Making a Mountain out of a Molehill – Again

Trying to get back into ‘dressmaking mode’ after an excess of quilt block making and knitting, I bought a metre of dark blue ponte roma and traced off the pattern for the ‘Easy Knit Pencil Skirt’ from the Gertie Sews Vintage Casual  book I bought Mlle Tialys the elder for Christmas.

Firstly I had to perform the dreaded task of changing the thread on the overlocker but the signs were good as I managed it first go.

Then, it all started to go pear shaped.  I forgot the sizes are probably American (that or I’m skinnier than I think) so cut the skirt out at least two sizes too big.  However I did realise this before it was too late because I actually followed the instructions which tell you to baste the side seams and try it on before overlocking them.  You should apparently do this each time you make the skirt as all jersey and knit fabrics differ in stretchiness,  which is a very good point.   However, once I had cut it down to my size, the edges weren’t quite as neat and I had also managed to slice through my fingertip with the rotary cutter for good measure.

Then I cut the elastic for the waistband a little too generously as I didn’t want to feel it digging in so instead of stretching the elastic slightly to fit the waistband, I found myself stretching the waistband slightly to fit the elastic.  Which is probably why one of the needles in my overlocker broke and also why the waistband doesn’t lie quite as perfectly flat as it’s supposed to.  I replaced the needle, adjusted the tension and broke another one. I finished off using the 3-thread overlocking stitch as I find that getting into a tizz with my machine puts me in a bad mood for the rest of the day.  That and having to do housework.

Jersey Pencil Skirt

I don’t play the guitar and neither do I usually stand as if I’ve put my hip out but there were no photographers available and the only decent light and big mirror were in eldest daughter’s room so a selfie it had to be.

On the plus side, I did the neatest twin needle hem I think I’ve ever done.  Nice and straight with no tunneling.  As my overlocker is on the right hand side of my sewing machine I used the thread from the extreme left spool as my second twin needle thread so there was no wobbling going on, a technique I might employ in the future as it seemed to work so well.

Twin Needle Stitching

That was, however, after I broke the first twin needle on the sewing machine probably because I started off at a side seam and going through an overlocked seam and hem thickness all at the same time  might have been a bit of a stretch – no pun intended but it works so I’ll leave it in.

So £ 6.99 for a metre of ponte roma – 3 broken needles, one of which was a twin – and several items of  bloodstained clothing  before I realised my finger had been sliced with the rotary cutter meant it wasn’t quite as quick or cheap as I had originally planned.   In my experience, it rarely is.

However!  With one pattern piece only – which you cut out twice on the fold – and around 0.8m of fabric – this really is a comfy yet quite smart skirt and I will be making it again hopefully without breaking any more needles or attempting to slice the top of my finger off.  Where I will wear it is a different matter.  Will it go with wellies do you think?

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  1. #1 by poshbirdy on March 3, 2016 - 11:09

    Looks really good. I really must knuckle down to some dressmaking – it’s been a long time

    • #2 by tialys on March 3, 2016 - 11:38

      I think you might have enough on your plate at the moment! Have you got a little sewing space in mind for the French house or is that looking too far into the future – do you want to get the plumbing sorted first?😉

  2. #3 by nanacathy2 on March 3, 2016 - 11:42

    Very smart looking skirt! Definitely for business meetings, no wellies!

    • #4 by tialys on March 3, 2016 - 12:03

      I don’t have business meetings any more but no regrets there. I guess the skirt can be dressed down as well as up. Zoe, over at ‘SoZo….’ made several, because she thinks it’s so comfortable, it can be a worn in place of leggings or pull-ons or leisure pants whatever you call them when you want to be cosy but a little more ‘dressed’.

  3. #5 by http://vivinfrance.wordpress.com on March 3, 2016 - 11:47

    Expensive indeed in frustration and needles! Don’t sit down in it if it’s stretchy material! But it looks very smart.

    • #6 by tialys on March 3, 2016 - 12:05

      It’s quite a nice, sturdy ponte roma knit so I’m hoping it will spring back but I know just what you mean!

  4. #9 by katechiconi on March 3, 2016 - 12:32

    It’d look great with a nice shiny red or black pair…. That’s an impressive hem, but perhaps you should practice your surgical stitching too…? It’s a great skirt, and looks very good on you. And it’s *still* cheaper than buying the equivalent in the shops.

    • #10 by tialys on March 3, 2016 - 13:01

      True and I’m going to make another couple – one of which will be daughter sized – very soon. Unfortunately, my wellies are not ‘fashion victim’ ones for trotting up and down the high street in but 18 year old navy blue ‘Hunters’ which are well used, muddy, down at heel and probably wouldn’t add anything to an outfit😉 I do have a gorgeous selection of heels but few places to wear them. They form more of an art installation in my walk in wardrobe these days😦

      • #11 by katechiconi on March 3, 2016 - 14:14

        My own are well worn black jobs from the farm supply shop… Since I rarely wear a skirt (being rather barrel shaped), I can get away with a lot more!

  5. #12 by claire93 on March 3, 2016 - 13:37

    everything looks good with wellies ^^

    • #13 by tialys on March 4, 2016 - 11:44

      I’m surprised they don’t use them more on the catwalks😉

  6. #14 by jendavismiller on March 3, 2016 - 14:19

    Wellies? Of course! Maybe it’s time for a dashing pair of hot pink ones? I think such an outfit would exude great confidence. And that hem is lovely, I’m afraid to even attempt a double needle. (Pretty blouse, too.)

    • #15 by tialys on March 4, 2016 - 11:45

      I can’t take credit for the blouse I’m afraid but thank-you.

  7. #16 by delightfullypeculiar on March 3, 2016 - 14:41

    That sounds like a painful make, but it does look great! Very smart. I would definitely try it with wellies, it’d create a nice style.

    • #17 by tialys on March 4, 2016 - 11:47

      It’s the sort of style I usually adopt by accident. If I’m dressed to go out and need to go out into the garden for something I’ll just slip my wellies on and ‘hey presto’ I am transformed. The dogs and chickens are unappreciative.

  8. #18 by lovelucie1 on March 3, 2016 - 14:45

    Well I loved the cool image of the extreme hip action next to the guitar – before you explained it away. I thought I was seeing another side of you.
    I can only dream of such twin needle neatness. Did you use any interfacing to stabilize the hem before you sewed?

    • #19 by tialys on March 4, 2016 - 11:48

      I can do ‘Rock Goddess’. It’s normally when I’m cooking with the music turned up loud and nobody watching or listening – I hope:/

      • #20 by tialys on March 4, 2016 - 11:53

        p.s. I didn’t use any interfacing on the hem. It’s a fairly sturdy stretch fabric and the only thing I did differently was use the thread from my adjacent overlocker as the second thread in the twin needle. The twin needle is a ‘stretch’ one btw. I know everybody seems a bit scared of the twin needle hem but, honestly, it’s about the only ‘troublesome’ sewing technique that I rarely have any trouble with. Zips, buttonholes and facings are something else.

  9. #21 by Hila on March 3, 2016 - 15:38

    Yes it will go with wellies – I wear my knit skirts with wellies a lot. I am so envious of your twin needle hem! My personal best has tunnelling – I like to pretend its a design feature😒

    • #22 by tialys on March 4, 2016 - 11:57

      This fabric is a fairly sturdy ponte roma – I think the twin needle hem is possibly more difficult to pull off on finer jerseys. Design features are good. I’ve explained many a cock up in that way😉

  10. #23 by Thimberlina on March 3, 2016 - 21:12

    It’s really smart so will need to be the posh hunter wellies! Just the job for chasing dogs and cats off roofs and tree tops! Sometimes it’s good to dress up just for you. If I make an effort through the week and then call into the local co-op they always ask where I’m off. I must look a scruff the rest of the time!🙂

    • #24 by tialys on March 4, 2016 - 12:03

      It’s the same here. It’s a rural community with little concession to fashion – or if there is it’s not much in evidence – so you tend to be regarded suspiciously if you appear during daylight hours in anything resembling ‘going out’ clothes. However, an hour or so up the motorway is Toulouse – a big city where you can strut your stuff without fear. I try to go every couple of months just so I can ‘dress up’. Otherwise, I wear a dress if I meet friends for lunch which they find amusing but I don’t care.

  11. #25 by sew2pro on March 3, 2016 - 22:07

    The style certainly suits your shape, and it will look nice with flipflops before long (the hem might clash with the tops of wellies). I like the shirt too.

    It must be about 10 years since I sewed with a twin needle… last time I looked, I couldn’t get them for jersey.

    By the way, do you have an overlocker recommendation (it’s my birthday soon and I have a wishlist!) ?

    • #26 by tialys on March 4, 2016 - 12:20

      My twin needle is labelled ‘Stretch’ so times must have moved on.
      I only treated myself to an overlocker a couple of years ago when I was tempted by Lidl who had a Pfaff model for 149 euros – it’s a Pfaff Element which could be a model produced specifically for Lidl. They had a similar offer in the U.K. but it was a Singer – although, in the photographs I’ve seen, they look exactly the same. I’ve been very happy with it – it does what I need it to do very competently. My friend has a much more expensive machine and, as far as I can tell, it is no better or worse and just as fiddly to thread. They had the same offer last November and I snapped one up for my daughter. She couldn’t take it back to the U.K with her after Christmas so it languishes upstairs waiting for her to finish University and get a more permanent residence then I’ll get it over there for her. I guess it depends on how much overlocking you are going to do and how fancy you are going to get. Mine does rolled hems which I did try out on a chiffon skirt and it handled it well. I don’t know whether you’ve ever used this company but I have had several sewing machines from them – for me and as gifts – and they have a good range, good prices, gifts that come with most machines, extended warranties and free postage https://www.sewingmachines.co.uk/ Very easy to put a link on your wishlist!!

  12. #27 by Jan Marriott on March 3, 2016 - 23:59

    definitely with wellies…….I fancy bright yellow ones.

    • #28 by tialys on March 4, 2016 - 12:21

      I’ll try it and let you know what reactions I get😉

  13. #29 by Postcard from Gibraltar on March 9, 2016 - 19:50

    Oh my you had to work hard for that skirt, but it looks great. I hope your sliced finger’s healing well!

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