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Tuesday, 21 April 2015

A stash-busting skirt

My most recent project is this skirt out of two fabrics:


I had a little bit of the grey pin stripe, just about 25cm of it or so, and about a half metre of the dark red fabric.  No idea what to do with either, the jacket didn't materialise that might have offered an opportunity for the pin stripe to become cuffs, nor was I happy to have a very short mini skirt out of the red material.

Then I realised I had the same width in both fabrics (150cm wide) and they were the same material (wool) and weight!  Wahey, if that wasn't meant to be...

So I sewed both of 'em together and then treated it as one piece of fabric with an obvious line in it that I had to match between all three pieces: front (cut on the fold) and the two back pieces.

I drafted my darts in the back pieces and sewed those up, coming to a nice shallow point (I like to stitch along the edge of the fold for the last 3-4 stitches or so, with as few fabric threads till the folded edge as you can without sewing off the fabric.  Here's a post on darts that I prepared earlier!).

I didn't use a ready made pattern (I went to my trusty body block from Wendy's pattern drafting course at her MIY Studio in Brighton) so I couldn't follow instructions.  I just went with what made the most sense to me.

I got into a bit of a mess with the lining at some point, but it all ended well eventually. I put a lapped zip in first, then closed the side seams, attached the lining at the top edge at the waist and later sewed the lining edges to the zip on the inside.

It had taken quite a bit of time to get to that stage - but I finally tried on the skirt once I could.  I had a bit of a shock: the panel of the grey colour sits much higher on my hips that I had fondly imagined.  I was really disappointed actually because it just looked... odd...

It was neither a panel, nor a yoke, but just a nothing sort of thing. I did not like the proportion between the two blocks of colour at all.

I had so looked forward to trying the skirt on and getting it all done, and it looks like... Something not at all to my liking.  I felt quite disheartened and upset.

Then I thought: what about a fix that pulls the eye down from that line between the two fabrics?  How about a plain black ribbon at the point where I would have wanted the seamline to be?


I think it looks pretty good even if I'm a bit prejudiced. I think this did the trick. I am really quite happy with it now.

Here's a close-up:
I think I did quite well in matching up the ribbon ends "across" the lapped zip. Needed only a bit of hand-stitching (and some swearing when I stuck the needle into my finger... We won't mention that)

I wasn't completely happy with my first attempt at the hem. I had only folded it over and stitched it down.  My sewing thread didn't match all that well and the hem looked all puckered despite copious bouts of pressing with lots and lots of steam. It just flipping wouldn't lie flat! Argh.

I wasn't happy so I did a blind hem by hand (I was sitting around with a crafts group on the Sunday afternoon just gone, and it got all done as if it was sewing itself)...

And now I have a much nicer seam:

I suppose I should attach a tab at the top of the zip for a hook and eye or something, but I can't be bothered.  Besides, that V shape looks quite interesting and I think I'll just leave it like it is.

What do you think?

And what kinds of sewing challenges have you encountered?  Please comment below - I changed the settings so it is now easier to leave a comment.

Thank you!


  1. It looks great! Adding the ribbon was a really good idea.

  2. Lovely zip and hem, lovely legs too! I agree with Imogen that the ribbon really works. It was worth the effort you put into it.

  3. Thank you so much both of you, that's really kind!
    It is such a great feeling to have completed another long-time work in progress. On to the next one!

  4. very resourceful with an excellent result, well done.
    personally a hook and eye would look more finished but it's just a matter of taste and your choice at that :)


    1. Thanks Julie!
      I am now also leaning towards a hook and eye. Or perhaps a thread loop (like on the Sewing Bee!) and hook. The good thing is that you can always change something a bit when you don't like it any more. I guess I just wanted to consider this skirt done because it had taken such a long time of me messing around with it.
      I'll take it to sewing group and do it there!
      Thanks for the encouragement.


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