I couldn't wait to get started on my very first sewing patterns (both from the lovely ladies at ByHand London), the Charlotte Skirt and the Victoria Blazer (more on Victoria here).

Eyeing some of the beautiful creations made by other talented stitchers out there, I opted for plain black cotton topped with thick black lace (found on my first trip to Walthamstow market). To cater for my short little legs, I took up the skirt by about 6” from the original pattern.

To give the skirt a bit of movement, I decided to make up the 2 skirts separately, joining them together at the waistband and the zip. I encased the lace seams with black bias binding,but unfortunately this created quite a bit of bulk at the side seams. 

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When it came to stitching the zip, that's when the fun began. Confident with the successful test run on my muslin (and armed with ByHand London's invisible zipper tutorial for back up) I thought it would be a breeze. But after my first attempt, I could barely close up the zip. So the unpicking began...

I grabbed some cotton black binding from my sewing box, which I thought would make a nice feature whilst keeping the teeth of the zip away from the lace! So I started sewing the binding on top of the zip...on top of the lace...on top of the cotton...ok, so it wasn’t the lace that was the problem, but rather than huge volume of fabric that was causing the zip to jam!  So I unpicked the zip for the third time...(I had to unpick a second time when I sewed the zip on the wrong way!)

By this point, I just wanted to finish the skirt, so I stitched the zipper directly on to the binding, and stitched the binding to the skirt (reinforcing it afterwards by encasing the seams together...fingers crossed this skirt passes the test of time)

The skirt fits like a glove so, all in all, despite my attempts of self-sabotage by deciding to use such a tricky fabric, I'm really pleased with it.

Just don't look too closely at the finishing ;)

Learnings for next time:

  • Beware of lace!: Lace is problematic at the best of times, but heavy thick lace is even worse. 

  • The last inch at the top of my zip still won't do up - it seems I stitched too close to the teeth (is that even possible?)

  • Bulk at the side seams: in an attempt to neaten the raw edges of lace by encasing the seams with binding. I must try French seams next time (which I'm trying out for the first time on my Anna dress).

  • Stiffen up the waistband: although a really lovely feature, interfacing would definitely help the waistband stand up proud.

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