I approached my second Minerva Crafts make with trepidation, the idea of doing some proper dressmaking seemed good in theory but in reality I haven't touched a proper pattern since Textiles GCSE nearly 10 years ago and even then I couldn't make head nor tail of it...I think I may have only just scraped a grade for that GCSE...

Luckily I have my Nan on hand to give me some help, she popped over and helped me get the pattern laid and cut correctly, after that it was all pretty simple - I feel a bit silly for panicking about it now!

The biggest problem I encountered was that I couldn't find my interfacing, I have had a roll of interfacing lying around in my stash for YEARS, its one of those things that I'd come across when tidying and always put back into the supplies box just in case I needed it, turns out I had been a bit ruthless during my last big tidy up before we moved and it looks as if I chucked it out. Another panicked call to Nan and she turned up 30mins later with some she had found at hers - Nans are the best!

Once the interfacing issue was resolved I moved on to the skirt gathering. The pattern suggested using the machine to add the long stitches needed to pull the fabric in with but I decided I'd prefer to do it by hand (I've tried to do this sort of thing before with my machine but we had a bit of an argument and it ate my fabric...). Once that was all gathered and looking nice and neat I pinned and basted it to the waist band. The inside of the waist band was then machine sewn into place and the outside folded and pressed, I had my machine going so slowly when trying to do the top stitching for the outside of the waistband I might as well have been hand turning it but I was determined not to rush and mess up. Aside from one or two wobbly bits it was all pretty even.

At this point I was pretty pleased with myself, it was actually starting to look like a skirt and it looked pretty good too!

Next came the zip...I have never installed a zip before, I was supposed to for my GCSE coursework but I never actually finished my garment. At this point I put the project to one side for the weekend and decided to ignore it hoping that the zip would magically install itself somehow.

Funnily enough the zip and unfinished skirt were still sitting on my sewing desk come Sunday evening and I knew I had to bite the bullet and give it a go. Turns out zips are a lot easier than I thought (that seems to be a running theme for this project!), I pinned it in place and then hand stitched it just to make sure it looked perfect, I tried to do a neat finished with it on the machine but I got a bit carried away with my bottom stitch but its not too noticeable.

I think the main thing I have learnt from trying my hand at something a bit out of my comfort zone is that hand stitching is one of my greatest tools, if I'm not sure how something should go, loosely hand stitch it first to see if it sits right/things are around the right way - its a lot easier to unpick a few big basting stitches than it is a fully machined run. Oh, and also I need to make sure I press all my seams, I'm terrible at doing this and then get annoyed half way through a machine run when I have to sort them out.

A skirt like this is perfect for a first time dress making project - I can't wait to get started on my next one now! If you would like to make this skirt you can see the fabric and materials I used in my materials list.