#MadeUp Initiative: Simplicity 1200 skirt

There were moments when I might have cheerfully taken the garden shears to this skirt, but now that the final stitch is done I’m starting to see it as a valuable learning experience. The Simplicity 1200 is a 3/4 circle skirt and recommended fabrics include things like chambray, linen and poplin. I threw caution to the wind and merrily cut the pattern out of a John Kaldor knit purchased from Minerva Crafts. The fabric was stable, but stretchy, and herein lay the problem.

Made Up Initiative: Simplicity 1200

Made Up Initiative: Simplicity 1200

Made Up Initiative: Simplicity 1200

Lapped zip and hook and bar fastenings
Lapped zip and hook and bar fastenings

I made so many rookie mistakes sewing this skirt – more on those below – but first I’d like to tell you more about how this skirt came to be. Last month Karen Ball of DidYouMakeThat? invited the sewing community to give a little something back with the Made Up Initiative. Sewers around the world have made donations to the National Literacy Trust via Justgiving, and many have simultaneously pledged to sew something before the 10th September.To date, the Made Up Initiative has raised £2581.51, smashing the £1000 target set by Karen at the outset.. This Simplicity skirt is my pledge, and it was completed in the knick of time following some late night sewing on Wednesday evening.

When I ordered this fabric online, I was all set to make a pair of Papercut Patterns Anima pants, but when I opened the packet it just didn’t feel quite right for that project, and I started to brainstorm alternatives. I have a shortage of skirts in my wardrobe – I always seem to gravitate more towards dresses and trousers – so I decided now would be a good time to start filling that gap. I was looking for something above the knee with a good amount of drape, and the Simplicity 1200 skirt fit the bill.

Things I’d do differently next time:

1.Remember to use a ball point needle.

Sadly, it wasn’t until I was hemming this skirt and my thread started snapping every 10cm or so that it dawned on me that I hadn’t done this. At this point, I switched my regular needle for a ballpoint not really expecting it to make much of a difference, but it was like magic. The rest of my hem was finished in one go and these stitches are far superior to all of those that came before.

2. Don’t install a lapped zip like it’s an invisible zip and expect it to work

Perhaps weirdly, I’ve only ever inserted invisible zips and I didn’t really give the fact that this was a lapped zip much thought. As a result I sewed my fabric too flush with the teeth of the zip, and whilst it looked lovely, the zip didn’t actually work. It kept catching on the fabric, and the seam ripper had to come out.

3. Buy a blummin’ overlocker before blatantaly flouting the fabric recommendations on the pattern (alternatively, just do what it says on the packet)

I really like a good knit, and I’ve had success before sewing knit fabrics with just my sewing machine by choosing my stitches carefully and going sloooowly. Not this time. It’s only by a wing and a prayer that I have a wearable skirt. This fabric did not like the things I was trying to do to it. John Kaldor fabric is so lovely that at times I felt like I was beating a kitten – not good. Consequently, the guts of the skirt are UGLY.

Things I’m going to do a whole lot more of:

FRENCH SEAMS – love ’em. So easy, so neat. Can’t believe I haven’t bothered with them before.

To celebrate the conclusion of the ‘making’ part of the MadeUp Initiative, Karen has organised a meet up in London today. I’m really looking forward to meeting a bunch of like-minded sewers and seeing what everyone’s been making. See you there, folks!

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