Monday, 24 December 2012

A skirt called Kelly

I've wanted Megan Nielsen's Kelly skirt ever since it came out cos it looks so damn cute! And what a nice surprise to get it as a birthday present from my sister a few weeks ago (I say surprise -  it was on my present list! Altho I did think at one point I certainly wouldn't receive it)

I'd already got some fabric in mind for it (a lightweight denim from Birmingham Rag Market) but I only had 1m so I thought I'd better make a practice run. I picked up this navy fabric on my last trip to Barry's - I have no idea what it is, it's drapey, has a lovely sheen and a very, very slight one-directional stretch. It was only £1/m on their odds and ends table - bargain!

The fabric looked perfect for a work skirt too so I decided I'd make it a touch longer than the pattern states - I need to be "appropriately attired" as a professional and mid thigh skirts are definitely more weekend than weekday!

I know everyone has already said it but I'm going to say it as well -  working with the pattern was a dream! The pattern pieces are printed on sturdy, "proper" paper, not tissue paper which was fab. I traced a pattern for the first time ever. Mainly because I listened to (should that read "read"?) all the advice out there on other sewing blogs about saving original patterns for future use (I hadn't thought of that before, but in hindsight, such common sense advice!). The instructions came in a lovely booklet instead of that horrible newspaper-type material that the Big4 use and were crystal clear. Everything was explained really well and Megan (am I allowed to use her first name?) used great diagrams to help.

The bestest thing about the whole thing is the amaze-balls pockets - they are roomy and oh so simple to create. I think I'm in LOVE.
I did have one or two disasters along the way though, although neither were the pattern's fault. The first one occurred when I had put all the skirt pieces together and was about to move on to attaching the waistband. I needed to press seams and flatten the pleats. My iron is old. Really old, inherited from my mum when I moved out 5 years ago. You can see what's coming next, right?...

Disaster! I had to take apart one of the front panels and redo that whole section. Luckily, I was able to save the pocket bag.

The second disaster was the buttonholes saga. Now, I've never made buttonholes before. So I carefully followed the instructions in my sewing machine manual. And I have no idea what happened.

Both the fabric and the thread seemed to keep jamming. I tried a different thread, I tried it out on a different fabric, I even tried taking the foot out and reloading it all according to the instructions, just in case I'd done something wrong the first time round. But to no avail. If someone can tell me what I'm doing wrong, I'd be very grateful!

In the end I got so frustrated that I just have up. I really wanted to wear the skirt to work on the following day  so I decided to use poppers instead. I used 4 in total and for the remaining 3 buttons, I just sewed through all the layers so it's more a pull-on skirt rather than a complete button-up.  I was planning to do this anyway so not that huge a change.

Anyway, despite these two setbacks, I really love the skirt. The pattern is simple but put together really well and the finished article is great. I was a little bit worried the the box pleat at the back would make my botty look huge but I think it looks ok...what do you think?

I'm definitely planning to make more of these beauties, one in my originally planned denim with wooden buttons and I'm already in the midst of using the pocket method for another skirt. I just need to sort out making buttonholes!!

Anyway, merry Christmas to all, and hope you all get whatever sewing goodies you were dreaming of! See you all in a few days.

Wearing my Kelly for lunch at Akamba!


  1. This looks freaking rad, Sabs! I love this! Now, button holes are evil. Let's get that out of the way straight off (or at least to me as my machine has a 9700000 step button hole function, curse you machine built in 1990)

    But I digress. Did you have interfacing between your fabric layers? Cut a small rectangle that is a bit bigger than your intended button hole and have that in between you fabric layers (though sometimes you will need two depending on how stiff your interfacing is). This will provide stability for the stitch and will make it a bit easier. I recommend trying this on some scrap fabric to get a clear idea of how much interfacing you need. I found this trick for my lovely cape and it ROCKED OUT!

    Hope this helps and I totes love this skirt. Kelly win!

    1. Thanks Amanda! I did have one layer of interfacing in the waistband, maybe the little blighter of fabric was too slippy? I don't know! Tbh, I reckon it was me being useless! I will practice with your words of advice and see if I can do any better... Btw, rad? Another word that needs to come back into common use methinks.

  2. I LOVE how your Kelly turned out, and i'm so so happy to hear you enjoyed the pattern so much! Honestly, it makes my day to hear such great feedback! I hope you get many many uses out of your pattern!

    Big hugs honey!!!
    and seriously, of course you can call me Megan- you know, or Meg :)

    1. Oh, hi, um, Meg! (trying to be really casual and not starstruck or anything here!) Glad you like my version... You've made my weekend with your comments as I've been poorly over Xmas but this has cheered me up no end! There will def be more Kellys coming up in the next few months...

  3. Hiya - about the button holes I haven't done many either but I've found that needle newness and type are really important. Make sure you use a new sharp needle of the right sort for the fabric you are sewing and not cheap thread.

    The skirt looks great too.

  4. PS are you able to switch captcha off on your blog comments? I know its possible but I use Wordpress so don't know how. If you google CAPTCHA you'll find various blog posts about the awfulness of it for commenters .....I couldn't read the little ittle blurry numbers the first time I left the other comment ...Please please please?

    1. Hi Emily - I'd never even heard of captcha until you mentioned it so I had no idea! I'm going to do a trial without it for a bit so i can see if there's a difference (ie make sure there isn't loads of spam) and then see if i should leave if off altogether. Thanks for bringing it to my attention tho!

      And also thanks for your tips re buttonholes. I've got another skirt that requires one so I will try them out!


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