How’s the festive season treating you so far? Hope it’s going smoothly with not too much stress. I’ve managed to grab some time off this weekend (thanks Mum!) so have squeezed in some sewing on my Christmas dress. There’s a chance now it will be finished by Christmas Day – hurrah!
However today’s post is another catch up post, about the outfit I made for my work’s Christmas do.
The good news was the announcement that the do was going to be in Leeds instead of Halifax. This always pleases me, partly because restaurants broadly tend to be better in Leeds and partly because it’s so much less hassle for me to get home afterwards!
This was followed by the news we were off to Bibi’s. This obviously called for sequins – if you can’t wear sparkle to Bibi’s at Christmas, when can you?
The perfect excuse then to use the free pattern that came with Love Sewing a couple of issues since, the Sophia top and skirt. And not just to use but to downright copy the version that was on the front – sparkly top and midi skirt.
I tackled the top first and, had I not chosen to sew this in sequins, this would have been the world’s fastest sew. The top is a loose, boxy crop top which wouldn’t normally appeal to me but, paired with the high waistband of the skirt, was suddenly appealing. There are no fastenings, no darts…. ease itself.
I cut the top out of black sequinned fabric, after deciding to lengthen the pattern a little. As recommended in the magazine as a possible hack, I added 5″ to the length. I cut just the front and back piece as the sequinned fabric needed fully lining and I didn’t fancy interfacing pieces cut out of sequins against my skin.
When I got the sequinned layer made up and tried on, I decided that, after all the effort, it was too long. So I took 4″ back off the length again!
I then made up the lining in the same way. You can see here the simplicity of the pattern (easier to see on the lining: turns out black sequins are pretty hard to photograph!)
I then fastened the two pieces together at the neck by machine and hand stitched the armholes and bottom hem. This is where things slowed down A LOT! The first twice I sewed the armhole together, it pulled the sequins like mad so I have to unpick it twice, roughly doubling the sewing time needed. But that was the final step needed.
I was worried about sewing with sequins, but actually found that, with a sharp needle and a walking foot, the worst problem was cleaning the floor and my machine up afterwards!
The next step was the skirt, for which I chose the pattern size purely based on my waist measurement rather than bringing my hips in and adding a bit of pattern grading into the complexity. Ordinarily I would, but with a full skirt like this, I couldn’t see the point.
When I first got the pattern and trundled off to the market to get fabric, I had copied the skirt very faithfully and purchased a heavy satin fabric. However, since then I’d seen loads of brocade skirts dressed up and down and decided that this would suit me a lot better; always best to be able to get some wear out of things, don’t you think?
So I decided to use some very heavy, brocade-y type fabric I picked up at a show in September. I had originally intended it for a shift dress for the office but decided I was more in a skirt mood now and since I had matching lining already, things were good to go.
I foolishly never asked what the composition was on the fabric when I bought it: I can tell you now that it was definitely man-made because the second I started cutting, it started shredding!
You can see on this shot the multitude of threads going on along the top – that was the bear minimum! But you can also see the lovely texture of the fabric, which is why it was worth the effort.
I chose to fully line the skirt, partly because I like a lining when I’m planning on wearing tights and partly because the wrong side of this fabric felt like cardboard! This meant that I cut the skirt panels out of the lining too, made that up like a skirt and then fastened it to one side of the waistband when fastening the main fabric to the other side. To finish it, I sewed it to the zipper tape for a neat finish.
I made a couple of other modifications. Firstly, I made the pocket bags (pockets in a skirt!!) out of lining rather than fashion fabric, purely because my fabric had so much body and I didn’t want the pockets to show. Secondly, because I’m old and didn’t want to flash my belly, I made the waistband deeper than the pattern piece indicated.
I also chose to brave my overlocker to finish the pattern pieces before assembling the skirt and I’m so glad I did. It wasn’t perfect but god, it was fast!
Isn’t that pretty?
Despite having fun with the fabric, and a few mods, I again found the skirt to be a quick, easy sew. Which was good, because as usual I was cutting things fine! I did end up canvassing opinion on length on Instagram. Much as I admire the look of the long midi skirt on others, I find when I try it on, I just feel like my mum in the 80’s!
I chopped quite an amount off, using another skirt I had for a wedding last year as a guide to the length I wanted. I hacked a little more off the lining to ensure it wouldn’t show and hand stitched away.
Anyway, I finished in time for the party and felt very happy with the completed outfit. I love the pleats and I really love the body that my fabric choice gives it: I feel it makes the finished garment really special.
I loved the top once I had tucked it into the waistband (thankfully it was still long enough to do this!) I found it felt to swamp me without that, but that’s just personal preference.
All in all, I would make this again in different fabrics. It was a relatively quick, satisfying sew despite my mods and I can definitely see me wearing both pieces again, both as an outfit and as separates.
Also, getting compliments from colleagues who didn’t know I sew, together with ones who did and were stunned I’d made this, was rather gratifying!
Anyway, as I love Bibi’s and am very chuffed with this make, have some more photos! (yes, I did take selfies in the loos – sorry not sorry when they look like this!!)
Hope you’re feeling nicely festive and survived any office dos in one piece!