As soon as I saw that Pattern Review was holding a Sewing Bee type contest I got worked up. Ideas flooded my mind, I made a list that covered an entire page. I entered early and waited anxiously for the details on our first challenge. I seriously woke up at the crack of dawn that day to find out what it was. I saw it was an A-line skirt. I went back to bed.
I am not a huge fan of A-line skirts. I have been obsessed with pencil skirts and tulip skirts, even a circle skirt has been on my radar. But I felt completely uninspired by this challenge.
Until I thought of the great idea of drafting my own pattern! I decided to use it to learn some new pattern making skills. Then it occurred to me to use some leather trim, and I was off and running. I had a mauve wool blend I had thrifted awhile back, and some sandwashed silk that is heaven used as a lining.
The problem is, I had already wasted 2 days resisting. But, a skirt is easy to sew up, right? I drafted up my pattern during an evening of learning fun (had several books open like in college), then the next night I cut (I HATE CUTTING) and then realized I only had 2 days left to sew it up. I slapped my own butt to get in gear.
Turns out, yes, it is an easy sew, but it still takes time. Especially with the added challenge of fitting. Yes, I still had fit issues with a pattern I drafted just for me. Darts are kind of a guessing game until you get it on your actual bottom half. My back darts ended up a little bit pointy, too, because I had to take them in again and did not taper them enough on the second pass.
Wool is ravelly, so is silk, so each seam was sewn then serged. And since I didn’t have instructions per se, I had to think carefully about my order of construction. I sewed the box pleat down in the front instead of into the seam because I wasn’t sure how low I wanted it to allow for hand ease in the pocket. There were many calculations and adjustments like that. In the end, I suspect that this simple skirt took a total of 8 hours to complete. Whew!
As with most things, I want to immediately make it again so I can do it better, but the reality is that A-line skirts are still not my favorite silhouette, and I probably don’t need 2 of them. I like many things about this skirt, like the way it hangs after I shifted the grainline (my left side is better than my right) and the leather looks cool, even though I did break a needle because I just used 14 universal. I didn’t have a leather needle on hand! I love my zipper insertion and the way my lining covers the sipper tape beautifully. And I did learn more about pattern drafting, so, goal achieved there. Whether I make it to the next round of the sewing bee is less important than my learning experience and the chance to watch like 10 episodes of Gray’s Anatomy. That show is bananas, but I enjoy it!