Great British Sewing Bee I salute you! Every episode I watch I become more enthralled with the abilities of those talented sewers: tailoring, customising, pattern reading (ish – anyone else fully sympathise with Lynda’s temptation to constantly not follow the steps?). It inspires and leaves me feeling completely overwhelmed all at the same time. But I’ve always wanted to be able to make my own clothing – actually that’s possibly taking it a bit far… I’d like to make one thing and make it well and want to wear it after I’d made it. Not asking for much is it?
So I’ve been doing some internet trawling for patterns that promise, and deliver on that promise, easy steps to making garments that are wearable and fit my style. The first (and seemingly most simple) pattern I discovered was for an easy jersey pencil skirt. You can find the original tutorial here: it’s from the incredibly talented and stylish Elena at Randomly Happy. No lining and only two pieces to cut out before you can start construction – my type of tutorial!
You Will Need:
- Large sheet of paper/paper stuck together to make your pattern
- Jersey (1m)
- Tape measure
- Sewing machine
Step One: Measurements
Measure each area and write it down with the following headings:
Waist- measure around the smallest area where your skirt will sit on your waist
Hip – the largest part around your hips/thighs/bum
Rise – measure from your waist to your hips
Length – measure from your hips to your knees/where your want your skirt to finish
Step Two: Pattern Making
On your paper draw out a pattern for a quarter of your skirt. If you don’t have a big sheet of paper wrapping paper will do – or you could sellotape smaller pieces together as I’ve done below. Start by drawing a rectangle the width of your Hip measurement divided by 4 PLUS 1cm for seam allowance, and the length of your Rise Plus Length measurement PLUS 4cm for seam allowance.
Now at the top of your rectangle change the width to your Waist Measurement divided by 4 plus 1cm for seam allowance. From the waistline down mark where your rise measurement comes to and then draw in a curve between these two points to shape how the skirt will nip in at the waist.
The tutorial I followed also calls to bring the skirt in at the base but I chose to keep it straight as I find that shape a little more flattering on me.
Stage Three: SNIP SNIP
Using your freshly made pattern it’s time to cut out the two halves of your skirt. First check what direction the bias is in by stretching the fabric side to side and top to bottom. Whichever is stretchier is your bias and is what you want running horizontally across the skirt. Fold your jersey, place the long, uncurved side of your pattern on the fold, pin and cut out. Now repeat so you end up with two matching skirt halves.
Step Four: Sew N Sew
Place and pin your two skirt pieces together rights sides in. Now sew both sides up – I used a zigzag stitch. It’s worth trying on the skirt once you’ve sewn one side to get a sense of fit. I suddenly realised my skirt was far too big. I must have been overgenerous with my seam allowances!
Sew up the second side and once you’re happy with the fit trim your seams.
Step Five: Waist Band-it
Time for waistbands and hems. For your waist band turn the skirt inside out and fold down the top 1 inch, and then repeat and pin so you have a slightly thicker and stronger waistband. Sew along the bottom of the fold.
Now do the same for your bottom hem – but only fold once. Sew into place and trim the excess fabric.
Finito! My first piece of clothing made from scratch! A super easy and very clear tutorial – I’m definitely going to try it again with some other colours, and I’d like to play around with the length and extra embellishments too!
Photography by Hannah Cox. Covered under copyright © creativise
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