Who doesn’t like free stuff? I am not affiliated with this website at all, but many months ago I came across Spit Up & Stilettos (formerly Sew Loft). They are mainly a children’s pattern company, but have a bunch of lovely women’s patterns which, bless her heart, are all FREE for downloading! Awesome, huh?
The first pattern I downloaded and promptly made was the Alyson skirt:
I can’t vouch for any of their other patterns, but this one had clearly written instructions and was very easy to follow. Plus, there are photos included with every step. Pattern pieces include a front piece, a back piece, a waistband, and belt loops. Pretty simple. Oh, there is also a pattern piece for the waist tie if you feel inclined, but I preferred to just use a belt. The cover says this would take 2-3 hours, but if it did, that included all the printing, cutting, taping and adjusting of pattern pieces, cutting of fabric, AND sewing so it was a very quick little skirt to make up!
I made my version in an irresistibly bright, fun, cotton duck from Japan. Here she is:
The duck is quite a stiff, structured fabric, almost like a denim/canvas texture, so this skirt is probably stiffer than the pattern intended. I’ve seen similar paperbag-style skirts in soft and flowy fabric which make for a totally different style, but I think this one has its own appeal. Plus, it’s totally durable and won’t wreck in the wash – bonus!
Typically, my waist measured at two pattern-sizes smaller than my hip measurement. I cut the skirt out in the larger size and graded inwards towards the waist. I ended up grading the bottom of the skirt inwards a little bit as well, just because the stiffness of the duck meant it stuck out at too much of a weird angle. The end result was a perfectly fitted skirt – go me!
The smaller details are where I’m less proud of myself, but I hope that since making this skirt my technique has improved. For example, the finishing:
When I made the Alyson, I admit I got kinda lazy and didn’t finish any of the seams on the inside. There are even some loose threads still hanging around. I did try and finish the bottom of the skirt with a zig-zag stitch before hemming, but it’s far from perfect. Happily, I can now say I have acquired a brand new, you-beaut overlocker so this will no longer be an issue! Let me just spend a second showing you my new toy!
From now on, I have no excuse for unfinished insides and unprofessional-looking seams!
The second thing I did a less-than perfect job on was the zip insertion:
Yes, the waistband is a bit wonky and yes, the machine made an awful mess of the threads at the bottom. Since making this skirt I have adopted the all-too-easy technique of handpicking zips (THANK YOU, Tasia!), which, despite my initial hesitation, is seriously no slower than machine-sewing, and INFINITELY more accurate. Not to mention surprisingly strong!
So, although I do wear this skirt and I love telling people that I made it when they ask where I got it, there are definitely some changes I will make for the next time:
- Make the skirt in a softer fabric
- Give the waist-tie a go
- Finish the edges properly
- Handpick the zip, or maybe even try an invisible zip…
Other than that, it’s a cute little skirt that I’ve worn to work, to the shops, at home, and to social events so it’s certainly not a lost cause.
Have you made any of the patterns from Spit Up & Stilettos? I’d love to see your creations.