This is the official “finished” post, and I’m really happy with how this came out. It actually came out looking just like the picture I had in my head.
At the Bandstand
I do have to thank my lovely boyfriend for suggesting the Castle Grounds for the photoshoot, and for being willing to troll around taking photos of me, and for being a proper artist who knows about composition and colour and light and stuff like that. And since it was quite hard to stop him taking photos once he got started, this is quite a picture-intensive post!
Fabric: purple cotton drill- £6.00, patterned cotton from stash, I only used a tiny bit of it to cut out the appliqués, so I’m calling this free.
Notions: zip- 80p, cotton pearl embroidery thread- £4.05. hem binding- £1.50. Edited to add- a bit of interfacing from stash- I’m counting that as free.
Sadly, although I was using one of the notions (the purple tape measure) to help make this when I was cutting out, there’s nothing concrete from the pattern & notions swap in the fabric of this skirt.
Pantone Challenge colors: main colour: Acai, slightly pastelled down. Accent colours in the appliqués: Emerald, Koi, even a touch of Vivacious.
Pattern:McCalls 3830. I’ve used this twice before so I’m counting it as zero cost.
Time to complete: A couple of hours for the basic skirt, what seemed like an eternity (but is actually more like 13 hours) for applying and embroidering the appliqués!
First worn: On Sunday. And again Tuesday.
Wear again?: Definitely! It fits so well in with my existing wardrobe.
Total Cost: £12.35
The pattern is my faithful McCalls straight skirt- it’s dead simple, it’s just a plain straight skirt.
I went for mid-way between views C & D, so it’s on the knee. I did start by trying to make it a bit more A-line, by angling the side seams out, but it didn’t look right, so I cut them back to straight again. So essentially, I stuck to the pattern. I suspect I didn’t start the angling of the sides high up enough, I’ll know better next time I try it.
Stuff I did that was new for me:
The whole appliqué business. I’d decided from the off that I wanted to have a plain skirt that was embellished in some way, and when I found the accent fabric in my pitifully small stash, and the colours were so damn perfect for the challenge palette, as well as for my base fabric colour, it was self-evident to me that it would be cut-out shapes from the accent fabric appliquéd to the plain skirt. I might use different techniques another time, but I like what I did with it here. Basically, I cut shapes out from the accent fabric, tacked them onto the skirt, then used a rough satin stitch with black cotton perlé embroidery thread to fix them in place more permanently. The black embroidery gives the shapes clear definition, and adds a bit of texture to the skirt.
Appliqué Detail- that black line at the bottom of the skirt is shadow, not an edging!
I also did a bound hem for the first time, which I think is really pretty and I’ll be doing again. I used a lilac satin bias binding, and it feels lovely on my legs!
Stuff that stressed me at the time:
The zip just would not behave!* It took four goes, and its still not one of my better zip insertions, but khalas, it’s done.
Having got started on the appliqué embroidery, I was overwhelmed by panic that it would take forever to do, and that I wouldn’t have enough supplies of embroidery cotton. I had visions of having to photograph the skirt only from the front because that was the only bit that I’d finished! Here, have a back view photo, to prove that I did complete the embroidery all the way round!
The Back View
What I don’t love so much about this skirt:
I did zig-zags to finish the seams, and it’s just not as nice as turning & sewing, or adding a proper binding. So it’s not as pretty on the inside as I’d like. Lesson learned for next time- finish the seams more nicely.
What I DO love about this skirt:
The colour! I love love love the purple, and I also love that I’m wearing a colour that I’ve avoided like the plague for years, albeit in homeopathically small quantities and well away from my face- I’m not stupid!
I also do love the appliqués with quite a passion, and I will definitely be doing something like this again.
And since I have lots of photos of me up by the Castle, here’s a few more.
It’s been fun sewing this skirt, and you can check back over my earlier posts about this skirt using the “the You Mean I’m Wearing Orange?!” tag in the list over on the right there. I loved the colour challenge, and I’m SO looking forward to seeing everyone else’s creations all together.
But the main thing this Challenge has taught me is that all those Sew Weekly Contributors were INSANELY productive!!! This skirt (a measly straight skirt for heaven’s sake, it’s not exactly ambitious!) took me two pretty intense weeks** to make (and a third week to get photographed nicely), and I was getting all panicky and stressed over it. The Sew Weekly contributors were making far more complex and amazing outfits in just one week, routinely, and taking it in their stride. Kudos to you all, Sew Weekly people- I salute your work!
And finally, because there always has to be *one* goofy shot, here’s the Alice Through the Looking Glass statue, because Lewis Carroll died in Guildford, because he stayed with his sisters who lived here, when he wasn’t at Oxford.
Béa Through the Looking Glass
* It was all my own fault, not the poor zip’s.
** Well, to be honest, more like one easy messing-about week and one intense, stressy, panicky week.