Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Lessons in Denim

On Day 31 of Me-Made-May I was rocking a brand new garment that I have yet to properly introduce to you. A little denim skirt using the Simplicity 2451 pattern that I treated myself to after successfully completing Me-Made-March. This pattern has a curved front yoke with hip pocket and a pleated front panel. It's kind of tulip shaped but not too, you know, poofy.

I made it using some beauuutiful soft denim that I've had in my stash for years (Stash Bustin'? Tick!). I picked up the two smallish pieces of this denim in a charity shop in Southend for a quid each, or some similarly conducive amount. I was particularly buzzed because it's broken twill denim, which has a weave that looks like zigzags or w's, rather than the usual diagonal twill weave denim is normally cranked out in. Broken twill denim is often used by Wrangler and it reminds me of the 1970's and I LOVE it. So I was clinging to these pieces for an age as they weren't long enough to make jeans from. Well, I'm happy I waited at this skirt pattern worked well in denim I think.


However, I didn't want to just whip up a dark blue tulip skirt because I've already made a dark blue tulip skirt, this needed something to make it a little different. Enter: piping! Now, I've long been an admirer of piping, I even confessed my love for it recently on the Colette Patterns blog, but I've always been a little afraid storing the concept as 'something to try in the future'. Well the future is now people!


I bought this cool bias binding and the closest thing my local haberdasher's had to cord and used this Burdastyle tutorial on how to make my own piping. Easy as. And the I used this tutorial on how to actually sew the stuff in. Now I'll be honest with you, I didn't do all the hand tacking that they advised, only on the trickiest parts, but I'm really happy with how it turned out. Of course, it made the make up of the skirt a lot slower, but it was totally worth it for a more interesting and nicely finished garment.


Another bit of practicing what I preach came in the form of contrast pocket bags and facings. I didn't want to use denim for these because, A) I didn't have enough, and B) they would have been too bulky. So I cut up a tiny floral skirt I found on the street and used that instead. In fact, the skirt was so tiny (but not a child's, according to the label) that there wasn't much left after I'd taken what I needed! The floral fabric had some stretch in it, so I used it cross-grain instead on the facings. It wasn't an ideal choice, but with a bit of stitching in the ditch and the facings are nicely trapped down and behaving themselves.


Another thing about this style of skirt is that it makes me wear longer tops tucked in (see top pic) so the front detail is visible and to prevent strange front bulges. This is something that I NEVER do as a rule, but it felt nice to be forced out of that bizarrely entrenched condition and look at my other garments in a slightly different way and create a silhouette I wouldn't have considered otherwise. I have a theory that it was growing up in the 1990's that makes me so adverse to tucking tops in, having any sock showing if I'm wearing trainers with a skirt or shorts or wearing back packs on two shoulders! Does any one else feel like this?

The final fit of this skirt is a leeetle big. It sits on the hips ok, until you start to walk, then it sometimes does the migrating thing, which doesn't matter if you've got your hands in your pockets to anchor it down! It's very comfortable, but when I use this pattern again, I'll make a size or half a size smaller so it sits a little higher and tighter. I am pleased however about the finish of this garment. I really took my time to make everything look as professionally finished as I could, facilities and skills permitting. I also got to learn some new skills and apply some practices that make this item, for me more than just a cute new denim skirt. Which, of course, is also what it is!

30 comments:

The Wilted Magnolia said...

"The final fit of this skirt is a leeetle big. It sits on the hips ok, until you start to walk, then it sometimes does the migrating thing, which doesn't matter if you've got your hands in your pockets to anchor it down!"

LOL So every time you walk, you're going to have your hands in your pockets?! :) Maybe some weights dropped in there? Sorry, that tickled me, had to comment!

Lee-Ann said...

Right there witchya about the socks and trainers ... *shudder* Love the skirt! The piping is a very nice touch.

Diane said...

Haha, you're so right. I grew up in the 90's and also have an aversion to tucking in tops and showing socks when I wear sneakers.

Rachel said...

I agree with you about the growing up in the 90's thing- both tucking in and the socks thing. I've only recently started tucking stuff in, and only sometimes. I have discovered if wearing two layers tucking in the under layer but not the outer one gives the look of not tucking in but the anti-riding-up advantages of tucking.

Tilly said...

Ooh what lovely piping you have, my dear!

I've gone the other way with socks and rucksacks on two shoulders etc - I rock French-Exchange Chic!

Nancy (nanflan) said...

I love using contrast fabric for pocket bags. I do it quite often when the garment fabric is a bit heavy or stiff, or "just because."

Your skirt is darling and the piping takes it up a notch.

Stacy said...

Love the piping! What a great little detail. I have used piping once or twice, but have never made my own. Now I'm inspired to try it!

Susannah said...

I love the piping and contrast details on these! They may be just the ticket for my next denim project -- I've been meaning to do the old "jeans to A-line skirt" project but felt like that would just be boring.

Not sure about that piping tutorial, though -- I've done a lot of piping in my time and have never needed to hand-tack. Using previous lines of stitching as a guide has worked fine.

Gelbean said...

I love this pattern. I made it in May using a yellow linen and added black bias trim to the pockets. This is a great pattern and a cute skirt. Seeing your skirt reminds me that I want to make this one again.

Jana said...

Crazy-cute pockets! And the piping is ever so fun.
Jana

Clare said...

really cute skirt! love the piping - currently my favourite detail. I was a teenager in the 90s and had an aversion to all those things you mentioned. Unfortunately, two-shouldered backpacks are now a necessity for me and I hate it. But try finding a cool backpack - it's like hunting leprechauns.

stitchywitch said...

Cute - I love the piping! And I grew up in the 90s and share your tucking in phobia. I've finally trained myself to get over it by making a bunch of high waisted skirts!

Uta said...

Oooh, pretty piping! I'm biding my time until I become a patient enough sewer for this kind of lovely detail.

Amanda said...

I so agree about the tucked-in shirt and socks things. I got over the backpack issue somewhere along the way... maybe my books just got too heavy. I'm trying to force myself to tuck in since I love the high waist look and it is pretty pointless otherwise!

Angela said...

Cute skirt! Love all the little details!

Tasia said...

Ha, so funny. I'm just now starting to tuck my shirts in, as it seems to make me taller, but I would have never back in the '90s! Same thing with the backpack, it's supposed to hang casually off one shoulder. Forget comfort and posture - it's more important to look nonchalant :)
Anyways.. back to your lovely skirt! I love the special details, the piping is so well done, and the floral pocket bags are a nice touch! Yay for stash-busting!

Fourth Daughter said...

re tucking stuff in.. I'm (scarily) starting to see the point of bodysuits lately... you know, like the type Donna Karan made so that shirts wouldn't puff out when they were tucked in to pants etc. I haven't actually MADE or BOUGHT any yet but the thought has entered my mind. *shudder*
oh, and I bought a leather backpack in the 90s... at $100 it must be one of the most expensive things I have ever bought, but I think I gave it to an op shop as it was just sooooo 90s...
Nice work on the skirt, such cute finishing touches!
Thanks for letting me know re SSS by the way, I am already excited!

Ali said...

Yes! I totally agree: tucked in shirts and socks showing out of shoes were long-time no-nos. But I'm new to wearing skirts and so tucking seemed like the thing to do ;) And it looks great on you!

Great work on the piping and the contrast fabric (reuse! but I wonder how that skirt fit over the former owner's behind, ha). I just might brave piping one day, so thanks for the links.

Minnado said...

Love the skirt - the piping makes it I think. Know what you mean about top tucking in - it just takes me back to school days. Socks and trainers - kind of reminds me of PE teachers

Roobeedoo said...

Piping? Now there's an idea! I grew up in the 70's and have no idea what you are talking about. I always tuck in my tops. Whic is why I find shorter ones a challenge. I feel v v old all of a sudden.

Suzie said...

Love the piping, what a gorgeous detail!

I TOTALLY agree with you about growing up in the 90's. I've recently bought some high waisted skirts and its a battle to tuck my top in coz it just doesn't feel 'right'! Oh, and my boyfriend grew up in the 80's and would wear a backpack on both shoulders and it just makes me cringe...but he doens't get it! lol!

Tilly said...

Me again, just to let you know that I've tagged you in a game of eight questions if you care to play...

emily said...

The piping and pockets make this skirt extra special - love it! x

Sara said...

Well done! My first visit to your blog (I've read your posts at Colette) and wow, you're good!

Miss Dandy said...

Adorable skirt - I adore the contrast piping! Hmmmm...there must be something to having an aversion to tucking tops in because I too grew up in the 90's and I still have a hard time doing that!

Lily said...

Cutteee!! Love the trim! Haha when I make something that's too big I just take it to the dressmaker and get her to take it in! There is nothing worse than totally finishing something and then realising it doesn't fit properly.

midnightbetty said...

Its gorgeous! I really like the piping detail. So pretty and girly! Also love the pretty pocket linings. Such a sweet little detail that only you know about. That kind of little thing would make me smile all day knowing I had secret girly pockets in my skirt. :)

Kitty said...

I love the piping. I've got scads of linen in several colors but couldn't imagine how to make a cohesive wardrobe with it. Maybe piping could pull it together thanks so much for the neat idea.

About the riding up, maybe an inch bigger on the butt would help? Give them a bit of wiggle room so to speak. Might be worth testing with some throw away jeans or something. LOL FWIW, kitty

Yvonne said...

Blog surfing and found your blog. Just wanted to say I love this skirt. Its sweet - feminine but not over the top cutsey - a great casual alternative to shorts.

Craftmatic Beth said...

I have a theory that it was growing up in the 1990's that makes me so adverse to tucking tops in...

I completely agree! I have rediscovered button-downs and blouses lately, but I still have a stumbling block regarding tucking them in. I'd like to make a Jenny skirt or some tailored high-waisted trousers, if only to force myself to try a new style - tucking in!

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