Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Great British Sewing Me....

Bloomsbury Bouquet Skirt

Well, it's over already - wonder why its only been 4 episodes.    Glad to see the lovely Anne won.  Anyway my title was really relating to my own sewing efforts which were definitely boosted by watching the show.  I had admired a skirt on Cath Kidson's website, and when in the shop a couple of weeks ago  tried it on, but it didn't look right; too short  on meand a bit puffy around the waist (not to mention £35).

I had watched this little video (and it looks so easy!), so I thought this weekend I would have a go.  I have been a good girl this time and because the fabric was cheap I actually washed it first incase of shrinkage.  The material is stretchy from Ebay  and only cost £3.15 a metre which is plenty for the skirt.  I worked out the size needed, in my case a large rectangle   29" long by 53" to include seams.  Then I joined the rectangle to make the back seam  (using a french seam for neatness; wrong sides together first, then right sides together).  Because the material was stretchy seams had to be zig-zag.

I measured the hem and pinned the turning line (easier now than when gathered).  I wanted to just reach the bottom of my knee.  Then I measured a thin piece of elastic about 1   inch shorter than my wait and stitch it about half an inch below the top of the waist.  You have to stretch the elastic really tight and this ensures a more even gather then gathering by hand.

Then I cut a wide piece of elastic, again a little smaller than my waist so that it fits snugly, and stitched the ends together

 Pin to the top of the skirt just above the narrow elastic

and then machine  (again you have to pull the elastic while sewing).

I thought I would be neat by turning over the spare waist material and stitching it down

If you are thinking that doesn't look like a good idea you would be right!  What I clearly ended up with was a bulge in the waistband, so I had to take that back and just trim it.

Then I machine-neatened the hem (which stretched appallingly) and then hand-stitched the hem with help from Meg.

It took a little over 2 hours to make, so very easy really!

It fits well at the waist and I quite like it.  I would have liked different fabric (more like the Cath Kidson pattern) and I will have another go.So what have I learnt?  It is not easier to use stretchy fabric, why did I ever think it would be?  You have to use a zigzag stitch, it goes out of shape like mad and is just hard to work with.  Unfortuntunately the 2 large quantities of stretch spotty material bought to make dresses with at the same time will have to return to the cupboard until I am more experienced!  Indeed watching the GBSB this is something which I have really picked up on; never get material which frays (as my trouser material did), too fine, too slippy or stretchy!  For now I think I should stick to good old cotton.  I think the skirt would have been better with a little more fabric but the elastic wouldn't stretch any more so I need to work out how to do that.

Before I leave the GBSB I just have to say how much I loved Anne's mohair jumper and scarf on week 4 and even more her crochet scarf on week 3  I definitely want one! 

So the question clearly is how do you make it!  I like a bit of a challenge and this proved to be quite easy to track down!  The lovely Anne has a ravelry page and in her projects (you wll recognise more of her woolies here) was the jacket and scarf. The scarf is a kit from France and a little expensive, but I love it.  Watch this space to see a) if I succumb b) if it is still available (giving the number of comments I found) c)  if I'm then capable of making it (apparently it is very fine wool).  Whilst enjoying Annes other projects I also found that her cardigan was knitted from left over wool from this goreous wrap
and it's a free pattern.  My only worry with this one is would it be itchy against your kneck.  Have any of you knitted with Rowan Kid Haze.  Don't you just love the internet - being able to find out so much.  Shame it's also easy to spend so much too.

Well enough for now and I suspect some more sewing news next week end - I have a box pleat skirt in mind.  Have lots of fun.


  1. Oh I love this post - it's great to see a really straightforward pattern turn out so well - absolutely up there with CK! And as for Anne's Ravelry page - I didn't know about that - I must go and investigate. I've also been thinking about the crochet scarf - to me it looks like the same principle as a Babette blanket ie: a patchwork of small squares alongside larger ones. Thanks for the top tips x Jane

    1. Thanks Jane, that is really kind - let me know if you are going to make the scarf as I now have the instructions.

  2. I love this post too! Lovely skirt - you are so clever. I got a bit obsessed about the scarf!! Ended up watching more of the scarf than the programme!!

    1. Thanks Christine - hope my scarf ends up OK. I must confess I taped the programme and have watched the whole thing twice - wish there had been more than 4.

  3. Your skirt turned out beautifully!! I'm very tempted to give it a go :)

    Very glad to have found your blog.

    Rhi @ The Sewing Boutique

    1. Glad you found it too ... I've been enjoying your tutorials! Do have a go I think you would have no trouble at all.

  4. Your skirt is beautiful. I like the fabric.

    Good tip about the perils of stretchy fabric, thanks you. I have a metre of soft nani iro cotton I've been saving for a skirt. I am slowly plucking up the courage to cut into it and and am now going on a 6 part sewing course with a friend. I'm rather excited!! x

    1. Thanks Gillian. I'll be looking to see the progress for your cotton - It is pretty scary cutting the fabric isn't it? The course sounds great. Hope you enjoy it. xx