Red alert: New Look 6346 skirt

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Autumn has definitely arrived in these parts.

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The Forest of Dean: canine heaven

I’ve had this gorgeous solid heavy red wool crepe in my stash for over two years, but as the trees began to turn, it felt like the right moment to finally cut into it and make something bright to wear on dull autumn days.

I used New Look 6346 – a really simple flared skirt pattern with two basic variations and a contoured waistband. I opted for view D, with the plain front and an invisible zip at the centre back. I also considered the Sewaholic Hollyburn pattern, but didn’t want the centre-front seam.

This pattern has so much hack potential – I’d like to try adding pockets or belt loops and a midi version would be great for work. On the down side, I think it comes up a bit large. I originally cut the size 18, based on my body measurements, but ended up downsizing to a 16 so that the skirt would sit neatly at the waist.

Because the heavy wool crepe fabric is a bit itchy, I opted to use a scrap of quilting cotton for the waistband facing, and also to add a contrasting lining. This tutorial helped me work out how to construct the skirt with the lining included.

And for a super-smart finish, I hand-stitched the skirt hem using a bias facing finish. There’s something about wool – I just can’t quite bring myself to machine the hems.

Looking at the results, I think I might end up removing some of the flare from the skirt in this heavy fabric – and I definitely need to put more thought into what to wear with it (long brown boots? chunky knitwear?). But to begin with, I’m just going to wear it around a bit and see how it feels.

Cosy, I hope.

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Red rush

The weather’s turned frosty here in the Midlands this week…

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Mr Wardrobe took this shot looking towards the Malvern Hills

…which means it must be time to psych myself up for Christmas.

I loved Christmas as a child. My birthday’s in early December, so Christmas kicked off straight after that, and it was a huge festival of family, friends, presents and parties topped off with a side order of chocolates, decorations and cracking TV.

As a carefree twenty-something, Christmas was always action-packed up until 24 December, and then I retreated home to my parents’ house for R&R. Even after three days of falling asleep on the sofa, there was always plenty of quality time for my hobbies (including sewing) before gearing up again for New Year’s Eve.

Since starting a family of my own, I’ll be honest: I don’t look forward to it quite as much. These days, December begins not with a birthday party so much as the purchase of a new anti-wrinkle cream. Then there’s a flurry of organising to be done: presents, cards, food, decorations, travel arrangements and social stuff – although sadly there aren’t usually any occasions that demand a fabulous dress. When Christmas finally arrives, I no longer get lie-ins or long afternoons to knit in front of The Wizard of Oz. And when NYE comes round, you’ll probably find me sloping off to bed at about 10:30, muttering that I’m ‘too old to stay up till midnight’.

So this year I need an injection of joy in my Christmas season. And that means red. I pulled these fabrics from my stash this afternoon and I’m trying to decide how I could combine them into a cheery Christmassy make that’ll get worn well into the New Year.

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Sorry, the elephants were meant to be in focus.

The solid is a wool crepe, probably just enough for a flared skirt. The two patterned fabrics are both quilting cottons, so they might be handy for facings or pocket linings. I’m thinking perhaps a Hollyburn skirt? If it gets made in time for Christmas Day that’ll be a small miracle, given the size of my queue. But if not, it should bring me some joy in the dark days of January and February, and it’ll probably get worn next Christmas instead. Bring it on!

Are you full of the joys of advent, or are you also feeling a teensy bit Bah Humbug this year?

And what will you sew between now and Christmas, especially if you’re not making a party dress?

 

Wardrobe singletons: pleated lace skirt

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Can you help me find a partner for this skirt?

What are wardrobe singletons? It’s the name I give to the clothes lurking at the back of my wardrobe that don’t pair with anything else. I love them, but I never wear them. I have a handful of RTW and me-made garments like this and I’d like to sew something to wear them with. The question is, what?

This RTW green pleated lace skirt from REISS is the one I most want to sew a partner for. It’s been in my wardrobe for nearly four years and I think it’s only been worn twice. I paid more than I’d wanted to for a skirt at the time so it really bugs me every time I see it hanging there, all alone. It’s a pale ferny green colour (honestly) and has a great knee-length swish about it.

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So, what would you recommend I sew to go with it? I’ve been browsing Pinterest and generated a few styling ideas:

As you can see, I’ve collected a lot of knitwear ideas, but would it also work with a simple T-shirt, a cap-sleeved blouse or just the right jacket?

So far, I’m considering:

  • The Seamwork Elmira cardigan for a dressier look
  • Or Seamwork’s Astoria sweatshirt for a more relaxed feel
  • A Sewaholic scoop-neck Renfrew t-shirt in grey marl

All pattern, fabric and styling suggestions welcome – let’s get this skirt a date in 2017!

Does your wardrobe have any singletons lurking at the back? I’d love to know what things you struggle to match with anything else or how you’ve successfully paired off trickier pieces.

 

Work in progress – with a mystery fabric

I’m sorry. I’ve been neglecting you. I’m rushed off my feet at work at the moment, so here’s a sneaky peek at the project I’m trying to squeeze into what’s left of my evenings and weekends.

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This fabric came from my Grannie’s stash. I’m not really sure what it is – she picked up lots of her fabric at charity shops and in remnant sales, so it could be almost anything. It’s a woven, medium-weight wool sort of fabric, but I think it probably contains a fair proportion of something synthetic too. I was attracted to the crazy blue-green print and thought it might make a great A-line skirt.

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I was quite tempted by the pattern on the reverse, too, but I’ve decided to stick with the front for now. (There’s some leftover, so you might see it again!) It also frays pretty badly, so I’ll have to work quickly and overlock the edges. And it’s quite scratchy, too, so I definitely need a lining.

I’ve realised there aren’t nearly enough bottom half garments in my wardrobe, so I’m having a concerted effort to sew more skirts and trousers this year. We’ll see how long I can go before I’m tempted by a gorgeous dress pattern…

I’m using a pattern I’ve created from my skirt block. It’s its first outing, so we’ll see how it goes, and I’ve also had to add a little extra width at the side seams as unfortunately there’s currently a bit more of me than when I drafted the block. Boo. Here’s the pattern laid out on the lining:

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My pattern doesn’t have seam allowances, so you can see a 2cm border around the pattern on these lining pieces. I’ve allowed a bit more than the usual 1.5cm so that I can adjust the fit – I didn’t make a toile for this pattern.

It’s just a rough draft at the moment – I expect I’ll need to make some adjustments as I go, but I’m getting excited about all the possibilities. I love a good A-line skirt, and I’m already visualising another version made from some scarlet wool crepe that I have stashed away.

Once I’ve got the shell to fit, I’m planning to put in a concealed zip at the back – another first for me – I only found a concealed zip foot to fit my vintage machine last year so this’ll be its first project. And then I’ll need to work out what to do at the waistline – I prefer the look of a facing rather than a waistband, but this fabric is so itchy I’ll need to find the best way to do that.

If you’ve made a lined A-line skirt, I’d love to see how you did the waistline.