In case you couldn’t tell from the title of this post, this was not a successful make. What started life as a quick, simple sew turned into a real labour of love, only I don’t love it.
For a kick off, the fabric is just awful. I love the large gingham print but the quality lets it down so, so much. I bought it years ago from Ebay and it’s the reason I don’t really buy fabric online if I can avoid it. The description probably made it sound very nice. From memory, it didn’t say “poor quality, plastic fabric that’ll make you sweat like a pig in a sandwich bag” but that is the only accurate way to describe this stuff. Nevertheless, it’d been hanging around my stash for such a long time that I told myself I had to use it or donate it. I was so attached to the gingham print that I decided to have a crack at making a skirt.
My second mistake was attempting to doctor the skirt from a dress pattern. In hindsight, I just don’t know enough about garment construction to start winging it yet. There’s only so far common sense can take you.
Somewhere along the line, I either mis-measured, mis-cut or misplaced my sanity because the first incarnation of a finished skirt was enormous. Not just a bit roomy, but too big to stay on.
As it turned out, the shape I cut- a flat fronted, a-line skirt- doesn’t suit me at all. I’d always assumed, as an apple shaped gal, that I should avoid pleats and gathers near my tummy. I couldn’t be more wrong. Luckily there was enough extra room for me to add a couple of pleats to break it up. The waistband and zip had to be unpicked, which took longer than sewing the damn skirt in the first place!
I carefully measured, pinned and stitched my pleats, reattached the zip and waistband and tried it on and… it was too bloody small! I can get it on but its seriously snug which makes the pockets stick out weirdly and stripe of the gingham curve up over my bum, making it look enormous. It’s just hugely uncomfortable and unflattering.
As well as the poor fit, the improvised waistband is untidy, the unpicked/re-stitched zip is messy and the whole thing frays like a bitch. There is no pattern matching to speak of, which I didn’t think I’d mind, but I do. The fabric doesn’t press well at all, so getting a crisp finish is near impossible. In fact, part of me isn’t really sure why I bothered to finish it! Another, more sensible part knows it’s because I’m enjoying the sewing. If this was only about getting more clothes, I could just go shopping and save myself the effort!
Although it’s not a wearable garment (for me anyway), I did learn a lot from making this skirt. So, thank you Gingham Skirt Of Doom for teaching me these lessons:
- There’s a difference between great value, bargain fabric and cheap fabric
- Until I’m more experienced I need a pattern and instructions. Running before I can walk is ill advised.
- Wide waistbands do not suit me. See also a-line, flat fronted skirts.
- Always, always measure twice, cut once
- No amount of pressing will save a cheap, nasty polyester fabric. You might even end up melting your first waistband, but we’ll say no more about that.
- You learn more from your mistakes than your successes
Despite all of this, I remain undeterred. There is still a gingham skirt shaped hole in my wardrobe and I’m determined to fill it. I’ve made a promise to myself that in the next 12 months I’m going to recreate this skirt in nice fabric, in a style that suits me, pattern matched to the hilt, with a neatly inserted zip. Watch this space.