So – here’s my second Minerva make, the Simplicity New Look pattern 6346 – I chose to make View A; a three-quarter length button-through A-line skirt, in a lightweight summer-appropriate fabric!

Funnily enough, since I chose my first three projects to make for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network, all those months ago, this skirt pattern has now been picked as one of the Simplicity Sewing Challenge patterns, for the category of Best Newcomer… and I can see why!

You’re given various choices, both in terms of length, and style. There’s the button-through version through the centre front, or zip up at the back, and this is a skirt that would work well in SO many different fabrics, for SO many different occasions. I originally had intended on making two, simultaneously, using some thrifted fabric I found in a charity shop. I love it, and can see it happening at some point, but at the moment I’m still deliberating on where to put the pattern placement!

I’m also thinking about making another one, for winter (I know, a bit premature…) – in a swishy velour… or bottle green corduroy… or burgundy crepe… a more dramatic version! Or more wearable. Basically, I can see myself living in this skirt; I’ve even started thinking about which winter boots I’d pair it up with. But hey – enough of the wintery fantasies, we haven’t yet had a summer! SO! Back to my cotton version…

I chose this particular Fabric (the spot print cotton chambray denim in sky blue) as I thought it would have the benefit of looking like denim – but with a lightness that would work better in the summer months. I have made a dress from chambray fabric before – but the drape to this fabric feels different; it has a stiffness you’d associate with a shirt fabric… In fact, it crinkles up in the same way too – holding on to creases, until they’re steamed out. SO… I wouldn’t necessarily make this skirt in this kind of fabric again, but that’s not to say it’s a failure. ? I think it’s a pretty fabric – and really, the worst thing about it, as a finished skirt, is that my wardrobe is lacking in anything to go with it…

In terms of the pattern instructions, I thought the hemming was explained well – giving much more precise instructions than usual on how to go about it. The same, however, could not be said for the inside seams; in fact, make sure you do something with them, before continuing past ‘Step 4’ in the instructions! I decided to experiment. For the reason I’ve already stated, I feel the cotton was too thin for bias binding, even though I was quite taken with the idea of a Hong Kong seam finish. The closest to it was a Turned and Stitched Seam (or what some people call the Clean Finish Edge)… but that make the fabric wavy…

OK, so maybe catching the edge of the seam was the way to go, with a simple zigzag stich? Er no…

That just looked like I’d been chewing on it.

So in the end, I settled on a zigzag stich, but not on the very edge of the fabric; whilst also lengthening the stitch, and taking the tension down a notch (which stopped it from gathering together)…

Is it just me, or does this happen to everyone; I often find that, on the final stretch of making a garment, I have to do something that could RUIN the entire piece. I mean, it’s not like you can hide a mistake down the centre front panel – having to redo the button holes would have meant I’d have to start over… so… no pressure, then!

*momentary flashback* Last year I went to a blogger get together, which was SO useful, AND I got to meet lots of other bloggers, including Scruffy Badger, and she’s just lovely! I digress… in the middle of the session someone shouted out that their automatic button hole function on their machine was a bit naff. It’s not the first two stages, it’s the third – in other words, when the fine zigzag stitch is making it’s way back down the other side of the button hole – that’s where it seems to go a little… sparse. It turns out, that, when asked which machine she was using, it’s the same as mine – the Janome Sewist 525s. I do love this machine, and it’s never let me down – but I agree about that function. You might not be able to tell, but here’s what that looks like;

I decided that, rather than leave it a little fragile down one side, I would repeat the first two steps – but with the skirt reversed, so that it would reinforce that side of the button hole… here’s how it ended up;

Yes, it’s subtle, but it looks much more obvious in real life. Honestly it does.

I chose the Prym Plain Jeans Buttons in the same way a child picks buttons. They were shiny, they caught my eye, and that was that. BUT – if you do pick denim buttons, you get a longer post on the press stud (makes sense, if you’re trying to squish a lot of heavy fabric on) – and this thin cotton really doesn’t need that kind of prong, in effect it’s a bit ‘overkill’.

In fact, I’m rather lucky in the sense they don’t hang sadly forward, in the way some findings do, when they’re far too heavy for the lightweight fabric they’re attached to…you know, like a heavy daffodil head? I know I’m over-explaining the point (!) - suffice to say, if you’re going to make a similar skirt, put some thought (more than I did) into the buttons that best suit the fabric. Having said all that – I’m quite happy with the effect they create down the front panel, they’re actually fairly lightweight, and they were a doddle to attach. No sewing, just quite a bit of hammering ?

So – I think that’s that… just enough time for a photo of me in it, walking Rod by the canal…

Until next time!! I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with, for the Simplicity Sewing Challenge with this pattern… until then, here’s to the Official Start of Summer!

Gema x