Happy Happy Joy Joy – Northern Hemisphere Style

OK, I’m on catch up mode with stuff I made last year and beginning of this year.  There isn’t going to be any choronological order to these posts, it’s more going to depend on when I get a chance to photograph things and sit at the computer to write.  But on to the pretty skirt!

Do you remember the skirt Sew Busy Lizzy made for the Minerva Blogger Network using Vogue 8882?  Well, Lizzy told me I’d love it and boy did I love it.  That kit was bought with birthday money pretty much instantaneously.  It was also made PDQ as well and I wore it for our Christmas meal in early December, Christmas Day and a few other Christmas shindigs.  Did I get any photographs?  Did I heck!  So, I grabbed these photos at the same time I was photographing Anna Tron on a bleak, rain swept January morning.

Happy Happy Joy Joy

This entire outfit actually started out life in one of my Fashionary Mini sketch books (I have a set of three as well as a Silver Zebra print A5 book) and whilst I am not as tall and willowy as the outline in the book I’m pleased as punch with the finished outfit!

Vicki at Minerva Crafts was so helpful when I bought the bits I needed to make this skirt, swapping out the pattern size to one in my size range, double checking with me that I was happy and sending it all so quickly!  The fabric is lovely, it has a two tone effect that gives the colour real depth and it drapes beautifully whilst still having some body.  I really should have taken photos with a petticoat underneath because it looks fabulous (oops!).  You also get that beautiful swish sound as you walk in it.

Happy Happy Joy Joy 2

I did the same as lizzy and blew out the facings for the hem and just turned and stitched a narrow one instead.  This meant I have about 1.5m of the fabric left that is now a superhero cape. I wore the cape for Boy’s birthday at the beginning of January!  In short, that kit was an absolute bargain and I love this skirt!

Circle Skirt!

Wheee! Look at my lining!

Hey everyone, meet my newest wardrobe addition!  This is my circle skirt and I have to admit that I’m a little bit pleased with it.  You already know about my seam finishing, lining and zip.  And I have to admit I have really enjoyed taking my time over the construction of this skirt.


I love the pop of colour that the lining provides.

Being completely honest, when I first tried this on once I’d done all the hemming I was a little freaked out.  There is nothing like horse hair braid in our modern wardrobe and I was a smidge concerned that I’d made a bad decision in using it.

Full Hem

But nope, I love the fullness it gives to the skirt!  It helps to balance out my rather top-heavy torso and gives the skirt additional movement.  I wore it all day on Saturday, including a trip to the supermarket.  Admittedly in my brown tall boots rather than my gorgeous, vertigo inducing heels!  I was comfortable and felt confident in it.  And for me those are the two most important tests.  If I feel good in the clothes then they’ll be worn.

It’s fun packing it all into the car when I drive, but that just makes me smile.  I can see more of these in my future, particularly for the summer as it’s so comfortable and doesn’t restrict me in any way – great for running around with/after boy.

Why are we running backwards and forwards to the camera?

On the next go round though I will make a couple of changes.  The biggest being taking about 4 inches off my waist.  I can get my whole fist in between me and the waistband – I did err on the side of caution, but I feel I was a little too cautious!  I may add some belt loops later and remedy this with a belt, or a tuck at the side seam.  I’d also like to try using some gross grain as a waistband facing – so there’s no visible waistband, if that makes sense?

A more robust fabric may be in order too.  This will be hand-wash only as I don’t think it’ll cope with being shoved in the washing machine!  The fabrics would but I don’t think it’d do the hem any good at all.

Can you see the zip?!

I’ll definitely do a lapped zipper again, I’m really pleased how it came out and I like having the zip in a side seam.  I’ve really enjoyed this sew-along and the skirts really are very quick to make.  So thank you Casey for hosting the sew-along!

I wish I was a better clothes hanger for my skirt, but I’m getting there (very very slowly!) and I quite like how my legs look.  Do any of you guys feel very self conscious posting pictures of yourself?

How to Appease Sewing Gods

If anyone knows how to do the above I’d be very grateful!  I put the horse hair braid (HHB) into my circle skirt yesterday evening and I’m 30cm short!  5m of braid and I’m 30cm short?!?!?!

So I’ve put in what I’ve got and I’ll go and get a little bit more today and put that in when I get home.  I’ve left a gap! 

I’ve started the hand sewing of the hem and I’ve done about 30%.  It’s actually going faster than I thought.  I may make Casey’s submission deadline of 3pm EST (8pm here) tomorrow!

So, tonight I’ll be super woman!  I need to finish up my husband’s present from our son, print his present from me (a once in lifetime trip…  I’ll divulge more tomorrow), put in the last bit of HHB and finish the hem…  Wish me luck, and that the sewing gods are feeling more favourable towards me than the last few days!

Some Progress

Last weekend I didn’t achieve a lot of what I wanted to achieve sewing wise.  And this week it’s been a bit hectic, what with one thing and another.  But the weekend has been a little calmer, and a little more productive!

Just in case the weekend was busy (when aren’t they?!) I planned my tasks in stages.  So rather than saying that I wanted to hem my circle skirt I broke it down.  It means that I’ve actually crossed off some of my ‘to do’ list!

So, for my reference (and probably to bore you!) here’s what my list looked like on Sunday night:

Trace pattern
Grade waist by slash and spread
Cut muslin pieces
Sew muslin
Fit muslin

Pin mark hem
Baste lining to shell along hem line
Trim hem to 1/2″ below hem line
Attach horse hair braid (HHB) following Gertie’s tutorial
Bind ends of HHB
Press and shape hem
Hand stitch HHB to lining fabric

Prepare purse pattern pieces
Order lining fabric
Interface shell fabric
Cut shell fabric
Cut fleece padding 

Hem my sister’s shorts

Sew Pendrell started last weekend

Once again, now that I’ve looked at it properly that is an insanely ambitious list!  But I got a reasonable amount of it done, which is brilliant!  My priorities were the circle skirt, but that has stalled as I need someone to help me pin mark the hem and Husband refuses point blank to help in that regard.  So I need to wait until I get to see my sister to get that stage done.  We were going to do it Friday evening but Boy was violently ill (I’ll leave it at that – it was spectacular!) so it immediately fell to the bottom of the priorities list.  I was also supposed to do her shorts for her trip to Cornwall that evening, and they weren’t done either!  Hopefully it’ll all be done for Friday so I can email Casey with the details as she’s planning a round up post!

Plum Sakura Fabric
Turquoise Bird Fabric
Tiny Anchor Fabric

The other priority was the purse pattern and fabric cutting etc.  The first three fabrics above have been cut.  Each fat quarter is enough to make two of these purses, although as yet I’ve only cut one of each.  A bit of production line sewing will be coming up once I’ve finished my circle skirt and Pendrell.  I may tackle these before I launch into my Beignet proper.  Please click on the photos of the fabric to visit the shops of the lovely Etsy seller’s who I bought the fabric from.

The Beignet was progressed whilst Merlin was on the telly on Saturday night.  It also meant I was with Husband as well.  He’s always bemused that I trace a pattern.  I’ve got as far as grading the flat pattern and cutting the muslin, but I’ve yet to sew any of it.

So all in, quite a productive weekend whilst still being able to enjoy time as a family and the beautiful but very unseasonable weather.  And if you have any thoughts you could share on this post, I’d be really grateful!

I’m Quite Proud of This…

I put the waist band of my circle skirt on last night.  I’m really quite proud of how well I’ve managed to put it on.  No puckers or anything!  I even catchstitched it down on the inside so it looks really really neat.


And as you can see, my plaid has a fair bit more stretch to it than my lining and this is only after hanging for about 12 hours!  I think that this is the project I am the most pleased with so far, certainly in terms of finishing.


But oh my, it’s HEAVY!  There’s a lot of fabric in the skirt so it weighs quite a lot.  Definitely an autumn / winter skirt!

And I also finished my Pendrell pattern modifications and got one of them cut out.  And also realised too late that I’d cut the ruffle on the straight rather than bias.  And I don’t have enough fabric to re-cut it.  So we’ll see what it looks like and if it’s awful, I’ll just omit that bit for this version.

I pre-washed the fabric for the Pendrell yesterday and the amount of dye that came out was unbelievable!  It turned the water dark blue, dark enough for me to notice as I walked past the machine (we have front loading washing machines, generally, here in the UK with a glass door).  I’m glad that it went into the machine on its own and that I pre-washed it, otherwise I could have a lot of stuff with a weird grey-blue tint to it!

Obsessive Seam Finishing

The zip insertion post was posted yesterday by Casey (with an additonal little note today) so yesterday I cracked on with my circle skirt and got the side seams done.

Now I have a real thing about it looking lovely and gorgeous on the inside and my inability to finish zip insertions really neatly bugs the heck out of me.  But I think I might have worked out how to do it…  I’ll have a go later and see if my plan works out.  Expect a photo heavy post tomorrow!

But I digress.  Side seams.  Well, their finish to be exact.  You may accuse me of over finishing them…

Serged and Turned and Stitched

Yup, that’s a serged then folded and stitched seam allowance.

Why?  Why finish it twice?!  Well, I can sort of explain:

I love my serger, I do.  I really do.  And thankfully she’s got a lower dose of attitude than Oona’s.  But whilst the finish is effective, it’s also a bit, well, utalitarian.  Perfect when sewing knits together and all that but this is a circle skirt for twirling my way through autumn, winter and possibly a bit of spring too.  I want it to be gorgeous on the inside as well as the outside.  And I love how a turned and stitched seam allowance looks.  So I serged prior to construction (the fabric frays if you even look at it!) and then pressed and turned and stitched and pressed again.

Do you like my grading from my turned and stitched hem to just the serged finish?  That’s where the zips going to be so I didn’t want any more bulk.

And the really insane thing?  This is going to be lined.  You’re not even going to be able to see the inside of the plaid.  And I’ll finish the lining in just the same way.  Just because I can.

Matching Plaid

OK, for a long while I thought you said plaid so that it rhymed with fade.  Apparently it rhymes with fad!

Yesterday evening I cut out my circle skirt and I thought I’d share how I (hope I’ve) matched the plaid design on the pattern.  And I unashamedly credit the Selfish Seamstress herself in educating me in this method…

First I used my paper pattern piece to cut through one thickness of the cloth.  I then matched this cut piece over the rest of my fabric, carefully pinning so that the lines ran seamlessly across the cut and uncut piece.

Mostly uninterrupted lines between the cut and uncut fabric

I hope the above photo helps.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words?!  I used a LOT of pins around the outer curve, the waist line and each straight edge!  I tried taking an over view photo showing the whole cut piece overlaid on the fabric but it just looked like a big bit of fabric with my magnetic pin cushion plonked in the middle of it!

Even more pins!!

The Selfish Seamstress does a much more thorough explanation of this, please go and have a look if this is something you want to do.  I also checked out the tutorial on Coletterie which focused on stripes.

One thing though, I have not unpinned my two skirt pieces!  They’re staying pinned together until it’s time to do the seams as I think my head will explode if I have to match it all up again, and the fabric is very fluid and shifts quite easily.  But thinking about it, I’ve got a right side and a wrong side together so I’m going to have to!!!!  Definitely a job for another evening.  I’m not sure either that I’ll get a chevron effect on the seams as they’re parallel to the selvedges – instead the pattern just wont be interrupted?  I can’t envisage it at the moment, so I guess time will tell!

I’m going to have to think about the seam finishes too as the fabric seems to fray quite easily.  I’d decided not to line the skirt, but due to the fluidity of it I’m wondering whether a lining might save it from being pulled out of shape when I sit in it.  Last thing I want is a saggy bit of circle skirt over the derrier!

Hurrah! Finished Objects and Drafting Plans…

OK, confession first.  I can’t add the pictures at the moment because the camera is being stupid (or I’m failing to operate it properly!) and we’ve lent our little point and shoot to a friend who broke his camera.  Hurrah, I’ve got some pictures to show you!

I finished my navy crescent skirt.  I made a muslin of the waist band and it was waaaaaay too big, even though I’d done all my math properly.  I triple checked it.  So I pinched and pinned and removed 2″ from the waist band and transferred this to the pattern pieces by removing 1/4″ from 8 places (CF, sides and CB).  I then happily cut my fabric and made up my skirt.

And gosh darn IT.  The waist band is still a little loose and keeps dropping lower than I’d like.  I’d like the top of the waistband to hit at belly button level.  I could take another 1″ out quite comfortably.  I know I’m working on losing weight and toning up but this is ridiculous (although in a good way – I’d be grumpy if it was too tight!).

I’ve worn the skirt for the last couple of days for work and it’s very comfy.  It’s now in the wash, but once it’s clean I can bore you all with pictures of it.  I’m really pleased with how the inside turned out in particular as I used a red wine coloured bias binding to finish the waist band and as a seam binding on the hem, french seamed the sides and pockets and turned and stitched the centre back seam.  It looks really neat!

Top Stitching
Bias Bound Facing
Bias Bound Hem and Turned and Stitched Centre Seam
French Seamed Side Seams

I love the style and it’s easy to wear, even chasing after a toddler.  I think the next one I make (and I’ve ordered the fabric!) will be shorter though and hit above my knee rather than just below it.  I’ll also try and sort the waistband fitting issue out too.

Fabric for my second Crescent Skirt, Japanese Slubbed Cotton

Construction wise, I’ll apply the interfacing to the fashion fabric before cutting the pieces as I made a bit of a mess of my ironing board cover when fusing the cut interfacing to the cut fabric.  It’ll also reduce the amount of cutting out I have to do too.  I think I’ll probably apply the zipper before sewing the back seam too as the inside of my zipper insertions always look a bit messy.  If anyone has any advice on how to make them look neater, I’d love to hear!

Casey’s post on drafting the circle skirt also went up last night, so I’ll be playing with pencils, rulers and a pair of compass tomorrow.  Can’t wait!

Supplies, Supplies, Supplies

Oh happiness!  My circle skirt fabric arrived today and it doesn’t feel scratchy or itchy and drapes beautifully.

I also did a stupid brave thing today.  I went and bought the zipper and thread without the fabric.  I guessed which tone I needed.  And I got it right!!  Hurrah for me!  I also purchased some grosgrain ribbon in turquoise (I have no idea whether we’ll be able to see it on the finished skirt, but as it was the same price as the brown, why not?!).  It matches the turquoise in the skirt perfectly.

I also bought some horsehair braid.  It’s much stiffer and springier than I thought it would be.  It was also more expensive at my bricks and mortar cloth store than if I’d bought it on eBay (as in four times the price!) but it does have the thread for putting the curve in and seems thicker. I’m also supporting a store that is really helpful and answers all sorts of questions for me, as well as stocking a great line of fabrics as well as all the other bits and bobs I could need.

My final purchases were some pins and a cardboard pattern cutting board with all the grids etc on.  Finally I can pin pattern pieces down whilst I do the inevitable FBA!  I can’t wait for the next post for the CSSA.  I’m really looking forward to it!

Tonight however I plan to interface and sew the waistband of crescent skirt mk1, and maybe even get the topstitching done on it.

Sewing Progress

This evening I’ve graded the waist band of the crescent skirt, and hope to make up a muslin to check the fit tomorrow.  I may even be able to cut the fabric tonight!  So I’m a little bit light headed from over exposure to Sharpie marker pen fumes…  I’ve been following the Snug Bug’s method, but wont be grading the pocket, just moving it over to the new side seam.  I’ll then follow Tasia’s sew along posts on her Sewaholic blog.

I’ve also been fabric stalking for Casey’s Circle Skirt sewalong!  I love the colour combination of chocolate and turquoise, so I really like this fabric! As it’s a plaid / tartan I’ll have to be careful matching the seams, but it will give a really pretty chevron effect!  I think quite a wide waistband will also be a good idea – 2 to 3″ probably.

I think a lining in turquoise and the skirts seam binding in the cerise would look amazing.  It’s a polyviscose though which is good for the pennies, but means the lining will have to be anti-static! I’d like to find some horsehair braid to give the hem some fullness and I may even invest in a crinoline / petticoat to give it that added woosh…

I’ve also faffed with the Pendrell I made last month in preparation for some production line sewing.  I’ve taken an inch out at each side seam, so 4″ in total which makes it look a lot better.  I’ve also taken a good 6″ off the bottom as it was way way way too long!  Even though I’ve lopped all that length off, it’s still plenty long enough to tuck in, but wont look daft untucked either!