I’ve had this one metre piece of faux suede for about 15 years and always envisaged it as a skirt. There have been several original ideas I have had for it that never came to fruition, but in the end I just copied something – and I copied twice!
First it was a Vogue image of Alexa Chung wearing a Marks and Spencer skirt, and second was the image on a Style 1434 pattern I picked up in the Salvation Army Family Store in Oamaru while driving through one day:
Two very different sources, but both steering me in the same direction!
Last year when I went to cut it out, I realised the pocket piece was missing. The main reason I liked this skirt was the pocket shape! I know I can easily make another pocket, but I like to follow period patterns exactly. You know, science.
So I stalled on the project.
Then one day browsing on TradeMe I came across the same pattern, so I bought it hoping it had the pocket piece – and it did! When it arrived, it was a nice surprise to see the sender was Leimomi Oakes of The Dreamstress blog – thanks Leimomi, and how appropriate that it was you who enabled the historical accuracy of this project!
When cutting it out I just managed to squeeze everything out. Being a pile fabric, the skirt had to be cut one way – but to fit everything meant cutting my precious pockets the other way. Risky! I checked and double checked before cutting, but couldn’t discern any difference in shade so forged bravely ahead with the scissors, convincing myself that natural suede has shade variations anyway. Now it is sewn up I think there is a tiny difference, but not enough for anyone to notice.
Another compromise I had to make was adding side seams to the waistband to squeeze it out of the remaining space.
I sewed the zip through the waistband as I like to do nowadays. Not having to button and buttonhole things is a plus 😉
I initially planned on burgundy lining, but when I got to The Fabric Store I thought the brown actually looked better, so brown it is.
I topstitched with 30 weight thread in a slightly paler shade. If you look closely you can see one of the rows down the centre front seam is a shorter stitch length – yip, I lost concentration during all the chopping and changing of thread colours, weights and stitch lengths! I couldn’t bear to unpick it and risk needle holes down the centre front. I am still learning to live with this decision.
You don’t have too look closely to see that I was having tension troubles. Every now and then the topstitching thread would grab underneath, despite sewing well the majority of the time. I did everything I could think of (change needle, tension, slow down, etc) but couldn’t find a solution to this problem – if you have any tips please share!
I cut the size 14 with a 71cm waist, but graded the hip down half a size to fit me. I took a little bit more off the hip curve once assembled to fit my shape better. I also thought the pocket was slightly wide-set so moved it towards the centre front 6mm on either side. Otherwise the skirt is exactly out of the packet – circa 1976!
So I think this skirt qualifies as number two in my 2016 Vintage Pattern Pledge – to sew five vintage patterns in 2016 and make them modern. Three more to go!