For my first few blog posts I have decided to share some of my most recent makes – hoping that they are still fresh enough in my memory that I can remember the details! I then hope to look back over my year of sewing and pick a few projects to share that make me smile! A couple of them in particular I can’t wait for!
Right, let’s do this!
My final Autumnal garment for the season has been a Delphine skirt, from Tilly and the Button’s fantastic book Love at First Stitch. It’s the skirt that is on the front cover of the book. I use the word ‘Autumnal’ due to my choice of fabric – a grey/black wool cotton blend from Guthrie & Ghani in Birmingham. It’s got a lovely herringbone weave through it.
I was given Tilly’s book as a gift for Christmas and bought this fabric for a Delphine shortly after. It then joined the queue on my ‘things to make’ list. I don’t actually have a physical list, I should do really – it’s all ‘up there’, a virtual list let’s say- well, I’ll put making a list on my list of things to do!! I then realised that Spring was on it’s way, with some warmer weather round the corner (!) and I ought to make the skirt pretty darn quick so that I could get some wear out of it! I wasn’t planning to line the skirt so with both the colour and the wool nature of the skirt, tights were definitely part of the wearing plan!
Well let’s see it then….
The Delphine skirt itself is fairly straight forward with only 4 pattern pieces – front and back skirt pieces and front and back waistband pieces. The photographs to accompany the instructions are really clear with additional skills sections included throughout the book to help you e.g. using interfacing, inserting an invisible zip. Tilly also includes some ideas for variations to the standard skirt pattern which is great to help inspire you and make the skirt ‘your own’.
In order to challenge my sewing skills further I decided to add some additional details – piping along the waistband seam, side seam pockets and a couple of covered buttons on the waistband piece. I chose to do these in a contrasting fabric to brighten up the grey a bit and add some interest. The contrasting fabric I chose to use was from Patchwork direct near Bakewell. We passed the shop whilst on holiday – the inevitable followed “ooooh – a fabric shop, can I just pop in there and have a little look?!” I had to restrain myself from spending a fortune, they had so many lovely fabrics to choose from. At the time I just bought 1 1/2 metres of this fabric with no idea what to make with it but just loved it. Then I thought how the colours really go with the grey of the skirt and how it would add some really nice details to it. Isn’t it cute?
For the skirt I cut a size 4 and increased the length of the skirt by 5cm at the cutting out stage. The waist size was spot on (for my future reference!). As for the length, well I altered the hem to suit where I wanted it to lie at the end – this is one of the parts of making your own clothes that I love – “how long do I want this skirt to be? Up a bit, down a bit…” – you don’t get that flexibility with shop bought clothes!
Side seam pockets
I didn’t think I would really use the pockets as it would alter the look of the skirt if filled with anything substantial but thought that a little bit of the bird fabric peeping out at the side would look nice. This would be my first insertion of side seam pockets too so another skill to try. I followed the instructions in Tilly’s book for the side seam pockets and it all went to plan……well almost….
….my birds were upside down……Arrrgghhhhh! Well at least they were on the inside so no one will notice and maybe they are just doing a loop-the-loop! The thing that irritated me the most though was that this is the third time I have got a pattern upside down on a project so really you would have thought I would have learnt my lesson by now! More on that special feature of my sewing in a later post!
I also decided to do the inner waistband facing in the bird material, for this I definitely paid a lot more attention to make sure the birds were behaving themselves
Continuous Bias Binding
For the contrasting piping I made my own bias binding from the bird material. For the first time I used the ‘continuous bias binding’ method which is just brilliant! It was recommended to me as it doesn’t use up masses of fabric and also you don’t need to sew lots of separate strips together. I used a combination of the tutorials by colleterie and sew4home to guide me through it. Both of these tutorials explain the method really well and once I had done a practice run on some scrap fabric it was fairly quick and straightforward. There are some calculation tools online that help you to estimate what size square of fabric to use in relation to the length of bias binding you need. I used a 10″ by 10″ square of fabric and had some bias binding left over (I over estimated – you know – the ‘just in case’ scenario!)
Piping and invisible zip
Although I had previously inserted piping along a seam in a garment, I had yet to encounter piping along a seam and then needing to insert an invisible zip across it! I thought it would be good to try and reduce some of the bulk of the piping at the end of the seam otherwise it would be way too thick to sew through , the zip insertion would be tricky and would certainly not be invisible! So I unpicked a few stitches of the piping sleeve at both ends, trimmed back a couple of centimetres of the cord piping inside and then all I had to do was include the extra layer of material in the seam, not the actual piping aswell. Make sense? I think I did this quite well for my first attempt especially as I was making it up as I went along (!) but I have got a little gaping of the zip at this point.
Am I bothered by this? Really, no! I didn’t actually notice it at the time so it would be one of those jobs to go back to in order to correct. Perhaps if i was so inclined to have another go at getting closer with the zipper foot, I could do or most likely I will just live with the gape! Any other pearls of wisdom on this technique anyone?
Self covered buttons
I used a prym tool for making fabric covered buttons which I think is fab and definitely a really useful addition to my expanding haberdashery collection! The process is super easy and I love the results. The instructions on the back of the packet were clear but as this was my first go at doing it, I also followed this tutorial with lovely piccies by Torie Jayne.
Brigitte head scarf
This is the very first project in the book and is easy as pie, ideal for a beginner sewer. I didn’t use the full length of fabric suggested as didn’t think I could pull off the big bow at the side of my head look and also wanted to save most of the leftover fabric for another project. I am still undecided whether wearing the co-ordinating skirt and scarf together is a bit twee/’twin-set-like’ but hey I like it so am going with it!
- I would take the time to line my skirt. Tilly’s tutorial on lining a skirt looks fab so would definitely look at this one. Although this skirt is absolutely fine without as I would only really ever wear it with tights, it would be a further challenge to my skills and add to a professional finish.
- I would like to make a straight forward version – no piping or pockets, just nice and easy! (you need those ‘quick’ makes every now and again, right?)
- If using a dark fabric again, I would use black interfacing instead of white for reinforcing the the pocket openings. I know you don’t see it unless you look for it as it is on the inside but just another one of those things to think about to improve the overall finish of my garments….
- Other than that I would do nothing differently… I love it!!
Well until next time..
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