Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Polkadot Jersey Circle Skirt


A post about one of my speediest makes to date today! Well it would have been an exceptionally quick make if it hadn't been the first time I'd tried working with knits...yes I finally did it! I'd read up on quite a few tips from other bloggers (Lauren from Lladybird's post is great) so it didn't take too long to work out the slightly different handling techniques and I think it was quite a success! Plus it's a wearable everyday piece that isn't a top to pair with jeans, so it fulfils my post Me-Made-May aim of creating a more practical wardrobe!

After making my Circle-Skirted Elisalex and drafting my first circle skirt I fell in love with the style and promptly added 'make more circle skirts' to my sewing to do list. I've had this navy polka dot jersey in my stash since my very first big fabric shopping trip to Walthamstow market. I got it in Saeed's for some kind of bargain price and I'm actually really pleased with the quality. Once made up it's not sheer at all, even in bright sunshine as I wore it the other day and it bounces back into shape nicely. Being my first time sewing with a knit it did worry me how small and wrinkled up it looked it the flat before I put it on!


The pattern pieces themselves were very easy and quick to draft and cut (using a combination of Casey and By Hand London's tutorial's again). Then came the assembly. I was all prepared with a ballpoint needle and since getting hold of a copy of my machine's manual had decided to give the special 'stretch zig zag stitch a go. It worked out great! It's basically a basic zig zag so the stitching can stretch with the fabric but the machine automatically goes over each stitch a few times for strength. The different properties of such a stretchy fabric took a bit of getting used to but by the end felt natural; I used a lot of pins to keep everything in place and evenly spread and had to keep reminding myself not to pull it at all as it went through the machine, just use my hands to guide.

'Stretch Zig-Zag Stitch'

It is wonderful that you don't need to worry about finishing seam allowances with knits as they won't fray or unravel, but the perfectionist in me didn't like leaving them unfinished at all! So much so that even though I could have avoided the pretty long winded task of hemming a circle skirt I chose to hem it! I followed Jen at Grainline's tutorial of doing a rolled hem without the special foot as I'm still not much of a dab hand with the foot and I didn't know how much it would like the jersey. I loved the method of stitching around close to the hem first; it really does work to tighten up that edge and make it easier to turn that long curved edge into a slightly shorter one, plus it gives you a nice hem width guide to follow when turning! I just machine stitched it up with a straight stitch as I wasn't fussed about the stitches showing on a casual jersey skirt and it saved me a lot of hand sewing time.

Hem

I guessed a bit with the assembly of the waistband and once it was attached right sides together to the skirt by machine I simply folded it down inside and pressed, pressed the raw edge under and used a hidden herringbone stitch to hold it down. I'm not sure if this was the right thing to do as I'm concerned about the hand stitching holding up to the stretching of pulling it on and off - what would you have done in this situation?

Waistband

I did leave one seam unfinished, which was a seam I hadn't even planned on having! As the stretch of the jersey negates the need for a fastening and I could fit the full circle onto my fabric in one piece I was going to keep it as a full circle and simply attach a waistband. However, after cutting I didn't get round to sewing it up all that quickly and the circular top edge of the skirt stretched out to be much longer than the waistband I had cut for it! I therefore had to cut a segment out of the circle to reduce the size and create a centre back seam. I don't mind it but would have preferred to be able to finish the seam more neatly...looks like I'm going to be saving my pennies for an overlocker then I'll be loving the knits!


I'm definitely going to give knits a try again and try and improve my techniques, I've got a lovely grey marl jersey already cut out for the Coppelia Cardigan from Papercut Patterns!

21 comments:

  1. This looks like a great wardrobe basic for summer. I haven't seen a knit circle skirt before, but yours hangs nicely! Well done!

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    1. Thanks Sally! I left it to hang for quite a long time before hemming as I was worried about how a stretch fabric might stretch out but it's stayed in shape pretty well!

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  2. really lovely! knits are not scary at all (and i sewed with them long before i had an overlocker - which is admittedly fab!). you do get better at them and there are lots of fab tips around!

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    1. I'm going to give it another crack soon I think, maybe even something a little more challenging! Definitely going to start saving pennies for an overlocker though

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  3. This is gorgeous!
    I've also added make circle skirts to my sewing list but I'd be a bit scared drafting it when you need negative ease with Jersey.
    I may check out some of the links you've put in here to give it a go, thanks!

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    1. I'll be honest, I just took a bit of a stab in the dark with how much ease to subtract! I figured it's got stretch so I've got a bit of leeway. In the end I wasn't quite drastic enough so had to add the centre back seam to take out a bit more but I'll know for next time!

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  4. That's a lovely skirt. I'm going to have to look up your links and have a go at one myself. It's nice that it can be casual, or dressed up a bit for work. I have a real urge to sew with jersey at the moment, but I don't have any :( I didn't buy any when I went to walthamstow (in a failed attempt to limit what I bought) - I think I'm just going to have to go back!

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    1. Definitely do give it a go, Casey's and By Hand London's tutorials are really great at guiding you through the steps and the maths! It's much more straight forward than you think and so quick to sew up!

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  5. Love it, perfect for this weather. I like sewing knits but really struggle to find nice knit fabric. My local shop only sells poly knits and they ARE scary, and that's just to look at! I haven't sewn any knits with my new machine, so I'm keen to have a go soon.

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    1. Yeah I think the key to falling in love with knits is to use good one's. I can imagine one of naf quality could put you off for life! I've been tempted to buy knits online actual as the description tends to be more useful than looking myself, I don't know anything about identifying different types! I think Fabric Godmother has a good selection

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  6. Lovely! I've yet to make a circle skirt but have seen short versions of a lot of people since the nice weather started and am really liking them! I hadn't thought of a jersey version, but I really like this!!!

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    1. I've seen lots of short versions too which I've loved! Don't know if I'd be brave enough showing that much leg and risking it with the wind though! Someone needs to work out how to make pretty, lightweight skirts windproof!

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  7. Well done - it's all about being brave and conquering your fabric fears! I was sweating about using knits a couple of years ago, but like you, just went for it and now I love them too! It looks such a lovely cool garment for our hot summer (at last!).

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    1. Thank you Rae! I'm off to check out your knits now!

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  8. This is gorgeous! Can't believe it's your first attempt at knits either- it looks perfect!:)Bet it is soooooo comfy too!
    I haven't really explored knits either, I'm not sure why as there are so many pretty ones around. May have to give it a go now!
    Oh and I LOVE the polka dots!

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    1. Thank you Ami! It's by no means perfect and I didn't enjoy it as much as most of my woven projects but I haven't been completely put off! Polka dots are great aren't they?! Looking forward to seeing your knit creations!

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  9. Fiona!

    Your blog is great! My friend sent me your entry on inside the Dior gown and I realized I met you in 2010 when you showed my friends and me around The National's costume stock! Your work looks great!I'm coming back to London with my grad program next summer and will maybe run into you again!

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    1. O thanks Shelby! What a lovely coincidence! I'm not at the National's Costume Store any more, I'm freelance now but I hope you have a great trip to London next year and that your grad program is going well!

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  10. Ahh it looks lovely and very wearable.

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    1. Thank you! It's been brilliant in this suprisingly warm summer we've been having!

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  11. The skirt is adorable! I recommend an overlocker but don't feel you have to save up for an expensive one to get the results you want. I have my nanas serger from the 90s and it works like a charm :)

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!