09 January 2011

Sewing experiment... and a new skirt!

Yesterday afternoon I spent a couple of hours experimenting, and made a skirt with no instructions. When we visited Coffs Harbour my nanna gave me a box of 39 weekly 'Make it Easy' patterns from the 1980s. Each week included patterns for a few items, such as a skirt, a top and a dress, in one envelope. I wanted to make a simple skirt to replace the one I've been wearing to death for 16 years - my mum made me one when I joined St John Ambulance when I was 12, and it still fits (although it's a little closer to dark grey than black these days!).

I found a simple-looking pencil skirt; however, when I went to cut my material I realised that there were no instructions included in the envelopes - they must have originally been accompanied by a weekly magazine with all the sewing details! Having made a few skirts already, I figured this wouldn't be a challenge at all - just do the darts first, and leave a space long enough for a zip. And here is the result! (The photos are terrible, but this rain means no venturing outside for nicer pictures.)

It all came together really quickly and easily. However, I encountered a problem when I tried to test the sizing after sewing in the zip - I couldn't get it over my hips. So, I put in a longer zip, and removed two of the darts in the back. It is now perfectly fitted - so perfect, in fact, that if I put on even a tiny bit of weight it will no longer fit! I must admit that I didn't bother taking the measurements - they were the same as listed for the other skirt pattern I've made, although I realise now that particular skirt is not fitted so the hip measurement didn't matter.

I wanted a waistband without stitching on the outside (like the one my mum had made), so I looked in the box of handy reference cards that came with the patterns to see if there were any tips. I found comprehensive instructions for making a perfect waistband, right down to slip-stitching it along the inside seam.

In terms of construction, this is by far the best quality item I've made. I'm really pleased with how it all came together, especially since I had no instructions to guide me. It's proven that I really HAVE learnt sewing skills, not just the ability to follow steps written for me.


  1. Yay Kylie...you go girl..great work with no instructions. Ready to hit those cushions out of the Florence fabric yet??? Terese

  2. well aren't you talented!? a nice rainy weekend project. nobody at work will have the same skirt, too cool.

  3. Hi Kylie hope you are safe and dry where you are cheers katherine

  4. A skirt without instructions? Oh my, I'm seriously in awe of your sewing skills now (even more so than before).

    The waistband looks great (I love that style).

  5. No instructions? No!! I am in awe. I've only recently bought a machine of my own, but with the whole hoopla of the last week it's still in the box. I have studied the instructions though when we had the power outage... That skirt is stylin!