I made a skirt over the weekend. I was going to make something much more complicated, but when I sat down with my fabric and pattern, I discovered that I wasn’t in the mood for fiddling. So I pulled out a piece of navy ponti that I’d had lying around for years, left over from not just one just 2 other projects, and figured out that, with some ingenuity, I had more than enough fabric to make a short-ish yoked skirt, with some pleats front and back for interest. Something like this, but with a yoke instead of a waistband, and no tabs.
I love the look of pleats. But I’m terrible at making them. I just get so frustrated with the whole process. Plus I hate ironing, and it’s essential to good pleats. So why I thought I would be in the mood to form 4 separate locations with pleats I do not know, but I was kind of making this skirt up as I went along and it seemed like it would be fine. After half an hour of cutting, half an hour on the yoke, fifteen minutes on the zip, and 3 hours on the pleats, it was ready to try on.
And now you learn the reason(s) why there are no photos to go with this post. I was a diligent blogger, and I documented the process throughout – or the bits that didn’t involve me gritting my teeth, swearing, or throwing parts of the skirt across the room. I’d topstitched the pleats to keep them flat over my butt – the perils of hips and pleats – and had also decided that, if my legs were better, I wouldn’t have bothered with the yoke at all, and would have just gone with a pleated mini (although that did run the risk of looking a little too much like a netball skirt, triggering traumatic memories of primary school sports days). I’d worked it all by eye and measuring and chalking the fabric, rather than crafting a pattern and I thought it looked pretty darn good, let me tell you. Slightly off with the pleat alignement, but matching off-ness in all locations to therefore potentially passing as deliberate. So far so awesome, yes?
Or at least I thought so until I stopped focussing on the details and had a look at the overall product. It looked a little…big. I tried to ignore it when I was pinning the yoke to the pleated section. I told myself it was just the I usually work with skirts that are much longer. But when I finished the zip and tried it on at last, I discovered that I was right to doubt the sizing. Somewhere between me measuring and cutting the fabric, it had grown four inches. As in I could easily put another 4 pleats in the skirt. I know, I pinned them to see. And I know ponti is a knit, so the laws of cutting and fitting are different, but – FOUR WHOLE INCHES!!! That’s 10cm for the meterically minded. That’s a whole lot to be off by. So now I’m faced with a decision. Do I bother with sitting down and unpicking the whole thing, adding pleats, adjusting the yoke, and remaking it all, or do I just write it off?
The only consolation here is that at least I thought to try it on before hemming. Because then I really would have thrown my toys out of the cot, let me tell you. And as the toys in question are sewing machines and scissors, it’s probably just as well that I didn’t… And what is the lesson I’m taking away from all of this? Fit earlier in the process? Measure twice, cut once? Follow a pattern properly? Well yes, I guess, but not really, no. More along the lines of “if you can’t front up to a Burda pattern because you don’t feel like cutting out 10 pieces plus interfacing, you probably shouldn’t be sewing that day.”