Well, I’ve finished two items of clothing now! My Ginger skirt and the free Colette pattern Sorbeto.
So, Sorbeto first:
Fabric: white cotton lawn printed with pink rosebuds found on eBay Pattern: Colette Sorbeto (2011) with pleat inverted Notions: Thread and self bias tape Time to complete: 2hrs including making the bias tape First worn: 5 June 2011 Wear Again: Yes Total cost: £6.50
Things I like
It’s a really pretty top and it fits with no adjustment over my ridiculous chest. It was also very simple to make and uses less fabric than Colette lists.
Things I’d change
Not a lot really! I’d sew the pleat down for 2″ rather than the 4″ I did on this version, and I’d also flip all the bias to the right side at the neck rather than the 1/2 width I did – I was finishing it late at night and I misread the instructions! My fault entirely and not Colette’s instructions which, as ever, are very clear!
And now, Ginger:
Fabric: dusky rose, white polka dot 100% cotton, with dusky rose lining Pattern: Colette Ginger (2011) view A Notions: 9″ invisible zipper, thread, fusible interfacing Time to complete: I have no idea as it was done in bits and pieces all over the place! No more than 4 hours though. First worn: 11 June 2011 Wear Again: Jury’s out Total cost: £20
Things I like
I love the colour and print of the fabric, and that I mad the effort to line it. I’m also really pleased with the zip insertion and the french seams on the lining. Also the neatness of the facing and lining inside.
Things I’d change
In all honesty, nothing about the pattern. Next time I’ll sew the lining to the waistband facing and hand stitch the lining to the zipper tape. I also need to come up with a better way of hemming the lining, because this one is very rough and ready!
I made a revised muslin, adding only 5/8″ to each piece and that one worked a lot better! Thank goodness. So I’ve now made up my skirt, complete with lining and it just needs hemming.
I’m a little behind , as the show and tell party started yesterday, but it’ll be done by Sunday – I promise!
Hemming: Sunni mentioned her little gadget for marking the hem, as well as an alternative method in her hemming sewalong post last week. She linked to her original post about it and I had a little read. Then got a case of vintage-notion-want-it-isis. So I had a mooch on eBay, both here in the UK and the US, but no joy. I wanted a pin marker, and not chalk. There were no pin markers in the UK and the ones in the US weren’t really what I was looking for. Plus there were loads of them so if necessary I could go back.
So I thought I’d put “Singer pin marker” into Google. Not a lot of joy so I trundled onto page two of the results and came across a link to an online retailer of collectables in the US who had one. So for $14.99 and $22.89 for the shipping or £23.63 total I will be the proud owner of a Singer Skirt Marker.
It’s going to come in the original box which has the instructions on the back and has the pin cushion. It’s described as having a worn box but the marker is in excellent, new like condition. Yay!
This one only goes up to 20”, unlike Sunni’s that goes to 28” but I figure I could always get another yard rule and use it with the base to mark a higher hem if I need to. And let’s be honest, my hems aren’t going to go above my knee which is (having just measured my lower leg) about 17” from the floor in ballet pumps. There is/was a mini-max version on Etsy but the pin cushion base looked well abused, and it was the same price, so I’ve gone for this one. Only problem is that it will take a couple of weeks to get to me, so way too late to Ginger mk1.
So tonight I’ll use the rule-on-the-wall method Sunni posted. I hope to pin the hem before I go to see Spirit of the Dance at the Theatre Royal in Norwich!
This was something new I learnt today. In the UK, the fabric that seems to be called muslin in the US is Calico over here. Muslin here is more of a mesh like fabric, as anyone who makes jam or has seen baby muslins will know. Something I should know considering there is at least 30 baby muslins in the house, it just never occurred to me that what I actually needed was calico.
So,tonight I made a muslin / test garment from my slashed and spread pattern. If you remember I mentioned yesterday that my waist was 10″ bigger than that on the pattern size chart, so I’d added 10″ to the pattern by adding 2 1/2″ to each piece as there were four of them. 4 x 2.5 = 10.
Anyway I made the muslin…
As you can see (from a slightly out of focus and dark photo – I’m trying to photograph myself in a mirror, not easy!) it is WAY too big, so I’ve ripped it and will do another one tomorrow. That one will be the straight 18 from the pattern with no adjustments, but big seam alowances in case I need to let it out. I am so, so pleased I made a muslin of this. I very nearly didn’t but the thought of having wrecked my beautiful polka dots for the sake of a couple of evenings work is not worth thinking about. It’d have involved tears and quite possibly a temper tantrum. Two big positives from this, other than realising my sizing is way off somewhere down the line, cutting the hem at size 0 gave me the length I want, and is one of only two things that went as planned on the muslin.
The other was the zip! Hurrah! First ever zip in the history of the world by me, it’s an invisible one and it ain’t bad if I do say so myself! I followed this tutorial from Colette as it was straight forward and I got it, Sunni’s method didn’t suit me, but it may suit you? I also used my special invisible zipper foot which made the whole job a pleasure rather than the common source of frustration that it seems to be. It’s invisible and the waistband seams line up beautifully. I hope I can repeat this level of finish as I am really rather pleased with myself on this little achievement.
So the three very important sewing related things that I’ve learnt today are:
Muslin is Calico
Making up a muslin of a pattern is a VERY good idea
Zips aren’t half as bad as I thought they’d be
We had a pretty good break in Rutland with cycling and exploring. Plus a few mishaps! I lost a contact lens so my sight wasn’t great as I’d forgotten to pack my glasses, even though I’d put them out and it was a tad windy. OK, very windy and there were concerns about the awning blowing away or getting ripped. It was so windy that it ripped the door of the Land Rover out of my husband’s hand so that now needs repairing and means it doesn’t shut easily. Plus some family drama that kicked off at about 8pm last night, and is still rumbling… But it was good to get away, honest!
Now that we’re home, apart from unpacking and the usual washing and sorting that goes on, I’ve been playing catch up with all of Sunni’s Ginger sewalong posts. I thought there’d be three or four as I’d only miss two days of the sewalong. How wrong am I?! Sunni has been providing so much information it’s un-real. So catch-up has been a bit of an undertaking. And I’m not fully caught up yet.
So, following Sunni’s posts, here’s what’s on the to-do list:
Picking the size of the Ginger that I’m going to sew. This isn’t as straight forward as I’d like it to be. My hip measurement falls within the size chart. My waist measurement definitely doesn’t, in part because I’m overweight (although working on it) and in part because my stomach will never be the same post baby. Sounds like an excuse, but also a fact of life. In full disclosure, my waist (which is somewhere between my ribs and hips, but pretty indeterminable) is 46″ and my hips are a whole 1″ bigger at 47″. From the back of the pattern you can see that my hips are an 18 which is 48″ and my waist aint even on the chart. The 18 waist is 38″. One day it will be though.
So once I’d had a mope and felt sorry for myself then hacked off about it, I traced the pattern so that I can keep the original intact. I then slashed and spread all the pieces as I’m going to need to add 2 1/2″ to each of the 4 skirt panels to equal 10″. I did the same to the waist band pieces. This makes the waist OK, but has blown the hip by the same amount. So I’ll need to cut the waist at the size 18 lines and grade to the hip of a size 6 on my new slashed pieces.
This is probably making absolutely no sense at the moment!
Then there is the whole what length to make the skirt issue. I want it to hit mid-knee, so I might have to shorten it. I think about 21″ will be about right which is the size 0 cutting line… Anyway, my height isn’t going to change, but when the rest of me does I can just dismantle the skirt and re-cut the pieces to make it fit. See, I have a plan…
Sunni then did a really helpful post about the colour of the zip and thread and how important that choice is. I had to go for a lighter coloured invisible zip as the next shade was brown. Having looked at her examples though I’m really not sure and think I may be getting another zip that’s a better match… Or at least darker!
So, now I’ve actually cut the traced and altered pattern out it’s time to make up a muslin to see if these changes actually work out! That’s my plan for tomorrow evening as it’s getting late already.
Tomorrow, according to the time-table, it’s invisible zipper time! I’ll be able to practice on my muslin which is good. Using the zip that’s the wrong colour! Thursday is Gertie’s guest post (I am so so excited to read that one!) and finishing the waist band then Friday is hemming and final finishing! We have a bank holiday here next weekend too so if (who am I kidding?!) I’m still playing catch up I should be all done by the end of the weekend!
Sunni has shared her fabric picks for version 2, which will be a mint coloured 4-ply silk and version 3, which will be a striped cotton/poly fabric which she also intends to line. Casey has also done an amazing inspiration post for styling the skirt. A lot of food for thought there and some ideas!
So, as it’s fabric day I thought I’d share my choices with you. I’ll only sew version A as I’m not too keen on the waist band detail of version 2 and version 3 is cut on the bias which neither of these fabrics lend themselves too due to a lack of stripe!
This is the fabric I intend to use for the sewalong skirt.
It’s a dusky rose with white polka dots and is 100% cotton. I’ve prewashed this already at 40′ along with the lining. Sunni recommends going darker for the zip, however the next shade after this wasn’t a shade or two darker it was way way way darker, so I’ll risk it with this one and have to be really careful inserting the zip…
For my second version which will likely be made after the sewalong rather than trying to do two at the same time is a plain navy poplin. The outside of the skirt is the lighter of the two blues, and I intend to line this one too. Casey’s post may come in handy in lifting this from being a plain, blue skirt. Piping at the waist is already a consideration and I quite like the idea of a bit of lace at the hem… This rather plain choice is a deliberate decision, if not particularly exciting, as I want it to go with the fabric choice I’ve made for the Violet blouse.
It’s Liberty Tana Lawn!!! I’ve prewashed this already and it washed beautifully. I may have to line this as it’s a little bit sheer which I’m definitely doing for the Pendrell blouse, which is also a lawn, but not Liberty…
This hasn’t been prewashed yet. It’s so pretty and I think it’ll look lovely with Sewalong Ginger. My experience with the Liberty lawn is that the background came up brighter after washing, which this may do, but to be honest bright white isn’t great on me and I like the natural colour to the back ground. I plan to line it with a bright white to help the colours in the water-colour print really sing. I intend to do version B with this as the fabric is very feminine.
So there we go, a post full of fabric choices – very fitting for day 4!
First up… My patterns are here!!! They come in a really cute book format with a tab closure. You open the tab and the first page is the pattern inventory showing miniature pattern pieces, and then a key showing what they are. Turn the page and it’s Getting Started. I love the quote “The best advice for sewing is to relax, take your time, and enjoy the process of creating something just for you. Remember the old sewing adage: Measure twice cut once.” There’s even a glossary at the back.
The cutting diagrams are really clear, which is great and there’s a tip box about matching strips for view 3 and some additional ideas which Sunni’s already touched on such as adding piping between the skirt and waistband, adding a trim to the hem of the skirt such as lace, adding an applique or patch pockets, or using a sheer fabric and adding a lining. Next up are the actual assembly instructions and they read very well with clear diagrams.
There’s a web address to follow to learn how to insert invisible zippers and understitching as well as tips on turning under set measurements. Then in a little pocket in the back of the booklet is your pattern and a little note to say that “a portion of all proceeds from this pattern go to animal welfare”. Fab patterns and socially active too. What’s not to love about this?
Seeing this has made me really excited to sew more Colette patterns. Violet and Crepe arrived at the same time and the instructions are just as good and I have Cinnamon and Lady Grey on their way to me too.
But back to the actual sewalong!
Sunni and her guest authors posts have been really interesting. On day two Tasia of Sewaholic did a post about fabric choice and Sunni, our sewalong hostess, posted about pattern size and the notions we’re going to need. This included a bit about zipper foots. And guess what – I’ve got the wrong type of zipper foot so I’ve paid the £13 necessary for the Janome Invisible Zipper foot. I intend to make more than one version of this skirt and I’m sure there’ll be other items that have invisible zips so I don’t mind the investment. We’re also going to be making a muslin to perfect the fit before we cut into our fabric so as I have a shopping trip planned tomorrow, this has been added to my list.
Today’s posts (day three) was a fashion history post, from Sarai who owns Colette patterns, about the A line skirt. I love these sorts of posts and seeing the ancestry of designs and learning where they come from and the inspiration behind them as well as the changes and evolutions. The Christian Dior 1955 skirt in the post is a far cry from Ginger, but you can see the heritage.
Sunni is already proving to be a really helpful hostess, responding to questions left in the comments of the different posts. So as well as being fun this looks like it’s going to be a really informative sewalong as well – above and beyond the garment construction!
As you can see, Sunni has drafted in some of my favourite sewing bloggers to help out on this sewalong! Tasia’s post is tomorrow about fabric (which I’ve already chosen, but maybe I could make two?!), the Sarai gives us a fashion history lesson. Something I always find interesting but never really get round to researching on my own… And I can’t wait for Casey’s styling post!
The pre-laundering tips on Friday will be interesting but I’ve already laundered my choice (a dusky rose cotton with small white polkadots) today as I had the time to pop it in the machine. Then it’s the weekend so we can all play catch up, or I can go camping in Rutland!
Week Two sees me away for the first two days but back for the zipper, which will be really helpful as I’ve never put an invisible zipper in before – do I really need a dedicated foot? Then the ultimate inspirational seamstress Gertie adds her post and we finish of the waistband then we hem and finish the skirt! It must be a really straight forward pattern if we’re constructing it in a week? My copy hasn’t arrived yet so I haven’t had a chance to check the instructions out. Hopefully it’ll be here soon… At least we aren’t sewing today otherwise I’d be a little bit miffed to be missing out and then having to play catch up. Hopefully it’ll arrive very soon and I can make a head start.
Tweaks I’ve already planned for the dusky rose version is that it’ll be lined. I’ve realised I’ve bought the wrong zip – it’s a regular zip rather than an invisible one, so I’ve got to go back to the fabric store anyway so I could get the fabric for another skirt. Version two is likely to be in a deep royal blue to match the roses on some Liberty Tana Lawn that’s destined for the Violet pattern, and may have some piping around the waist band as it looks so cute on Sunni’s version. I’ll probably line that one too.
I’ve ordered the pattern from Colette (and the Violet pattern) which will be on their way soon, Sunni had even organised a 20% discount on the Ginger pattern which is extra brilliant.
I think I’ll be doing the pointy waist band as in this version here – there’s also a heart shaped one which is a bit too girly for me?
Ginger Skirt by Colette Patterns
The model is wearing the Violet shirt and whilst I love the peter pan collar, I’m not going a bomb on the gathered sleeves at the elbow. I much prefer this short sleeve version…
I’m not sure what I’ll be making the skirt from yet. The pattern details suggest “Medium weight fabrics such as poplin, twill, silk, dupioni, wool challis, gabardine, suiting, crepe.” So, first off I need to find out some more about these fabrics!
I’d like to make this primarily for work so I don’t think I’ll be going too colourful? It involves an invisible zipper so I may need to investigate an invisible zipper foot for my machine too.