proudly to my Mum.

"Look Ma, look at that waistband and invisible zip!", I proclaimed proudly.  "Box pleats, gathers AND French seams." 

She cast her critical eye over it, as I knew she would. And of course, she spied the botched job I had made of the zip, the uneven gathers et al. 

"Did you pin and tack before you machined it?" she enquired, knowingly. I didn't even need to reply.

And so my first rainy Sunday afternoon in Dorset, out came the seam ripper off came my beautiful French seam...hem...waistband, and that unruly zip.

One step forward, two steps back. 

Out came the pins and the tacking thread.

One step forward, two steps back. 

In and out went the needle as I tacked it all back together. And in went (an almost) perfect zip, under Mum's watchful eye.

This skirt was the perfect place to start dressmaking. Whilst probably a little on the ambitious side, it's my perfect style of skirt (hippy 1950's librarian!): billowing pieces of fabric gathered and pleated at a waistband, closing with an invisible (ahem!) zip on the side.

Tackling it under the patient eye of my dear sewing friend Jessie, I've learnt a heck of a lot of processes with this skirt: sewing side seams, waistbands and hems. Creating gathers and pleats and French seams. How to put in zips (ahem).

But perhaps the biggest lesson of all was the importance of proper preparation; it's better to go slow in the early stages, rather than rushing forward, to ensure that you don't end up having to go back and fix your mistakes...

Pattern: Mcalls 5631 , made here by Tilly (apparently she found it a bit tricky too!)

Location: Mudeford Quay (Dorset). Fish and chips (gluten-free!) at a favourite spot with my Ma and Pa was the perfect occasion to wear my skirt for the first time...


  1. Oooh, it looks really nice :)

    1. Oh dear, I'm so behind with keeping up with comments! Thanks for the enthusiasm - it has been my favourite skirt of the summer by far! Do you have any sewing plans for the Autumn?

    2. I have completely failed to work through my summer sewing plans, so I think autumn is going to need some careful thought!

    3. Same! I'm desperate to get the sewing machine out again, but at the moment there is too much going on in my knitting basket to find the time!