A new skirt

Have you ever noticed that the more you nit-pick, the less you get done?  I’ve learned a few things from my muslins–mostly that sewing muslins doesn’t put clothes in the closet.

And right now, I *need* new clothes!  I’m still doing Project 333–I think it has been a full year since I first began.  I’m seeing more and more blog posts and videos about it.  Many are calling it a “minimalist” wardrobe, which I suppose it is. I never thought of it that way because “minimalism” always seemed synonymous with “deprived” to me.

Funny I don’t feel deprived at all with very few items in my closet.

It feels just right.

As usual at the beginning of a 3-month period, I’ve come up short.  I think I counted 20 items in my closet, necessitating a visit to winter’s storage box to get me by for a week or two.

Sewing was at a standstill as I had disposed of most of my fabric, and felt mostly uninspired when I perused the on-line offerings.  We won’t even talk about what’s available locally.

Last week Craftsy came to my rescue!  I usually don’t think fabric when I think Craftsy, but they happened to send me an advertisement for some kits on clearance.  When I was looking through them, I kept thinking “I like that fabric, but that pattern doesn’t suit me.”  Or worse, “I like that, but they are sold out of my size.”

Duh.  You don’t have to *use* their pattern.  Looking through the selection with new eyes, I found 5 nice fabrics in colors and fibers that suit me!

Simplicity 3796The one they were selling as “Gilded Garden Day Dress” found new life as a skirt.  I sewed this one from OOP Simplicity 3796, which I had previously only used for its cargo pockets.

I doubt I’ll sew it again–that little ruffly drawstring might not be me.  But it’s a wearable skirt and it matches three tops in my spring wardrobe!

The other Craftsy fabrics, cottons and linens, will be pants or cropped pants.  I’ll reach back for my old OOP McCall’s 6082 for at least one of those.  Four or five years ago I made two dandy pairs of capris with that pattern, and I only threw out the denim one last year.

If there’s enough fabric for another skirt, it will be Kwik Sew 3287.  I made that one back in 2008 and wore it out!

That’s enough bottoms for spring, I think.  I’m still wearing last year’s batch of  Old Navy tees on top, though I’m kind of tired of them.  Once I get some new bottoms done, I may think about some different tops to round out my capsule.


Vogue 8837, the skirt

I hit the ground running with a new skirt! I had cut this out on December 31, but had to put it aside when the next wave of company arrived. After they all left on January 1, I finished sewing and added the new skirt to the closet!

This is the Katharine Tilton skirt from Vogue 8837. It’s a simple skirt with some nice details.  I had to sew carefully to keep all the topstitching straight, but I finished with no problem.


Two years ago I made a couple of pairs of pants from the pattern, but hadn’t tried the skirt. Something about instructions that required overlapping the side seams just put me off. Fortunately I read a review that offered insight into avoiding that frustration.

The reviewer suggested a sewing order that had you hem the back and then sew the side seams right sides together.  Finally you topstitched the front.  That worked out great except that the back topstitching didn’t come to an upside down “v” at the vent the way it did on the pattern instructions.  (I suspect that required some cursing finagling to get right …)  So I added in a little triangle there.  It looks nice, not that anyone can see it on the dark fabric.

Triangle stitching at hem vents

I also added some topstitching to those center front and back seamlines.  I saw no reason to put them on the skirt if I didn’t emphasize them somehow.

Added topstitching

Oh!  and I used my coverstitch machine for all the topstitching, so no extra points for my topstitching.   :blush:


Half circle skirt


Whew! It’s only been a few days since I was in here, but what a few days! Mr H had another stroke.  It was a small one this time–praise the Lord. We were at the hospital for 8 days, but it felt like 30.  He’s home now and recovering nicely.

Since this *is* my personal soap box, let me give you a PSA on stroke awareness and survival. If your spouse/partner/friend/housemate has a headache and then behaves strangely, get him/her to the hospital!

Since I had seen a stroke before, I did not simply roll over and go to sleep when Mr H had a headache then fell asleep in front of the TV.  For him, that was abnormal behavior.  (He never–absolutely never–turns out the lights on Star Trek!)  I tried to rouse him and got no response, so I called 911.

Don’t learn the hard way!  If something seems off, check it out!  It’s prolly nothing, but better safe than sorry.

That didn’t hurt too much, did it?  Forewarned is Forearmed.

I did do some sewing in the weeks prior to my surprise trip to town that I have not told you about. Since I’m sewing to liberate stash, it’s a mixed bunch.  There was the funky-doodle top that you can see sticking out of today’s skirt, which the jury is still out on, and a velour hoodie that I love.  Today, though, I want to show you my  half-circle skirt.

34" skirt

I still haven’t sewn the hooks on the back waistband, but I’ll get to it eventually.  (You’d think I’d have found some time while sitting at the hospital, wouldn’t you?)  I put in an extra-wide lapped zipper, on an underlap waistband.

Back lapped zipper and under lapped waistband

Though I used the By Hand London Circle Skirt App to calculate the waist radius, I used Designing Apparel Through the Flat Pattern for drafting the skirt.  The Circle skirt app kept telling me that I couldn’t make a pattern on 45″ or 60″ fabric, which made no sense to me…my waist isn’t *that* big!  Since I’m past wearing the 20″ skirt that they said would fit on my fabric,  I had to find another resource which turned out to be one of my yard-sale drafting books.


The relevant instructions were very thorough, and even showed how to convert the pattern to use side seams rather than a center back seam.  I used the radius that BHL gave me–no use doing extra math–and drew the skirt out 34″.


Once I got my head around what the pattern should look like and taped together enough tracing paper, it was simple.  This is 54″ suiting spread in a single layer on the floor.  The straight waistband was simply a rectangle and is not shown here.  The book tells you how to make that, too, if you need help.

Draft from book

This project was so fun and easy that I might make some shorter versions for warmer weather.  For this one, I’m planning a shirt and a wrap that I hope to start on any day now.

Green Linen Skirt

Skirt worn with paisley top

Project: Nifty & Neat skirt with added pockets
Pattern: Ottobre Woman 2/2013, #4
Size: 40
Fabric: Linen blend

Got back in the sewing room yesterday to sew up my new skirt. I wanted to wear it to church this morning, and managed to push through and finish.

Of course I changed a couple of things. ( :rolleyes: )

Obviously I added some pockets, and I couldn’t think of a reason in the world to line this skirt so I didn’t. The pockets are rounded with pleats and hold a cell phone handily.

Added front pockets

After I constructed the pockets, I held them in place on the skirt to decide where to put them. I was a little worried about the gathers interfering with the pocket openings, but they look fine. (Probably my tum jutting out at just that spot helps a lot.)

Speaking of the gathers, I was tempted to skip them. The darts are marked on the pattern so that you can add them to the lining. It would have been very easy to sew those on the skirt instead of the gathers. In the interest of following the magazine as much as possible, I used them.

In back I installed the invisible zipper incorrectly. It went in easily enough, but I finished off the back waistband entirely wrong due to my apparent inability to follow written instructions. I searched the instructions over several times trying to figure out what to do, but finally gave up and finished it as I would a lapped zipper. It’s okay, but bringing the zipper up to the top of the waistband (PROPERLY!) would have been much better.


I feel kinda stupid now that I’ve located the instructions… :blush:


It won’t stop me from wearing and liking the skirt!

Salvage job

Project: Chambray skirt
Pattern: Simplicity 5723
Size: 14 1/2
Fabric: 100% cotton from stash

Some projects just don’t turn out like you planned. Agreed? This is one of those

Chambray skirt

It being summer and my requiring appropriately-pocketed dresses had me perusing sewing blogs for inspiration.  I found this 1964 vintage dress pattern at A Dress A Day, and it looked perfect–not too full, waistline seam, cap sleeves.  All I had to do was add some pockets, which I’ve done plenty of times.

An Etsy vendor offered the pattern in my size and I quickly clicked “Add to cart”. When it arrived, I *knew* I had found the holy grail of summer dresses.

When something seems to be too good to be true, it usually is, right?

The completed dress was the most unflattering rag I have put on in a long time!  I joke about having prison matron tastes, but that dress was beyond anything even *I* could consider wearing outside my sewing room.  Though it looked a lot like the vintage Vogue 7618 dress I made a while back, it was much less flattering thanks to the higher neckline and the plain chambray fabric.

The offensive beast didn’t hit the trash can immediately because I loved the skirt!  Like any sewing wo/man with a sharp seam ripper, I considered the options:   I could recut the bodice from a flattering pattern.  I could modify the neckline.  I could sew on a scarf to decorate the boring neckline.

In the end, the easiest thing to do was to simply cut off the bodice and let it be a skirt.

Now I’m back on the hunt for a summer dress pattern with pockets.  I’ll let you know if I come up with anything.