Thursday, 29 October 2015

Embroidered Raw Silk Vogue 1247 Mini Skirt

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Vogue 1247 Rachel Comey Skirt in Rag & Bone Embroidered Raw Silk from Mood Fabrics

So this fabric is AWESOME. It was definitely the piece I was most excited about packing in my suitcase as I left the US last month. It's a Rag & Bone embroidered raw silk and is one of the most unusual yardages I have ever laid my hands on despite being only $18 a yard. It's a kind of home dec weight but so tactile because of it's uneven slub and dense embroidery. The white stitching against the vivid indigo blue is beautiful and I think it's the contrast between the uniformity of the embroidered design against the raw, natural feel of the base fabric that drew me to it. Unfortunately it's not/no longer available online but I often find myself drawn to the Rag & Bone yardages so make sure to check them out here. When I spotted this one on the shelves in Mood Fabrics LA I had one of those 'I have no idea what to do with you but I simply must have you' moments. I knew I needed to make something with clean simple lines to showcase the beautiful embroidered design and that amazing border but what...Another customer in the store recommended a cushion (it would make an amazing cushion) but I wanted to wear this. A bag? A dress? A coat? Whatever it was it had to be the perfect project, I had to do it's uniqueness justice.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Vogue 1247 Rachel Comey Skirt in Rag & Bone Embroidered Raw Silk from Mood Fabrics

In the end I settled on a skirt with a straight hem so I could make use of that stunning border. Vogue's 1247 pattern (designed by Rachel Comey) has been on my pattern wish-list for a while. I've seen so many gorgeous versions of it (including Sallie's leather one on the Mood Sewing Network last year) but Vogue designer patterns in particular are fairly pricey over here in the UK so that's always put me off. Then, just a week after I returned from America, I came across a brand new copy of the pattern in my favourite charity shop in Windsor for just £1! I think it was meant to be.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Vogue 1247 Rachel Comey Skirt in Rag & Bone Embroidered Raw Silk from Mood Fabrics

I wanted to make sure I got this right and didn't waste my precious yardage so made up a quick muslin in the size 12 as that was the size my measurements indicated. I usually go down a couple of sizes in big 4 patterns but I had heard a rumour that the designer patterns can run a little truer to size and I think this is right here. The 12 was a little roomy so I probably would have cut the 10 but unfortunately I only had the larger size range of the pattern so instead I chose to just use a larger seam allowance on the side seams and reduce the length of the waistband piece by the same amount. I took an extra 3/8" on the double off each side seam, meaning the seam allowances were now 1".

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Vogue 1247 Rachel Comey Skirt in Rag & Bone Embroidered Raw Silk from Mood Fabrics

Of course in choosing this pattern I had given myself a bit of a challenge; for such a simple looking skirt when worn there's actually quite a few seams involved! My favourite feature of the skirt are those big pockets in the front of the skirt which sit invisibly in the yoke seam. Keeping them invisible within the repeat of the embroidered design across my fabric was a daunting task to say the least. I have never put so much time and effort into cutting and pattern matching but it totally paid off. This skirt is right up there in the list of garments I'm most proud of. I don't know about you but as much as I'm all for experimenting with cheap yardage, working with the good stuff makes me push myself so much harder and also means I will get that un-picker out and redo bits over and over until I know it's the best I can do.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Vogue 1247 Rachel Comey Skirt in Rag & Bone Embroidered Raw Silk from Mood Fabrics

I began my fairly epic pattern matching challenging with the front skirt piece so I could align the front symmetrically and make use of the border for the hem. I then cut the back skirt pieces so I could make sure the border continued at the same level around the skirt. When working on the back I concentrated on how the centre back would look rather than the side seams as those curved edges were never going to line up perfectly. I'm really pleased with how symmetrical the pattern is down the side seams though and how the criss cross lines do intersect with one another. After cutting the skirt pieces I moved on to the front yoke then back yoke, before cutting the waistband and pocket pieces last. The yoke pieces were my biggest challenge as I really wanted the embroidered design to continue seamlessly across the front and back panels. I am so SO pleased with how it turned out. There were many little victory dances in front of the sewing machine with each seam I sewed!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Vogue 1247 Rachel Comey Skirt in Rag & Bone Embroidered Raw Silk from Mood Fabrics

I found the easiest way to match the pattern from one piece to the next was to draw it onto my pattern pieces as you can see below. Before starting any cutting I drew the seam allowances onto all pattern pieces as it is important to remember that you are wanting to match the pattern at the seam line, not the edge of the pattern piece. Once I had cut my first piece I folded back the seam allowance on the next pattern piece I wanted to match and laid it over the first matching up the seam line. Then I traced the key lines of the embroidery onto the pattern piece itself so I could simply line these up with the design on the fabric when laying out it out to cut. That's hard to explain in words but hopefully the picture is more helpful!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Vogue 1247 Rachel Comey Skirt in Rag & Bone Embroidered Raw Silk from Mood Fabrics

I had bought 2 yards of the fabric. I only needed just over a yard for the skirt, despite having to be a little wasteful because of the pattern matching. I've already got another project up my sleeve for what's left over! One thing I would point out about this pattern is that it's very short! I haven't lengthened it here and love this length but the instructions tell you to hem it by 2" and I haven't hemmed it at all. Plus I'm only 5ft 3. I deliberated long and hard about whether to hem this or make use of raw and uneven selvedge edge which doesn't fray. In fact I wore it out to a sewing meet up last weekend un-hemmed so I could ask the advice of other bloggers. The unanimous decision was to leave it as it was! I think the depth of plain border before the embroidery starts really works proportionally with the skirt and I wouldn't want to make it any narrower. The only other change I made to the pattern was to remove the overlap at the waistband join, I just prefer the flat finish when it's edge to edge.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Vogue 1247 Rachel Comey Skirt in Rag & Bone Embroidered Raw Silk from Mood Fabrics

I used a mid-weight fusible interfacing for the waist band and a bit of white cotton shirting I had left over in my stash to make the binding. I was nervous of this step in the construction as I thought it was pretty skinny for finishing the bulky and uneven seam allowances of my chosen fabric, especially around those tight little corners of the pocket linings. But it turned out pretty great and I love how the plain white looks against the rich blue and bold embroidery! I applied it in two steps and made sure to trim down the raw edges of the main fabric between stages. This pattern needs a lot of binding; it wasn't all that painful applying it but man did it take a long time to make. Binding is the perfect finish for this fabric though as the slubby weave means it likes to fray in big chunks plus it keeps the cut edges of the embroidery nice and secure. I had very little trouble with the embroidery; despite being concerned about the density of some areas and how thick it would get where seam allowances intersected my machine had no trouble at all. I chose a side 90 needle, one up from what I would usually use as I thought an extra bit of strength to get through all those threads wouldn't go amiss.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Vogue 1247 Rachel Comey Skirt in Rag & Bone Embroidered Raw Silk from Mood Fabrics

This skirt pattern has won another huge fan. I'm thinking my wardrobe could definitely benefit from a denim one, a black one, a corduroy or maybe a fun floral...I've been making quite a lot of repeat or similar patterns recently which has been lovely and satisfying but it was really great to get my teeth stuck into something a little bit more involved and that really pushed my pattern matching skills to the limit. Sometimes slow sewing is the best.

41 comments:

  1. Holy cow! This is gorgeous, and a generous blog post to go along with it. I am so pleased for you I want to broadcast your accomplishment... this skirt would not be right for my frame, so I haven't indulged in stashing the pattern but it really suits you. Congrats, and thanks for detailing your pattern matching technique.

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    1. Haha Heather that's such a lovely thing to say! I do want to shout this one from the rooftops! I've worn it so much, I'm definitely going to make more of these skirts

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  2. really, really beautiful version of a classic. V1247 is the ultimate TNT and you look so great in it.

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    1. It really is the ultimate TNT I can't believe I waited so long to make it, now I want to make a hundred of them!

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  3. That fabric really is gorgeous - good choice for the pattern too, it shows off the fabric well. I also think the hem should be left as-is (or maybe even a narrow rolled hem).

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    1. It seems like that is the almost unanimous opinion hoorah! Now I've worn it more than a few times I definitely like the proportions of the border as it is

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  4. It's SO so gorgeous. Exquisite work, as usual! That fabric is incredible. Not sure I would have known what to do with it!

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    1. You absolutely would have done something amazing with it Sally, you find beautiful things to do with things other people think are ugly! I am really proud of this one ;)

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  5. Beautiful skirt Fiona and so well constructed. You should be really proud of yourself, it's just lovely! x

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    1. Thank you Jane! I was worried about doing this fabric justice with the construction but I'm just so pleased with how it turned out!

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  6. That pattern matching is on point! What a gorgeous version of this skirt. This is fast becoming one of my favourite patterns. I have made it twice myself already.

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    1. I can see me making it so many times! This was meant to be more of a special occasion skirt because of the fabric but I just can't stop wearing it. It need more quickly!

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  7. Oh wow! I had no idea there even were seams until you said so! That's some great pattern matching :)

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    1. Thanks Nilla! I did do some victory dancing around my flat when I realised how well it was coming together as I sewed haha!

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  8. A fabulous job and it looks gorgeous. I love the finish especially the binding, no wonder you are proud. It looks a perfect skirt for every occasion.

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    1. Thanks Mags, I've had so much wear out of it already I've even surprised myself! I am so so pleased with the binding, it's a great pattern design

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  9. Fi, I'm sure if there was an award for beautiful pattern matching this would have to be nominated! It is beautiful skirt in both pictures and in person! You should be very proud! X

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    1. Checca! I'm so happy to see your name pop up on here! I am so proud of this, in sure you're going to be seeing it in reality an awful lot!

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  10. That is amazing. Wow. Beautiful fabric, great matching, lovely finishing, and it suits you - most important of all:) - cos sometimes I see so much work put into sewing that is not flattering at all! I think the length is perfect for you too. And I totally agree with leaving the black border at the bottom, the proportion sets off the amazing embroidery.. If it ever starts to go funny, you could use a wide bias binding taking a tiny amount of the skirt and turning it in like a hem facing - that's what I do when I find I don't want to lose any length.
    I've made this skirt twice, once in a black cotton for summer - lengthened, it makes a great work skirt - and then my second in an amazing Dormeuil mohair suiting - I only bound the summer one, the winter one I lined - I tend to line most of my winter skirts to save wearing a slip, hate tight stickage!
    If you like a full skirt, I highly recommend Mccalls 6706. It is perfect for fabrics with body where you want to keep a dead straight hem.

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    1. That's a great thought about using binding to preserve the hem, thank you! I might try that if it starts to look a bit odd with wear. Your mohair skirt sounds amazing! I'm definitely going to be making lots of variations of this pattern, lengthened sounds like a good idea. Thank you for your lovely thoughtful comment!

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  11. wow this is really pretty and the insides are immaculate!

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    1. Thank you! I'm not sure they are quite immaculate in reality but I am very proud of what I managed to achieve!

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  12. Stunning! I love the complexity of the material partnered with a simple skirt but the surprise is what you've done inside! Lovely and inspirational like all your pieces.

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    1. Thanks so much Kathleen! It definitely is one of those projects which you almost want to wear inside out to show it off!

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  13. I can only dream of finishing the job in such a professional way! Absolutely amazing. Congratulations.

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    1. O it's really not that complicated at all, you could definitely do it if you just take it nice and slow, give things a good press and have patience with the unpicker! Thank you

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  14. Gorgeous dress! Very well sewn, too, as always!

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    1. Thanks Alice! This one took a lot of patience but it was so worth it in the end!

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  15. This is absolutely stunning! Love how you used the print for this fabulous skirt and I'm glad you were able to get this pattern in a thrift store especially since it's now out of print.

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    1. O wow I didn't know that! What a shame as it's so popular within the blogging community. I'm sure I'm going to get a lot of use out of mine at least! Thank you for the lovely comment

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  16. Beautiful skirt inside and out. You really pulled out all the stops with the pattern matching.

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    1. Thanks! It took a lot of time and effort but I'm so pleased I did! It wasn't actually as painful a process as I had imagined once I had figured out what needed to go where, definitely going to make more pattern matching effort in future

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  17. Fantastic job on the skirt Fiona...and just the skirt that I was looking for. Can you recommend any other similar A-line skirt pattern that isn't quite so pricey? (not all of us can be so lucky with the local charity shop! although I've never thought to look...). I definitely think you made the right choice leaving the raw edge - the proportions work perfectly :)

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    1. Thank you! Sometimes I think you have to just eye it up and trust your judgement don't you?! I haven't made a lot of a line skirts so I'm not sure what to recommend...the skirt from the sewaholic Lonsdale or McCalls 6696 are lovely or if you're after a mini I've just made the Moss from grain line and that's a great pattern

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  18. This is beautiful! What a perfect way to use this special fabric!

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    1. Thanks Sonja! I was so worried about ruining the fabric or not doing it justice and choosing the wrong pattern! Maybe this is proof that sewing with special fabrics is good for you, it pushes you to go the extra mile!

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  19. useful content for who want to learn

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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!