The Epiphany of the Perfect Knit (Pencil) Skirt

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For months I’ve been pinning pictures of fitted knit pencil skirts and oversized sweaters. I really wanted that as my go to outfit for fall and winter, even to go to work. (One of the perks of being a teacher – wear a scarf and tights and you can pretty much get away with anything)
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But finding the perfect skirt deemed to be harder than expected. I couldn’t find the perfect skirt or perfect pattern. I tried on a few skirts in stores to see what I liked, but they were either too long, too short or too flimsy (or pricey). Buying a pattern seemed silly as well since this is basically the easiest piece of clothing on the planet to make and I wasn’t looking forward to spending money and then taping the PDF and then altering the entire thing (since I always have to)
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Why was it so hard?
My demands, that’s why it was hard!

  • I wanted my skirt to come all the way up the slimmest part of my waist, not any higher since I have a very short waist and I didn’t want a waistband getting stuck underneath my boobs.
  • I wanted it to be mid thigh length so it was covering the larger part of my legs, but not restrict any walking.
  • I wanted it to be very very stretchy with great stretch recovery.
  • I didn’t want it to show underneath my clothes.
  • Most skirts where either barely covering my behind or the right length but with a waistband that would creep up while wearing ending in a skirt that was too short.

This morning I was planning my sewing for the next three days (we’ve got a week off of school and the first three days baby is still going to daycare) and it hit me!

I’ve got tubular ribbing in my stash! (You see where I’m going with this…)

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Take a piece of tubular ribbing twice the length you need/want.

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Fold it in two length-wise. The fold will be the hem.

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I used the wrong side out because I prefer the texture.

I decided not to finish it with a waistband or elastic or even serge the layers at the top since
1. Knit doesn’t fray
2. Waistband or elastic would show under my clothes
3. The serging might affect the stretch.

UPDATE: On day 2 I decided to finish the skirt with a waistband after all. Not because it would be more comfy but because I kept thinking ‘What if I get into an accident and people see that I’m just wearing an unfinished piece of fabric.’ I tried, wearing unfinished pieces… not for me. I simply serged a 1″ elastic sandwiched between the two layers, I then folded the top so that the serged edge was under the elastic. I then stitched down the serged edge 1″ from the top, creating a ‘waistband’. It doesn’t show underneath my regular clothes so it looks the same and no stretch was affected 😉

For those of you that think this is totally stupid, you are entitled to your opinion. For those who think this is genius but are worried about finding tubular ribbing in your size, good news, it comes in different widths and it’s all very stretchy since I used the narrowest size in my stash (14″x2) and my 42 inch hips fit into it perfectly!

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The green is the same width as the blue one I’m wearing.

Waist to mid-thigh, fitted, stretchy, great recovery and the double layer makes it completely opaque and the lack of waistband makes it sit smoothly under my clothes. I’m happy! Let’s order some more ribbing!

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Cuddly cat bomb!

Cuddly cat bomb!

Have you ever wanted to smack yourself for coming up with something so easy you don’t understand how you didn’t think of it sooner?

Outfit: Sweater – Megan Nielsen Briar sweater with owl applique (unblogged) // Skirt – No sew knit (pencil) skirt

The One with the Sewcialbee

The challenge

About a week ago me and some fellow sewcialists were talking about the new ‘Great Online Sewing Bee’ on Twitter. Some of us applied, we even had some matching hashtags (#pickheather, #pickgillian, #picklaura) but sadly, none of them got picked (I still think this is a huge mistake!)

While talking about this we decided that we wanted our own low-key sewing challenge. Something fun, without the actual pressure, judges or prizes. We would get a challenge and then just have fun making those. We wanted to have a test run with a smaller group for the first challenge but the next one is open to anybody, the more the merrier!

It was quickly decided that Gillian and her lovely sister Annie would take care of the main items aka set up a Flickr group (admit it, we would have been lost without.) And Annie would think of a challenge as she isn’t a sewcialist herself (she’s such an amazing knitter though).

These were the groundrules (I shamelessly copied them from Annie’s blogpost)

  1. This post goes live at 3 PM on Sunday, July 14, 2013, at 3 PM EST/8 PM GMT. Participants get 24 hours from that time to design/draft/sew their garments — but really, the idea is that they should at least attempt to limit themselves to about 4 hours of sewing time.
    The 24-hour window is so that people in any time zone can participate. Having it over a Sunday night/Monday morning means that both weekend and weekday sewers can take part.
  2. TNT patterns (tried ‘n’ tested) are totally welcome, and, in fact, encouraged. Riffing on a staple design is important if they’re going to manage much in that 4-hour sewing time!
  3. There’s no judging, and (at this point) no prizes, other than the glorious satisfaction of a challenge well mastered.
  4. At the end of the 24 hours, participants are to submit photos of themselves wearing their completed garments (or incomplete, for that matter) to the group Flickr pool. (Questions and chatter will take place in the group forums, at the same link.)
  5. It’s an open event: anyone is welcome to join in!

When I read through the first challenge I had two minor heart attacks:

  • First of all, she started talking about knitted scarfs/shawls so obviously I thought she wanted us to knit one. I seriously panicked, I didn’t even think about reading the rest of the post before freaking out. You have to know that I ‘know’ how to knit if ‘knowing how to knit’ is starting something with a straight stitch and then ditching it 5 cms in 🙂
  • Then I thought she wanted us to make a scarf/shawl out of fabric and that sounded way to easy.

But bless her, she didn’t disappoint. She wanted us to pick our favorite triangular scarf and make a top to match it. I loved this challenge for various reasons the main one being that I’m in desperate need of tops.

It took me about 12 hours to decide what I wanted to make and still I kept changing it until the last second. My problem is always the same, I have so much inspiration that I don’t know where to start and end up making nothing at all!

But this time I had to and after 3 hours and 50 min this was the result!

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I loved taking part in this challenge and was so curious to see what everyone came up with, everything was so very different! The next challenge will probably be in August so if you want to give it a try yourself, please do!

Now for the design itself:

The pattern for the t-shirt is actually a Megan Nielsen pattern (like you couldn’t have guessed). It’s the Ruched Maternity tshirt. I ordered it the minute I knew I was pregnant but hadn’t gotten round to making it yet. This t-shirt came together superfast on my serger. I think it took me 30 minutes at the most. I cut a straight size M but opted for the XL length because I like my shirts a little longer. It fits like a dream.

You might be asking yourself why it took me 3.50 hours to make this shirt if the shirt itself only took 30 minutes.

The rest of the time was spend on the appliqué.

Because I’m an autumn type I picked this dark orange scarf. I wanted a matching applique on a plain t-shirt. I picked a fox for three reasons.

  1. In my mind foxes come out in autumn
  2. In my mind foxes are dark orange
  3. I found this fox template in a craft magazine I bought a few weeks ago and was dying to try it out 🙂

A lot of you were really enthousiastic about it and wanted to recreate it so I’ll tell you how.

  1. Print this template
  2. Enlarge it 200% on a copy machine
  3. Cut out all the paper pieces for the fox.
  4. Look in your stash for scraps and choose any colours you like
  5. Cut all the pieces out of your scrap fabric.
  6. Use the paper pattern pieces to cut out the same sizes in fusible webbing (the one that sticks on both sides like the back of a store bought appliqué)
  7. Start building the appliqué by ironing the pieces together. Keep the main body piece for last.
  8. Take the entire applique to your sewing machine and use a satin stitch to stitch around each separate piece
  9. Use a very small straight stitch to attach it to the front of your shirt (preferably before putting the shirt together)
  10. use embroidery thread for the nose and eyes (I used textile markers for the eyes)
  11. Enjoy your home made appliqué.

satijn steek

snoetjeHope this gives you enough information and if you make anything using the template, please show me 🙂

PS I did not create this template. This template can be found in ‘Mollie Makes issue 23 and is designed by CV Savage which can be found here.