Sea Sirens Simplicity 1418 Skirt

Simplicity 1418 skirt with petticoat

Why yes, yes that is a skirt covered in sexy ass mermaids.

It seems to be becoming a theme of mine to combine Alexander Henry Fabrics with Simplicity 1418. First my hunks Christmas dress and now this skirt. I got the idea to make a Simplicity 1418 skirt from Kath of Bernie and I after seeing this version of hers, which I love. It’s so colourful and pretty. (That’s her old blog, her new one is here.)

Simplicity 1418 skirt with petticoat montage

I really love Simplicity 1418. I love the off the shoulder bodice and I love the pleats on the skirt and the way it flares. It also has side zip, which is great when you’re using a big pattern like this as it means you don’t have to pattern match on the back seam and you just get to easily showcase the print.

I made the skirt to wear on a night out and in typical me fashion was still finishing it off right at the last minute because I handstitched the hem. I did have visions of me stitching it on the train but luckily that didn’t happen. I just went out with rubbish hair instead.

simplicity-1418-skirt-montage

It’s a pretty simple pattern so there’s not a lot to say about it really. I bound the seams as my overlocker is on the fritz, it’s actually in hospital at the moment. Luckily, I found a man in my home town who does sewing machine repairs as the man in my work town is horrible and rude so I didn’t want to give him any business. I went in to his shop once looking for needles and instead of helping me he quizzed me on where I bought my sewing machine, sneered at me for buying it online and made out that the needles I wanted (twin ballpoint) don’t exist. So I bought them on eBay.

bound-seams

Choosing the pattern placement for the waistband was quite fun. I think I have three sets of boobs on it. I also topstitched it with metallic thread because I thought that seemed mermaidy. It didn’t come out as shimmery as I was hoping though.

topstitching

This skirt seems to have become my favourite thing to wear when me and the Manfriend go do nice things. I wore it when we went to the Swansea Gin Festival back in April and when we went to watch Taskmaster being filmed in May – the series has just started on Dave and we were in the front row for the last episode of the series if you want to try to spot us. We were just behind Doc Brown, I look like me but I’m wearing my glasses and Manfriend has a giant beard, but then half the men there did so that’s probably not much help.

alexander-henry-fabric-skirt

The details

Pattern: The skirt part of Simplicity 1418 with a self drafted contoured waistband

Measurements: Bust: 37″ – Waist: 30.5″ – Hips: 39″

Size made: 14 but sewn with 10mm/3/8″ seam allowance instead

Alterations: I took 2″ off the length before hemming. Really should have shortened the pattern before cutting out. I will before using it again.

Fabric used: 1.6m of 110cm wide Alexander Henry Fabrics Sea Sirens cotton in blue from Frumble Fabrics

Another version? Possibly as I really enjoy wearing this skirt, I love the shape of it. I’ll definitely make the dress again. It’s my favourite “dressy” dress pattern.

Any changes next time? I might make it a smidge snugger.

Final thoughts

I really love this skirt. I think the pattern and fabric are a good pairing. It was nice to sew with such a well behaved fabric. More Alexander Henry Fabric skirts! But maybe I should try to find one that I can get away with wearing to work, I think this one has slightly too many boobs on it.

If you’d like to see the skirt in motion it’s in my latest video about Me Made May, it’s about 5 and a half minutes in if you want to skip the rest.

jumping
My terrible attempt at trying to get a jumping photo

Hope you’re all having a great weekend. Mine has been fairly quiet, just a bit of housework, a visit to my mum and a tiny bit of sewing but that didn’t go well so I’m a bit of a sulk over that. Next up on the cutting table are a pair of Sew Over It Carrie trousers from the new online course. How about you, what’s on your sewing table?

Sewaholic Gabriola Skirt

How did it get to be Friday again? I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since I got back from my holiday. It feels like ages and no time at all. I’ve come down with a stinking cold since I’ve been home and I’ve spent most of this week feeling thoroughly sorry for myself, doing lots of lounging around, rewatching Brooklyn Nine-Nine and a bit of knitting. I’m making quite good progress on my Vianne cardigan for the Outfit Along and I’m hoping to start on my dress at some point this weekend.

But for now I have a Sewaholic Gabriola to share with you.

gabriola-balcony
Oh to be back here…

I mentioned in my last post that I had sneaky selfish plans for this black and white viscose if my nan didn’t choose it for her dress and I’m really pleased with how they turned out. I love maxi dresses and skirts in the summer and have no doubt that I’ll get lots of wear out of it. It’s so swooshy and fun to wear.

I have a few photos but they’re not very varied. We were off out for dinner and I asked my mum to take a few photos of me before we went and I was starting to feel a bit divaish when she kept trying to give the camera back and I kept declining and asking for more photos.

gabriola skirt rock
And then I got some more photos stood on some rocks.

I made the skirt in a size 10 but redrafted the waistband to be curved, using this tutorial. I’m glad I did as I think it fits much better than it would have otherwise. Though I would have had more room for meze…

I’m a bit confused by the finished measurements given on the pattern envelope as they are quite a bit smaller than what I measured the pattern pieces as when I was deciding how much to reduce the top edge of the waistband by. (I went with 5/8″ in two places and the waistband is then cut on the fold so I took 2.5 inches out in total.) The only explanations I can think of are that the skirt is actually supposed to sit on the hips, so the finished waist measurement is theoretical or I actually cut a size 12.

gabriola balcony 2
I really should have ironed it

I used a mixture of seam finishes on the insides, some French seams, some turned and stitched seams and I even broke out the overlocker for the back seam and the front yoke seam. I’m a lot less terrified of it now.

Oh speaking of new toys, my manfriend found me a dressform in a local charity shop a few months ago and it (she?) was really helpful for levelling the hem after the bias dropped. I know it doesn’t look particularly straight in any of these photos but that’s because I apparently refuse to stand straight. I took about 3 inches off the bottom too, as I’m a shorty at 5’2″. It’s now a good length for me to wear with a low-mid heel but I did wear it with flip-flops too after the heels I started out in tried to chew my toes off.

sewaholic gabriola
I’ve never looked so much like a blogger

I love maxi skirts and dresses and I’m really happy with how this skirt turned out. I can see more in my future, maybe a solid cobalt blue one. Though I have lots of other things on the to be sewn pile to get through first. Including lots of new to me patterns, so this weekend shall be the weekend of toiles/muslins. I’m thinking of getting myself some Swedish tracing paper to try out. Has anyone used it? Would you recommend it?

Two Weddings and a Mad Rush

Way back in December two of my favourite people got married. Unfortunately*, it wasn’t to each other so I had two weddings to attend. 132 miles apart…

I went to the ceremony and reception of a good friend from work’s wedding in Ceredigion in the morning and then travelled to the evening reception of another friend in Bristol.

So the mad rush in the title refers to the day of the weddings but also to the making of my outfit. I set myself lots of unreasonable targets this past festive season and I should have just bought an outfit but I bought this fabric a while ago with the intention of making a self drafted pencil skirt and a slinky Grainline Scout tee so a pencil skirt and a scout I was making. I can be stubborn. I finished sewing at half 11 on the Friday before the weddings. I was cursing myself but I was pleased with the finished outfit.

shortwood-skirt1
Oh also, new hair. I suddenly hated the blonde and needed to change it.

I’ll talk about the skirt first. I used the skirt block I made during my craftsy course and rewatched the lesson on turning it into an empire line skirt. Then made a toile and I was happy with the fit and only widened the back darts very slightly. After sewing up the actual skirt though I think I might need to do a bit of a swayback adjustment.

shortwood-back
Terrible, terrible seam matching and I actually tried, sob.

I cut the bottom off the back pattern piece to draft the pleat panel. I just cut it into strips and added extra paper between each one, folded them closed then added seam allowance and cut the excess paper off while the pleats were still folded to allow the right seam allowances for them.

I had to take the side seams in a little pretty much all the way down from my high hip as this is a stretch woven fabric and the extra ease built in to the block just looked silly.

shortwood-skirt2

I’ve decided to give any patterns I draft myself names rather than just describing them every time I use them – empire line pencil skirt with pleated back doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. So I’m calling this the Shortwood skirt as the reception I went to in Bristol was held in Shortwood Lodge golf club. And Shortwood is more pronounceable than Sgubor Teile, which is where the first one was.

shortwood-shapes
Throwing some shapes.

IMG_4655The Scout was made with this silky satin from Abakhan. I’d ordered samples of the green and the red beforehand as I was thinking about making a slinky Anna dress for my work Christmas party but changed my mind in favour of the Christmas Hunks fabric. I think I must have been sent the wrong swatches as this fabric is completely different to the swatches. Here is a picture of the swatch, which is a lot slinkier and doesn’t have a shiny side. I didn’t open the parcel for ages due to moving so it would have been too late to send it back.

I used the wrong side of the fabric as it had a less shiny finish and was still able to get the look I’d been aiming for. I cut a size 10 and it had just the right sort of fit for tucking in to the skirt and I do like it with jeans too. But I think I’ll possibly try a size 8 for my next version or maybe grade between sizes, keeping the shoulders and arms the same and then bring it in slightly from the bust down. I dunno.

scout2

I don’t know what’s causing those lines from my bust down to my hips. Something being too tight or too loose maybe? I am terrible at diagnosing fitting issues.

scout1

I tried using my rolled hem foot for the hem and it went terribly. Seriously look at my awful, awful stitching:

Scout rolled hem
You can also see how shiny the right side of the fabric is.

I originally tried taking pictures in the garden but the light just wasn’t playing ball so I moved into my kitchen dancing area (after moving all the tins of paint and tools lying around) but I thought I’d leave you with a couple of the silly ones I took outside purely because I like them.

IMG_4713
Manfriend and his nephew had just finished turning my garage into a gym, hence the pose – expect more of this.

 

IMG_4703
Fuzzy faced Manfriend makes his first appearance.

*Unfortunate for me, not them. They’re very happy with the people they married.

Nautical Anemone Skirt

Deer and Doe Anemone skirt
With added Manfriend shadow.

My first skirt! Well first proper skirt from a pattern anyway. I loved the Deer and Doe Anemone skirt from the moment I saw it. I am a big fan of high waists, my favourite pencil skirts have a high waist – or I pull them up high regardless of where they’re actually supposed to go in the case of a couple of jersey ones I have. I nearly went for the versions with the little fins but as the fabric I bought was navy I thought that some gold buttons would make a nice nautical version.

I bought the fabric on a recent trip to Cardiff. I don’t have any fabric shops near me and have bought all my other fabric online so it was very lovely to go to actual fabric shops and be able to touch the fabric, I did many laps of Butterfly Fabrics on City Road. One of the recommended fabrics for the skirt is a lightweight twill but I think I had drill in my head and I can’t actually remember what this was but I know that it was one of the two. I think they’re practically the same anyway aren’t they? *noob face*

Me in my Deer and Doe Anemone with Max the dog
I’m pulling a gimpy face but I thought I’d continue the photobombing Max theme.

I wasn’t sure whether to cut a size 42 or 44 so I measured the pieces and went with a 44 and cut and assembled the lining first to check the fit before cutting out the skirt pieces. It’s fully lined with a navy cotton voile I also bought in Cardiff. I’m fairly happy with the fit but I probably could have done with taking the side seams in ever so slightly at the top of the high waist but leaving them the same at the waist. If that makes any sense at all.

I made the shorter length skirt and got all the pieces out of a ridiculously small amount of fabric as my fabric was wide. I only used 60cm and I’d bought 2 metres so I’ve got plenty left if I want to make another version – or possibly a cropped By Hand London Victoria jacket to make a suit out of it.

Deer and Doe Anemone skirt cutting layout
Cutting layout

In term of construction I just followed the instructions but next time I think I might do things slightly differently. The instructions have you insert the zip on the main fabric and sew the rest of the back seam and then sew the lining to the main fabric at the top and along the zip. I am not explaining that very well. But I got into quite a pickle when sewing the lining to the zip and as I don’t hate hand sewing I might just do that by hand next time – either slipstitching it down afterwards or just sewing it by hand instead, I did have to handsew a bit at the end this time because I just couldn’t get to the end with my machine.

I understitched the waistline and I was quite pleased with it but I think it would just be so much easier if you attached the lining and main fabric at the waist, then understitched and then did the zip part but I am clueless about this sort of thing so there’s probably a reason for doing it the recommended way. I’ll also use a shorter zip next time, I think 12″ would have been fine.

I zigzagged all of my seams on my main fabric and pinked them on my lining fabric. My main fabric was very much a frayer so I did the top and bottom of the skirt too. Very time consuming – why am I always drawn to things with so many panels?! – but I’m really happy with the finish.

I wore it to work yesterday and then for a walk and beer garden lounging with my manchap – making him take photos of me whenever I thought there’d be a nice view behind me. I’m really happy with it and can see me making quite a few more versions. I nice simple black one with the peplum fins next I think.

Deer and Doe Anemone skirt
A closer view.

Cost:

Main fabric – 60cm @ £6.99/metre = £4.19
Lining fabric – 1.25m @ 2.99/metre = £3.74
Thread – free, came with my sewing machine
16″ concealed zip – £1.89
Buttons – 6 @ 50p each = £3.00

Total = £12.82