If you’ve read my very first post you’ll know it all started with a skirt. A pencil skirt to be precise.
Like most people, I’m don’t have a ‘normal’ body shape. Namely because I have these things called hips. When combined with a small bust and waist, the sizing of garments is a nightmare and pencil skirts have always been a source of chagrin. If a shop-bought pencil skirt is going to fit snugly around my waist, there’s no way I’ll be able to get it over my hips. And I if can get it over my hips, you could fit a baby kangaroo in the gap between my waist and the waistband. I always ended up trying them on in shops and leaving crestfallen with my dreams of a smart work wardrobe dashed. So when My Lovely Sewing Teacher offered to help me make a garment of my choice, I chose a pencil skirt. With my hip-related issues MLST suggested an Amazing Fit pattern to allow me to tailor the skirt to my body shape. I chose Simplicity 1541, and a light grey wool blend from the treasure trove that is Exeter Fabric Centre.
Now. I fully acknowledge that this isn’t the most sensible first project for a novice. Although I’d used a sewing machine in textiles lessons at school, we made cushions and drawstrings bags rather than clothes. MLST tried to warn me, as she has many times since, that my pattern choice was *ahem* ambitious. But I insisted. Because I choose projects and patterns based on what I want to wear, rather than how easy they are to make or my current skill level. For better or worse, as a result I’ve learnt a hell of a lot in a short space of time. With my first make I learnt everything from threading the machine to sewing darts. But most significantly, I learnt how to fit a garment to my body shape. This is done as part of the process on an Amazing Fit pattern, but on my first go I didn’t get it quite right. I was a bit conservative when we were fitting it and went too loose on the waistband, and the skirt ended up sitting much lower than I liked. Because the fit was wrong (and I’m a perfectionist), wearing it made me feel self-conscious and I grew to hate my very first make. I wore it once and then it sat unloved in my wardrobe for several weeks. So I talked MLST in to helping me it.
The alterations involved unpicking the waistband and side seams so that I could re-sew them to create a better fit. Now this was hell on earth. Alterations are a heinous task, and unpicking is soul destroying. Then I discovered that getting the curve of the stitching right to give me the shape and fit I needed required skill beyond my own, and somer serious perseverance. The few couple of goes left puckers in the seams, but MLST cheered me on and eventually I got there. Once the alterations were done, I was in love and wearing the skirt all the time. Here it is in action!
I realise I haven’t talked about styling yet, and that’s one of the reasons we’re all here. The photos of the eponymous skirt, taken by my talented Sister-in-Law Gemma, show a typical way I’d style it for work. Because the skirt is figure hugging, I wear it with a less fitted top. Tucked in, this still emphasises the waist but gives the whole outfit a more pleasing and relaxed shape. I also like to wear the skirt with tops in a much lighter fabric for contrast. Because the skirt is grey, the rest of the outfit, for me, must pop with colour – again, contrast. This blue blouse is one of my favourites – as is the mustard yellow coat. Blue and yellow is a bold colour combination, but one that always pays off and never ceases to make me smile. I always rock a cardigan with my work wardrobe (an underrated item of clothing IMHO), and with a pencil skirt a small heal is a must. The line isn’t quite the same in flats.
The fit of the skirt, and the colour, make this a really empowering and fun outfit to wear. I feel so comfortable and confident in it, which are the two most important things for me when it comes to choosing and wearing clothes. I feel so great in this skirt I’ve already adjusted the pattern pieces to reflect my alterations and made a second skirt in slate grey, and I have three fabrics in my stash lined up for more. ☺️
So there you have it – my very first blog followed by my very first make! Hopefully I’ve given you a good insight in to how the journey started.
Until next week…