I hope you are all getting into the Christmas spirit with less than two weeks to go! I have my Christmas tree up and have been to a couple of parties (and have eaten and drunk far too much…oops!). I am also starting to make myself a gold top to go with black pleather trousers. Hopefully I will finish it before the big day, and will hopefully give a preview on my next blog post…
Today I thought I would focus on my second sewing project, which was the construction of a simple navy blue skirt, which is perfect for work. Since I spend the majority of my time at work, I realised I should spend more time making work clothes rather than fun things for the weekend!
The beauty of this skirt is that it is not very fitted: no darts or complicated bits and pieces, but it does have a zip, which terrifies most people. Honestly, there is nothing to fear – as I keep mentioning, if I can do it – so can anyone! I have even cheated and not made my skirt using a zipper foot (it shows that anything is possible!).
The pattern is from Tilly and the Buttons “Love at First Stitch” book and is called the Delphine skirt. I love this book, as the patterns are relatively easy, and actually things you want to sew rather than some old lady clothing which I find it lots of other books. The fabric is a simple cotton from John Lewis. I wanted something practical. Along with this, you will need to buy a concealed zip, some interfacing, and obviously, the matched (or contrasting) thread! In regards to the interfacing, I would suggest buying a light to medium weight, and probably about a metre, as it is often required on other projects, so good to have lying around.
Measuring yourself, cutting out the pattern and the fabric should all now be fairly straightforward (remember to put the right sides together to find your fold line). I imagine that you will also find many of the instructions now very simple (sewing together side seams and finishing the seam allowances etc).
The next stage of the skirt is interfacing. This is a very useful skill for reinforcing the waistband to make it a more structured item that is less likely to lose its shape. It is incredibly simple to use if you buy the iron on variety. Essentially, you must cut out the pieces that require interfacing again, but this time in the interfacing fabric. Then trim about half a centimetre round the outside so that it can be easily stuck to the wrong side of the waistband pieces. Remember to work out which side of the interfacing is the side with the glue on, and which will stick to the fabric, then heat up the iron and use a damp cloth to cover, and just iron the two pieces that need sticking together. Incredibly simple, and in about 30 seconds, you have a very much reinforced piece of material. Perfect!
Working out the waistband of the Delphine skirt can be slightly tricky, but just take it slowly and carefully and really double check that you are sewing the right pieces together.
Assuming you managed the instructions to that point, the next…hmm…challenge(!) will be to insert the invisible zip. As I mentioned, I actually did not have a zipper foot at this point. In order to insert a zip without the capabilities on your sewing machine, you just need patience, and a steady hand. I switched the stitch to the one that is pushed all the way to the edge of the sewing plate and sewed as closely as I could to the centre of the zip without going over the teeth (vital).
I will cover sewing zips on a future post and go into more detail, but all I will say here is that if you are careful, it is easily doable.
The rest of the skirt is very straightforward and all you need do is line up the seam below the zip and sew upwards as near to the base of the zip – I would recommend a couple of hand stitches here to finish it neatly. Then you need to enclose the zip teeth in the waistband pieces before hemming. I will include a number of these techniques in other posts, such as “stitch in the ditch”, but for a very much beginner project, I think you can make a very wearable skirt very easily with this pattern.
Hopefully next time I will be able to show you my gold Christmas top…I will try my hardest to finish by then!
Now for some Christmas festivities…x