I picked this project from my book The Great British Sewing Bee – Sew your own wardrobe
– box pleats
– blind hem
– Zip/invisible zip
What I liked
– my sewn up box pleats
What I need to work on
– taylors tacks
Changes change if I made another
– Picking the correct fabric. I love the soft grey cotton (a brushed poly/cotton at £3 a metre from Croft Mill online) that I made this from but for really crisp box pleats maybe a stiffer fabric would have worked better and held the pleats more easily.
The book comes with 5 sheets of plans and the book contains +20 projects so those 5 pages have lots of patterns all in different colours. So once again I started out be making tracings of a pattern on my tracing paper, at my class instructors suggestion I added some length to the skirt as I wanted something knee length rather than a mini skirt.
I selected a plain gray cotton so I wouldn’t have to worry about pattern matching as well as making box pleats.
After cutting out and marking where the box pleats go with a combination of taylors tacks (back) and my fabric pen (front – cause I got lazy) I then had a bit of a dilemma as to how do move forward with making my box pleats.
The lines of the box pleat appeared to be off at angles but I decided to just move forward and hope it worked.
I like the look when the box pleat is sewn in place for a portion of the skirt. So after faffing about trying to iron along the box lines and not having everything match up I decided that I would sew my box pleats together part way down and make final fitting adjustments on the side seams.
I managed to pull out my taylors tacks (I suppose that is what happens when you leave things lying around too long) so had to do some careful staring to find the marked points.
I’m not sure if it was the design or my mistake but the back of the skirt is wider than the front and the box pleats have different angles. At the front they are angled outwards and at the back they closer to parallel. I wasn’t convinced the angles on the front box pleats we correct but went ahead with the two different angles anyway to see how it turned out.
I also noticed my edges were starting to fray so used it as an excuse to use my new overlocker to go round the bottom and sides (up to zip) .
I chose to go with french seams or ish-french seams with overlocked seams on the inside. In retrospect this was not a good idea. It made things a little fiddly when trying to check fit and then the seam itself was a bit bulky and rather large when I adjusted for fit. Even finished I’m half tempted to cut them open and press them flat, but as they are now sewn in top and bottom it would just make things messy.
I cut and used medium intefacing on the waistband and was really pleased at how it came out. I had to cut the waistband a little longer than my traced pattern as it looked too short when compared to the top of the skirt.
I ironed a centre crease and then the inside fold and sewed it in and I am really pleased how it turned out as it looks quite straight and neat.
I was also pleased with my positioning of my zip (for which I used the technique from class of basing closed pinning and sewing the zip and then unpicking.
Apart fromI used an invisible zip because I had one gray zip and it was an invisible zip – oops. I don’t think it was too bad for a first attempt, for which I also used a normal zip foot, but it is not invisible at all. So this was all a bodge, but it is in and looks fairly neat from the outside of the garment.
What I did get slightly off was where I had already sewed up to on the outside at the bottom of the zip, you can’t actually unzip the zip to the end. This came about because I kept changing my mind as to where I wanted the zip to start from (top or bottom of waistband) and I changed my mind at the last minute forgetting how far I had sewed up. I may unpick and resew it later if I have trouble getting in and out of it. But it is fine for now.
I left this skirt hanging unhemmed for ages. When I tried it on before hemming I don’t know what I had been thinking when fitting but it was way to big. After 2 minutes being annoyed and disappointed I decided to fix it by adding a central seam down the back. I took 3cm in either side (so lost 6cm total) and it fits a bit better, even if it doesn’t look as good. I could have done with taking it in a bit further at the waist but I just took an even 3cm off it so the waistband still looks straight, rather that some sort of V shape.
The other thing that was clear looking at my hung skirt (before taking in the central seam) and it the bottom was distinctly uneven, so I measured and drew out on the skirt a new bottom and sliced and sewed it up with my overlocker. Then folded and folded again with a 4cm hem and attempted to blind stitch. After stitching I remembered that I had purchased some clear/invisible thread especially to do this, but it was too late. This is another skill I need to work on as although I think most of the little stitch just grab the skirt you can see where the hem is in a few places. maybe a smaller hem would have been less obvious or maybe a stitch with a little less tension.
It isn’t perfect but these photos are from the second time I wore it to work.