Goal: A versatile basic maternity skirt I can wear throughout my pregnancy
Reality: A skirt perfect for a pregnant schoolgirl (with added ass-bunching) which through knashing of teeth and vomit became a garment acceptable for office wear
So, this skirt took ages to make (a month, on and off). Much, much longer than it really should have considering that I have made this pattern twice before. There were times when I wanted to throw it out the window but the fact that I really needed it kept me going.
I used view A of the Sewaholic Crescent skirt plus Tabatha Tweedie's excellent maternity alteration. When Tabatha included her Crescent skirt in her end of year round up, I knew immediately that it would be perfect for me. Unfortunately the project wasn't as straightforward as I hoped - nothing to do with Tabatha's excellent alteration I should add, but rather a series of unfortunate events.
I had intended to make a black, lined version but things didn't work out that way. As you will see, my skirt is grey. And straight. With a split at the back. Want to know why? Read on...
Here's a summary of the making process:
- Bought fabric in Mandors, although neither of the people I spoke to had heard of double knit or interlock jersey but I managed to find something that seemed right. Unfortunately the colour choice was limited and there was no black so I chose grey.
- In looking for a fabric to match the grey double knit (used for the waistband) I settled on a grey poly which was a close colour match. I paired this with a striped grey and pink lining. I did wonder why I bought this since I don't like or wear pink, but it goes well with the fabric.
- Cut the pieces are started to assemble. This was a little tricky as I was using the pattern instructions plus Tabatha's tutorial AND Tasia's guide to adding a lining. All that multi-tasking was trying to my poor little brain, but I got there in the end
- Tried it on when zip inserted. Oh dear or dear oh dear. Although this was the less gathered version of the skirt, the gathers looked bloody horrendous. The front looked really weird but the back of the skirt was outrageously unflattering, with huge sticky-out bunchy gathers like some kind of bustle.
- At this point I realised the fabric was basically the same material used for making school skirts and trousers. Meaning I was essentially making a skirt perfect for a pregnant schoolgirl. This wasn't the look I had intended.
- In the end I had to take in several inches from the sides to reduce the width plus unpick the back waistband and zip to remove fabric from the gathers. This was frustrating, fiddly and took ages to get right.
- I added a split in the back to ensure I could move without splitting it
- In a final act of indignity, the cat vomited on the skirt just prior to hemming the lining.
How do I feel about the final skirt?
Despite its numerous imperfections (bit on the side waistband that won't sit flat, zip that should be neater, my lazy machine-sewn hems, lining that sits a bit weirdly, pockets that ended up different sizes of small due to alterations) I know I will wear this skirt a lot and I am hoping it will last to well into my pregnancy until I am utterly sick of the sight of it. I mean, yes, it could have been much better made but I have already worn it a couple of times per week for about 4 weeks.
I definitely took a few short cuts in the finishing but honestly, I just wanted the skirt finished so I could move on to another project and actually start wearing it. The finished skirt is actually closer to the popular Simplicity 2451, which I have also made, and I think the waistband alteration would work just as well for that pattern.
I'm actually pretty happy with the resulting skirt - massive thanks to Tabatha for kindly sharing the alteration which is a great idea.
What have I learned?
When a project is majorly trying your patience, keep at it by sewing a little a day. I got plenty of crocheting done alongside this project since that was a reward after struggling with the skirt.
Consider fabric how 'springy' your fabric is. I don't sew with poly fabrics very often but thought this fabric would work fine weight wise plus it had a little drape. I'd made this version in a heavier denim before so didn't foresee a problem with the gathers.
When I was explaining about the problems with the bunchy gathering to my mum on the phone, she asked if the fabric was springy, and being a poly it is. Now, I know nothing about fabric technology, but I think the type of fabric I used does not suit gathers and essentially being 'squashed' into shape because the man-made fibres just won't comply in the same way as natural fibres which are more pliable. The poly fabric is a light to medium weight and should technically work absolutely perfectly for this skirt.
What do you think? Am I talking rubbish here? I can't see any other reason why this fabric would not work for this pattern when I know it is not the pattern (or me!) at fault, having made this skirt twice before. Or if you have any suggestions as to why the gathers wouldn't work, I'd love to know!
Now it's done I am so excited about the prospect of moving on to making something new - watch this space...