The Excellent Skirt of Errors

I did so many things wrong during the making of this Sandbridge skirt that if I put up pictures of all the flaws it would look like a circus of dressmaking horrors. But somehow despite that, I utterly adore it and have barely stopped gazing lovingly at it since I made it.

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Just me and my cannon hanging out

Let’s talk about fit first. If you’ve read any of my other posts you’ll know I’m more of a banana shape than a pear (if you point the curved bit to the back that is) and my most common fitting adjustment is to grade out at the waist then back in again at the hip. In my former life buying RTW, pencil and A line skirts suited me best, as long as I could find ones that weren’t either digging in at the waist or sticking out like those old fashioned jodhpurs at the hip.

I’ve developed a phobia of sewing skirts as all my efforts so far have been disastrous (a big 4 pencil skirt that had 4 inches of ease and slid right off, a Velma skirt where the zip stuck out at right angles and a navy twill Hollyburn that sliced me through the waist like a cheese wire). But the Sandbridge skirt suddenly crossing my Instagram path coincided with the new found denim confidence I got from completing my Ginger jeans.

Now here was a thing. A skirt designed to sit below your waist, that even claimed the hip measurement was the only one to worry about – hallelujah! I came up between the 12 and 14 so took no chances and went for the 14 in the basis that I’d rather it sat lower on the hips than might rise up to the waist. And I’ve got to say it’s pretty darn good! I’d say the pattern is still drafted for someone curvier than me (alas most women and even some men are) but I smoothed out the hip curve slightly when I sewed the side seams to sort that out. I probably should have shaved half an inch off the back yoke depth but as the denim relaxes that seems to become less of a problem.

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The biggest mistake I made was forgetting to add an inch to the skirt length so I could double fold hem it (the pattern is designed with a raw hem but helpfully tells you what to do if you prefer not to have a raw edge, but doesn’t account for you being an idiot and not following their instructions). So I had to simply overlock the edge with the minimum of shavings and turn it under a scant 1/2 inch to not lose too much of the length. I’d have liked it longer as I always intended it to be a smart autumn skirt rather than a get-your-legs-out-on-the-beach type thing but think this length just covers both of those scenarios.

The pattern is meant for regular denim but as I had stretch denim in my stash (I bought 4 metres when making my Gingers in case I needed to recut any legs but ended up barely using 1.5m) I went with that. It’s a fab medium weight from Minerva crafts that doesn’t sag over time and is a beautiful indigo colour. The skirt doesn’t seem to mind being in stretch denim!  I used a polka dot quilting cotton for the pocket bags, inside waistband and navy bias binding for the waistband seams.

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Important lesson kids: when trying to be clever and have funky insides with different material for your inner and outer waistband, do not cut them on the wrong sides of both fabrics!  I had the curves going completely the wrong way on my right and left front bands and being way too lazy to cut 4 new waistband pieces, had to do some creative cutting off wedges and easing of the band to get it on.  It seems to sit ok, but I’ll admit I’m curious to see if it sits better next time I make this skirt if I get them the right way round!

I have a bit of a thing for top stitching on denim so went for the brightest gold thread I could find for maximum contrast. Note to self: buy 2 spools for such projects, I had to leave off the belt loops as I ran out of top stitching thread. I had some trouble with stitches “skipping” going over thick areas, I’ve since learnt that if I hand crank areas like that they don’t skip but learnt it sadly too late. Otherwise I’m pretty pleased with the top stitching, it’s one of my favourite things to do sewing so I took the time to transfer a fancy pocket design from the Closet Case Patterns eBook and gave myself a swirly bum that is the cause of me constantly checking out my rear view in shop windows and smiling smugly.

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Why yes I do have fancy bum pockets, thank you

When I made my Gingers I got my Dad and the power of his shed to help me put the rivets on.  However with this skirt I didn’t want to wait until the next Wednesday I was round at my folks’ for tea so harnessed girl power, an awl and a large hammer and bashed the things on all by myself with only superficial injuries.  Naturally I put one in the wrong place, so started a new trend of Rivet All The Things by evening it up on the other side as well as putting them in the right place for a heavy metal work effect.

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The pattern instructions from Hey June were straight forward enough to follow, although I was coming from the vantage position of having first followed the Closet Case Patterns online jeans making workshop, which basically teaches you everything you will ever want or need to know about sewing denim.  I’m not sure if I’d have found the skirt quite so easy coming at it cold as my hand had been much more held with the Gingers.

Some of the construction techniques, such as the fly front and the waistband, were done quite differently to the Ginger jeans as well.  My internal jury is actually still out as to which I thought best but both got me to a more than half decent result so it may well be a personal taste thing.  And given that I have plans for at least 2 more pairs of Gingers, as well as a knee length light blue denim Sandbridge, a black needlecord Sandbridge and possibly also a wicked mustard denim I’ve been eying up Sandbridge I’ve got plenty more opportunities to form an opinion!

Thanks for reading, I’m off to drape myself a bit more over a WW2 cannon!

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