Hi everyone!
Welcome to my first post as a fully-fledged Minerva Crafts blogger! You may have seen my two guests posts that I wrote previously, but now I'm uber-excited to say that you'll be seeing a regular posts by me from now on!
For my first make, I've chosen the Sew House Seven Alberta Street Pencil Skirt and some dogtooth print Stretch Denim Fabric. Now the autumn is approaching, one thing I am actually lacking in my wardrobe is decent cooler-weather skirts. This one is perfect for the coming months, it will look fab worn with tights, boots and a nice snuggly jumper.
This is the first pattern I have used from Sew House Seven Patterns - and I'm very impressed. Their instructions are amazing, the thing that stood out to me the most was the little details they include - for example, when you piece the front and back of the skirt together they tell you to check that the seams of the waistband are level either side of the join. Now for newbies (and even experienced sewists that are engrossed in watching TV, or in my case trying to get the dog to stop eating thread tails off the floor), this little check might be overlooked, and then once they've put the main body of the skirt together they will notice that it's not level and then be disappointed. This way, it's a little reminder to check BEFORE they stitch, and it helps make sure that they end up with a really well made skirt that they will be proud of. There's too many patterns out there that just assume you know everything already - it's a refreshing change to have that little hand-holding, even if you don't actually need it.
As I'm unfamiliar with the sizing of this pattern brand, I got out the measuring tape to see which size I needed to cut. My hips are quite large in proportion to my waist, so I took both my measurements and compared them against the pattern sizing on the envelope, fully expecting both measurements to fall in different sizes. What I usually find with store-bought pencil skirts is that they are too tight around the hips and then too large around the waist - so for me to be able to grade between two sizes and get a perfect fit would be amazing. I cut the size 8 at the hips and size 6 at the waist - looking back, I probably could have gone yet another size smaller at the waist, so that's a note for the next one. The Atlanta skirt says it's designed to be worn just below the natural waist but with my shape that's just not going to happen, so I cut the waist measurement based on where I *wanted* it to sit instead.
The skirt is very fitted, meant to be worn with very little to no (even negative) ease. It has darts on the back and a regular zip closure at centre back. The instructions do say that more advanced sewists can use an invisible zip if they prefer, but I've been having trouble with invisible zips lately on skirts - I find that the bulk of the waistband and facing prevents the zip from closing smoothly. The denim I used to make this skirt wasn't too thick as a single layer, but at the zip closure there were a few layers and I think this would have interfered with a smooth closure so I went with the regular zip. Especially on a skirt with negative ease, I definitely wouldn't trust an invisible zip to hold the fabric together around my behind!
The instructions said to have the zip finish 3/8" below the top of the skirt and then install a hook and eye closure above, but instead I just sewed the zip all the way to the top of the waistband, as I didn't really see any need to do otherwise.
The skirt has fab deep pockets on the front, and as I had used a gridded fabric I needed to make sure that I put the pockets on straight otherwise it would have been totally obvious that they were wonky! There's a small section of bar tacking at the top, I've never done bar tacks before so practiced on a scrap piece of fabric first. They are not perfect, but they will definitely do! I'm going to delve into jeans making soon so will need to practice those... I read (afterwards) that a looser tension than normal can help get a good result so I might turn that dial down next time.
I pinned the pockets in place before stitching them down so that I could make sure they were exactly where I wanted them, and then went along the edges with Gutermann Topstitching Thread. If you're changing thread to do some topstitching, I'd advise doing a little practice run on some waste fabric to make sure you've got the tension how you want it - the thicker fabric combined with the thicker thread can sometimes throw these things off a bit. And in case you're wondering, there's no need to put the topstitching thread on your bobbin - regular thread will do just fine for the underneath.
This lovely topstitching features on the pockets and also along the bottom of the waistband (which you can choose to omit if you prefer a cleaner look - I chose to put it in). There's lots of opportunity here for using contrasting thread for the topstitching and making a feature of it - with my fabric the obvious choices were either red or black thread, but if you've got a plain denim or wool for your skirt you could use any number of colours.
Although it's a fitted skirt, there's a vent at the centre back to provide a little bit of ease so that you can actually still walk. It's very easy to construct the vent, the instructions provided are thorough and clear so don't let that put you off!
I would definitely like to make this pattern again, as I think it's crying out to be colour blocked - I would love to make one in a burgundy denim with black stretch leather pockets on the front. I also think a wool version would work well too - have a look through all these lovely Wool Fabrics as there is bound to be something that takes your fancy! If you've never made a skirt before and you'd like to give one a try, I would totally recommend this pattern. It's perfect for a beginner, and if you're not quite confident on the pockets you can just leave them off! The skirt would still be fabulous without them.
And when you have a bag that matches your skirt, the awesomeness level gets cranked up to the max!
I'm really pleased with my finished skirt (can you tell?!), and this pattern has quite rightly earned itself a spot on my 'wardrobe staple' pattern list. You can definitely expect to see more versions of this skirt over on my Wanderstitch blog throughout Autumn and Winter.
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed the post - I'll see you again next month!
Sarah