I got a new sewing machine for my birthday and I loves it. Despite asking for it, I hadn’t expected to actually get it, so it was a lovely surprise. My birthday was last month, but it didn’t work when I first received it, so it went back to the shop for repairs, and then I was on holiday, and then I got it back and was excited all over again. Aside from the disappointment of receiving a broken machine, GUR were really helpful about getting it fixed, and were happy to hold onto it while I was away.
I wanted to test out my new machine with something new, rather than just finish off something which I was already working on, it seemed more exciting. I’d bought this Cynthia Rowley pattern because I was after a sleeveless blouse pattern, and I thought the other two designs looked interesting too. This pattern has the added design option of adding a whole bunch of fringing to everything. Yeah, I’m going to give that a miss.
For a first bash at the pattern, I decided to make the skirt. It has pockets and asymmetric pleats. When Andrea made her dress from this pattern, she changed the pleats so they were symmetrical, and I really like the look of that with the fabric she used. As my fabric is quite a bold print, and as this was my first time using the pattern, I decided to follow the instructions and stick with the chaos which Cynthia and pals had so carefully marked out.
Sewing this up with my new machine was a joy. Everything worked, and nothing made any terrible noises. I got a bit confused with the instructions when it came to attaching the pockets, since one of them is next to the zip, but I worked it out in the end. I haven’t made this type of skirt before, so it was a bit of a mystery to me. Basically, on one side you attach the pocket front to the front and the pocket back to the back, then sew the side seam around the edge of the skirt and pocket. For the side with the zip, you attach the pocket front to the skirt front, then attach the pocket back to the pocket front, before basting it shut. Then you pop an invisible (or fairly visible in my case – must buy an invisible zip foot) zip into the side seam. It’s logical once you get going. Due to my uncertainty, one of my pockets is big enough for my massive hands, but the other one is a squeeze – I’m less likely to lose things out of the little one, though.
I cut a 14, because that matched up with my current measurements and I figured it would be pretty easy to take in if needed. After attaching the zip, I tried it on and found that it was about an inch too big at the waist. Thank God for asymmetric pleating – I just took a random chunk out of it somewhere, and never looked back. I decided to leave the waistband as a size 14, figuring I could just add an extra closure to it to stop it poking out. In the end, it wasn’t that much longer than it needed to be, and I decided to close it with a button, rather than just a hook and eye.
The fabric I used is actually a duvet from Primark which cost me £12 (and yes, I was upset that a sheet wasn’t included for that price). I know shopping in Primark is a bad thing, but I needed jeans and I have no money. I didn’t find the jeans, so ended up spending my money on two duvet covers (even I’m intrigued to see what I create with grey and white fabric covered in bikes with little birds sitting on them). I’d been wanting to make something in leopard print for a while, and this seemed like as good a time as any. As you’d expect from a £12 duvet cover, it’s quite a crunchy fabric. This works quite well with the skirt, as it helps to add body. It actually sticks out quite nicely to the front and the back, but I was rushing to take pictures so didn’t think to take a side view. I don’t know how comfy it would be for the top half – I guess we’ll find out when I make a matching blouse! I had some concerns that it may be a little see through, but actually I think it’s fine.
When I was sewing with my old machine, I’d always dread trying new stitches or doing anything new, because it would invariably be a total nightmare. With my new machine, I’m actually keen to try new things – I just made my first buttonhole! I did a blind hem! A whole new world of sewing options is opening up to me!
Part of the reason I made this skirt in this fabric was to spite my mum, who doesn’t like animal prints, and who bet me that I wouldn’t make it. I’m pleased I did, because I think it’s something I’ll get a lot of wear out of in the summer. It’s nice to try fabrics that are outside of your comfort zone sometimes, and in this case it’s resulted in something I can’t wait to wear again! My mum has since deemed it “surprisingly alright”. I think Ben could be classed as “warming to it”. My step dad seemed to actually like it, and said that the zip wasn’t that noticeable because of the folds.
Another part of the reason I made this skirt now is that the first time I met Zoe, she was wearing at least 75% leopard print, so I thought this would be a very appropriate Me Made May make.