Tuesday, 15 March 2016

My self drafted big pocket skirt

I decided that I would try designing my own piece for once.... well not totally designing it myself, if I' m honest I saw a designer skirt that I wanted and thought I could work out a pattern to recreate it.

This is my not so glamorous sketch on a post it note of what I wanted to create- A-line, huge pockets with a  curved hem & contrast stitching.  I started out by making a sample to get a good basic shape & fit to work from - I used denim for my trial run for the basic shape... I was really happy with it.

 So then on to the main event.  I ve got a really heavy black twill fabric that I bought at Clothhouse.  It almost looks like velvet.  So I started with cutting out the pieces.  As per the denim one but longer, with a split down the front, curved hem in the middle & seam allowance added where it would join.

It became very quickly apparent that the fabric freys like crazy, so i overlocked every edge...
The next step, was the create the effect I wanted  on the front hem.  I used Liberty capel tana lawn (with interfacing) to create the curve, then turned inside out.  At this stage I started to have some concerns with the fabric as if I sewed too close to the edge, it started to come away.... Anyway, I persevered and got the curves right...   I then sewed the front bits together....

Then I set myself loose on some very visible top stitching - scary stuff, I ve never done this before.  On the front section I was pretty chuffed with how I managed it.  Not perfect, but acceptable ;)
Next job, sew the back together & put the zip in.  I was on a roll, went for it.  Oh dear.  lack of concentration hits and I got the zip all tangled & twisted.  Urrgghhh this is not a fun fabric to unpick. Anyway had to unpick one side & redo the zip without the twist.  One day I ll learn... more haste less speed...

Next up the exciting bit- making my super big pockets!!!  I just started by cutting out paper until I got one which I thought was about the right shape & size I was looking for.  Then I cut them out in both the Liberty lining and top fabric.  Here we go- another hiccup.... I intended sewing together on 3 sides, wrong sides together to then turn inside out - with the 4th seam going into the side seam.  But I sewed the wrong 3 together.  Doh  again.  More unpicking.  Anyway.  I then spent forever getting the curves right on the edges of the pockets so they were neat and vaguely equal...

When I was happy with them I pinned them to the skirt front.
I sewed the side seams together to just above the pockets so it would stay on & then tried it on to check the positioning of the pockets actually looked good.  I was pretty happy with them. So gulp, went for it sewing them on.  I have to admit I tried top stitching it in the pale grey but I just couldn't make the curves look neat- sewing so close to the edge of the pocket with very thick fabric, just wasn't working for me (excuses, excuses... I m just not very controlled with my stitching).  The fabric is not forgiving so I didn't want multiple unpicks so I just settled with doing it in black so you can't really see it.

Then I was pretty much done. I just had to sew the rest of the side seams together.  That was tough as around the pockets, that was a lot of heavy fabric.  My top stitching down the sides is not perfect as I found it impossible not to bump off straight as I hit the pockets (even with a Jeans-a-ma-jig).  So there we are.  This took a long time to finish.  But actually I was (note was....) very happy with it... exactly what I hoped for and I was loving having those huge pockets :)

I wish the story ended there.  But it doesn't. Disaster struck the very next day.  I proudly wore the skirt the next morning to work.  I was in a workshop with loads of other people. I bent over to pick up  something out of my bag and that sound you never want to hear of the zip just totally giving up on me.  This skirt has a very long zip in (I used the only one I had it which was bit longer than really necessary) and from the very top to the very bottom it totally split.  I managed to just save the skirt from ending up around my ankles and back shuffled out of the room trying not to flash my rear that was handing out to the rest of my colleagues.  I spent the rest of the day walking around with safety pins down my back & with my coat tied around my waist keeping up the skirt and protecting my modesty.  I was soooo gutted.  But I thought... oh well, if its only the zip, its a pain but I ll put in a new one, a better proper jeans type zip as this fabric is pretty thick.

 On further analysis though I realised that this was not my only problem... GGGRRRRR.  This fabric is not my friend.  I now realise that in more than one place the fabric is coming away at the seams- the fabric is literally just falling apart.  Not sure if anyone can share any words of wisdom on how to sew really heavy twill and avoid this.  But its in too many spots to recover & now I don't trust it.

Sooo gutted as I love the look & feel of the fabric and the fit of the skirt.  But its one thats clearly destined to not be worn.  Well at least the style worked out, I think I would just make it in a lighter more sturdy fabric next time.  Maybe a light denim?!  Need a break though before going for round 2



  1. How terrible. The good news is that you've got a good self drafted pattern. Tell you're sed this was the muslin and next time the fabric wouldn't let you down.

  2. I love that you shared this 'fail' - we all have them and they can be pretty deflating. I made a denim dress for my daughter earlier this year and also struggled with the top stitching. Someone suggested doing the top stitching in a contrast BEFORE attaching them and then attaching them in a matching colour which worked a treat. Might mean your second attempt has the topstitching the way you wanted it?