I had originally intended to post this skirt and top as my January New Year Resewlutions but…well, that’s about how well I manage to stick to resolutions! So when Flora and Fauna was announced as a theme for this month, I thought that this could do double duty…because, really, what animal is that skirt??!
The fabric for the skirt is a mohair, wool and synthetic blend that I saw a few years ago at a fabric store in Graz, Austria. It was only a small shop but it had a covetous selection of fabulous fabrics – all rather beyond my price point (I couldn’t justify the double-backed cashmere in blue and grey, sigh!) – but this fabric was in the window and I couldn’t resist. I bought just enough (80cm) to make a skirt, brought it home, and then spent a couple of years not wanting to cut into it.
Which brings me to my Resewlution for 2018 – which was to sew with a goal in mind, aiming to use the fabrics I already have, filling gaps in my wardrobe. Now, clearly my wardrobe did NOT have a hot pink furry mohair skirt! To be fair to myself, I love wearing fun, bright clothes to work (it cheers both me and the patients up), and the work skirts I have were starting to look a bit tired. But the second make of this month WAS practical – a top to match the skirt. I have many me-made work skirts, but very few me-made work tops – despite the countless simple, plain patterns for woven tops out there, I had never warmed to any of them. I have wanted to find a top pattern to make as my TNT time and again – and I think I stumbled on it by accident!
And, as luck would have it, both the skirt and the top came from the same pattern – Simplicity K1202 – which was a free pattern from Sew Magazine, I’m not sure when. I really liked the tulip shape of the skirt – close fitting at the waist, with a nice puff of fabric below the hips – it suited the stiffness of the mohair so well!
The top in this pattern is a basic raglan t-shirt style with a button closure at the back – simple, but I liked the shape of the sleeves and the smaller pattern pieces meant that I could reduce the amount of fabric needed.
The fabric for the top was another find at the bottom of my stash – who knows how long it had been there for? It was a silk crepe with elastane – interestingly, a woven, not knit, fabric, with quite a lot of stretch, and very sheer! I doubled up the fabric at the front for modesty, but left a single layer of fabric for the sleeves and back – it isn’t as sheer as I thought but I’m glad I have two layers for the front part! I haven’t worn it with this skirt as yet (it is -4 outside today!) but the colours match perfectly.
Sewing the pattern was very easy and the pattern instructions were short but straightforward. I made a few changes – I used a silk habotai lining for the skirt (and drafted my own lining pattern without the pleats) and used a Hong Kong seam finish for the skirt edges – probably not strictly necessary given the skirt was lined, but it did make it look neat and I like to know that it’s there even if no-one else ever does! I also used horsehair braid for the hem – using this tutorial (Megan Nielsen How to Sew a Horsehair Braid Hem) – wow, what a revelation that stuff is! It is so easy to use and it seriously reduced the bulk in the hem.
For the top, I used French seams throughout (because of the construction, even using a French seam for the sleeves is easy) so that it looks as lovely on the inside as on the outside. I really struggled to find a matching thread for this silk – the hot pink has tones of blue in it as well – so in the end I used a silver thread as a contrast. I ended up handsewing the hem using backstitch to really accentuate the contrast – it was just impossible to sew this fabric with a rolled hem on the machine! I used a pearl button for the back.
I’m really pleased with these two makes – first of all the skirt got lots of happy compliments from people at work – everyone wanted to stroke it! Although that could have been a bit weird, I think the hilarious nature of this fabric meant that we could all have a laugh about it. I love the bright colours and I’m really pleased to have found a top pattern that fits well and that uses a minimum amount of fabric. I can see many of these tops appearing in my work wardrobe in the months ahead. I enjoyed the challenge of sewing with difficult fabrics (the mohair was really thick and bulky, and the silk was entirely the opposite!) and I love that I have two new work pieces that will get lots of wear.
I’m following along with the Seamwork Design Your Wardrobe program this month – are you? It has been a very refreshing exercise in deciding on a collection of items to sew to fill a particular need in your wardrobe – making you think like a designer! It’s great – do sign up for the next round if you didn’t manage it this time.
So, monthly stitchers, happy new year (albeit two months late) and I hope you don’t mind me slotting this make into the flora and fauna challenge as well!
PS are you on Instagram? I’m @veuve_makes if you want to find me!