when things turn out even better than expected

Thursday, 14 April 2011
 After that last project failure I decided I wanted something not only quick and easy to make, but also something that would actually work out! So I started out by taking up the hems of two pairs of jeans that I've had sitting in my mending pile for at least a year now.  Isn't that terrible? In the time it's taken me to sit down and hem them I've made god knows how many complete outfits from start to finish, yet it's taken me this long to spare the 10 minutes it took to cut and hem my jeans!

But still feeling a little worn out and wary of another failure, I decided to make a simple skirt.  I really want to expand my smart casual wardrobe, so I don't just always wear jeans and a nice top when I go to the movies or out for a coffee but it really is a big hole in my wardrobe at the moment.  I settled on my fast becoming favourite shape, the tulip skirt from Burda 9/2007, skirt 116:

I really like this shape because it looks less like office wear than a pencil skirt, but a little different to a plain a-line skirt too.  Plus it is surprisingly flattering even though it has extra fabric around the hip line, which I suspect comes from emphasising the waistline.  And since I've made this before, I knew it would fit so it was a winner on all counts.

This time I've made it from black wool crepe, lined in black bemburg:

Handily it has pockets too, so I can stand around looking too cool for school:

And so even though I just wanted a skirt to wear in casual situations, the wool crepe fabric has made this skirt look really quite good so now I'm thinking of making a cute cropped jacket to go with it from the same fabric so I have a funky skirt suit as well. 

The fabric was a total bargain too - I bought a huge length of it from a garage sale for a couple of dollars, but when I got it home and opened it up I realised that there were moth holes along one edge of it.  This fabric is very wide, so I just cut off the ruined part and washed the rest of the fabric in a warm cycle in the machine.  Normally I would treat wool crepe with more care, but since this was cheap and almost ruined anyway I took a risk.  It only felted up a little but didn't lose too much of its drape so no harm at all.  I did keep the fabric in a big zip lock plastic bag though in case there were still moths or eggs in it, because I didn't want to infect the rest of my fabric.

So all in all, the fabric and the skirt turned out better than I had planned.  Now I just need some cute tops to go with it, which is another big hole in my wardrobe!

Thanks for all your commiserations re my last failed dress project.  It was my first Project Runway pattern, so not an auspicious start but I am contemplating making another Project Runway pattern but this time a girls dress for Anna, so hopefully that turns out better.  And to assure you Gail that this dress is too small, this is as far I can get the zipper up:

Beyond saving I'm afraid!


  1. I've been visiting your blog for quite some time but never made the time to say how much I enjoy your creations and the information you share about sewing.

  2. Great skirt, it could even still be very stylish in denim too to make it a "jeans alternative" so to speak. I love seeing all your creations, and that you don't hide the failed ones away in a corner!

  3. Its funny that this week I have had problems with a stupid project runway pattern too! Grrr. This is one of those projects that took a lot of time for not such a great result so I definitely feel your pain!
    Love the Burda Skirt though! x

  4. Your skirt looks great! What an interesting shape. Too bad about the dress. I haven't found Project Runway patterns to be all that easy.

  5. This is a cute skirt! Hey, you look like you've lost every bit of the baby weight and then some!!!

  6. Great skirt! I love the jacket idea. I've been watching your 2337 progress with a little trepidation. I haven't been brave enough to tackle it yet--I was going to choose the same "options" you did:)

  7. Wow, very cute outfit. I might just have to download that pattern as I have a very similar figure to you (in a slightly larger size ;-) ) That outfit is so nice. Can't wait to see matching jacket if you decide to go ahead and make it.

  8. seeing the back of your dress i wondered
    could you save the dress by adding a scoop shaped section of lace insert and repositioning the zipper to the side.

  9. I've made that skirt twice! It is a good pattern. It would be fabulous as a suit.

  10. I love your skirt.. It turned out very well.. Can't to see your jacket that goes with it..

    About the Project runway dress.... you can get the zipper up far enough... could it be saved by cutting off the top part and turning it into a skirt? It is really cute and you put so much work into it.

  11. Kristy,
    I am sure you are absolutely tired of the dress. Since there are already panels in the design, what if you added a panel at the side seams. It might just blend right in. Or it might just blend in to the waste bin.

  12. Hi,
    I love the skirt and especially the pockets, i made a dress which had the same skirt but without pockets.
    you can see it here:

    tell me what you think

  13. That skirt looks great, especially with the stripey top and scarf.

    I have been looking for a skirt pattern with pockets, I'll try to track that one down.