I could feel my fear growing exponentially as I considered my challenge. Here’s a step-by-step progression of what went through my mind:
Step 1. Take true & proper measurements. (Oi!)
Step 2. Transfer those measurements onto paper. (Ack!)
Step 3. Make a muslin and adjust the fit. (Eek!)
Step 4. Choose fabric. (Uh oh… this could take forever!)
Step 5. Design finishing touches. (In how many days? Yikes!)
Luckily, the Craftsy video course was extremely fun, informative and dispelled most of my fears (I’m still hung up on Step 1). Deborah Moebes is a great teacher and has the ability to tie in all of your existing sewing skills, including the new ones she teaches–creating a seamless feel to the course. I found an iPad app for it, which made it so much easier to bring to my makeshift cutting table and back to my sewing machine.
Anyhoo, my first ever, custom-fit, self-drafted A-line skirt pattern! The piece on the right is a band that follows the curve of the hem to create a contrast hem.
This was also my first time making a muslin. I can see the benefits of making one now. I was able to adjust the fit by: omitting front darts, while lengthening the back darts and practicing all of the intricate parts of the invisible zipper, bias tape waistband and pocket placement.
I knew I wanted pockets on my skirt. I have a short torso, with what I call a “wrap-around waist” (one that extends into my back), so I wanted a large pair of pockets to draw attention away from my waist. I based the pockets from a Vogue pattern that I had (V8552) and attached them to my muslin. Then I noticed a major design flaw: the zipper opens up into the left pocket.
I then drafted a new back pattern piece. It includes a 1/2″ seam allowance added to the fold line, that is used to cut 2 back pieces, instead of one. For my final skirt, the zipper is installed on the back and there is a seam that goes all the way down the centre of the back.
Ta da! This is my made-for-me-by-me skirt:
This is the back of the skirt with the invisible zipper down the centre seam, I just noticed loose threads stuck to the bottom of the right pocket! Oops.
The bias tape for the waistband is made from the same fabric as the contrast pockets and hem. I absolutely LOVE this print! I added a FROO & BOO fabric tag for a personalized touch:
The side seams were finished with my serger and the contrast bottom hem is fully encased, so you can’t see any seams. This was a huge feat for me. When I wasn’t sewing, I was trying to figure out how to construct the hem and after a couple of modifications, I got it right!
By chance, the day before I became a contestant, I went to The Intrepid Thread for the first time. I picked up 3.75 yards of Pure Elements, by Art Gallery Fabrics, in Nocturnal (I cleared the shelf, still loving navy blue) and a couple of prints from the Indian Summer collection by Sarah Watson. These fabrics are quilting fabric, but the quality is oh-so-much better. They feel lighter and smoother, with more drape and the slightest amount of sheen. I only bought half a yard of Forest Trail in Mountain–it was intended as shorts for Boo. I couldn’t give up on the design in my head, so I asked the hubs to pick up another yard for me on the way home from work. He assured me that it was very much out of the way, but he went anyways. Love him.
Finally, a couple of photos of me in my new skirt. The outdoor photos were taken by Froo. I chose to wear a billowy summer top to hide the squishy bits, tucked in with a belt, to give semblance that there’s a waist hiding in there somewhere. Even though the pockets flare out, I feel that the lines of the pockets help to elongate my figure, creating a more narrow effect. Score!
A couple of bracelets that I made years ago to bring out the colours in the contrasting fabric. Aqua, coral and white, accenting navy blue–this is my favourite colour combination of all time, especially for summer.
It was super bright out, so I wanted to see if the colours looked more “true” indoors, without all the highlights and shadows:
I think I would wear this skirt more as part of a casual outfit–with an aqua tee and a pair of TOMS. Boo is starting to become a regular photo bomber on my blog. He’s wearing the art smock that I made for him.
This is why I LOVE to sew: the new skills that I’ve learned over the past couple of days transformed a piece of Swedish tracing paper into a design of my own! The possibilities are endless when it comes to fabric choices, styles and design elements. It could be overwhelming, believe me, I spent a great deal of time scouring Pinterest, but once I sat down to consider a skirt I would actually wear, I could visualize it clearly in my mind. The need to create it took over from there, totally squashing my fears.