Friday, 11 January 2013

But it all was bull%@&*


Pattern: Sewaholic Kelly skirt

Size: Large

Fabric: Teal corduroy from Fabricland

Apologies for the cursing, but this project is my homage to Robbie Hart's "I wrote half of it when I was with Linda, and I wrote the other half after we broke up, so it's a little uneven, you know?"

I started writing this blog post halfway through the Kelly skirt. It started so heavenly - wonderful, speedy, and then went so very wrong. I really hope our relationship has a happier ending that Robbie and Linda's and that Van Halen don't break up in the process. Oh, hang on...

I had the rare opportunity to try this skirt on before I made it (what a luxury!) as Elena was kind enough to let me try her beautiful version. Turned out it was rather tight and I felt my breathing might have been compromised a little too much. Which left me feeling I should make a Large - the second largest size option! I really didn't like that idea, but then I needed to make something that would fit me properly!

I try, as much as possible, to not worry about sizes as they mean so little in sewing patterns and in shops. There's always a part of me, though, that panics and feels that making a larger size means admitting defeat or that my weight is spiralling out of control. But that's a crazy I need to get over. One of the most important things about looking stylish is wearing the right size and not cramming yourself in to something too small! So I have accepted my fate and made a Large, it fits great, and nobody needs to know (except you, of course, because you've just read this).

Anyway, size therapy over, this skirt was a joy to make. I laughed out loud with glee when I opened up the (sturdy) pattern pieces to find there were only five of them, arranged on one sheet, and marked in nice thick, dark lines; perfect for tracing! There are also very few markings to transfer, just the pleats and buttonhole placements.

It is a beginner's pattern which was excellent for two reasons: 1) It's really easy 2) it made me realise I'm no longer a beginner! Progress!

I love the style of Kelly as it's quite hard to find a nice (non-frumpy) button-up skirt in the shops but she is quite simple so I wanted to jazz her up a bit without detracting from the lovely shape. So, I decided to play with the corduroy itself and cut the front pieces with the lines going horizontally, and the back with the lines vertical (don't need any horizontal round the back, thank you!). I also did contrast topstitching in a paler turquoise. I'm not sure how much it shows up as the cord is quite deep and the stitches get a bit lost.

It was good practice, though, as I'm aiming to make a Minoru jacket next month and that involves LOADS of topstitching. I read that instead of using thicker topstitching thread, you can do a 'triple stitch' to increase the sturdiness. I had never heard of this before so did some reading, had a chat with my sewing machine, and off we went! For those who don't know, it's a stitch option on most machines and basically the machine sews two stitches forward, then one in reverse creating a triple stitch in a straight line. Nifty. It's quite a soothing process.

Until you have to unpick it, that is. I'm usually a massive fan of indie patterns and how well everything is explained. However, I got to a point in this pattern where Megan shows how to do the buttonhole placket but then no mention is made of finishing the other front side! It baffles me that nobody else seems to have mentioned this. Am I just stupid? I decided that she must intend us to make the other side to match the buttonhole placket but when I did that it left the skirt too small for the waistband. So I had to unpick the topstitching. Which I had triple-stitched. Possibly my most painful sewing moment yet.

I finally used some of the pretty green flowery fabric I originally bought to make a Butterick dress before I realised their retro patterns are an absolute nightmare and gave up. I used it for the pocket lining so you just get a cheeky peek.

I raided my button stash and was very pleased to discover I had enough of these pretty buttons as they're glam and tone in with the topstitching. I was so looking forward to using my one-step buttonhole and nifty buttonhole foot for the first time! I see this as absolute magic. Pop in your button, it works out how large to make the buttonhole and sews it in ONE STEP! As if a four-step one wasn't fabulous enough. Interestingly, my test runs were perfect but as soon as I switched to the skirt itself things got chewed up and a big mess ensued. And more horrific unpicking. Turns out the buttonhole foot is very sensitive to differences in fabric thickness so objected to having to work around some seams. I got there in the end.

I hate to say it, but I'm really disappointed with Kelly. :-( I had such high hopes and I'm disappointed in myself for not making a better job of a beginner skirt. Despite making the large I still feel like I can't breathe very well, the buttons are uneven, the bottom is uneven, and there's an annoying bump at the waistband under the buttons. Sad times.

Special face to convey my discontent


  1. You know, it might be because the corduroy is so thick. Maybe you could try it in a thinner fabric....if that makes sense. I don't know, just an idea. It is always so sad when you put so much effort into something and are disappointed with the end product :(

  2. I think you've done really well. Maybe it was just the thick corduroy that caused the problems. What a gorgeous colour though! :-) And what a pretty skirt shape - I can see why you wanted to make it. Have you seen the lovely needle corduroy in Masons? I'm dying for a good excuse to buy some - maybe the thinner cord would work on this pattern. :)

  3. It does look lovely even tho you can find fault with it and aren't happy :( Was corduroy one of the recommended fabrics on the pattern K? Cos I've done this b4 most times it works using a fabric not metioned on the pattern but sometimes it doesn't so this could be just one of those times. Put it away for now and look at in a month or so, then decide what you can or can't do with it. Been there, done that, and got a drawerful of t-shirts LOL!!!!!!!! xxxxx

  4. Thanks everyone for your lovely comments. I'm not sure I can blame the fabric as Elena's worked so well!
    But also I think I'm perhaps being over-critical and should just get on and wear it!