Saturday, 8 April 2017

A checked skirt - warning if you suffer from migraines!

This is from a commercial pattern. An amazing fit pattern from Simplicity 2475. I'm not sure what size I started with.  That's not true,  I know where I cut but as the pattern has 1” seam allowances, I'm not sure where I ended up! You see,  this was a UFO.

I had cut out the pattern in red cotton blend fabric and started to adjust it some time ago. Over a year ago. Maybe two. I can't remember how far I got with fitting!  That is,  I couldn't remember whether I had sewn with the 1” seams in mind or the more standard ⅝” seams. Not good,  I know. I suspect I started with the 1” and altered. This skirt toile had been previously altered for fit before being abandoned to the great UFO pile.

This time around, I sewed up the red toile and found that the fit wasn't too bad. I needed more space for my full front thighs - my skirts have a tendency to crease across the front. However, I certainly didn't have 1” seam allowances,  just the standard ⅝”.

So I made some alterations,  with some fitting help in class:
  • I allowed additional space at the front princess seams - an additional ½” at each (by sewing the seams at 1cm (⅜”) instead of 1.5cm (⅝”))
  • The back seams were not lying correctly and Rory marked them to lie properly - this involved adding/subtracting fabric to the sides of the two vents.
  • The skirt was not hanging properly and I needed to remove some fabric from the front skirt top  - effectively dropping the front waist. My waist is rather sloped back to front
I made the changes to the pattern. I had traced some of the pieces,  but not all. (I'm lazy)

I was of two minds whether to make up a toile or try in fashion fabric. I decided to make up in checked Ikea cotton. I thought this would be a ‘wearable toile/muslin’. I know that most people don't make a fraction of the toiles I do but perhaps they are easier to fit?

So I went ahead and made up the skirt,  basting the seams in the first instance. I found I had to work hard to get the vents at the back to lie properly - it became clear that my original pattern change at this point needed further adjustment. I found it very difficult to match the tiny check. It was liable to induce a migraine! And the photos are showing a distinct moire pattern

The skirt appeared to fit quite well and I went ahead and finished the seams, sewed on one side of the waistband, inserted the side zip,  finished the vents etc. Despite having changed the contour waistband pieces in line with the skirt pattern changes,  I found that the front band was short so had to make up a new one. My seam lines matched across the zip and at the top.

With the skirt nearly finished,  I tried it on again and found that it was a touch loose (I've been losing weight, though it's come to a halt and this project took ages for various reasons). Never mind,  it wasn't too bad so I finished and hemmed the skirt.

Front - stance has altered lie
This morning (Monday past),  I tried it on (a touch loose but not too bad),  David took a couple of photos and I wore it to bridge (these are the photos I'm showing). By the time I got home,  I thought it might slip off without taking the zip down! The back of the skirt was lying lower than the front and the side seams were sloping towards the front. I could very easily pinch an inch! All from the back.
Front - you see what I mean about the pattern reproduction!

A wiggle to show vent movement. Top out
Side - you can see the sloping waist. Lying fairly level at this stage
At sewing bee that night, still wearing the skirt, I asked Dan to help correct it. I reckoned the front was okay but the back was too big and wondered about adding a back seam or taking in at at the top of the princess seams leading to the vents. Dan concluded that the sides needed reduced by 3.5cms to each side at the waist and by 2.5cms to each side seam. A lot!  After the skirt was pinned,  it felt much more comfortable. I don't have photos of that.

Question. Do I make the changes to this skirt or accept it as a disposable toile? The fabric isn't nice. It crushes far too readily, it's rather stiff, causes migraine and is difficult to match.  It was the wrong choice for this skirt. Also,  of course,  I might make these changes and find a nice fabric doesn't need the same changes. After all,  the skirt grew during the day.

I'm going to put it aside for the moment in any case as I have other more pressing tasks - number 1 is reassembling Helen's wedding dress by Easter. I would welcome your views. I'd also rather wear trousers! The trousers are coming along but are not nearly there yet.


  1. Hmm, I am not one to say whether something should stay or go, but really, just ask yourself if you are going to wear it. Sometimes I have something in the wardrobe for a while, and eventally, I will just say I will not wear it, and off it goes. I do find faced waistlines tricky to wear and usually go for a waistband so my skirt stays anchored. Not the height of fashion, I know. Over time you will get to know your body quirks, and learn to work with them. Like waistlines fluctuate by more than an inch over the day sometimes, or mine does, at least.

    1. Thanks, Sarah Liz. I can't wear as it is. It needs reduced in size. It would be better lined rather than using with a slip as I did (don't like this fabric against my skin). Having read what I've just written, DH says I should move on. I agree. I will. I may make this skirt again though in a more acceptable fabric. I do love contoured faced waistbands though!

  2. I know how it feels to make something and just not like it. I keep it and think about it for a bit and sometimes get an idea about how to fix it. If not just take it to the charity shop! I really like the double pleats at the back of this skirt so I wouldn't give up on it completely. Try a better fabric.
    Good luck for next time

    1. Thank you, Rosemary. It would be a good charity shop donation I think. I like the kick pleats at the back too. I think it's a case of making from scratch with better or rather more suitable fabric. I've practiced the technique now so there shouldn't be much of a problem. Ha! I will also avoid tiny little checks!


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