I am Angela and I love to sew. I started sewing as a child and by the time I was a teenager I was wearing the very latest fashions to go out in. All me-made. I am passionate about reducing the amount of textiles sent to landfill, and encourage you to repurpose fabrics and clothes I started this blog in order to have a way in which to pass on my gained knowledge, and my professional knowledge to you, Sewing is empowering, you can save money by making items, make money by selling then, You can pass your knowledge on to others. What is there not to love? Interestingly I am a direct descendant of the Flemish weavers who came over to England in the 1300's. I find that fascinating especially as most of my family from as far back as I can trace are somehow involved in the manufacturing of fabric . . I have a degree in tailoring with a special interest in WW2 fashion.

Wednesday 5 August 2020

Get the fit right! The denim pencil skirt with exposed zipper

Why go to the trouble of making a beautiful garment if it does not fit you perfectly?


Exposed zipper
Top stitching 

I don't know about you but I read a lot of blogs and I see a lot of people showing themselves wearing lovely hand made clothes which quite frankly just do not fit.
What's the point? Why go to all that trouble and expense only to end up with a garment which is either too big, or worse far too small?

I bought some stretch denim Stretch Denim from MinervaCrafts as I wanted to make a skirt. Some stretch fabrics - as this one does, just stretch across the width, some stretch in all directions. You need to ensure that with a two way stretch fabric the stretch goes across the garment.

This is a pencil skirt which needs to be fitted close to the body,  so a fabric with some give in it is perfect. The design has a centre back pleat to make it easier to wear and a long exposed zip down the centre front.

I used the pattern from the Bernina Inspiration magazine which is available to purchase from Bernina UK
The sewing machine I used is a Bernina 350PE from Jaycotts.co.uk

The design in the book has an open metal tooth zip, but I couldn't find an open zip anywhere near to the length I wanted ( it is possible to shorten an open end zipper by removing teeth from the top of the zipper)
I altered the design to accommodate an exposed closed end zip instead.

You will have come across these patterns before, all the various designs and sizes are printed onto both sides of the paper and you need to trace the design you want to make onto tissue paper. Tracing Paper. The easiest way to do it is to identify the pieces and size you require and go over the outlines with a coloured pencil before you attempt to trace anything
You will find the measurements for each size on the pattern sheets. So take your measurements carefully and make a note of them. Identify the size closest to your actual measurements using the larger size if you fall between sizes. Don't forget if your hips and waist fall between two sizes you can merge the seam line between the two sizes and use both.
You will find it much easier to keep your tracing paper still if you use Pattern Weights

You will also need a ruler and a pencil.

This pattern does not have seam allowances so you need to add them. I love this handy and inexpensive gauge to measure my seam allowances which in this case are 5/8" You also need some Tailors Chalk to mark your cutting line.

Cut your pattern out at this stage and mark the pocket positions and darts with tailors tacks using Tacking thread

I wanted to add some pockets to the back of the skirt. There is a lovely product on the market which is a set of Pocket templates, marking and ironing set
This pack contains sets of templates to make  three sizes of pocket. One template is to draw around , the other is to use with your iron to enable you to press perfect corners

I am going to embroider a simple design on each of the pockets so I am not going to cut them out yet.
Instead draw around the template and mark the seam lines. Then measure and mark the centre of the pocket as shown.
This will ensure that your chosen design is dead centre.

There are many Embroidery stabilisers but for this project I wanted to use an iron on stabiliser to ensure that the stretch fabric remained taught during the embroidery process. The product of choice was Gunold iron on stabiliser

The embroidery I chose is by Brother which I got from their website. You will find that there are a lot of free embroidery designs available .
The machine I use is the Brother Innov-is 800e embroidery machine I have written a few blog posts about machine embroidery, but if you would like advice on choosing any machine then do contact Jaycotts on the contact details below.
Do not forget to flip the design for left and right pockets.

When you have finished embroidering your pockets pin and press and put them to one side  I love this pretty Magnetic pin cushion
And you need a supply of Various types of pins . Don't forget that they go blunt with use and need replacing every so often. When disposing of your old ones put them inside a tightly closed container.

 At this stage I tacked the skirt together to check the fit. It was far too large. In the end I pinned and tacked it three times until I was happy with the fit.
I do not understand people who omit this stage. I understand not making a toille for some garments, I usually only do them for a bodice I admit, but please always fit your garment to your body each and every time.  This is the only way you will produce something which is flattering to wear.
Once you have pinned and tacked as many times as it takes carefully remove the garment and mark your new seam lines.
My skirt was reduced in size by a total of eight inches! So can you imagine what it would have looked like on me? And by the way I measured myself carefully and cut out the correct size so please don't take the pattern measurements for granted!

There are limited pattern instructions in the magazine, and if you are reasonably competent at sewing you won't find them a problem.
I repositioned the pockets and darts as I had taken the skirt in so much and then I started working on the front.
The first thing I did was to insert a long exposed zip down the front and then I started work on the side pockets using pink Top stitch thread and a Topstitch needle to add a decorative touch along the pocket opening.

You will need to choose the correct size of needle for your fabric. Topstitch thread is very thick so you definately need one of these needles as they have a large eye.
Topstitch thread comes in lots of colours to blend with or contrast to your fabric.

Then I worked on the back, stitching the pockets in place at the base of the dart and forming a large pleat for wearing ease at the back.
Time to try it on again, so tack the sides and make any last minute adjustments to the fit before attaching the waistband.
I did one buttonhole and used a silver button to match my zip.

I chose not to use a contrasting top stitch to attach the pockets, instead I did two rows of stitching for strength.

The side pockets were also attached with two rows of stitching .

This is the exposed zip in closer detail.

I am delighted with my skirt. It fits me perfectly - as it should do!

The exposed metal zip makes it look a bit different to the rest, and it would be easy to insert into most patterns
This is a very slim fitted skirt, called a pencil skirt. They look very classy in a wool or crepe fabric which I would line.

Have a go at taking a pattern you have not used before and see how well you can get it to fit you. A skirt is a really good garment to start with.

To contact Jaycotts telephone them on 01244 394099
Or fill in the contact form Contact Jaycotts  . You can also pay them a visit and sign up for the newsletter and be the first to hear about new products, sales and so on.

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