Dotty Philippa

This is a tale of two halves, of highs and lows, of my epic stupidity… Who would have thought a cute little skirt could cause such drama? 

  
Before I get into my tale of woe, a small disclaimer: I’m friends with Kat, who owns/operates/designs for Muse Patterns. However, I paid for this pattern with my own pennies, and I’ll do my best to provide an unbiased account of sewing it up. 

  
I was super excited when Muse Patterns released the Philippa Dress, I had been looking for a simple princess seamed sheath dress with pockets incorporated into the bottom of the princess lines so that I could copy a RTW dress I had seen. I couldn’t find anything that had the pockets I was looking for, so I was on the verge of modifying a princess seamed sheath to use the pockets from the Xerea dress when Kat anounced her latest release. It was pretty much exactly what I was after (minus sleeves, but thats a much easier addition than what I thought I was going to have to do!), so I snapped it up. 

  

Now, eagle eyed readers will have noticed that this is not, in fact, a dress. One thing I really appreciate about Muse Patterns is the variety of options incorperated into their patterns, similar to what you get from a big 4 pattern. I had a short length of this lovely soft Japanese corduroy, so I thought I’d try the skirt first, rather than making a somewhat unseasonal dress. It has the same cool pockets and seaming on the back as the dress, but with a lapped zipper and a narrow straight waistband.

  

  

The front half of the skirt came together easily. I used a small scrap of black lining for the pocket bag to decrease bulk, and decided that I couldn’t even come close to pattern matching across the side panels with the amount of fabric I had which made cutting easy. Unfortunately, I had a moment of complete reading comprehension failure when I was looking over the instructions, and I sewed everything together with a 1.5cm seam allowance. When I held it up, I thought the front looked very small. Looking back at the instructions, I realised that there was a 1cm seam allowance and a 1.5cm hem allowance. I was so annoyed with myself! I was able to let the vertical seams out by 5mm each, but the horizontal and angled seams in the pockets were going to be a total bastard to fix, so I just left them. I was careful to sew the back panels so that the angled seams were also at 1.5cm, so that they matched the pocket angle at the side seams. Then I was extra careful to sew the side seams together at 1cm!
  

Unfortunately, being soft corduroy, the initial seam lines (which I had pressed and steamed) were still very visible along the front of the skirt. I spent some time steaming them without letting the iron touch the pile, and then I rubbed it gently with my fingernail to fluff the pile back up again. It worked up to a point, but the lines are still a bit visible. 

I also chose to use an invisible zip rather than a lapped zip, as I didn’t have any standard zippers! Other than that, I followed the pattern as written.
  

I thought this skirt was going to be a bit of a disaster at the half way point, and I was so cross with myself for wasting this fabric, but I actually love the end result. The corduroy creases like nothing on earth though! I ironed it just before taking these pictures, but sitting down for 2 minutes and walking around the house caused the creases across the front and in the back…I’ll just need to embrace the slightly rumpled look. I have to say that I don’t think I gave either pattern or fabric the attention or got the result they deserved, but at least I got a wearable skirt in the end. I’m excited to make the dress up in a cute spotty chambray, hopefully I’ll remember to check the seam allowances next time!

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Hurrah for Hollyburn!

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Well, apparently I do remember how to use my sewing machine for sewing woven garments! I made up this skirt over a few evenings after work last week, and I’m actually really happy with it.

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This pink wool has been in my fabric stash the longest of any uncut length I have. I bought it on a bit of a whim, because I liked the colour (and it was on sale, I think), but I’ve never really had any plans for it. I think at one point I had aspirations to turn it into a Colette Anise jacket, but after struggling through a couple of Colette makes I just couldn’t face the fitting marathon! Maybe one day I’ll take on the challenge. But for now, I thought I would stick to something simple, and the Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt definitely fit the bill. Because it was such a nice simple shape, and there are relatively few pattern pieces, I decided to try adding in some piping detail around the waistband and pockets.

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Piping is fun! I wanted to cut down on the pink a bit, so I chose a dark charcoal cotton bias binding. I tried to finish everything as cleanly as possible. Finishing has always been something I’ve been pretty slack about, I’m ashamed to say! Originally i considered binding all of my seams with the same bias binding I used for the piping, but I was worried about adding too much bulk. So I overlocked all of my edges instead, and used the binding around the bottom of the pockets and to hem the skirt.

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Everything was moving along very smoothly, until I tried to put in the zip! I’ve never put in anything but an invisible zip, which in hindsight I should have used for this skirt as well, but the pattern didn’t expressly call for one and I just didn’t think about it. After my fourth disastrous attempt to put it in using my machine, the zipper tape was looking a bit ratty (and so was I, after unpicking it so many times), so I decided to attempt putting it in by hand.

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Its…ok. I can’t seem to get the piping at the waistband to stop pulling away from the zipper teeth, which is annoying. I’m considering going and buying an invisible zip, but I’m a bit worried that the piping would interfere with that too…Any suggestions about how to fix my current zip (or tutorials for how to sew a normal zip in by machine) would be greatly appreciated!

Problems with the zip aside, I really like this skirt. This is the shortest, fullest version (i think its supposed to be mini-length, but I’m short!). I would like to make another one up in the midi-length, maybe in some swishy black wool. This skirt is excellent for swishing…

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…swish!