Sewing with a Plan 2016 0.23

I have nearly finished my Biki of Milan skirt. 

Spadea NS-249 + Iris silk
Spadea NS-249 + Iris silk

I underlined the silk chiffon with silk organza, having joined the back piece due to shortage of cloth.

I considered a range of colours and fabrics for the contrasting waist band and pockets. I put it on Instagram and asked for advice. All got a vote or two, but the blue-pink chiffon at the end won hands down. I went with it and am pleased with the result.

I considered using the remains of a favourite, reddish pink 1980s silk shirt (a man’s shirt taken into fit). It had finally fallen apart in the wash. One cut down

sleeve was big enough to create the pocket linings. Such a nice old pattern, with its perforations and two differently sized pocket sides. You will notice I don’t have the pockets on the grain, which isn’t too worrying – just so you know it was deliberate to get the pockets out of one sleeve – I am even stingy when I am recycling cloth. In fact I feel sad throwing away silk, always acknowledging all the work the little worms had to put into make this lovely cloth.

Recycling a silk shirt in dressmaking
Pocket lining

I made the bound buttonholes with the blue Iris silk as I thought the pink might look a bit obtrusive. I like this one which came out with a bit of pattern in a blue patch. I enjoy bound buttonholes and in a really delicate fabric like this I think they can look really sweet. I used a small stitch and counted the stitches across the ends.

Bound buttonholes silk chiffon
Bound buttonholes

I actually haven’t made up my mind on the buttons yet. I bought three floral – possibly scabious – buttons in Chienvert in Brussels, but I think plain dark blue might be better. What do you think?

Belgian Scabious Button
Belgian Scabious Button

I like the skirt, but I can’t say I liked making it. It was a complicated and long-winded construction process and working with chiffon is not easy. I am not entirely happy with how I constructed the waist band (using 1″ tape, joined together, so it was soft but also solid enough, and I wrapped it with four layers of chiffon. The pockets only have one layer over the interfacing so they have come out a bit lighter. The button band has a point at the top which just doesn’t stand out enough. The button band and fold over pleat at the front was so fiddly and fussy and I am not sure it added much. In retrospect I like the skirt because the Iris silk is pretty, and a lined, mid-length, flared summer skirt with pockets is a wearable item. But the skirt was over-designed. I have pinned the “bow” at the waist band and it is needed to cover the press studs but it isn’t quite working. I honestly think if I had just stuck with a simple, traditional skirt with a zip, using these fabrics it would have been just as nice, and saved me hours of time.

Often, when I finish a pattern I want to make it again but better. I am “sew” over it with this one. I have probably put you off but if you would like it, do let me know. It is has about a 26″ waist (although mine is bigger), and the pattern includes the light blue skirt I had made already.

That’s all there is to it. Because I had underlined the skirt the hem is invisible. And the skirt is lined with some beige habotai so it will feel nice to wear. I might have finished it last night but it has been a long week and we are watching House of Cards so I will leave it until later today.

Biki of Milan Iris silk chiffon skirt
Biki of Milan Iris silk chiffon skirt

Only two more items to go now. And a whole month in front of me. Let’s see how it goes.

 

12 Responses

  1. I really like the soft shape of the skirt and the fabric is very pretty . I think you are right about the buttons . The pointed bit at the waist band perhaps needs a crisper fabric although I wouldn’t personally like the fall of the skirt in a crisper fabric . Maybe something like a libert Tanah lawn would work .
    Chiffon is hard to work with . I found that using a rotary cutter, pattern weights and the sewing with my old old singer which has a straight stitch needle plate made all the difference when I made my dil wedding dress out of yards and yards of crinkle chiffon .

  2. Lovely skirt, I can feel the frustration you have after the difficulty of working with chiffon, and the effort of the details, and then thinking that something simple would have worked in that fabric.The main thing is that you have a beautiful garment to wear, and some of the ideas and techniques you worked through will doubtless serve at some future date. I did cop out with my recent make in a patterned cloque, but think I could have been more adventurous. We are so rarely completely satisfied, don’t you find?

  3. The skirt is already beautiful – great buttons!

  4. That fabric is gorgeous! A big bow around my waist (which is considerably larger than 26″) would just never do, but it’s pretty with the skirt. I love reading about your makes, and your analytical way of looking at sewing. You have only 2 items to go! I have ten and a half. Perhaps I shall just bow out now? haha

  5. Stephanie

    Kate, I love the skirt though your observations are interesting. I am trying to push myself to have a bit more “flair” for lack of a better word. On the other hand, it’s undeniable that crisp, classic design that’s finished well, even without bells and whistles, has shelf life and always makes me feel good in it (not to mention that it doesn’t create drama in the making). It’s a conundrum.

  6. That fabric is dreamy even if it was hard to work with, it contrasts beautifully with the hot pink. But I agree maybe you don’t need the bow. Live and learn right?

  7. I can hear your disappointment but I often make simple garments and then wish I had gone for something more complicated and interesting! This is so beautifully planned and made, and I love it!

  8. The devil’s in the detail Kate. I’ve just made a simple top that didn’t work that I won’t complete. My disappointment though isn’t in not finishing but rather not having learnt anything constructive from the experience, you however, have gained a different perspective and now have a very nice skirt too.

  9. The temptation is to simplify but I think your ’embellished’ garments always look great. I love the pink contrast. Go for it – more is more.

  10. Beautiful buttonhole!
    We’ve just started on series one of House Of Cards – really enjoying it.

  11. Its a lovely skirt already, and don’t we always learn more from a tricky project? I read your fabric collection post just before this one, which made me think about my own, very similar attitude to sewing materials. It seems to me that having a beautiful fabric in the collection, and working with extensively in the imagination, often means that when the fabric becomes a garment, there is no possible way that it can meet my expectations. However, sometimes these garments that initially are a little disappointing, not matching my inner vision, later become favourite pieces in my wardrobe. I hope you like your skirt better when you have a little distance from the frustrations of the construction.

    • Thank you Karen for such a sweet remark. Actually I wore the skirt at the weekend, with my lemon self drafted blouse, and I loved the colours which I feel are “my” colours. I think the inner vision thing is exactly what is affecting me at the moment as I feel completely disenchanted with my SWAP garments.

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