Swishy Selena

I made a skirt!

I realise that isn’t necessarily that unusual for some, but I really am not a skirt person by nature.  Somehow they feel a bit odd sometimes? I’m never sure what to wear them with and I can feel quite frumpy.

Anyway, this skirt was one of those times when you get your hands on a pattern and a piece of slightly neglected fabric hiding in your stash suddenly starts beckoning to you.

The pattern in question is the Selena skirt, given away in the current issue of Simply Sewing magazine.  This is a pleated, full skirt designed to be made up in a fabric with lots of drape and has a high low hem and a great big bow belt.

So obviously, the fabric that came to mind was an African wax print cotton. I mean, why not?  It’s got very little drape and lots of body, so obviously!

I got this fabric at Sew Brum last year, when I was fortunate enough to be shopping with Vicki and Rhiannon, both big fans of the African wax.  I would probably never have bought it otherwise, as it comes in pre cut 6 yard lengths, bedecked with large sticky labels and I would have been too scared.  I’m such a wuss!  Those 6 yards came in at the princely sum of £15, so even thought it’s not that wide, there is ample here for most projects.

I particularly liked this print, a red and navy design on a cream background, and had been picturing a full skirt from the get go.  Hence the inspiration when the pattern landed on the door mat.

The pattern arrived at the perfect point of I-have-to-make-something frenzy; you see, I’ve been without my sewing machine for a whole week and it has driven me somewhat insane!  I eventually caved and decided that I could drag out my old machine to make this skirt up as it was pretty straightforward.

I cut a straight pattern without any pattern grading at all, since I figured the only really important measurement here was the waist.  I added in seam pockets, using the pattern piece from the Pauline Alice Cami dress, which were to hand. And I missed out the bow.  No-one’s surprised, I am so not someone for bows!

The pattern itself I cut straight from the pattern paper, instead of tracing.  This was partly for speed and partly because the pattern was printed with individual pieces across several bits of paper, requiring sticking together.  This was fine, except I clearly stuck more together than I should have for the waist band, which ended up massive!

Because I was adding in seam pockets, I decided to move the invisible zip from the side to the back seam.  Both front and back skirt pieces have a central seam so this wasn’t a problem and the waistband is just a straight rectangle, so I could just adjust where it started and finished as I went.

The central seams did mean a little thought was required on the pattern matching front, given the size and dominance of my chosen fabric’s print.  I honestly have never done this before, never having matched anything but stripes before.  I’m not sure what the sensible approach is? But I ended up folding the pattern piece and my first cut out piece of fabric back at the seam allowance and checking the pattern repeat was in the same place before cutting out the second piece. Does that make sense?

I overlocked all the pieces before starting and then forged ahead.  I would have finished much more promptly had I not been using my old machine. Oh. My. God.  I had totally forgotten how infuriating invisible zips are on this thing! Any guilt I had over buying the more expensive machine is now totally gone, it is worth every second of my sanity!  I made three attempts to get that zip in properly and then called it good enough in an absolute huff and moved on!!

I really like the way the waistband is cut on the opposite grain to the skirt so that the pattern makes a feature.  I think if I were making it again, I would use a sturdier interfacing, but this is OK.

I did consider cutting the hem off straight rather than going with the high low as designed.  I’m still not sure whether I like it?  It feels rather like having a tail when wearing it! But it does make a skirt that’s short at the front feel less exposing of my battered-by-operations knees, which can only be a good thing, so for now I’ll hang on to it.

Also, I don’t want to do the hem again if I’m honest, it’s too long!  I stitched round at 1cm then  folded it up twice and machine stitched it in place; in a more delicate fabric I think a hand stitched hem might be called for but in this one, it was absolutely fine.

As instant gratification projects go, this isn’t too bad; 3 hours start to finish including cutting the fabric with the help of an over enthusiastic and under skilled 6 year old! When you factor in the joys of invisible zip insertion on a stupid machine, you could definitely reduce that significantly!

And I actually felt pretty good wearing this, bare legs and all, to the office with a sleeveless shirt. So that’s a winner!

For once, I’ve even finished my #wardrobebuilder project within the right month too, so there’s an added bonus!

Maybe I could be converted to the high low after all?

Becca x
Pattern: Simply Sewing “Selena” skirt

Fabric: about 3m of African wax print cotton from Birmingham Rag Market

My measurements:  waist 30″, hip 41″

Size cut: 14

Adjustments made:  Added side Sean pockets and consequently moved the invisible zip from the side to the back, together with the waistband fastening.

Make again? Possibly: I don’t wear a lot of skirts but this one is fun!

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