The fabric I ordered to make the jersey maxi skirt from the Perfect Pattern Parcel #6 digital download package arrived while I was still on holiday and I couldn’t be more excited! The only thing was, trying to get motivated to start assembling the pattern together when there was so much I was trying to get done during my days off was more difficult.
I decided one night that I was going to sit down and get it done and I did. Now it’s ready for show, but before I reveal the end project, here’s a preview of other sewers’ #syrahskirt projects!
The thing I like to reiterate time and time again is that there’s fun in going shopping, to see items that are beautifully made. There’s joy in buying something beautiful to wear that you didn’t have to spend time making. Don’t get me wrong, I love sewing my own clothing and snoods and creating my own jewellery, but sometimes when you come across frustrating parts of a project, it can be quite…irritating. In the end, you’re proud you got through it and fixed the problem, but there are times when sitting back and enjoying something that’s been made for you is great.
The only problem with buying ready made, high street clothes is that it might suit some body shapes, skin tone and hair colouring, but it doesn’t suit everyone. The problem I’ve got is with jeans and maxi dresses and skirts they always end up dragging on the floor. I have to shop for short length jeans for my 5’5″ frame. Having the ability to sew my own clothes means I can still wear maxi skirts and dresses, to suit my body shape though I’d need to do it myself!
The thing about patterns, like with everything else in life, is there are good and bad points; you just need to work it out for yourself which option works best for you. I’ve found the great thing about digital pattern downloads is you can do this in the comfort of your own home. When you print out your pattern, you need to make sure the scale is set to 100% or actual size before you click ‘Print’. There’s usually a size box on the first page of your pattern to check that the measurement shown is the size of the box. This is to ensure that your pattern is going to fit according to the sizing chart.
Usually each piece is numbered and there should be a diagram to show you how your pattern is to be assembled.
Assembling pattern pieces
This actually took a while to put together, only because there were 22 pieces and I was careful to make sure the lines of each pattern piece lined up correctly.
Working hard at making sure the pattern pieces are aligned correctly
The good thing is while I spent a bit more time putting the pattern together, there are only 3 pieces to the pattern which meant the cutting process took less time. When you buy a commercial pattern, there’s no need to assemble it, but you do spend a bit of time cutting out multiple pattern pieces. To save resources (ie sellotape), I only made sure the important pieces were stuck together. If it wasn’t part of a pattern piece, I didn’t bother sticking the sides of pages together.
To save time and sellotape, I didn’t stick the sides between the two waist pieces together
The other great thing about digital patterns is, because it’s printed on A4 printing paper, it’s thicker than the thin blotting paper you get from commercial patterns which means it’s less likely to tear. If it starts to fall apart, just print a new one at no extra cost. In almost all instances, digital patterns are also cheaper because you’re saving on printing costs!
I printed the pages in black and white so I didn’t have the colour reference to refer to for sizing. Out of habit with commercial patterns, I decided to manually mark the edges of each size with the numerical US size. As I’ve been out of practice with US sizing having been accustomed to the UK sizes, I also included the waist measurements in inches for easy reference.
My handwritten sizing references
I didn’t end up using the whole 3 yards of fabric the pattern asked for, so I managed to cut the required pieces for my boat neck half sleeve tea dress from the same yardage. I bought a separate 2.5 yards for the dress, but only needed a small amount of it for the centre fold skirt and bodice front pieces. For the Syrah skirt, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of a shorter skirt lining, so cut the skirt lining in the same length as the maxi skirt front.
All pieces cut and ready to go!
I was excited to start sewing, this was the first time I was going to use my new Brother sewing machine I bought some months ago!The threading of the machine, I was pleased to find, wasn’t any different to the old Singer I was used to using and it worked really well with the jersey.
Sewing with my new Brother machine
I found the instructions that came with the pattern a little confusing at points and decidedto wing it and do my own thing. I ended up sewing the waistband first as a tube (like how I would sew a faux fur snood), but realised too late that I should have sewn one long side and the two short sides instead. I was meant to have a straight/flat waistband, but compared to Dandelion Drift and Sew Charleston’s I seem to have a wider waistband with lot of extra fabric. I have to tuck it in or adjust it when worn though so it looks like a ruched waistband. In the end, it turned out quite well though!
My finished Syrah skirt!
I tried it on to see how it fit and I was really pleased to know that although the maxi skirt is meant to fit a 5’6″ frame, I don’t need to pull it up too high on my natural waistline (I made my skirt to sit lower, on my hips) for the hem to sit just above floor level. One thing the OH noticed when rolling around the floor playing with the kitties was the lining needed to be taken up a bit more as it was showing slightly on the front. I had already taken up the lining so it wouldn’t show, but I forgot to take into account that the edges of jersey roll when left raw (ie not sewn) so with the curling of the skirt fabric, the edge of the lining was showing. This is a quick fix though which I’m planning on doing this weekend so I can wear my skirt soon.
If you’ve bought yourself the Syrah skirt pattern, I’d love to see photos of your skirt! Did you use another pattern to make a skirt? Share your photos and stories too!