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Simplicity 1717

June 23, 2014 by rosie

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Wow. it’s been about 6 months since I posted anything. Where did those months go?! How can it be June – and almost July – already?!

Needless to say, 2014 hasn’t really been the year of amazing, endless sewing productivity and inspiration. In fact, it could be fair to say that I completely lost my sewing mojo. My zeal for that, and anything else I usually enjoy, just seemed to disappear altogether. Just thinking about getting out fabric or pulling out the sewing machine made me feel overwhelmed.

Not that the year has been completely sewing-less. I did make this dress back in February, and didn’t get around to blogging it:

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And then, there was the 6 meter ‘golden curtain’ I had to make in two days for work for a function. That was an interesting experience – I got to legitimately ‘work from home’…swapping my PC for my sewing machine in the name of ‘other duties as required’! It required metres and metres of fabric (over 14 metres of disgusting synthetic shiny stuff we found in the back of the work storeroom from a function years ago) – sewing in putrid hot summer heat. It was almost as long as my single-fronted house; working with such a large amount of fabric was a bit tricky to wrangle. I used fishing hooks in the bottom to weight the curtain down and I just used curtain gathering tape at the top, with some black ties to tie it on to a rigging beam.

The end result:

golden curtain

Then there was the 14 metres of purple-themed bunting for my best friend’s Hens day. I had a very tight timeframe, so my sister came over with her sewing machine, and we set up a production line in my living room, cutting and zooming through triangles, and listening to songs on the radio from the 1980’s. Here’s a sample of just some of it:

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And then I became an Aunty for the first time, (Yay!!!)  so I knitted a little cardigan to welcome Walter into the world. 7 weeks later, he’s already well and truly grown out of it!

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But apart from these things – which I consider more craft than sewing – I’ve really had to force myself to get back into anything, including my sewing room. My first sewing attempt was waaaay too ambitious, and ended up being a complete and utter disaster – both financially and for my self worth! I’m not yet ready to talk about that one. Let’s just say I don’t think it’s salvageable and for the time being it’s screwed up in a ball out of sight.

In order to ease my way back into the sewing world, I decided to be kind to myself and attempt something decidedly more achievable. Something that would be quick, straightforward and with minimal fitting or construction issues. The resulting project? – Simplicity 1717.

skirt_june2014-6You might remember my fabric shopping spree last year. Among my purchases was a remnant of green, brown and cream check wool. Not my usual colours, but it was on sale and the green was sort of cheery.

With winter well and truly at home in Melbourne, it was time to bring down by boxes of winter fabric. This piece seemed to fit the bill – there was just enough for the skirt, and it is so thick, it’s basically like wearing a warm woolen blanket.

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It’s funny, I haven’t really worked that much with fabrics where you have to align a pattern, like a check. It was evident too. It took me AGES to lay the pieces out in a way which I thought would cause the least interruption to the check pattern. The centre seam was a bit of an issue, as this isn’t cut on the straight of the grain, so I knew that no matter what, the lines were going to look bit skewiff. However, even despite my painstaking attempts at lining things up perfectly, I realised AFTER I had cut out the pieces that I should have laid it out on the perpendicular grain, as the squares were evenly spaced that way and not that way I had cut it out. DANG!!!!!!

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I decided to embrace the busy-ness of the check pattern and go with the massive over-sized pockets (who doesn’t love a pocket?!). And, in order to maximise the busy-ness, I decided to cut these on the bias, to add contrast and to detract the eye away from the (sort of mis-aligned) background check.

I’m so glad I did! I love the pockets!

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I made a few changes to this pattern, as follows:

  • I cut the pockets on a bias
  • I added a lining
  • I used lining fabric for the waistband facing, as the wool was just far too bulky
  • I didn’t hem the top of the pockets as described (again due to the thickness). Instead I just finished it off with a bias binding. (Unfortunately, I only had some lilac colour on hand, so it doesn’t exactly go)
  • lengthened the skirt a bit.

I probably should have faced the pockets with some calico or something, to avoid it stretching. Whoops – I didn’t think of that until I was finished.

After sewing and wearing so many retro style garments in recent years, it felt really strange to wear something that was slung lower down on my hips. Comfortable, yes, but odd. Too be honest, it’s probably a little lose. And because of the thickness of the fabric, the bulk at the seams, especially where the skirt attaches to the facing, means that it’s a bit bulky, and, kind of unflattering. It makes me look fatter than I am.

But, it’s super comfy, it’s cheery and really warm!

All in all, an easy pattern that didn’t have too many nasty surprises. A good project to ease back into the sewing world.


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