Taking part in Me Made May '17 last month identified one gap in my wardrobe which I addressed straight way. I needed more separates to wear for work during the week. I had a number of tops with purple in the design which I was wearing with a black M&S skirt that had seen better days and was a bit tight, so I decided to make a new skirt. My go-to skirt pattern has been the pencil skirt from the Great British Sewing Bee book, series one. I have made three variations of this skirt pattern, all in stretch jersey, and I fancied a change. I was looking for something a bit more shapely and a bit smarter.
In my pattern collection I have the Two-in-One skirt pattern from Simple Sew. This looked like just what I needed.
I chose the Wiggle Skirt version and bought 1.5 metres of light weight purple suiting with 1 metre of lining because I wanted to line my skirt to stop it from clinging.
My measurements coincided with size 10 on the hips and I graded up to size 14 at the waist. As I have got older I have found that my waist has filled out and I no longer have an hour glass shape but I am more of a rectangle now. I often have to let out patterns at the waist. I have heard lots of other dressmakers say the same thing and I think we just change shape with age. We start life as a D shape with straight back and rounded tummy, develop curves in our teens and then later on in life everything changes again.
This skirt was easy to make and came together quickly. Just like the pattern suggests, it was a simple sew. The fabric I chose frayed badly so I used the overlock stitch on my machine to neaten all of the raw edges as the pattern advised.
I cut the lining from the same pattern pieces as the skirt and made it up in exactly the same way, except that I only wanted the lining to come down as far as the top of the back slit. I measured the required length, added 2 inches for a hem allowance and cut the acetate lining fabric to the right length.
When both the skirt and lining pieces were sewn together I matched up the lining and skirt wrong sides together and tacked them at the waist seam. Then I sewed them both to the waist band and continued to follow the pattern instructions. Stitching in the ditch from the right side has left a slightly uneven finish on the inside where no-one can see it.
I slip stitched the lining to the zip tape to neaten the opening and prevent the lining from getting caught in the zip when I pull it up.
I am pleased with the fit of this skirt, although it doesn't have quite such a curvy silhouette as I expected. I think I will make it a little bit tighter round the waist if I make it again. Mine does seem more of a pencil skirt shape than a wiggle skirt, but this may be due to me not having a very slim waist.
This side view shows the slight gaping at the waist
My invisible zip was very stiff at the top so it wasn't possible to line it up with the top of the waist band. I have added a hook and loop to bring the top together neatly and that seems to have solved the problem.
I love the slit at the back and the way it lets me walk freely. Despite the slim silhouette I can still walk easily, which is very important.
After finishing the skirt I looked on line and found the tutorial by Gabby from Gabberdashery here and I wish I had seen this before I made my version. It was an easy skirt to make, but Gabby made a few improvements that I wish I had thought of, and seeing someone else make the skirt would have made the instructions so much clearer to follow. For example, Gabby used french seams for her side seams. This would have solved my fraying issues and given a much neater finish. I also like the way that Gabby doubled over the wide allowance by the back split. I just neatened mine and folded it back.
I am still experimenting to find tops that compliment this colour. This RTW butterfly top seems to look good and plain white or black are also OK. The tops I tried during May were less successful, mainly because they were loose fitting. I plan to make more fitted tops and to pay more attention to the fit as a result of seeing so many photographs of myself in my day to day wear.
My husband is very pleased with his refurbished pond surround which features in these photographs. Our garden is another work in progress which is being documented as the backdrop to my sewing projects. It will be good to look back on these pictures in the future and be reminded of the changes.