Originally when I knew Mum was coming to stay for a week I thought “excellent, a day or two to finish my costume and then we’ll do heaps of other stuff!” Of course, that didn’t pan out… the costume took so much work! But we still squeezed in some other fun stuff while we were together.
One of the things I managed to do was to refashion two me-made skirts that have been sitting in my repairs bin since last September, when Mum was last staying with me and helped me do a serious wardrobe audit.
The first is an A-line skirt made from dark blue denim covered in an oxblood red velvet flocking. I made the skirt back in about 2002 (yep, over 10 years ago!) from Butterick 3220.
It was one of the first things I made for myself after years of making Mum sew for me and I was pretty pleased with it (although I don’t think I did the zip myself but I can’t remember who did!) But I didn’t wear it often and I didn’t know why. I finally figured out last year that the body of the denim meant that the A-line retained its A shape, as opposed to falling into fullness the way drapey A-lines do; and that the shape of the skirt standing out from my body did not please me. So I decided to peg it.
First I tried the skirt on and pinned to mark the hip. Then I turned the skirt inside out, measured in from each side seam about 6 cm, and connected this in a straight line to the hip point with chalk.
Because the skirt was A-line, it had no vents or splits, so my plan was to convert the side seams into splits by simply not sewing my new side seam all the way to the bottom, and then cut the old side off, leaving an open seam at the bottom in which to make a split. I’d press the seam allowances flat on the split and top stitch over them. But I wanted to check the amount of taper before cutting off the excess but after sewing in my new seam lines. So I sewed the new side seam, following my chalk, to within a few centimetres of the bottom.
I put the skirt on and discovered something. Completely unintentionally, my new seam had turned the excess fabric at the hem into kick pleats! So taken was I with this that I decided to leave the kick pleats in place. I top stitched a line of angled stitching as is traditional in a kick pleat and trimmed off the excess seam allowance, and it was pretty much done! The only thing I decided to do was to add a row of tiny edge stitches to each pleat to make it nice and crisp, and the result was so nice that yes, I will go back and do this to my yellow skirt.
It’s still not really the ideal shape for my preferences, as I am still learning what I like on me, but now I have a new skirt with a nifty design feature that I’m happy to wear while I work on making things that are even better. And the first day I wore it to work, I got some lovely comments. I’d call that a win!
The second skirt was a straight pencil skirt that I made about three years ago from Vogue 8425 (View A) and wore it heaps. The pattern came together perfectly easily. I did toile it when I made it, and made some alterations to it but I can’t remember what they were! It was a fast and easy make and I will make it again someday. I’m also dead keen to do View C with that awesome built in belt thing.
But despite getting lots of wear out of it, I also decided in my wardrobe audit that I prefer tapered hems as more in keeping with my aesthetic and so this went into my repairs box for a spruce up.
It is made in a turquoise mystery fabric with a white slub. My awesome brothers gave me the fabric for my birthday in about 2005ish because they know I’m crazy about turquoise! At the time they were only about 12 and 10 years old, and they picked the fabric out themselves. It was bought from a shop that along with new fabric off the bolt sold fabric from deceased estates, which this one was, so I have no idea how old it is or what it is made from, but I do know my brothers know me well.
Another super easy fix! Because it was already a pencil skirt it had a rear vent, so all I had to do was take in the sides. To do so I marked my hip, mark my reduced distance at the hem, unpicked the hem at the side seam, connected in a straight line with chalk, and then sewed it in! A bit of hand sewing to re-hem the side seam and a favourite skirt updated to be even more favourite and released back into circulation.
Like all things though, getting photos, especially in winter, is a hassle. Luckily as we ease towards spring we’ve been getting some great sunny days, and a couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to host both Jo of Making it Well and Grace of Miss La Belle’s House of Burlesque for an afternoon of crafting and company. Jo had volunteered her amazing camera to take some photos of me, and Grace volunteered her superior experience in dancing and modelling to try and teach me how to stand so that I don’t look as much like a numpty in photos. Did it work? No idea. Did we have fun? SO MUCH FUN! Grace had all three of us giggling and carrying on as she directed the photo shoot. All photo shoots should be this fun!!!
I am so pleased with my two “new” skirts! Now to tackle the approximately one gazillion other remakes and repairs in my repairs box…