My favourite me-made item so far is this Clemence skirt from the Tilly And The Buttons book Love At First Stitch. I started my blog after making this, but I love it so much I feel it deserves a retrospective post.
The Clemence skirt is a gathered skirt with wide waistband and invisible zip at the back. It is the fourth of 6 patterns in the book, and is self-drafted using your own measurements.
The skirt is self-drafted with guidance, essentially all made from rectangles based on your hip and waist measurements and your desired length. This means the only measurement that matters is the waist, and you can vary the width of the rectangles to add more or less volume to the skirt.
In using a large Janome 60 x 15cm quilting ruler to draw the rectangles, I suffered with the problem of the ruler slipping a little while drawing or cutting along the length and have since used InvisiGrip which is brilliant at preventing this from happening. See my blog post on how to use it.
I have to admit that when I came across this pattern in the book, it wasn’t the sort of thing I would have bought if I didn’t have the book. However, I was determined to learn the skills in the way this book presented them and so dutifully followed through. I then remembered I had this gorgeous Japanese fabric and realised this would be a brilliant way to show it off, and help make a pattern I was a little uninterested in into my favourite garment to date. The cranes and flower details are in metallic silver. It is cotton broadcloth with a nice weight to hold volume in the skirt, and was purchased at Black Mountain Fabric while passing through Abergavenny.
I tried pattern-matching for the first time on this skirt along the back seam and was really pleased with the result. To get it matching as best I could. I had to redo the invisible zip a few times (this section is shown in the photo above). I largely made up the process for pattern matching but I’m sure there are many different methods out there. See my blog post with video tutorial on how I planned it well, and where I went wrong :)
Pockets and French seams
I decided to try French seams for the first time on this project as suggested by the book, and pockets too. It describes how to do French seams, and how to sew in-seam pockets but not the two together. I did however find a brilliant tutorial describing this technique on Bernina’s We All Sew blog which has lots of good detailed photos.
The only thing I changed was to add interfacing as described in the book to reinforce the pocket opening. This is a great addition and makes the pocket feel robust.
The pattern suggests folding the hem up by 1.5cm twice and topstitching. My fabric was of medium weight and I didn’t want the hem to be bulky, so I overlocked the edge and hand sewed with catch stitch instead.
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