The Bothered Owl

Alex and Sarah's crafty corner of cyberspace

First project of the New Year January 3, 2010

Filed under: General Crafty Chat — thebotheredowl @ 11:29 pm
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In keeping with our New Year’s Resolution of keeping a balance between crafting for ourselves as well as the Bothered Owl, I thought I would tell you about the skirt I’m working on.

Normally I just do plain a-line or pencil skirts. They’re neat, they’re simple and I can run one up in under two hours, without the need for a pattern or, to be honest, any conscious thought. All you need do is change a few basic elements and you have a whole new look. Team up two unusual fabrics, like a denim and a cute print, or make a skirt with an underskirt in a contrasting fabric. Change the length, or if you really want to get fancy, you can always try adding some pleats or add some applique.

But I’m fed up with only being able to do a-line. I kind of feel like a one trick pony. Yes, my wardrobe is bursting with cute skirts, but they’re all really the same skirt in different colours. One of my resolutions for the year is to try new things, new techniques. I want to really learn to sew properly, get to understand how garments work and learn to make things like dresses and really fancy skirts  and tops for myself.

I found this amazing project the other day. Some one posted it on Twitter. This woman is wearing only items she has made herself, including shoes, for the next year. Every article of clothing she wears, every accessory, every thing is going to be made by her. I was looking at some of the gorgeous dresses, tops, pants and so forth she’s been sporting so far and thinking, “Wow, I really wish I could do that.”

To an extent I probably can. I mean, the sewing skills are there, it’s just applying them to new types of garments that I need to learn. The one major skill I really need to put into place is the magic of the Full Bust Alteration.  I plan to conquer that one this year. With or without the assistance of a proper teacher. Maybe I just need to buy myself some cheap gingham or calico and just go nuts.

Anyway, I digress. I decided yesterady that I really wanted to make myself something new, something special just for me. And not an A-line skirt.

So I trawled the internets and came up with a couple of websites that give you nice clear instructions on how to draft, cut and sew gored skirts. A gore is a panel, most skirts will have an even number of them but you can have as many as you want, even or odd numbered.

This is the set of drafting instructions I eventually used. It has instructions for drafting a zipper waisted skirt. If you want to make an elastic waisted skirt try this one. It even teaches you how to do french seams, which I really must try at some point.

I’ve got all the pieces sewn together and waiting for a zipper. Unfortunately, I second guessed my measurements, thinking that there was no way that the tape measure could be right, and I added an extra inch onto my initial waist measurement. Sigh.

You can guess what happened when I tried it on for fit. On the plus side, I seem to have shed a bit of weight (though God alone knows how, given the Christmas feasting) . On the massive pain in the bum side, I now have a date with my seam unripper to unpick 12 seams.

But, stupid mistakes with numbers aside, the gored skirt really is a nice easy project, slightly spicier than a simple a-line without blowing the top off your skull. Give it a try.

I’ll post some pics when it’s all done! I’ll also try and get my bum in gear and collate some of the great free pattern and instructional websites I winkled out. I’m sure they’re probably nothing new to most people, but they were new to me and actually had some really useful its and bits.

And now, I’m going to continue my selfish bent and continue adding waist shaping to my Basic Black cardigan. So nice to have some time to sit and knit!



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