Sunday, 5 February 2017

Another UFO finished - summer skirt

Another UFO finished!
This is the last of my UFO posts - at least for a very long time
I did view C
I think it must be 4 years ago now. I took my original sewing machine to a dealer for a service as it was struggling.  I actually thought it was me causing problems due to my inexperience as I was trying to take up dressmaking with no previous experience. The machine was declared dead. It had many problems including a timing problem that couldn't be fixed locally and would cost a lot to send away. Then the rust on one side and wear on the other of a really important part would come into play. I bought a replacement that used the same feet and was light enough to take to class - Alison has this machine now.

I was looking,  unsuccessfully, for a dressmaking class and this dealer,  a quilt shop,  ran a dressmaking class once a month, bringing in a tutor specially. I started with the mandatory pyjamas. The tutor also had a day class making a skirt - everyone making the same skirt. McCall's 3830.

Obviously,  we all wanted it to fit!

I bought my original fabric from the shop - at the time the most expensive fabric I had ever bought. I loved the fabric but when prewashing and preparing found a significant  flaw. The flaw turned out to be present through the whole bolt. For the class I chose this Art Gallery fabric in its place and didn't get the chance to prewash as it was bought on the day. I do like the fabric but the diagonal pattern made matching very difficult.

Lovely fabric but very awkward diagonal pattern match

My skirt was huge. I didn't get it finished. I can't find a photo of the original skirt before it was pinned tighter. Oh, of course, I should say there was no toile/muslin as it was supposed to be completed in the one day. I don't know if anyone actually achieved that. Years later, I met someone else who had been there (neither of us remembered the other) and who had completely abandoned her unfinished skirt. One of the reasons I like to do toiles.

It's inside out here - I hope you can see how big it was! Can you just see where I have basted it a lot smaller?
On another occasion I took it to class - by now I had found a class,  sewing bee,  which I still attend - and Lyn pinned me in. A lot needed to be taken off. I needed to alter the facings to fit. However,  I found trying to match the pattern in any sensible way very difficult. I did try and spent a long time doing so but didn't succeed in any meaningful way.  The pattern was abandoned again.

So it was in my UFO box.

The skirt had been pinned and basted to the size I was then - significantly smaller than I am now.  I had pinned in a zip ready for a centred application. I hand tacked then machine basted this in. I took out the sides to the original size and found my current size is between the skirt pattern size (too much ease ) and the size it had been pinned to. I machine basted in place.
Original centred zip pinned in. I tacked and machine basted this before deciding against it.

Then I remembered that the fabric had never been washed so I washed and tumble dried it.  I hoped it wouldn't shrink too much though as I'm currently losing weight I wasn't too worried and it's a bit on the long side, so I could cope with a little shrinkage.

I hadn't finished any of the edges. I took out the centred zip completely,  overlocked all the seam edges and inserted a concealed zipper instead. That went in well. I was reminded at that point, though,  that to get the best pattern match at the back there is a step between the two sides of the back and I needed to take that into account.

I tried on the skirt at this point and it was fine! Or will be in another half stone time! Or rather when my prominent abdomen shrinks a bit. It would probably benefit from a lining but that's not on my agenda for this skirt. I might wear an underskirt.

The facing had been altered to fit and was too small. I asked advice about whether to try to recut the facings,  using the altered skirt as the pattern or to use bias binding. I had enough fabric to replace them.  I drew up the new facings on paper. The waistline was rather uneven,  not only between the sides but also along the length. That needed to be evened out.

At class,  Lyn advised that I try the skirt on and she marked the waistline. I trimmed it to that point. In some cases, I  had very little seam allowance so the facing was going to need to be attached with a ¼” seam allowance.

This led to a slight problem - I had already inserted the zip. It means that the zip is lower than it would be and had left a gap - solution,  hook and eye.


My mind was elsewhere and I cut the facings wrongly so they had to be redone. Twice!

In the end,  I managed to attach the narrow interfaced facings with a ¼” SA and understitched.  They look OK and pressed nicely. The loose edge is overlocked. The facings are attached at the zip, some of the darts and the sides.

Kick pleat/ vent

I'd only done one of these before - on Helen's tweed skirt. I  needed to look carefully at instructions as I really had little recollection how to do it. There was one on my jacket last term,  but I didn't get as far as doing that, and that one was lined. I still have that to look forward to. I checked the process with Lyn before I continued.  In fact it was quite straightforward, even though the unevenness caused by my pattern matching shift made it a little more complex. I bagged the hem at the vent.


No particular issues here. I'm not sure about the best length as it will depend on footwear. Also,  I'm hoping to lose rather more weight which will make the skirt hang longer. So this is a compromise. It's simply overlocked,  turned up ⅝” and top stitched at ½”.

Some puckers from my too large tum but it should be good in a month or so. The facings are nicely sewn.

Side view - some puckers from my too large tum. I may shorten, but not sure if I can because of the vent

My invisible zip is exactly that!

That was a lot of work. More work,  really,  than starting from scratch. I  do like the skirt,  though - nice fabric.  I have a much clearer idea of what alterations to make if I remade this skirt in a different fabric - so you might say this skirt has been finished 4 years too late and is in some ways a wearable toile!!

One more UFO dealt with. I'm not doing any more at present as I have other projects which take precedence.

Update on my mother - she is feeling rather better. We looked after her for 3 days following her discharge from hospital but were able to return home tonight. We can't stay with my mother, which makes it slightly more awkward, though the accommodation we used was very close by. She's too independent to allow us around for much longer though I'm going back next weekend.


  1. You have certainly been busy with these UFO's. Sometimes it's good to clean out the unfinished basket. Ready for the next lot!
    The skirt is pretty, and cotton is a lovely fabric for casual skirts, so hopefully in summer it will have one or two outings.
    Glad you mother is better.

    1. Thanks, Sarah Liz. I hope we get a summer to wear it. Onwards with the next make, though I need to clear up big style first.

  2. Well done for sticking with it, I think I would have given up on it after the first class. It's a lovely pretty skirt.

    1. Thanks, Margaret. Another one that was close to being discarded. I loved the fabric, though. As for the class, it's a wonder it didn't put me and many others off sewing for life. I was a glutton for punishment and tried to make trousers in the monthly class - another UFO but non-fixable. Truly awful. I did give up the class, but fortunately not my attempts to dressmake.

  3. Nice save on the skirt and the fit looks good. If you're ever stuck with not enough fabric for facings, petersham ribbon works very well and can be steam pressed into a curve. Happy to hear your mom is better.

    1. Thank you, Mary. Just need some warmer weather to wear it. My mother will do better in warmer and lighter weather too. Thank you again for your tip - I really appreciate these.

  4. Nice skirt, Anne! Looks like a perfect TNT skirt now that you got the fit right.

    1. Thanks, Marianne. I still want to lose more weight, though, even if that means, as it will, re-doing blocks etc. My first TNT for the moment, though - that's for sure.


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