It's been a while since I sewed anything of note so last weekend was a bit of an indulgence.
Sew Over It released their Tulip Skirt pattern - so really I had no choice but to make one - it's a great shape, the mini is the perfect length for my diminutive stature and it's got pockets! POCKETS!!!
So, first things first - pattern. I bought it waiting for someone to turn up for dinner - such is the delight of PDF patterns that it was in my inbox within seconds and I could then spend the next few days dreaming about what I was going to make it out of.
Saturday morning dawned and it was off to the craft palace to do some fabric shopping! I learned from my last sewing exploit that I need to do a bit of a crease test before buying things...or I end up constantly slightly annoyed by the crinkly nature of whatever it is I happen to be wearing. I also knew I wanted something with a bit of structure - not completely stiff, but enough that the pleats would hold their shape and I wouldn't end up with a slightly 'flabby' skirt. Yes you are free to make your own jokes...
The craft palace came up trumps of course and I found some beautiful pistachio green polyester crepe with a satin backing so it wouldn't even need lining! It was so lovely to work with too, I will be buying more I suspect.
I also bought a lovely duck egg blue loose weave linen (or something similar, I'm not entirely sure what it's made from) which I'm intending to make another one with - it will be more structured than this one but that should be a nice contrast - will post pictures once that one is done.
Anyway...on to the tulip skirt.
The pattern is very simple, with only four pieces to worry about: a front, a back, waistband and pockets.
Skirts with pockets, there may be no greater invention.
First things first - cut out pieces. Check. No great issues here.
Overlock edges of pieces. Sew Over It patterns (in my experience - I've made a few now, because they're great) tend to suggest you do this to prevent fraying before you stitch anything together. I'm usually too lazy but I recently made a dress that I now have to re-sew because the seams have frayed apart. Lesson learnt. I overlocked.
I can see the advantage of doing this - all my seams looked beautiful and professional once I'd sewn them up. The one disadvantage is that by overlocking around all the pieces I lost my notch markings - they became lost under the overlock stitching - so I think next time I will revert to sewing first and overlocking the seams once they have been sewn up.
Once that was done it was time to tackle the pleats and darts. The pleats I found a bit confusing I have to be honest. I've done pleats before, but not often and not recently and I just couldn't figure out quite what the instructions meant so that my pleats ended up looking like the picture in the book. Usually for Sew Over It's patterns they have sewalongs with additional instructions on their blog which are really helpful - but because I bought this pattern so early they haven't done one yet!
I've now done a little video - partly so I can remember, but also in case it's helpful for other people. Sew Over It may have no plans to do a Sew Along for this pattern - it's all a mystery, but either way, I took it upon myself to try and explain my conundrum and show what I really hope is the right way to do it - or this will be embarassing.
The instructions say: 'form a pleat by folding the fabric so that the far left notch sits directly on top of the one next to it'. I found about three wrong ways to do this! When I finally figured out what I was meant to be doing it was all quite straightforward. Here is the video in case it helps anyone else - the fabric is the one mentioned above that I'm going to make my next skirt out of! Photos are from the green version.
So - once I'd figured out the pleats the rest of the sew was pretty straightforward - darts in the back pieces, side seams, waistband etc. Here are all the pieces just before construction - darts and pleats completed.
The skirt sewed up beautifully. The only thing I found was that I didn't really know how to adjust the side seams once the pockets were sewn in, and I felt that the skirt could have come in a bit in the side seams so as to be a little less 'balloon' like. In the next one I'm going to leave out the pockets and try to get that shape a bit narrower, so next time I can put the pockets back in again!