Monday, 7 November 2011

Loves me, loves me not skirt

I've been planning to make a skirt from this Bee nightlite fabric since it arrived and the last few weeks I have been slowly putting it together. I drafted the pattern based on a skirt that I already have from Whitestuff as it fits perfectly, it is the perfect skirt.

This went pretty smoothly, I decided to put a seam up the back (not really sure why on reflection) and the zip on the side (as would prove to be my downfall).

I also lined the skirt and use the same fabric as the main skirt on the waistband of the lining.

I had to cut out the fabric very carefully, I wanted the bee on the side and to make the most of the squares print which is my favourite part of the design.

It was all going quite smoothly until the zip. Zips are my sewing nemesis, from now on, everything that I sew shall be zipless. They will have magnificent elasticated waists that are easy to make and allow me to scoff enormous meals and still fit into my clothes comfortably.

Firstly, I found something mysteriously went wrong with my tension with the zipper foot on. Meaning that the thread became horribly tangled on the wrong side before eventually snapping. This happened a few times and was awful to unpick.

I re-threaded my machine as cleverly suggested by Florence and it was the re-threading of the bobbin that seemed to fix it, thank goodness.

I searched around for some decent instructions on how to sew a zip in a skirt with a lining and finally used those from the Proper Attire Skirt pattern by Anna Maria Horner as this skirt is quite similar.

I then rather stupidly didn't try the skirt on until I had finished the lining around the zip as I was filled with a false confidence. When I did try it on, it looked awful...

love you not, zip

There were 2 mistakes, the seam allowance where I fixed the zip to the skirt became slightly smaller as I got the end nearest the zip pull meaning that it bulged where there was more fabric. Then I went on to sew the seam below slightly off so that one side was slightly higher than the other meaning another bulge. I remember a third mistake, the first time I put the zip in, I forgot it was a concealed zip and sewed too far away from the coils. More unpicking, sigh.

At this point I very nearly screwed it up and filed it in the back of my wardrobe. But in an effort to be grown up and rational, I unpicked the zip that had taken me so long to sew, and tried again. I didn't repeat the same mistakes again. But then realised that although the zip was in ok, putting it on the side seam so that the bottom of the zip sat right at the point where the skirt curves over my hip meant it would always stick out. The zip is too rigid to curve in the seam and I should have put it down the back where the seam is straight and more forgiving.

So whilst it is not perfect, it is good enough and the zip will mostly be covered by any top that I wear, so really only I will know what is hiding underneath.

love you skirt

The rest of the skirt, I love. The fabric pattern is perfect, I love the way it worked out on the front and back. I'm really pleased I lined it as it gives the skirt some extra weight for the Autumn/Winter. That darned zip is put in neatly if not perfectly or maybe in the right place.

 I have learned some valuable sewing lessons.

1. Try on garments as much as you can whilst making them to avoid too much unpicking if something goes wrong.
2. Until I get much better at putting zips in, put them on the back, not the side.
3. I love this skirt pattern and fabric.
4. It is worth going a little bit further to add in details that you like on shop-bought garments (I love the same fabric waistband on the inside.)

Overall I need to think a little harder about the things I make if I am not using a pattern to do the thinking for me. With a lot of the clothes I make, I get a little jaded by the end especially if they have been tricky. They become 'that top where I wasn't happy with the binding' or 'that skirt with the zip'. Which often means I can't face wearing them.

Saying all that, I am wearing 'that skirt with the zip' today and I love it, probably more than any other garment I have ever made. The fabric and pattern make up for the mistakes, and maybe next time I make it, the zip will be perfect, or I'll have an elasticated waist instead...


  1. It's the most beautiful skirt in the world:)

  2. Lovely! Great fabric and the skirt shape is perfect to showcase it.

  3. well done for being grown up and rational! I certainly wouldn't have I wasn't when making a dress in the summer. The skirt is gorgeous. The fabric looks fab, particularly the diamonds around the top and the positioning of the dragonfly and 'flowers'...fab x

  4. What beautiful fabric! The skirt looks great. Way to persevere!

  5. I love the skirt! Great fabric...I want to go and make a skirt now!

  6. It's a beautiful skirt, and looks great inside and out and most importantly - ON!! I hope you get lots of wear from it, the print is amazing.

  7. Looks fantastic! You have added lot of lovely details and the fabric pattern is very well placed. I usually spend dress making days in a state of half dress hopping round in very little between various trying on sessions. I think it helps to take photos of yourself in the skirt as you try it- I find this better than just looking in the mirror- more objective.

  8. Congrats on persevering, from where I am sitting (glass of wine in hand, and two down) it looks great. Fun fabric and good style and I am in awe that you have achieved your White Stuff skirt. I haven't yet tried a zip in a garment so have taken note of your thoughts but I'm sure the next time you try it, it will work straight away and perhaps you'll wonder what the problem was?
    Love your tights and boots by the way!
    Kate x

  9. Kate, perhaps mentioning that I've had a couple wasn't the brightest of things to say. What I mean, is that your skirt looks fab, only I am warbling!

  10. It's gorgeous! Although I feel very disdressed for you that you don't feel it's perfect as when I saw the close up photo of the lining and the zip it all looked so carefully done and so beautifully finished that to then find the zip bulges out must have been a traumatic moment. I've had this with a shop bought skirt and I wondered whether the zip was too long (I still bought it anyway, as a long top does cover it!).

    If you don't like installing zips have you thought about creating an extention tab and having a button fastening instead? It probably wouldn't have worked for the style of this skirt as it would look too fussy with the patterned fabric, but it's a less stressful option for plainer things and a good excuse to go button shopping in Liberty.


  11. Awesome awesome skirt! Great work, even with all the difficulties you ran into. I am in love with the idea, the fabric, and the cut.

  12. It looks fab - we would never have known if you hadn't mentioned it..

  13. Thanks all so much for your lovely thoughts and encouragement! Harmony and Rosie; can you believe when I was wearing those tights cutting some scrap bundles whilst sitting on the floor, I dragged my scissors across them and made a huge hole. What an idiot!!

  14. Love it - not the process, but the finished skirt is so awesome - well done for persevering!

  15. It's fabulous, and looks great on you.

  16. This fabric is great! So is the skirt :)

  17. LOVE!! and well done for not giving up! So worth it :)