Friday, 7 March 2014

Great British Sewing Bee

Are you watching? I love this program and I'm always amazed at how quickly the contestants make the items. The other week, the episode was all about patterned fabric and I found it really interesting. I don't do a lot of dressmaking and had made a New Year's resolution to do a bit more this year rather than sticking to my quilting comfort zone. I've had some fabric for a while that I'd been planning on making a skirt from and decided yesterday to have a go. I had a style in mind but of course didn't have a suitable pattern. A quick search online and I found a site called Fashion-Era that explains how to draft a skirt pattern in really easy steps (that link takes you to the introduction, in case you want to try it yourself).

So I grabbed my tape measure and some squared pattern paper and started the process. Using squared pattern paper made the process easier as I could follow the pre-printed lines as much as possible (ok, I might have rounded my numbers a little to whole centimeters so that I could use the lines!). It was a fairly easy process with some guesswork involved when it came to marking the waist.

Despite having plenty of fabric, I decided to make a toile first to (a) make sure it fit and (b) practice because I'm so used to quilting I find it really strange using a larger seam allowance for dressmaking. I'm so glad I did because this is when I made my first mistake (through not reading the instructions properly). I forgot to add the seam allowance to the centre back. The front of the skirt is cut as one piece by placing the centre front on the fold but the back is cut as two pieces and therefore needs a seam allowance added to allow for the seam up the back of the skirt and the zip placement.

I carried on making the toile without as it was cut out and simply didn't bother with the back seam. It was only to check the fit so as long as the back pieces touched each other for the full length it would fit. As it happened it did fit fine so I started cutting out for the main skirt.

Following what was said on the sewing bee I decided to have flowers running down the centre front. This was easy to work out as the placement of them was pretty much straight with the grain of the fabric so I folded the fabric down the centre of a line of flowers. Cutting for the back was more difficult (and of course I had to add the seam allowance on). It turns out some of the flowers are different sizes which slowed down the matching up process (I think I must have triple checked this part). I again used the centre of a flower for the join point of the back seam. It got pushed out slightly when making but it's not bad for a first attempt.

My invisible zip could do with some work but I don't have the proper foot for this so I expect one of those might have made a lot of difference.


It just needs the waist and hem finished now. I didn't want to cut the waist part until I was sure the skirt part would fit - adjustments could have affected the length of the waist.

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