It's another denim skirt, but a short one - not enough fabric for another long one. I had to redesign my original pattern from a classic A-line to a straighter shape with less flaring for the short version as otherwise it would have stuck out too much at the sides. I know this, because my first attempt did stick out too much at the sides and had to be re-sewed to streamline it. This was another slightly unnerving foray into the unknown, as I had no idea whether simply taking the seam in, would do much good if the overall shape was out of kilter, but remembering my teenage days, when we all borrowed our mothers' sewing machines on the quiet and re-sewed the leg seams in our jeans to make them tighter-fitting, with never a qualm, (anyone else remember doing this?) I took the risk. And it worked - the superfluous width in the sideseams, that had stuck out rather alarmingly when I tried it on, had disappeared and in its place emerged a new and streamlined, rather well-fitting shape. Probably more by accident than design, but never mind, who's telling?!
In the last couple of weeks or so I've been devoting every spare minute to Christmas present-making but this last weekend, with an unexpectedly free Saturday afternoon, in a sudden selfish urge, I threw off the present-making to make this for me. Sorry, but I did. And the good news is that it didn't take long - no more than a twinkle of an eye, in real terms.
I am so enjoying making garments that really fit me. Everyone has different quirks to their shape and commercial patterns, although they mostly allow you to shorten or lengthen them, don't offer the flexibility of drawing out something from your own measurements. It's been very encouraging too to discover that if it isn't quite right to begin with, it's possible to tweak it, until it is. Hitherto I've always felt that if a pattern hasn't ended up fitting very well, either it's my amateur sewing skills that are not quite up to the mark or it's simply not a good pattern for my shape and in either scenario there's not much I can do. But no longer!
It's also the case that wonderful though commercial patterns are and I have a whole stack of them, covering everything from babies' sunbonnets to adults summer dresses, toddler dungarees to skirts I've made for myself over the years, as well as pyjamas in a range of sizes to fit small boys and now big ones, they are quite expensive to buy individually. Being able to draw one's own pattern from scratch is going to save quite a lot of money. I don't feel confident enough to draw out anything too complicated (yet!) but you never know where it will end!
Making your own clothes is not always a frugal option - you can spend a fortune on beautiful fabric and handmade buttons, trimmings etc - and sometimes saving money isn't the point of the exercise but to be able to conjure up a new garment for next to nothing has a delight all its own. This was made entirely from what I had in the cupboard apart from the 20 cm zip for which I did have to splash out the princely sum of £1.90 - the fabric was leftover from the previous skirt (and even if I'd had to buy it I would barely have needed three quarters of a metre so we are talking Seriously Frugal Clothing here!), the bias binding (used to bind the facing and the false hem) was made out of a long term resident fat quarter from my fabric stash, the thread was a colour already in stock in my wooden, Belgian chocolate / reels of thread box and the finishing touch, the Edelweiss braid, I had bought a length of in Cologne.
And although I had given half the braid away, there was just enough left to make a wonderful Alpine-flowered border for this little number and two useful little loops to hang the skirt from. Perfect!
I feel I am too old now, in my late forties, to wear skirts that are too short but I do find plain, straight skirts above the knee comfortable and practical and they are perfect for pairing with thick, woolly tights and cosy cardigans in the colder months of the year. Which means most of the year in this country. While in Germany, I bought several pairs of wonderfully-patterned, thick, "Strumpfhose"- some stripy ones and some, I have to admit it, slightly startling ones, patterned with snowflakes and squirrels(!) There are not many days, in my book, that cannot be cheered by a pair of loudly colourful and patterned, thick, woolly tights. I know, I know, call me shallow if you will!! I am unrepentant! If you do not have such an article of clothing in your wardrobe I recommend investing in a pair pronto, to fend off the winter blues both literally and metaphorically. They are a wonderful way of giving a whole new lift to existing clothing without spending too much or having to invest in a whole new outfit. Although to put the cost thing in perspective, the tights will cost you more to buy than this skirt would cost you to make, even from scratch!
Anyway as you can see, my new Edelweiss skirt pairs quite nicely, I think, with these jolly German stripes and "all is cosy, all is bright," to paraphrase the immortal words of "Silent Night"! Now I must get back on track with what I am supposed to be sewing and hooking in my free time! An update on some of that to come. My sewing machine has never worked so hard! You can see some of its output hanging up on the right of the pic but we had so much trouble getting a pic that was remotely decent (Mrs T is not at all photogenic) I didn't like to make the long-suffering photographer go round again to eliminate extraneous background!
If you fancy a similar skirt yourself, have a go! It really was so easy - just draw out the top of the skirt as for a normal A-line one (as per the Sew What!) instructions and then instead of drawing a straight line flaring out from the top at each side all the way from waist to hem, take the flare only as far as the widest point of your hips and then draw a gentler line at less of an angle from your hip point to your desired length. Couldn't be simpler. And if, like me, you find the sides stick out a bit to begin with, just re-sew until you've got it how you like it.
Conventionally, short straight skirts tend to have their zips at the back so this is what I did with mine, simply making the back of the skirt in two panels instead of one with extra fabric allowed for the seam allowance in the centre back into which I inserted the zip instead of at the side.