Tagged skirt

Another Colette Mabel

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Would you believe I made another one? I went to Dressew for notions, and meandered around the fabrics, because you never know what amazing things you’ll find. Lo and behold, I found this gorgeous black and red damask knit, which had to come home with me.

Laying it out was a bit tricky, since I wanted to be sure that everything was lined up perfectly. To do this, instead of laying out on the fold, I traced around half of my pattern pieces with chalk, then flipped the pattern over and traced around the other side with chalk, and cut along the chalk lines. I did the same for the outside waistband pieces. I didn’t have to do the back this way, because it has a seam down the centre, and I didn’t care how perfectly spaced the damask pattern was on the inside.

Hooray for pretty, comfortable clothes! It’s pretty comfortable, too!

Sweaters and skirts, oh my!

I haven’t been posting much lately, because I’ve been busy with job interviews, holiday stuff, and making things. I did say I’d be posting a few projects though, and here they are!

Rock the Lobster is the first project I’ll show you, because it was a milestone. I finally made a steeked sweater! If you’re not a knitter, you probably don’t know what steeking is. If you are a knitter, you may have been avoiding steeking, because it involves cutting your knitting! Tackling this technique was a game changer for me. I love colourwork, but most colourwork sweaters are knit in the round and steeked, so I avoided them like the plague.

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Steeking looks scary, right? The trick is to use a yarn that will felt, so that the stitches stick to each other. You can also run a line of machine or hand stitches along the steek so that you prevent raveling, which is what I did. Knits generally don’t unravel side to side, so steeking is pretty safe, believe it or not.

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The finished sweater. I really love it – the yarn is Knit Picks Wool of the Andes sport, so it’s warm but not too warm. The buttons are fantastic – they’re made of wood with a little bronze  wire accent. I bought extra buttons because I liked them so much. I didn’t bother doing any bust shaping, and probably should have. This sweater doesn’t have any waist shaping, but it doesn’t really need it. My Ravelry project page is here.

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The first time I wore my new sweater was out to brunch with my husband’s hiking friends. I wore it with a chocolate brown wool pencil skirt. Yes, it’s the pleated pencil skirt again, and I skipped the lining. I don’t really think it needs the lining, if you use good fabric.

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Sorry this one is so poor quality, but it was the best photo I got that day, and ran out of time, because I was dressed for an interview and had to leave! It’s another pleated pencil skirt, this time in an olive green wool. Now I have three pencil skirts, which is pretty reasonable, I think. The brown and olive wool were both purchased at Dressew. I still want to make my poppy skirt, but haven’t started yet.

Pencil skirts…again.

So, I was going to try a different pattern for my next pencil skirt, but have found that most of the PDF patterns I like are either really expensive (I don’t much like the idea of spending almost $20 for a pattern that doesn’t even have variations) or print on A4 paper. I bought a Burdastyle pattern for $5, which I printed on letter size paper, having set my printer to adjust for the paper size, but it was cut off, so I know the skirt wouldn’t fit. It’s very frustrating.

Rather than go out and buy yet another skirt pattern, I’m going to make the pleated pencil skirt again… but this time, I’m going to skip the lining. Hopefully I’ll have better luck than I did with the last one. I have fabric for three new skirts, but I’m only going to cut one for now, in case I decide that I hate the pattern. It does make a nice skirt, when you get the measurements correct. I do find that there’s a bit more ease in the pattern than is really necessary though, so if you make this skirt, you might want to account for that.

I also have decided on which fabric to use for my Phoebe dress, which I am hoping to make on Monday. I have decided on skirts today, because they’re a bit more versatile than dresses, and I’ve got a busy weekend, otherwise I’d sew it up sooner.

There are a few knitting projects that I need to post as well – a sweater and two shawls. I’ll get to those soon. It’s getting more difficult to get photographs of my large knits, because the weather has been bad on weekends, and my husband gets home after dark on work days. There just isn’t enough space in our apartment to take pictures of a shawl with a span of more than five feet, since there always seems to be furniture in the way.

Business Professional

I needed a skirt for a job interview recently. I do have a couple of nice skirts that I quite like, but I’ve put on some weight, and they don’t fit. I went shopping, but unfortunately, I’m very averse to spending $70 on a plain straight black skirt! I was completely shocked by how much they want for something so basic. If it costs that much, shouldn’t it make all of my lumps and bumps disappear?

No? Rats.

I decided that rather than buy a skirt that costs far more than it is worth, I’d go out and get some good quality fabric and make a skirt that costs less and fits better than an off the rack skirt. I found some wonderful wool crepe suiting at Fabricland in the clearance section, so it worked out to be only $6 per meter. Not only that, but Bemberg lining was half price that day, so I treated myself. Bemberg is worth the price tag – it’s nicer to work with than nylon, and is more comfortable to wear.

I didn’t have a pattern in my stash, since I decided that a pencil skirt would be just the thing, so I went online and found a really nice, simple pattern with an invisible side zipper and a nice inverted box pleat at the back, rather than a traditional kick pleat. Want to check out the pattern? Click here!

DSC_4497After an afternoon of sewing, this is what I ended up with. It’s hard to take full length pictures of yourself in an apartment, so forgive me for cutting off my legs and head. Oh, and my left elbow, too.

I know it’s not all that thrilling. Mostly because it is just a plain, black pencil skirt… and yes, it’s a bit on the small side. I tried it on, and found it too big, so I took it in. Maybe a little more than I should have. See all of the pretty drag lines across the hips? Yup. Too small. Oh well. It’s comfortable, and doesn’t make me look matronly like the $70 skirt I almost settled on at the mall. I promise, the next one I make (and there will be another one) will be the correct size. I have some nice black cotton sateen with big red poppies on it, which would be amazing sewn up into a pencil skirt.

DSC_4498I decided that just having one interview skirt was insufficient, but my wardrobe is somewhat limited at the moment, so I decided to make yet another black skirt, but in a different style. Again, I turned to indie pattern designers. I thought that the skirt on the Sewaholic Cambie would make a fantastic skirt, so I printed off my pattern, and cut out the necessary pieces to just make the skirt.

I made this skirt a size smaller than my usual Sewaholic size, because it’s made for a pear shaped figure, and I didn’t want it to be huge in the hips. Well guess what? I could have gone down another size smaller than I did, because it is still a bit big in the hips. It’s very comfortable though. I used the existing waistband piece, and simply folded it over. Yes, it’s a very narrow waistband, but I usually wear this skirt with one of my Oakridge blouses (my favourite is the teal one) and it covers the waistband. I have plans for more Oakridge blouses, since they’re so very wearable.

I still have at least three meters of the wool suiting, so I’m saving it to make a pair of pants. I already purchased a pattern – since the Sewaholic Thurlow trouser pattern isn’t appropriate for my body shape, I decided on the Collette Juniper trousers. I like the wide waistband on these pants, and the leg shape.

Eventually, I will have a pretty fantastic wardrobe. I’d rather build my wardrobe out of handmade items instead of storebought, because for the most part, the fit is better (unless I make assumptions and rush through things, as I did with these two skirts) and the price is lower. It’s more of an investment in terms of time and effort, but I think it is worthwhile.

You may ask why I’m sharing these skirts if they’re imperfect, but that’s actually part of the reason I’m sharing them. Not every project is going to work out 100% perfectly. There will be flaws in either fit, or fabric choice, or maybe the style just won’t suit you. When you sew, you can’t return it if you don’t like the finished item. It’s a risk you take, but I don’t mind taking that risk, because of the sense of satisfaction I get from making things myself.