After taking a course earlier this year at Sew Over It, and successfully making several cushions for friends and family (cushions are SO EASY, who knew?), my next challenge in learning to sew was to make a wearable piece of clothing. Then, as if by magic, Elena from Randomly Happy started posting a weekly step-by-step guide to making a skirt. I bought my three metres of fabric, and then a few weeks ago, started cutting out my pieces!
I wanted to do this for the first time using materials that were fairly cheap and cheerful, as fabric can be quite expensive, and I didn’t want to waste money if things went horribly wrong. I ended up using quite a thick fabric from IKEA, which is probably meant for curtains or furniture, rather than clothing, but I liked the pattern and it wasn’t too expensive, so I picked it up.
I’ve never even thought about making a pattern from scratch before, so splashed out on some pattern paper from John Lewis. In the end, however, it was too small for my skirt so I ended up having to tape more paper on to the end – I think if I were to do it again, I wouldn’t bother with the pattern paper – a Sunday newspaper would probably be better and cheaper!
The first part of my skirt!
For the pockets, I decided to use a different fabric. My old flatmate gave me a dress years ago, which I had long ago unpicked and stored as fabric in a box, but it was a very short dress, so I didn’t know how I would ever actually use the fabric until I started making this and realised I could have funky pockets!
All in all, this was actually remarkably straightforward and easy to do. There were three things that I found frustrating, though.
- Wrong side to wrong side/ Right side to right side = endlessly confusing to me. I read it, and know what it means, then somehow STILL managed to do it the wrong way twice, leading to a lot of unpicking and even more swearing.
- The sizing. When I pinned the pleats in place, the skirt fit me perfectly, but somehow between pinning and sewing, it became about 2 inches too big! I couldn’t face unpicking it at this point, so instead I did a little cheat – I attached a small hook to one side at the back, with an eye on the other. Now, you zip it up and then hook it tight. With the pleats in the rest of the skirt, it doesn’t actually stand out or look unusual, so I’m pretty happy with this fix. However, when I do it next time, I’ll definitely be more careful!
- The stitching – I wasn’t sure what size stitches to use for some parts of this, and I definitely got it wrong on the hem. I might actually go back and re-hem it at some point. They’re just a LITTLE bit loose, and I know that’s going to get on my nerves.
And the final thing? I wouldn’t look too close at the finish, but I’m pretty happy with how it came out! When the weather warms up, I will definitely wear this in public, which I think is a pretty good result. I also feel much more confident in my sewing, as there were quite a few challenging steps when putting this together. I’ve already gone out and bought some more fabric (something slightly thinner and more delicate, but thick enough not to be see through!) to make my next skirt, which I’m hoping to iron out the sizing and stitching on.
What do you think? Not to bad for a first attempt, is it!?
I found the process of following a step-by-step tutorial on Elena’s blog really useful. I have struggled in the past when looking at sewing books – I don’t really understand the instructions and can’t visualise what they mean, so having photos for every step was really helpful. Thank you Elena for putting it together!
Now – once I’ve finished my next skirt, what should I do next? If you have any good sewing blog or tutorial recommendations, send them my way!
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