A Beach Brumby Skirt

Brumby Skirt, Megan Nielsen Patterns
(Made and photographed pre-hockey ball incident – see end of the post for an update)

Brumby Skirt, front view

Brumby Skirt, front view and a peek-a-boo greyhound

Really there’s not much to say about the Megan Nielsen Brumby Skirt that hasn’t been said before.

Described as “Gathered skirt with deep scoop pockets. Pattern features exposed zipper and contoured waistband sitting on the natural waistline. Version 1 is above the knee and includes pockets. Version 2 is midi length, includes pockets and additional fullness. Version 3 is basic knee length gathered skirt.

I made Version 1 and lengthened it by approximately 2 inches – sorry, the exact measurement escapes me at the moment.

I’ve been eyeing off this pattern for a while, not quite sure about the outcome on me though. Makes me look curvier than I’m used to. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just a different silhouette to my usual choices.

Brumby Skirt, side view

Brumby Skirt, side view

I found this denim fabric at the op shop, 2 meters for $3. It’s actually really lovely fabric. Very soft and it was also very narrow, less than a metre wide. So it was a struggle to find any pattern suitable for the width & meterage.

Top Stitching

In the past I’ve had dramas with top stitching with ‘actual’ top stitching thread and tended to use Gutermann’s upholstery thread as a substitute.

I’ve invested in some proper top stitching needles for my machine and they are worth every cent. The larger eye makes all the difference. I purchased mine from Punch with Judy (Australian online supplier).

Exposed Zipper

I’ve never been a huge fan of exposed zippers but this one does not feel to ‘obvious’. I inserted it using this tutorial.

Brumby Skirt, back view

Brumby Skirt, back view

A very easy pattern and a fun sewing project.

Pattern: Brumby Skirt, Megan Neilsen
Fabric: vintage denim, op shop $3.
Tshirt: Uniglo (no longer in stock. Sorry!)

More blogs posts coming soon!

Me…

Thank you so much for all your kind and supportive words. I wrote that post from my hospital bed on my iPhone during one of many sleepless nights. I’ve been a little overwhelmed by my experience and its subsequent impact on my life to reply to the comments, perhaps things are a little too raw & real right now… but I read every single one and your kind words, positive thoughts and prayers helped me through some of the darker moments.

I’m not fixed. After an angiogram, they opted not to put a stent in my neck – which is good news due to the longer term implications of that. I also escaped neurosurgery which seemed likely for a while – more good news.

I’m at home and on anti-clotting medication, aspirin and a restricted lifestyle. No sport, no running, no lifting, shorter working hours and so on. I’m back to Sydney in November for MRI and CT scans (on my birthday no less!) to see how things are healing/progressing and to visit the endovascular specialist. So there will be a lot more sewing until then!

I refuse to be miserable and angry about the way things have turned out. Sometimes ‘life’ happens and you’ve just got to make the best of things, accept limitations and find positives in the tough times.

I couldn’t be more grateful for my friends, family and workmates who have supported me through this very rough patch. I truly understand the meaning of ‘blessed’.

Thank you. xox

Banjo - same as always

Banjo – same as always

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Style Arc Taylor Skirt

aka Attack of the Crazy Butt Chevron!

I think this skirt will polarise people. It’s a love-hate garment. Some people will love the design and others may get a cold shiver from the back seam… and maybe even the front one!

I couldn’t resist this pattern and purchased it along with the Kylie Top – which I made for my Mood Fabric project.

Style Arc Taylor Skirt, image courtesy of Style Arc http://www.stylearc.com.au/

Style Arc Taylor Skirt, image courtesy of Style Arc http://www.stylearc.com.au

I was immediately drawn to the intersection of the vertical and sloping stripes. I absolutely love a bit of ‘crazy’ when it comes to stripes, checks and plaids. I DON’T like badly matched patterns however I do love designs that play with the patterns and create interesting lines.

There isn’t too much to say about this skirt. It is

  • easy and fast to make
  • striking to wear
  • Knit fabric
  • Pull-on – elastic at the waist and no zipper/fastenings

My photos were taken ‘on the run’ in a recent lunch break – I’m EXTREMELY time poor at the moment… but that’s another story. And I have a few marks on my legs and feet due to recent field hockey escapades (yes, I didn’t know I played hockey either – that’s another story!). I cut off quite a lot of my hair recently – it had to go and I feel better for it (another story). I also didn’t manage to tuck my top in neatly, creating a few ‘bumps’ – so in essence, this is crazy, rushing, manic, working mum, dishevelled me!

Anyway, this is me, mid-construction, going ‘holy back seam!‘ Followed by a raging internal debate about how did my butt look in this, could I live with those stripes and could I manage to wear something that drew so much attention to my nether region!

Me having a slight ponder mid construction... "Holy Back Seam!? Can I wear this?" Taylor Skirt, Style Arc

Me having a slight ponder mid construction… “Holy Back Seam!? Can I wear this?”

Anyway, more about the ‘butt seam’ later…

FABRIC

I found some rather firm striped ponte at my local Spotlight, I purchased 70cm as stated in the pattern yardage requirements. This might well be enough for a plain fabric but it’s not enough if you are planning to muck about with the stripes. Fortunately my fabric was double-sided and I managed to squeeze it on (just – there is a little bit of selvage in my seam!). 

I should have assumed I needed more for stripes but perhaps I’m used to Big 4 patterns that tell you to allow extra yardage for that sort of thing.

This resulted in much swearing and a mini tantrum

This resulted in much swearing and a mini tantrum

PATTERN

This is an EASY pattern to make.

There are two darts at the side waist. There are just two pattern pieces. You sew the darts; sew the two pieces together; top stitch the front seam; attach the elastic, turn it to the inside & top stitch it down; and then hem the skirt (I used a twin needle on my Bernina for my hems and stitching down the elastic). That’s it, more or less.

The Taylor Skirt sides are shaped with a dart. There is no side seam.

The Taylor Skirt sides are shaped with a dart. There is no side seam.

Yes, the instructions are ‘Style Arc Sparse’ but if you have any sewing experience I don’t think you are going to have any issues. I barely read instructions for patterns like this!

excuse the creases at the waist... I'm swivelled around because clearly I can't stop looking at that seam either!

excuse the creases at the waist… I’m swiveled around because clearly I can’t stop looking at that seam either!

Let’s talk about that ‘butt’ back seam. There are a few stripes in there (on my butt – just to make sure you don’t miss them) that don’t meet up. Given the shape of the seam (or my butt) and probably fabric’s stripe spacing/sizing, there was no way to make these meet. I did try! It’s not perfect however I can live with it as the chevron, as an overall effect, is well matched. However if you hate it – I understand why. It’s going to polarise people. Just do me a favour, and try not to spend hours inspecting my butt… as it’s starting to get awkward now LOL.

THOUGHTS

This is a long skirt… I actually cut an inch off before I hemmed it. I still feel it hits my leg in a bad spot and makes my legs look clunky. However I do think it needs to be long in order to achieve the visual effect.

Taylor Skirt, Style Arc

Taylor Skirt, Style Arc

I think it needs something with some firmness to the fabric, however it needs a good amount of stretch so you can walk!

The front opening split does bother me a little. When I look down, it doesn’t sit perfectly flat which drives me a little mental. However from most angles it looks OK so I’m trying to ignore that little quirk. It would also be the body of the ponte – it is quite firm  however I like how it “holds everything in place” if you get my drift. ūüôā

I’d definitely consider making this again as a work skirt. I actually don’t own any knit skirts and this is comfortable. I do love the funky stripes and think it might be a contender as a work wardrobe option. I just have to just remember to take smaller steps (I walk/stride/run like an elephant on speed) and be more ladylike. Chances are slim. The skirt will just have to learn to adapt.

It is very fast and easy to make. I did fiddle with the back seam and also the hem however you can make this up in no time at all.

It uses a very small amount of fabric and I think would look great in a plain or textured fabric with contrast top stitching on the front seam – perhaps the back as well.

Love or hate it – it is impossible to ignore.

Pattern: Style Arc Taylor Skirt, size 8 (purchased on sale, I paid about $8.40)
Fabric: Ponte from Spotlight (not available online). 70cm (not really enough for the striped option) $5.40
Other: Top is just an old RTW, Rocket Textured Pumps from Jo Mercer.

Note: I HATE sticking together A4 sheets – give me an A0 pattern sheet any day!

 

PS: there is a book review and giveaway on my post: Stylish Remakes
Post update: I published this & left for work, wearing this skirt. My colleagues love it. And no they didn’t realise I’d made it!

A polka dot midi skirt: Vogue 9090

Despite having a misfire on midi skirts once before, I’m not one to be beaten so I tried again. I had this polka dot cotton twill with a slight stretch from Mood Fabric NY and although I worried about it for far too long, I think I knew it was always going to be a midi skirt!

Mood Fabrics, Stretch denim twill. Vogue 9090, sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy

The front features an inverted centre pleat with two pleats either side.

I loved the denim tones and I thought if I can’t wear jeans all the time I might as well embrace the colour scheme in my other clothes!

Unfortunately this particular fabric has sold out however the beauty of Mood is that there is a seemingly endless array of fabrics and still plenty left in this stretch cotton twill range, including Navy, Green, Yellow, Red, Blue, Black, White and Orange. It’s got a nice sheen and body to it – and a joy to sew with.

I adore fancy fabrics as much as the next person.. However I don’t think all our sewing projects to be ‘fancy’, made from silks and high-end fabrics. Don’t get me wrong – they are delightful and I’ve sewn quite a few and loved them, However, I do love clothes that I can toss in the washing machine along with the rest of the family’s laundry. As a full-time working mum, sometimes practical wins out!

Mood Fabrics, Stretch denim twill. Vogue 9090, sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy

yes, pockets

I had planned initially to make a shirtdress with this. However due to the body of the fabric it seemed to be begging to become a full ‘ladylike’ skirt.

I love the midi skirt trend and when I happened upon Vogue 9090 with its fitted yoke, pleats and pockets, it seemed like a match made in heaven. The design provides a lovely feminine shape without ballooning from the waist. I love a good yoke ūüôā

Yes, there are side pockets. Nice deep pockets – which are also sewn into the waistband. I prefer these types of pockets as they don’t flap about and make the line of the garment untidy.

Mood Fabrics, Stretch denim twill. Vogue 9090, sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy

I confess I actually quite love the silhouette this pattern creates. It feels timeless and ageless.

I decided to line the skirt with some cotton voile. I simply used the skirt pieces, cut slightly shorter. I attached the lining to the skirt along the waistband, then attached the yoke lining and skirt lining to the zip using the Sewaholic Cambie method.

Vogue 9090 - cotton voile lining

Vogue 9090 – cotton voile lining

I would advise that the 7 inch invisible zipper recommended in the pattern is a little too short – or perhaps that’s more about my child-bearing hips… you may scoff but even my teenage friends referred to my hips that way! I used an 8 inch zipper and it was barely enough!

This pattern is not a fabric monster – it uses just 1 3/4 yards (1.6m) or 60 inch (150cm) wide fabric.

Not terribly smilely – work has been relentless for several months and I’m bone tired. Of course when I went looking for sunlight it was nearly impossible to find!

Fabric: 1.6m Denim Blue/White Polka Dot Stretch Cotton Twill
Shirt: Just Jeans, sorry can’t see the point in sewing a shirt until I need a new one!
Shoes: Roxette Yellow Lizard Pumps, Jo Mercer (I just had to type that – coolest name for shoes ever!)

Note: for this post I received a fabric allowance from Mood to make something of my choice. I blog it over at the Mood Sewing Network blog, then on my blog. All opinions my own.

This post first appeared on www.sewbusylizzy.com

FUMETERRE SKIRT Deer & Doe

or The Skirt I Simply Had To Make.

Fumeterre Skirt by Deer & Doe

Fumeterre Skirt by Deer & Doe

I simply love maxi skirts. Adore them.

Someone commented on Instagram that this was ‘very you’ and indeed it is. There isn’t too much to say about this skirt… it had eight gores with a button front, it’s flared and long. It’s simple, a bit retro and I liked it¬†immediately.

I managed to resist a few days before I gave in and ordered it from Deer & Doe. I’m not a ‘fan girl’ as I’ve never made a Deer & Doe pattern before. I do own the Datura & Pavot patterns but not made them up yet – they were purchased in¬†Paris several years ago.

You could probably find a similar design¬†in the Big 4 in a sale… however I love to be swept away when inspiration hits – and I knew exactly what fabric I wanted to use. Tracking down a Deer & Doe ‘bricks and mortar’ supplier in Australia and then phoning to order it was just too complicated for me. I’m a ‘click and go’ girl so I ordered online. The postage from France isn’t horrific and it arrived within a week.

Fumeterre Skirt, Deer and Doe: front view

Fumeterre Skirt: front view. While it looks like a floor sweeper, it’s slightly off the ground – I’m barefoot and slightly sinking into the sand here.

THE PATTERN

This is a fairly simple pattern and is described by Deer & Doe as “High-waisted maxi skirt. Version A is buttoned at the front with belt hoops. Version B has a fly front zipper and patch pockets“. I made Version A.

The skirt has eight  gores and there are two pattern pieces for these. The side front and back pieces are the same (the back panels are the same as the front panels, minus the button placket). There two pieces for the waistband (which is straight) as the waistband has seams at the back where the elastic is inserted. There is a small pattern piece for the belt loops and a piece of hem facing) the facing is in four pieces.

The pattern is printed on sturdy bond paper and not overlapped. It comes in a nice large envelope with two instructions booklets, one in French and one in English. There are plenty of diagrams to accompany the instructions. When making garments purely for myself, particularly simple garments, I tend to gloss over every single detail in the instructions. I refer to them for order of construction rather than word-for-word guidance.

I would advise cutting the notches on the skirt pieces to ensure you piece them together correctly.

The instructions are adequate – it’s not a difficult project and¬†you don’t need a huge amount of instruction. While Deer and Doe give it 3 stars out of 5 for difficulty I think it would be a good beginner project (OK the hem gave me a headache but flared hems are often like that!). I often think ‘beginners’ are far more capable than companies, and the beginners themselves, give them credit for.

CONSTRUCTION NOTES

The Fumeterre Skirt appears to be drafted for someone MUCH taller than me. I am 5 foot 4 (about 164cm). I took the skirt pattern pieces up 4 inches below where the buttons finished rather than taking it from the hem. I did this to preserve the flare of the skirt which I think is the lovely graceful feature of the pattern. I re-drew the pattern piece from where the length was removed to the hemline.¬†I¬†cut off approximately another¬†1/2 inch during the hemming process. It’s turned out the perfect length for wearing with flats – or barefoot.

I’m not¬†a huge fan of how the waistband is attached. You sew it to the inside and then turn it over to the front and top stitch it down. I prefer to sew it to the outside, turn it to the inside, slip stitch it to the inside by hand and then top stitch it. I think it is easier to achieve a neater finish. However that is my personal preference on construction – not necessarily right or wrong.

I only used the belt loop pattern piece for width reference. I cut a much longer strip and then cut it into four pieces – rather than making four individual belt loops which seems excessively fiddly to me.

Fumeterre Skirt, Deer and Doe: back view

Fumeterre Skirt: back view – it hangs softer than that, I live with a permanent sea breeze it seems.

I did use 25mm (1 inch)  elastic in the back waist as recommended but it was a very neat fit in the casing, so I removed the piece of elastic and put in 20mm wide elastic and I much preferred the finish. I know people are put off elastic in the back of waists Рhowever, in my skirt, the elastic seems to be more about providing a little ease than being gathered.

I French seamed the skirt panels and then top stitched them down.

I did attempt the hem facing as per the pattern… however in a soft¬†rayon it was a complete nightmare. I couldn’t see the point in weighing down the hem of a flowing¬†skirt with a rather wide piece of hem facing – perhaps I might have thought differently in a heavier fabric. I took it off and hung it overnight again. The hem dropped all over the place. I hung it on a coathanger and pinned what seemed to be a straight hem line, put it on and got my daughter to check the pins where the same distance off the floor. I trimmed it again and then used some readymade bias tape to turn over a narrow hem.

I used the reverse side of some buttons I found at Lincraft as they seemed to blend better with the fabric. I didn’t want feature buttons as I love the fabric’s shifting tones and colours, I didn’t want distracting buttons.

THE FABRIC

I suspect this may be the sort of fabric that people either like or loathe. It’s not conventionally pretty and¬†I love its swirling tie-dyed tones and the barely-there floral overprint.

I had this fabric in The Fabric Library (aka stash). I purchased it from¬†East Coast Fabrics when shopping with Lizzie in Brisbane in March. It’s a lovely soft rayon, that’s not too light or transparent – it seemed perfect for a maxi skirt. It also doesn’t crush too badly (enjoyed¬†this recent post from SunnyGal Studio Sewing about fabrics and pattern matching – I am definitely a Scruncher). However when it does crease, the tie dye pattern disguises creases beautifully. When you get close to this fabric, it’s got a delicate floral overprint. It reminds me of the grunge fashion period of the 90s… which I loved… and still love.

Fumeterre Skirt, Deer and Zoe

Fumeterre Skirt: I stopped the buttons just above my knee

I think this would photograph much better in¬†vivid sunshine¬†however I couldn’t wait, I haven’t blogged for a few weeks and I wanted to share this – so it didn’t end up in my pile of unblogged things – yes, we all have them!¬†The colour is actually a lovely soft mossy slightly-greyish green… which is not great¬†to photograph on an overcast day (the current weather is forecast to last for at least another week).¬†As¬†an editor I used to advise our commissioned project makers against selecting mauves and colours with grey in them as they were¬†often very difficult to light, photograph and print to¬†capture their true colours. Clearly I don’t listen to myself ūüôā I’m ok with that.

Fumeterre - a nightmare hemming experience. However a better shot of the skirt's true colour.

Fumeterre – a nightmare hemming experience (this is post hem facing removal)¬†– however¬†this is a better shot of the skirt’s true colour.

FUMETERRE

I was curious about the pattern name – so I looked it up while writing this blog post.¬†The Free Dictionary¬†tells¬†me it is a “delicate European herb with greyish leaves and spikes of purplish flowers; formerly used medicinally” and the word originates from the “Middle English fumetere, from Old French fumeterre, from Medieval Latin fŇęmus terrae : Latin fŇęmus, smoke + Latin terrae, genitive of terra, dry land, earth;” ‘aka smoky earth’.

It seems like a beautiful twist of coincidence that my swirling tie-dye mossy skirt has a delicate overprint of a flowering plant. Perhaps it is a pattern/fabric match made in heaven.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Fumeterre Skirt is easy to construct, nicely presented and it has two quite different closure options (buttons or fly-front with pockets).

This is a simple skirt pattern. There are plenty of flared and/or maxi skirts on the market across many of the pattern companies, independent and Big 4. I think it comes down to personal preference which pattern has the features you are after. This one immediately appealed to me and I didn’t try to¬†resist it, I like the flare over pleats and gathering. Waiting for a Big 4 pattern sale in Australia for a particular¬†company can be a tedious experience.

I enjoyed making this and will no doubt wear it a lot.

Pattern: Fumeterre Skirt, Deer & Doe
Size: I ummed and ahhed about the sizing and decided to made 38. I didn’t want a super neat fit or any strain on the buttons as I hate it when there is pulling at a button closure, it looks awful.
Also see: Very Kerry Berry | Attack of the Seam Ripper
Location: Lighthouse Beach, Port Macquarie

Random useless fact: This skirt¬†makes me want to sing Sweet Child O’ Mine… random but true. I love it when clothes bring back memories, they seem the sweetest garments¬†of all. I loved the grunge fashion period and this skirt feels like a step back in time… or perhaps I never really left this style behind…

“She’s got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything
Was as fresh as the bright blue sky”

Fumeterre Skirt, Deer and Doe

My skirt also appears to be also handy for camouflage purposes… plus if you look carefully you can see the bias hem tape. I admit – this fabric was impossible to match with anything, thread, buttons or tape!

Sweet Carolina… a Mood Fabrics silk metallic brocade three-piece

I know… it’s been awhile! 

I’m having a weekend ‘up north’ with Busy Lizzie… potentially shopping for shoes, buying fabric (who me??) or eating ‘high tea’.

After a bout of sensible sewing & lots of knit fabrics, followed by a bit of blog & sewing silence, I’m back with some very extravagant fabric, courtesy of Mood Fabrics, New York.

 

These pictures were very difficult to take. We have had a lot of rain… and when it clears it is soooooo hot & muggy. It was 30 degrees celcius and very humid…. and it was 4.30pm! Despite being lined, every item of clothing kept clinging to my skin. Fortunately this was not made with outdoor leisure in mind! I prefer to take all my shots outside as 1) natural light is kind, 2) the family happy snap camera doesn’t like playing nice inside, 3) my hometown is pretty & 4) I’m not big on putting my house on the blog – a bit precious I know but that’s me.

I confess I’ve had this fabric for months and the indecisiveness nearly destroyed me. It was so different to anything I had sewn previously and I was a little stumped… and terrified. 2.5m of Carolina Herrera silk metallic brocade from Mood Fabrics NY!  

 

The flowers are enormous… and the fabric shifts quite dramatically between light & dark.

So I spent lots of time draping a fabric over my dressform, wrapping about myself, sewing some small swatches and ironing them helps me better understand what type of garment the fabric might suit best. Then I bombard my sewing friends (thank you in particular to Lizzie, Jen and Susan for their advice) and the instagram peeps!

When I google Carina Herrerra there was an abundance of cocktail dresses, with fitted bodices and full skirts. I think this would be grand… but overwhelm my frame. This fabric would make a stunning sheath dress – which I own rather a lot of as it’s my typical work dress style – they often pop up in my Instagram feed.

I nearly made a Pauline Alice Quart Coat.  It would have been perfect… the fabric does crease beautifully into pleats… however I faltered at the last step and suddenly changed my mind. 

 

Due to the body of the fabric and the structural way it fell, I was haunted by the urge to make a cropped flared jacket that emphasised the body of the fabric. I finally settled on Vogue 8145

  

This was one of my very early pattern purchases, I’ve long adored the flared back of the jacket.This pattern is an unlined jacket. As the fabric is somewhat coarse in texture I used a lining from the stash. I underlined the body of the jacket and lined the sleeves. I used a bias tape to turn up the hem to minimise bulk.  

 

The sleeves are two piece raglan sleeves with a seam running down the top of the arm which provides some shaping.

I omitted the buttons as it felt ‘busy enough’. I also eliminated the centre back seam in the jacket body piece.

Once the jacket was complete… another bout of indecisiveness followed… should I make a long pencil skirt or a mini skirt? 

So I took the very practical approach of wrapping myself in fabric and the was very apparent that a long fitted skirt would be a nice counter balance to the very dramatic flared jacket. 

 

It was very tempting to indulge in a new pattern and I nearly gave in and purchased the Sew Over It Ultimate Pencil Skirt. In a rare bout of self restraint I decided to defer to my pattern stash. I really loved the fit of the By Hand London Pencil Skirt – which I had made and blogged way back in 2012.

I lined the skirt with more stash lining and added a walking vent (yes, a lined walking vent no less!) following A Fashionable Stitch tutorials. You can learn how to draft the walking vent here and how to line a skirt with a vent here. Thanks Sunni!

While this skirt pattern calls for fabric with some stretch, the long walking vent makes it easy to walk in – I do have a huge stride (fast walker!) so I’m slightly limited – probably walking in a more ladylike fashion. I actually adore the firmness of the fabric. It feels amazing to wear and I find the high waist is very comfortable. 

The top is a Burda 2964. I had this in my stash as well! I picked this up at a Spotlight sale as, despite the rather gawky pattern envelope art, I loved the square neck and princess seamlines. The top is cropped and I think the shapely yet slightly boxy fit suits the fabric and works beautifully with the high-waisted skirt. The top is a slight miracle of pattern cutting Tetris – I wiggled and jiggled the pieces onto the scraps of my brocade.

The pattern is unlined, features a side zip and slits in the seamlines. It also comes with long or short sleeves and in a longer length.
 

THE FABRIC  

This fabric freaked me out for a while as it was so unfamiliar. However… I’ve fallen in love with silk brocade and would now love a sheath dress! The fabric is just fabulous to wear.

The oversized print is spectacular of this particular Caroline Herrarra fabric is a unique blend of opulent and grunge. It does amazing things in different lights and settings. It’s just gorgeous. I’m never 100% comfortable in ‘pretty’ things however this rather masculine yet feminine blend of colour, print and texture is very appealing to me. 

I’d read much about the frantic fraying nature of brocade but didn’t find this fabric at all troublesome. In fact it was one of the easiest fabrics I’ve ever worked with. That’s not to say it doesn’t fray but it wasn’t shedding like a beast. 

I would advise lining this fabric.

Slip stitching the fabric is a joy as the stitches just seem to disappear. 

The colours of the fabric change quite dramatically – in the first image the fabric looks quite dark & moody. The light is behind me. The other pictures the sunlight is shining onto me, bringing out the yellow gold tones.

I doubt that I would wear all three items together… then again you never know! I do love to dress OTT sometimes, it’s fun! I’ve purchased several suits in my career and usually only wear the pieces together at the most formal corporate occasions. I prefer to mix and match. I love wearing jackets with skinny jeans and heels to more casual events such as dinner and drinks with friends. I also think I will wear the skirt with heels and a loose fitting shirt tied at my waist. 

Fabric: Caroline Herrara Silk Metallic Brocade, supplied by Mood Fabrics as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. All opinions are my own. 

Pattern, Jacket: Vogue 8146 from the stash 

Pattern, Skirt: Charlotte Skirt from By Hand London (this pattern was sent to me in 2012 by the girls. Previously blogged and loved here.  All opinions my own). I’ve modified this pattern by adding a walking vent to the back and adding lining. 

Pattern, Top: Burda 2964 from the stash 

The Quart Coat will happen sooner or later… it’s just a matter of time & fabric…

I love sewing with Mood Fabrics, I’ve tried so many new things – anything you’d like me to try next – fabric or garment?

Stylish Skirts – a review and a skirt (or two)

Last post I mentioned the Japan Sew Along over at Tanoshii which I discovered on Instagram. I’ve got a rather healthy collection of Japanese sewing books, in fact they outnumber all my other sewing books, I haven’t blogged my collection as I like to sew from things from them first – I’m a ‘proof is in the pudding’ girl. So I decided to try Stylish Skirts: 23 Easy-to-sew Skirts to Flatter Every Figure.

Warning: I’ve included¬†many pictures so you get a good overview of what to expect with this book.

Stylish Skirts by Sato Watanabe. Published by Tuttle

Stylish Skirts by Sato Watanabe. Published by Tuttle

I’ve seen this book reviewed a few times but there are only a few skirts floating about on the Internet that I could find. I’m sure there are more but there is only so much time I have to hunting down slightly obscure things on the Internet!

This book is interesting because unlike many sewing books there are no pattern sheets. Each skirt ‘pattern’ is a simple diagram showing you how to draft the pattern – or in some cases a cutting layout diagram with the pieces and measurements marked in inches (centimetres in brackets). I really like this aspect of the book.

Unless you are absolutely not-a-skirt-wearer, I think many people would find something to appeal or suit their style in this book. Many of the skirts are composed of panels drafted on waist and hip measurements so the sizing is up to the drafter. The simple skirts (such as gathered skirts) could be made smaller or larger quite simply – more or less fabric for the panels or waistband. There are 23 skirts in total. I’m sharing a few below.

Warning: you need to add seam and hem allowances to the measurements provided, the instructions are brief and the drafting diagrams may take some puzzling out. There are plenty of diagrams to help you along.

You probably don’t need this book to draft some of the most basic skirts… however some of the other skirts are more complex… or quirky…

The book content pictures not fabulous – taken earlier tonight while sitting on my bed using the iPhone¬†(eating chocolate slice)¬†– but I think you get the idea. I often find the line diagrams are very helpful, particularly as I don’t think you can see the interesting design lines for¬†some of these skirts.

This is perhaps my favourite. I love those 'snail' panels.

This is perhaps my favourite. I love those ‘snail’ panels.

A beautiful gored lace skirt

A beautiful gored lace skirt

a draped skirt... yes my weakness!

a draped skirt… yes my weakness!

All of these skirts are quite simple yet there is attention to detail and an appealing timeless simplicity to them.

Lovely simple embroidered and pintucked skirts

Lovely simple embroidered and pintucked skirts

Some cute wrap skirts from Stylish Skirts

Some cute wrap skirts from Stylish Skirts

I think the skirt on the left is a classic... however I suspect the nautical style of the skirt on the right will appeal to many!

I think the skirt on the left is a classic… however I suspect the nautical style of the skirt on the right will appeal to many!

Personal Thoughts on Stylish Skirts: I do like this book. It’s a little different to the rest of my Japanese book collections. The skirts range from simple through to more quirky. I will be sewing more, it’s a timeless collection of skirt patterns.

I chose a simple, irregular tiered (rather than the traditional three-tiered) boho skirt, the gathered tiers are broken or staggered.

As I was working with a number of rectangles, I drew a diagram with each panel marked with the finished measurements. I also pinned a little piece of paper so I knew which rectangle belonged where to minimise confusion when sewing the pieces together.

sewing notes to keep me on track

sewing notes to keep me on track

The skirt is very simple, composed of a front and back panel and two identical side panels. Each panel is broken into a top and bottom piece. You simply gather the bottom pieces attach them to their respective top pieces to make a panel. The panels are attached to form a tube and you attach the waistband.

A line drawing of the skirt

A line drawing of the skirt

The waistband has three channels, elastic on the top and bottom channel and they central channel with a drawstring. I’ve never been a fan of thick elastic waistbands but I think the two pieces of thinner elastic and a drawstring is very comfortable to wear. I also think the waistband is quite pretty with the three gathered rows. Once you finish the waistband you hem the skirt… And you wear it for the whole weekend… at least that is what I did!

NAVY BRODERIE ANGLAISE

My first effort was in a¬†simple¬†navy broderie anglaise¬†from Spotlight. It’s a little crisp but you can clearly see the panels and gathers.

Stylish Skirts - tiered navy front 2 beach

it was very hot and very very windy – somehow this was snapped between gusts of wind!

Stylish Skirts - tiered navy side 2 beach

Side view

Stylish Skirts - tiered navy front outside

This is after the beach – later in the afternoon, post housework and other exciting events in my daily life.¬†My arms are always in motion it seems¬†– either to put on/take off/adjust sunnies –¬†a habit hard to shake if¬†you spend a lot of time outdoors I guess.

 

the wind was in-escapable on Sunday. Hot and horrid!

back view: the wind was in-escapable on Sunday. Hot and horrid!

VINTAGE FLORAL

This one is quite different, a vintage rayon (I think) from¬†a Lifeline¬†charity shop, I paid just $3 for 4 metres. It was quite narrow, less than a metre wide. The gathers and design details are less obvious but it’s a pretty skirt and flows beautifully as I walk. Cotton lace from the stash.

Stylish Skirts - tiered floral side beach

I think I'm mid-sunglasses installation here so let's just look at the skirt :-)

I think I’m mid-sunglasses installation here so let’s just look at the skirt ūüôā

Construction notes: I gathered the lower panels using two rows of stitching. I ironed the gathers flat once I had them even – I find sewing over the gathers produces a new even result this way. I overlocked all the seams together after I sewing the panels together using my sewing machine. I used lacing cord (it has some stretch) as my drawstring rather than making a self cord. This skirt is not rocket science, it’s very easy… but very comfortable and easy to wear for casual days.

I do like these skirts. They aren’t fancy or couture makes by any stretch of the imagination however I love maxi skirts… long, loose, soft skirts that I can tuck my feet under and curl up in. These will be worn a lot. Boho-style clothes and I are good wardrobe buddies. It’s one of those styles I always feel at home and relaxed in.

BOOK: Stylish Skirts: 23 Easy-To-Sew Skirts to Flatter Every Figure by Sato Watanabe
FABRIC: navy broderie anglaise from Spotlight (purchased at the recent 30% off fabric sale) and vintage floral fabric.
NECKLACE: from Mrs Peterson Pottery… love this one…
(note: all purchased by me)

Mrs Peterson's Pottery necklace

Mrs Peterson’s Pottery necklace

Sewaholic Hollyburn – nice but not ‘me’

The Sewaholic Hollyburn was of those patterns I had always been curious to see what all the fuss was about. So when I received a copy from Stitch 56 it seemed the perfect choice for a navy linen midi skirt I had in my head.

Sewaholic Hollyburn

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a red striped Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee (free pattern, unblogged) and a blue glass beads from Arthouse Industries (mine)

Then I lost the pattern in my sewing room for months… when¬†it eventually resurfaced¬†I made it up.

The pattern is lovely, easy to sew¬†and you get a¬†nice result.¬†It’s got pockets – which some people seem to go barmy about. I’m a bit weird about a few things… and one is that I don’t put things in pockets if it distorts the line of the garment – that’s what a handbag is for. These sorts of pockets are just for hands in my life.

I decided to line the skirt as linen is notorious for creasing and lining does help alleviate that to a degree. I would share a picture of the immaculate insides… however I just can’t find the skirt. It’s as if the Hollyburn doesn’t want to be part of my life!

I cut a size 0 with the longest possible length.

It’s a well made skirt and I’m pleased with the finish.

Unfortunately I don’t think the midi length is for me. The skirt is lovely but like a few other 2014 makes just don’t feel like me. As you can see I tried a number of tops and accessories – and still struggle with how to wear it and feel like myself. I guess the upside of sewing things that don’t feel quite right is that you learn now about what you do like!

The photos were taken late in the afternoon so the light was bad – with the exception of the first one below,¬†which was taken several weeks earlier – then I spent a while trying to figure out how I might wear it. I think most simply it’s just not me, I feel like I should be drinking cups of tea and eating scones, I’m convinced my mother would love it. It doesn’t fit into my work or casual wardrobe.

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a floral shirt

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a floral shirt

Sewaholic Hollyburn

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a red striped Tessuti Mandy Boat¬†tee and an Arthouse Industries necklace. Probably prefer this look the most. It’s timeless.

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a white tank and a scarf

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a RTW white tank and a scarf (Just Jeans). The ill-fitting RTW tank top has been ditched. Quite like this combo Рthe scarf works well.

Sewaholic Hollyburn with Maria Denmark day-to-night tank

Sewaholic Hollyburn with Maria Denmark day-to-night tank

Sewaholic Holllyburn with RTW white shirt.

Sewaholic Holllyburn with RTW white shirt.

I made this months ago – all the way back in September. I just didn’t feel particularly inspired about it.¬†So other makes overtook it in the blogging queue. My workload in the final months of the year is always excessive and ‘life’ stuff has been less than great, so the urge to write all but disappears some days. Anyway all things, good and bad,¬†come to an end eventually.

If I seem quiet here, you can usually find me on instagram¬†– where I’m posting WIPs, project ideas, what I’m wearing some days and other ‘stuff’.

This pattern has been very popular – you only need to google it to see just how many times it has been made. It has had rave reviews. It reminds me of my McCalls shirtdress experience. It’s a perfectly nice pattern, it’s been made over and over again, all over the internet. It’s just not my style. I think I prefer pencil skirts or long floaty maxi skirts – I also like yokes over waistbands. However just because it’s not for me – doesn’t mean it’s not for you.

I really struggle with skirts and dresses that are flared and have a centre seam. Is it just me or does that make the skirt move awkwardly when you walk? I find it’s more inclined to tangle between your legs – and I hate fiddling with my clothes when I’m wearing them.

Pattern: Sewaholic Hollyburn, provided by Stitch 56
Fabric: Metro linen shell, lawn lining from Spotlight.

I’ve made five tops recently. Four knit tshirts and one woven top. The weather has been horrid lately so there has been little or no opportunity to get outside and take some pictures. Hopefully the rain eases soon.

I got some lovely Christmas presents this year, including tickets to see Lior, an independent Australian musician… enjoy…