Style me up Sunday
I have been thinking recently on ways to be more stainable so this year I have decided to spend less on clothing and use my skill to make outfits that I want to wear.
This made more sense to me because I will actually get a wardrobe that I love and I will have outfits that match instead of buying random things which don’t go with anything I own!
So I did a little poll on my Instagram to see if people would be interested in following my journey in to the items that I make and how I make them. The response was surprising and gave me the kick to actually do it.
So first up I made a leather skirt.
There is a big trend in mini skirts (very 1960s vibe) at the mo and I love the variety that is out there. I went for a more straighter line rather than A-line as I find that suits my figure more and gives a bit of length to my short legs!
If you’re not sure what style suits you the best thing to do is to go find skirts that you like and try them on and you will instantly see which style will flatter you.
With all my clothing I make the patterns from scratch this way you are guaranteed a perfect fit and its easier to make any amendments if needed.
From this I needed three easy measurements — waist, hip and finished length of the skirt.
I then took these measurements and applied them to guide in my pattern book.
The pattern books I use are Winifred Aldrich Pattern Cutting. This is an old book but updated versions are available, stick with your own measurements though as standard body guides have vastly changed since this book was published.
The basic tools to use whilst pattern cutting are:
- Dot and cross pattern paper — great guide for straight lines.
- Set Square or pattern master — rulers with guides and curves
- 2H pencil
- Tracing wheel — to help trace the pattern out for the block that you created.
- Tape measure
- paper scissors
- Small paper weights
Using the instructions in the book I drew out the front and back skirt design using my measurements also remembering to add hem length on to the bottom, the skirt is usually blocked out as a half, so half of the front and half of the back — all of your measurements will be either half or quartered but the book has good guides on how to do this.
When I finished my skirt pattern it looked like this
This is where you handy tracing wheel comes in, I cut out a new piece of dot and cross paper and placed it under the block that I created (front and back) I then used the wheel to trace around the front and the back so that they are two separate pieces.
With the set square I then went over the tracing to create the outline of skirt again. This is where I added 1 cm seam allowance all the way around the skirt apart from the hem which had 2 cm on.
I also wanted a waistband on the skirt but not a massive one so I went for a 4 cm waistband which was doubled over so finished it would be 8 cm them 1 cm seam allowance all the way around apart from the centre back and front.
I then used this pattern to cut out in my fabric which I used a leather look fabric. I drew all around the pattern pieces with tailors chalk making sure to mark the darts ( darts help give shape to the garment and to stop it from bagging around the waist) I could then cut this out and prepare it to sew it together.
When you come to sew leather look fabric or even real leather, the fabric doesn’t like pins and they have a bit of marking which you don’t want!
A handy trick to use with these fabrics are small bulldog clips as they help keep the fabric together whilst you sew also another handy tool is a roller or teflon sewing foot for your machine.
This helps it glide across stubborn fabrics.
I decided I wanted a seam down the front and a seam down the back of the skirt for a bit for a design feature. I started by sewing in the darts on the front then on the back.
When using a leather look fabric its not advisable to iron it as it could melt but if you put your iron on low and place a pressing cloth over the top it helps just get that dart and seam a bit flatter — not for long though
From this I then stitched up the front pieces, then the back pieces together followed by the side seams. I could then add topstitching to the front and side seams to add more feature to skirt.
I love a good topstitch and think it adds a bit more of a finishing touch to the garment.
Once this was all done I added the waistband which is just a straight stitch all across the top.
I have an array of zips ranging from old and new. Some have been taken out of clothes no longer in use and some of them are vintage ones that have the original packaging. I absolutely love vintage sewing packaging.
I used pink metal zip and made it exposed so it shows the teeth to give the skirt another feature and a little pop of colour to the back. I could then finish off the back of the skirt and add the topstitching down the bottom half just under the zip. I did the same effect to match the front.
The skirt is nearly finished. The waistband was folded over to the finish 4 cm, I then folded it in on the inside of the skirt 1 cm and stitched all the way around to give a finished neat effect on the inside.
I then topstitched around the bottom and the top of the waistband to add more detailing it also tied in well with skirt.
The finishing touch goes to the hem, turned up 2 cm and stitched all the way round.
Wallah one skirt already to wear.
The styling bit.
I mean whats not good about choosing what to wear when you’ve made something. A mini skirt is such a easy thing to wear you can either keep it casual for day wear think comfy tee, over sized jumper and splash of colour for the tight or you can dress it up for going out out think a cute shirt tucked in, suit jacket or any jacket would go well and a pair of cute ankle boots to finish off the look.
For me I went for the comfy day wear to show you how easy it is. I kept it clean and stylish, I popped on a white tee which was a small mans t-shirt I found but I loved the graphics on it. Im not keen on high necklines as they don’t seem to suit me so I chopped off the neck and it made it wider. I also cut up the sleeve and just caught the bottom back together so it created a slit effect in the sleeve.
You don’t have to keep t-shirts the same you can alter them to any way you want.
I’m a big fan of Calzedonia which is an Italian company and their tights are so good. When I was in Portugal I found this awesome pair that had a shiny line down the back of them. They went really well with the skirt keeping it quite monochrome.
Talking of monochrome I love a bit of dogtooth print yes it might seem a bit grandma-ish but get it in the right item and your winning, It also looks really cool on.
A few years back I made myself a winter coat using Linton Tweed in a dogtooth check print. It has been an absolute fav of mine ever since I made it and it’s a timeless classic so it goes with anything and will last a lifetime.
You can read how I made it here
I though this was very fitting to go with this outfit on blustery day, I felt stylish but comfy.
I strapped on a pair of leopard Vans (the perfect choice) and I was ready to go.
Real leather bag was also made by me and is available to buy from my shop.
Have you made your self or thinking about making clothes? I’d love to hear your comments.