The A-line Skirt
This A-Line skirt was my first real dressmaking project. I first got a taste for dressmaking when I came across a fantastic website called Tilly and the buttons. On here, there was a link to a video which showed you how to make an elasticated skirt. It looked so easy, so that very day, I went out to get my material and supplies, and made the skirt within an hour. It was fantastic and I loved that I had made it. Take a look at my Instagram page, you can see a picture of it there. I knew that my second dressmaking project should be something a little more complex. I wanted a fitted skirt which included a zip. Why are zips so scary?
I think it was the zip that put me off making this project for so long. It really wasn’t so scary after all, in fact since the invisible zip on this skirt turned out so well, I just want to make more items with zips. Afterall, practice makes perfect. So I found this lovely skirt pattern from simplicity and decided that the pattern was slightly daunting for a beginner, so I decided to go to a sewing class, where a teacher would take me through the steps of the pattern. It was great because I learnt how to make sense of patterns and any questions I had along the way, the teacher would be there for me with her expert advice. If you are in Auckland and want to learn to sew then get in touch with Lynn-Marie at Sew Inspired, she was so helpful and very patient.
For me, this was a great way to begin my journey into dressmaking. It gave me the confidence to go on and buy more patterns and to start making a dress on my own.
The first step was to take my body measurements for my waist and hips. You can do this on your own or with help. You just need to make sure that you are standing up straight when you do this. This link provides clear and simple instructions on how to do this. You tube videos are also really helpful.
The next step is to circle your measurements on the pattern (usually on the back of the pattern envelope). My waist measured a size 10, however my hips measured a size 12. This was not a problem, it simply means you need to merge the two sizes together to get your perfect fit. Oh and don’t be alarmed, commercial pattern sizes can sometimes be bigger than your size on the high street. This is completely normal.
Now the making can begin. The picture below shows how the pattern comes in the envelope. It is printed on a large piece of tissue paper, you then have to cut out all the pieces you will need (this information is on the pattern instructions) for your skirt. Remember to merge the pattern before you cut out. To do this, draw a line between the two pattern sizes. So at the top of my pattern piece I started cutting out along the size 10 line and then this gradually merged into the size 12 line around my hips. I drew a pencil line on the pattern before I cut out. If you are lucky, you won’t have to merge between sizes, so just simply cut around the size you need.
Once the pattern was cut, it was time to follow the step by step instructions provided with the pattern. I have to admit, I did struggle with the instructions. I’m not sure if this is because I have never previously done this or whether the instructions were difficult. I would like to know if anyone else has struggled with this pattern? I’m sure it was probably just me, and the more I do it, the easier it will become.
It took me three classes (each being three hours long) to make this skirt from start to finish. Yes that sounds like a lot of hours but half of that time was unpicking and re-doing what I had done wrong at home in between classes. Some of my mistakes were hilarious. I had sewn the Yoke (a type of waistband) on upside down. When my teacher pointed this out I thought it was so funny, how could I have been so silly? Why was something so obvious, so hard for me to do? I wasn’t too hard on myself and learnt from my mistake. In the end, I was so happy with the outcome. My skirt fitted perfectly, the invisable zip was invisable, it was such a proud moment, and from then on I was inspired to make more. My next project will be a shift dress, so watch this space….