Saturday, June 9, 2012

Plum Wool Skirt

For quite a while now I've been battling with the question of whether my sewing wasn't progressing because I needed lessons or because I had outgrown my basic sewing machine. As it happened I enrolled in sewing lessons at about the same time as buying myself a much better machine (more on that later!). I happily went along to my first sewing class excited that I might meet other people that sew or who at least had a desire to make one thing in their life.

The class was structured so that we would learn about all types of patterns, how to read the back of a pattern envelope to identify our size and the amount and type of fabric needed to make something. We were to buy ourselves a pattern we liked and some fabric that suited the pattern as well as our notions. Then we would spend the next 7 weeks of the term being guided through our particular pattern so that everyone in the class made a skirt perfectly fitted to them by the end of term.

The first two lessons were quite helpful while the teacher explained each type of fabric, how it was made, how much of the fabric was natural or man made etc. She also watched quite closely as we chose the style of skirt from our pattern and literally measured everyone's pattern placements on the fabric to make sure everything was precisely on grain.

That was the point at which I stopped wanting to go to class. The point at which we would sit down at a machine and sew something up ourselves. I'm sure there are still lots of things I need to learn about sewing patterns but it was becoming apparent that no-one in the class had even touched a sewing machine much less owned one and used it. So I dropped out.

This happened the same week as buying a shiny, new machine (and it's glorious!!). I had spent some time adjusting the tension and trying out as many stitches as I could be patient enough to try (it has 80). And in that one weekend of playing with a new machine, using an overcasting foot and a zipper foot for the first time taught me more about sewing than I had ever learnt, or anticipated learning, in class.

So I made a promise to myself. If I walked away from my sewing classes I had to do justice to my skirt pattern. I had to measure it precisely and give it the best stitching I had ever done. In short I had to create it with my sewing teacher looking over my shoulder. And that's what I did.

I created this skirt from Simplicity 2451 using View D. It's made with a Plum coloured wool, black bias tape and a black zipper. I made it exactly to the pattern except for the length. I made it a little shorter than suggested because I'm a little on the short side.

I managed to sew up three quarters of it one night after work and I finished off the rest of it this morning so it's quite an easy little pattern to make.

So how much did it cost me?
Pattern: $17
Fabric: $15
Zipper: $2
Bias Tape: $2

Total : $36

I love this pattern and I already have some black fabric to make myself a skirt for work.

So I guess the answer to my original question was that I really did need a machine that was more suited to dressmaking than sewing up pillowslips and cushions (although I really did love my little machine!). Perhaps I needed a bit of what I learnt in my sewing class and a part of me wonders what more I might have learnt but after inspecting the finished product of this skirt I can say with confidence that it's the best sewing I've ever done.


  1. It's beautiful! Looks like you really paid attention to every detail and it's paid off. I enrolled in sewing classes, but sadly the teacher kind of abandoned me when she saw I could do things like gather, sew a dart, etc, and gave her time to everyone but me. I learned more pushing myself as well. Well done you!

  2. Thanks for the feedback I wasn't sure if people would think I was mad dropping out of sewing classes. I think because I've been teaching myself I'm somewhere past beginner but not really near intermediate. I think I'll keep following along and pushing myself by what I see out there in blog land and eventually work up to patternmaking classes. Sorry that you dropped out of your classes but I think it's better to learn by making things you're really passionate about.

  3. I think u are definitely an intermediate!! Wow, the zipper looks great, and the rest of it looks very well made.

  4. The details are so well-done. I'm loving the look of the zip so much!

  5. Cute skirt, and you made it very well! congrats

  6. Yay - such a cute skirt! Looks beautifully constructed.

  7. Now that is a top quality make and you probably wouldn't find better in the shops. I am now definitely convinced I will be getting a better machine :)

  8. Hey Jodie! It's Kim, from Contiki! Was wishing you happy birthday and saw this blog. LOVE LOVE LOVE the skirt!! I might have to pull my sewing machine down and attempt this (or have my talented friend make it). She's really into purses - and loves the Amy Butler patterns. Hope all is well! I'm excited to see more clothes!