Wednesday 13 December 2017

Silver party skirt

Need something snazzy for the party season but don't have time to sew a dress? Here's the next best option: a faux leather party skirt! This skirt is ridiculously easy to make, cheap as chips and, depending on how much drink you manage to knock back, allows you instant access to your inner rock chic...

I bought my silver faux leather from Fabric Godmother (also available in black or gold) or Girl Charlee have a good range in stock, including red, navy and some lovely metallics. It's softer than I was expecting, with a decent drape and a reasonable amount of stretch. At £10 a metre it's good value too - after cutting out my skirt I still have quite a bit left over that I plan to make into purses and make-up bags for presents. 

Any pin holes, needle marks or unpicking will be clearly visible on faux leather, so my main piece of advice is to choose a pattern that fits well to avoid any unpicking mishaps. I chose the lace pencil skirt from the GBSB Fashion with Fabric book, which I've made before and is a good fit on me.  This time round I added a split to the back seam - a pencil skirt without a split is fine if you're posing for blog photos at home, not so good for getting in and out of a taxi! I also cut the skirt pieces two inches longer than my first version as I wasn't planning on hemming it.

Construction was seriously quick: two darts to the back, two side seams, invisible zip and back seam. Done! I rebelliously used pins (positioning them within the seam allowance to avoid puncture marks) and a leather needle. Faux leather doesn't fray, so my seams were pressed open and left unfinished. I used fabric glue on the back seam to secure it open and give the split a neat finish. I also used it on the top edge of the skirt, which is simply pressed under and glued into place. I secured the seam to the zip at the back opening with a few hand stitches for extra security.

I wore this skirt out for dinner with friends a few nights ago and felt fabulous in it. Being silver and faux leather, it's quite a statement in itself, so I made sure the rest of my outfit was a bit more toned down. A fitted black cardigan, high boots and a sparkly bracelet was all it took and I felt glammed up but not over dressed. Definitely £10 well spent! x

Monday 4 December 2017

Chloe Coat

At last... something finished to show you! This is the Chloe Coat from Sew Over It: a classic collarless coat with lined, patch pockets, an open ended zip, tailored shoulders and long front darts. There's nothing super fancy about the design, it's just a simple, elegant style that's totally wearable. I'm very happy with mine! The pattern is part of the Intro to Sewing Coats online course and I'll be writing a separate post reviewing the course shortly. This will include lots more detail about construction and the techniques used in the course.

I was fortunate to be able to try on a sample of the coat at the Knitting & Stitching Show this year, which was great for checking the size. The sample was a size 10, and although it was a good fit across the back and shoulders etc, when I tried to zip it up it was far too tight across the bust - imagine a sausage squeezed into a skin! I also wanted a bit of additional room for winter layers under my coat so decided to cut a straight size 12 all over. 

I made just two small adjustments to the pattern, I shortened the sleeve length by 6cms and re-positioned the pockets about 2.5cms higher to allow for my short arms. It's also worth pointing out that I didn't shorten the coat hem which is normally a standard adjustment for me. You'll note from the photos that the coat finishes well above the knee on me and I'm only 5'2", so if you're taller or prefer a longer coat you may want to lengthen the pattern. 

I love the roomier fit, it's much more comfortable when you're bundled up wearing layers of knitwear. I also far prefer the patch pockets to in-seam pockets. The last coat I made had in-seam pockets in the side princess seams and having worn it quite a lot, I do feel like they're positioned too far back. 

The main coat fabric is an acrylic/wool mix from Doughty's (no longer available I'm afraid) and I was able to cut out the whole coat comfortably from 2.5m. As I wasn't originally intending to make a coat, I wanted to save costs by using a lining from my stash. There was just enough polka dot lining fabric left over from my Abbey Coat (which, incidentally I never wear, anybody want it?!) so I used that.  

Inside: lining and facings
Luckily for me it's a perfect match with the baby blue coating and a really good quality lining fabric to boot (originally from here), so it was all a bit fortuitous. The other notions needed for the coat - an open-ended zip, tailoring interfacing and, wait for it, ice wool - I purchased from Sew Over It. 

Because of the nature of the online course I sewed the coat in small chunks, which corresponded with the video tutorials. It's a great way to take on a large project such as a coat, which can seem quite daunting, or if you're simply short of time and need to fit your sewing around short bursts. The only step I didn't incorporate is the top stitching down the front edges of the coat. This wasn't a design decision, it was simply because I couldn't fit the layers of coat front and facings under my sewing machine! If I had the choice I'd have definitely included the top stitching as the front facing does has a tendency to curl round (see last photo). 

I started wearing this coat as soon as the last bit of hand sewing was finished and it's sooo warm, even warmer than my red coat which was underlined with flannel! Given the current cold snap, I haven't had a chance to take it to the dry cleaners for a professional press, which is why it looks a bit springy in some photos. When I can bear to remove it from my back I might take a trip to get it beautifully pressed. But then again, I'm enjoying wearing it so much I probably won't! x

Thank you to my friend Joe for this lovely picture of me (and my coat) in Lambs Conduit Street last week.


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