Simplicity Sewing Challenge 2016 – Sewing my First Skirt

I came across the Simplicity Sewing Challenge 2016 mentioned in the July 2016 issue of Sew Magazine. It stated that Simplicity is once again on the hunt for the UK’s most creative stitchers in this year’s Simplicity Sewing Challenge. The entry process sounded straightforward so I thought I’d give it a go. For my entry I have created the short skirt B in Simplicity New Look pattern 6346 #SimplicitySewingChallenge.

Simplicity Sewing Challenge 2016 categories

Simplicity Sewing Challenge 2016 Entry Details

There are 5 categories to choose to enter. I decided to have a go in the Newcomer category because the other categories appear too advanced for my skills and because I’d actually like to wear the short skirt B or C in pattern 6346.

Creative Stitchers Sewing Challenge Simplicity

UK Creative Stitchers Sewing Challenge by Simplicity – Entry Details

Buying the Necessary Sewing Supplies

I chose Alice in Wonderland fabric by Lecien because I fell in love with Lecien fabrics a couple of months ago when I made a Snow White handbag and because I thought it would be a fun, but strong fabric to use for a cute, short skirt.

I then chose some red crystal heart buttons from Hobbycraft and Gutermann threads (red 156).

Alice in Wonderland Lecien Fabric & Notions

Alice in Wonderland Lecien Fabric & Notions

Getting Started with Sewing my First Skirt

After making my first toile, as a practice run of creating this skirt, I reused the pattern pieces I had previously traced and cut for the toile. I placed them on the fabric, as per the instructions and cut out each of the four pieces (1, 2, 4 & 5).

I then did the same with the interfacing to cut out pieces 3, 4 and 5.

Cut out Lecien fabric pieces for Skirt B pattern 6346

Cut out Lecien fabric pieces for Skirt B pattern 6346

Iron on the Interfacing

I removed the pattern pieces from the fabric and ironed the interfacing onto the relevant pieces of fabric. The long pattern piece 3 was ironed onto the inner edges of the front sections to create and reinforce the facings, where each of the buttonholes would be. The waistband was made up of six pieces; 3 were for the front of the waistband and these had interfacing applied to them. The other three made up the facings on the inside of the waistband.

I sewed each of the three waistband pieces together using 5/8″ seams, resulting in an outer waistband with interfacing and an inner waistband without interfacing.

Sewing the Pieces Together

I sewed the two main back pieces of the skirt together with a 5/8″ seam and then each of the front pieces to the newly formed back section, also with 5/8″ seams. It was now beginning to look like a skirt and I was delighted to see it taking shape.

Attaching the Waistband to the Skirt

Attaching the waistband is more difficult than it first appears. The seam allowances have to be layered and understitched to reduce bulk and make a neater finish. This is a bit fiddly and should not be attempted when you are tired. I sewed the waistband pieces to the skirt as per the pattern instructions.

I then top stitched along the edge of the bottom of the waistband, as close as I could possibly manage. The purpose of this was two-fold, to attach the waistband neatly and securely to the skirt, whilst simultaneously catching the folded edge of the inner waistband facing (which had been trimmed to 1/4″) to hide the raw edges and create a tidy finish. I was a bit disappointed in how I did this. My toile version was much neater.

At this point I let it hang overnight as recommended in the pattern.

Stitching up the Hem

As I described in my previous ‘creating a toile‘ post, I found this a straightforward and fun way to sew a hem.

I began with a basting stitch along the hem at 5/8″, the purpose of this was to make it easy and accurate to fold over the hem to meet the 5/8″ row of stitching and press down firmly with my steam iron.

I then folded the fabric over again, precisely on the row of basting and this created a perfect little hem.

Creating the Buttonholes

I have a one-step buttonhole maker on my sewing machine, which makes the process very straightforward and quick. The tricky part for me is accurately marking where the buttonholes should be.

I began by pinning the pattern piece precisely on to the front right side panel of the skirt, double checking it lined up and was exactly where I wanted it to be. I then folded it back so that I could see the buttonhole markings but still have room to place the pins into the fabric facing. As you can see in this photograph below, I then used the pins to mark the space for the buttonhole to appear.

After all the 12 pins (2 per buttonhole) were in place, I carefully removed the pattern piece. I then went straight to the sewing machine and lined up the edge of the skirt with a measurement I was happy with and removed the top pin, matching the needle over the fabric precisely above the bottom pin (for the first buttonhole). I removed the pin before dropping the needle. I was then ready to sew the first buttonhole. I used the slowest setting on my sewing machine just because I panic if it goes too fast.

Line up the buttonholes on the fabric using pins

Line up the buttonholes on the fabric using pins

The one-step buttonhole function really means I don’t have to do anything other than keep my foot on the pedal. The buttonhole foot has a slot at the back in which to place my button. This accurately assesses the size that the buttonhole should be. Another thing I needed to note was that the buttonhole lever had to be lowered into place, touching the foot at the correct position. This ensured that the buttonhole would be sewn to the correct length.

I double checked all my positioning was correct and began to stitch. In no time at all my first buttonhole had been sewn. I then repeated the process with the other five and was pleasantly surprised at how evenly they looked when I’d finished.

Attaching the Buttons

So now that my buttonholes have been created and I’m pleased with them, it is time to sew on the actual buttons. I really love these red crystal heart buttons and think they work really well with the Alice in Wonderland fabric, following the Queen of Hearts theme.

To accurately mark where the buttons should be, I also use pins, although chalk could be used instead.

I placed the right hand facing over the left and double checked it pattern matched across the fold as closely as possible. To do this I pinned the two layers together. I then carefully slit open each buttonhole using a seam ripper, with a pin in the top bartak to prevent splitting the threads. At this point, I slid another pin into the buttonhole and through the layer of facing below, this placed a pin into the position I wanted the button to appear. You can see in the photograph below where each pin was placed on the left facing just before I stitched on the buttons.

Accurately mark where the Buttons should be placed using Pins

Accurately mark where the Buttons should be placed using Pins

At this point I took my needle and thread and hand stitched through fabric in the middle of the pin and attached each red crystal heart button. It didn’t take too long and I was very pleased that they were all accurately placed once I was done.

Alice in Wonderland Skirt with crystal heart buttons in Lecien Fabric

Alice in Wonderland Skirt with crystal heart buttons in Lecien Fabric

Finally I tried on my finished creation and I’m delighted with how it has turned out. I love the colour combinations, the design and the style.

Alice in Wonderland short Skirt red crystal heart buttons

Alice in Wonderland short Skirt with red crystal heart buttons

Final Thoughts:

I really love the fabric and the look of the finished skirt, it’s perhaps not the most practical choice for regular wear. For regular wearability I may remake it in a plain fabric with eye-catching buttons.

I made a few silly little mistakes, mostly with my stitching, which I’m now kicking myself for, particularly when it came to stitching the waistband. The toile version was actually far neater, which is rather frustrating.

As the competition entry stated ‘most creative stitchers’ I’m not sure if this skirt will qualify for the Simplicity Sewing Challenge 2016 as I have not actually done anything overly creative with it. I pretty much followed the pattern exactly.

The contest terms and conditions state that to enter the newcomer category, stitchers must have been sewing for less than a year. I did buy my first sewing machine 5 years ago however, I really only properly started to learn to sew back in March this year when I started attending a weekly sewing class for complete beginner’s. In this class I was taught the basics of how to use a sewing machine and then we made some simple projects such as a cushion cover, shopper bag and pin cushion. By the end of April I had completely caught the sewing bug and I have not looked back. #SimplicitySewingChallenge

Alice in Wonderland Skirt with crystal heart buttons in Lecien Fabric Simplicity Pattern 6346 skirt pattern B

Alice in Wonderland Skirt with red crystal heart buttons in Lecien Fabric Simplicity Pattern 6346 skirt pattern B

 

 

Alice in Wonderland Skirt with red crystal heart buttons in Lecien Fabric Simplicity Pattern 6346 skirt pattern B

Alice in Wonderland Skirt with red crystal heart buttons in Lecien Fabric Simplicity Pattern 6346 skirt pattern B

Simplicity Sewing Challenge 2016 – Terms & Conditions

1.To request one of the selected Sewing Challenge patterns, an email should be sent to bloggers@Simplicitynewlook.com, stating your name, address, sizing details and the name of your blog (if applicable) or social media details.

2. To enter the challenge, you must have either a blog or social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest – in order to be able to post images of your completed make.

3 A request for the Simplicity pattern must be made by Monday 18th July at the latest, in order to leave enough time to make your pattern by the set deadline.

4. In order to enter the newcomer category, stitchers must have been sewing for less than a year.

5. The winner(s) of The Simplicity Sewing Challenge 2016 will receive a year’s worth of sewing patterns (12), along with trimmings and other crafty items. The chosen winners will also be invited to become VIP Simplicity bloggers, on Simplicity’s sewing circle blog.

6. The decision made by the judging panel is final.

7. Entries to The Simplicity Sewing Challenge must be received by the competition closing date: 31st August 2016. Those entering the challenge should email a link to their blog or social media post to bloggers@simplicitynewlook.com

8. Simplicity offers no cash alternative and the winner must accept the prize in the form offered.

9. The winner(s) of The Simplicity Sewing Challenge 2016 will receive a year’s worth of sewing patterns (12), along with trimmings and other crafty items. The chosen winners will also be invited to become VIP Simplicity bloggers, on Simplicity’s sewing circle blog.

10. The decision made by the judging panel is final. Simplicity Sewing Challenge 2016

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