This weeks Crafty Bloggers' Club post is from Maxine, who has been a customer at Crafty Sew & So for many years!
In 2019 I made a box-pleated skirt with a gorgeous light blue and yellow floral fabric that Freya had shown me from the summer fabrics at Crafty Sew & So that season. Pleased with the result, I had intended to make others and never got around to it, so when Kim invited me to do this blog, I thought that this would be a perfect opportunity to have another go, and I chose to use the pleated option of the My Handmade Wardrobe "All The Cute Skirts" pattern. Choosing the fabric was fun and after a good look around the website, I picked out the Yellow Retro Rove Pop Floral Premium Craft Cotton.
I began by tracing the pattern and found that the MHW All The Cute Skirts was easy to transfer to the material. I don't know that I have always believed this but I am now a firm believer that diamonds absolutely are a girl’s best friend. They really are! Because when I started to line up my pattern to the fabric there was a set of diamond shaped squares within the flower petal and this made it easy for me to achieve nice, straight lines from the outset.
I also love a pleat! The closest I get to ironing pleats and creases these days are in my children's school uniform. I like to hand-tack some garments before getting anywhere near the machine. It can seem pointless or an 'extra thing to do' but it generally pays off. And boy, did it pay off this time . . .
I started by using the pleats marked on the pattern but somehow it didn’t align. As it had only been tacked into place, I could easily undo them and re-iron the fabric flat and start again. I repositioned the pleats and I decided to use another technique I have learnt from the Crafty Sew and So team too; to use the pattern repeat to help make the pleats. This time making the pleats was easy and worked like a dream. It made the final 'look' turn out exactly as I had hoped. The lesson? If at first you don't succeed..... just try something else. Adjusting the pattern slightly is definitely ok and often necessary when sewing, especially with a printed fabric. And if unsure, ask. One of the beauties of knowing other sewists is there is always someone, somewhere who can shed light on how to master an unfamiliar technique.
The pattern piece for the waistband was wider than the design on the fabric and so I folded the pattern piece in half and pinned it on. I wanted to be sure that when I cut the second 'half' I had a repeat pattern that actually did repeat. Cutting the whole flower at the end of the first and the start of the second gave me room to overlap so that the continuity would be seamless. This also worked well when completing the side seam. I used the 'stalks' of the flower on this lovely Yellow Retro Rove Pop Floral Premium Craft Cotton. to line everything up.
I found the waistband and hem straightforward to complete – I just chose a 'line' to fold them on (just under the leaves worked well here) and made sure that it was the same all the way around. This is the only part of the project where matching had to go out the window to some extent. The flower repeat on the waistband is flat, whilst the flowers repeat differently on the skirt once they are pleated.
I have never sewn a 3cm hem so I was curious to see how it would look. My experience with wide hems has not always been, shall we say, a success! But I was very pleased with how clearly the measurements in the instructions correlated with the actual making of the hem. The pleats just seemed to 'need' a wider hem and it really finished things off stunningly!
The All The Cute Skirts MHW pattern is extremely accessible . Easy to follow, the instructions were straightforward and it was a super fit! I can't wait to see what lovely summer cotton prints the Crafty shelves will be filling up with over the next few weeks and months as I prepare to make some more ready for the hot weather!
The overall experience of doing this blog has been exhilarating. I enjoy writing and so being able to write on a topic and experience that is so much a part of my creative life ... let's just say, life doesn't get much better than that for me!
I would say that there are 2 things that I learned from this project, that I hope will encourage other people. The quality of the fabric and the pattern make every ounce of difference. Many people who I showed the (unfinished ) item to, commented on the high quality of the fabric - it is called "premium" for a reason! I would really recommend using premium fabric for any Summer cotton projects you may have in mind, because it hangs beautifully. It is very forgiving - I doubt a less robust fabric would have allowed me to reset the pleats so perfectly!
Thank you for reading my blog post, everybody! Happy sewing!!
“Crafty Bloggers' Club Contributors are given products and materials to test from Crafty Sew&So. We hope you enjoy their honest and impartial reviews of the products. All opinions are their own.”