Completed: Another Kelly Skirt, In Denim!

15 Apr

Let me just start off by saying I LOVE this Kelly skirt pattern. It’s incredibly simple – 5 pieces, and the skirt sections are nice and rectangular (which is magical when it comes time to make flat pattern alterations, especially to the length). Easy and fun to sew, and super duper flattering. I love it and I want to make its babies.

Denim Kelly Skirt

And I love my denim version – I really really do – but DAMN GIRL we got off to a rough start :(

Denim Kelly Skirt

I bought this denim at Mood while I was NY (I’m starting to sound like a broken record… sorry! I told you I bought a lot of shit while I was there, deeeal with it haha). While I can’t tell you exactly what it is so you can find some for yourself (although George might, he found it and squirreled it away for me because he is awesome), I can say that it is a lovely light/medium weight, dark dark denim with no stretch. The color is super rich, and it has a nice body without being super heavy and stiff. Also, I bought like 3 yards of it. Expect more denim-wear, aha :)

Denim Kelly Skirt

So, like I said – this is the Kelly skirt. I made this lil’ dude before in corduroy. I wanted to make this immediately after that silk near-disaster, as something easy and mindless that didn’t require a lot of focus. Plus, my wardrobe was desperately missing a denim skirt, as my faithful denim Ginger is just way too big for me to continue wearing at this point. Kill two birds with one stone? Don’t mind if I do!

Denim Kelly Skirt

Well, I don’t know what I did wrong here, but the making of this skirt was a HOT MESS from practically beginning to end! You can’t tell from the finished skirt, because it’s awesome (and I’m totally tooting my own horn here, dgaf. toot, toot), but there was lots of screaming and cussing during the process. I know, I cuss even when I’m thrilled with how things are going – but I’ve never cussed AT my machine until this. Sorry, Nina :\

Denim Kelly Skirt

My biggest issue was that top stitching thread. My machine was NOT having it, and kept throwing fits at me every time I tried to sew. If you think the topstitching looks good – well, that’s because I ripped out out several times. I had a lot of practice at that point! Good thing denim is forgiving when you hit it with the steam iron, because I had a big ol’ denim needle and everything. The machine just kept flipping it’s shit over the thread – I had to use all-purpose (aka, regular) thread in the bobbin, which caused the tension to freak out in a major way. I probably spent about an hour fussing over the bobbin tension, trying different threads and needles and changing the numbers and… ugh. That was the biggest issue. I was so concerned, I actually asked the Bernina store if my machine was behaving normally or if I needed to take her in for a check-up. General consensus was that the machine was being finicky due to the thread, that these things happen, and next time I should try a topstitching needle (me: oooh, those exist?!).

Denim Kelly Skirt

So, I spent foreeeeever messing with that, and ripping seams and restitching and re-ripping, and finally I had my waistband on – topstitched and everything. I put the skirt around my waist to check the fit. Uhmm… I know my last skirt was a tiny bit big, so I sliced off just the tiniest bit of size for this time… and it was TOO SMALL. Like, a good half-inch smaller than my actual waist measurement. Wtf?! I don’t know what I did, but I must’ve fucked it up somewhere. I also couldn’t let the waistband out at the seam allowances because I’d aggressively clipped the corners for when I turned them out :X

Denim Kelly Skirt

In the end, I unpicked the old one and cut a new waistband. It wasn’t too painful to do – especially with that steam press interfacing fusing masterpiece I now have. YEP. I also ripped out one of the front plackets and sewed it slightly narrower, to give the skirt a little bit of extra room up top.

Denim Kelly Skirt

I also had problems with my button holes. The machine just wasn’t having it… especially when I tried to make them vertical. I ripped out 4 button holes before I just let them be horizontal. I also had problems with top stitching the hem, but I won’t get into that. I can just be an idiot sometimes.

Denim Kelly Skirt

After seam-ripping my button holes open, I don’t really like the way the threads are hanging out there everywhere. So sloppy! Soooo, I bought myself a button hole cutter. FANCY. I can’t wait to use it!

Denim Kelly Skirt

You may notice that I didn’t have enough buttons – the pattern calls for 7, I had 6. I compensated by only putting one on the waistband, and sewing a hook and eye below it so it wouldn’t gape.

Denim Kelly Skirt

The topstitching did turn out nice in the end, after MUCH finagling. Just a little tip – when you’re topstitching, increase the stitch length slightly (for me, I go from 2.5 to 3). It makes for a prettier stitch :)

Denim Kelly Skirt

And hey, here’s a little surprise – polka dot in the pockets! This is the same Marc Jacobs fabric I used for my Miette wrap skirt.

Denim Kelly Skirt

One last thing – remember when I said I only had 6 buttons for this skirt? Wellllll, I was trying to jump on Landon’s back and unfortunately I broke the bottom button. Haha! I mean, split the shank and everything. So now I only have 5. If the hem stitching looks mis-matched, it’s because I pinned the skirt together at the bottom for the pictures and I didn’t do quite a good job. I promise that shit actually matches… I spent a good 45 minutes futzing with it, you know ;) OH, and in case you were wondering… that is totally an original Stray Cats shirt, and it is totally awesome.

This will be great for Me-Made-May – I LIVED in my denim Ginger last summer. So glad we can finally be reunited, even if it’s a different pattern :)

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59 Responses to “Completed: Another Kelly Skirt, In Denim!”

  1. denimskirtsetc April 15, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

    Looks awesome! I love denim. You wouldn’t think you had so many problems with it – it has come out really well.

  2. Sabs April 15, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

    I did something really similar with the too-small waistband and messing up the buttonholes when I made my denim Kelly! Maybe it’s a denim-Kelly devil curse or something! Yours has turned out great after all the hassle tho (mine was saved too!)

  3. Elise April 15, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    Love this! Looks great with that tshirt too, I’ve fallen a bit in love with this outfit…. :)

  4. stephanie@mabelmakes April 15, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

    I love the Kelly skirt! Yours is lovely and looks really comfy and wearable. I know the pain of a project going wrong. I’m working on a silk Archer shirt at the moment and my boyfriend has never heard me curse so much! At least you got there in the end – hopefully I will too!

  5. Lynn April 15, 2013 at 4:14 pm #

    Lauren, I hate it when you wind up with furry button holes too! The button hole cutter will help immensely. Also, if the fabric you are using tends to ravel, run a very narrow bead of seam sealant in the middle of the buttonhole and let it dry (or dry it with your iron) before cutting the hole. Clean, sharp, un-hairy buttonholes are guaranteed!

    I love the skirt and the denim you used. I made shorts recently and used the top stitching thread with a large sized top stitching needle and it worked great. I am sure that is all you needed too.

    • LLADYBIRD April 16, 2013 at 8:56 am #

      You know, I’ve tried the seam sealant thing before and it didn’t totally work (still had super hairy button holes, ha). Of course, my fray check was also REALLY old so maybe that had something to do with it ;) I did test out my button hole cutter last night and omggg what an improvement!

  6. Helen April 15, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    This looks great! Glad you got the topstitching sorted out!

    I had the same issue with my Kelly in that it was too small. I cut a new waistband too and just let the side seams out a bit and got there in the end!

    Gotta love a denim skirt! And this is a fantastic pattern!

    • LLADYBIRD April 16, 2013 at 8:57 am #

      I thought about letting the seam seams out, but I’d already serged the seam allowances off. ARGH. Won’t do that again!

  7. Philippa April 15, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    We are on the same wavelength here. I have been thinking for a fortnight I need a denim skirt for MMM cos you can wear it in any weather. Glad you made yours first ;) you have reminded me about all those bloody topstitching issues. I phoned my machine dealer too he said put ordinary thread in the bobbin like you did but I am totally getting a topstitching needle now I know they exist! You did so well to stick this out I am afraid I sometimes just toss it if things get too bad. Anyway it looks great – topstitching and all!!

  8. puu April 15, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

    stray cat strut in that awesome denim skirt ;-)

  9. Ally April 15, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

    I just sewed my first kelly! I totally agree! Such a simple, fun, fast sew!

  10. Charlotte Witherspoon April 15, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

    That’s so perfect, despite your machine trouble. The existence of a topstitching needle is mind-blowing, I think.

  11. lisa g April 15, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    loving this skirt in denim! and do try the topstitching needle! the eye is larger so it helps the thick thread pass through easier. it’s not fool proof, but i’ve done a lot of topstitching and it definitely helps!

  12. Mary Elizabeth April 15, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

    Omigod, we must be brain twins because the EXACT same shit happened to me last weekend! I made a denim Kelly skirt as well, with yellow topstitching too, no less. It went together wonderfully until I got to the button holes. Holy shit, my machine was NOT having it with the denim and the buttonholes. It went much smoother after I switched from my denim needle to a universal one, but those first three buttonholes on my skirt are rough. Good thing my buttons are big enough to cover most of the travesty. So glad I made it though- I rarely wear pants, so it’s nice to have a jeans like casual skirt to wear with my graphic tees. I definitely see a red twill Kelly skirt in my future.

    • LLADYBIRD April 16, 2013 at 8:58 am #

      I have a red Kelly skirt planned too, haha!! We are totally on the same wavelength, at least when it comes to skirts ;)

  13. kimmie April 15, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    Yeah i know your denim skirt is awesome…but I was pretty blinded by the badassness of your stray cats shirt to focus entirely.

  14. Sarah April 15, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    Looks great! I read a great tip somewhere about a cheats topstitching that uses a normal needle and thread – some machines have a straight stretch stitch that is a triple straight stitch. It goes back and forward 3 times to make one heavy straight stitch which means you can use whatever thread and colour your want….. But you won the top stitching battle and your skirt is mighty cute!

  15. Bec Stitches April 15, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

    oooh button hole cutter.. sounds fancy pants.
    Skirt looks great:) Cute top too

  16. terevalee April 15, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

    My BerninA also gets in characteristically fussy regarding top stitching denim. I finally resorted to a change in thread brands (I’m now using Mettler, which I should have been all along). I sew miniature blue jeans for American Girl dolls, so a larger stitch length is out of scale. Your skirt is adorable on you!

    • LLADYBIRD April 16, 2013 at 8:58 am #

      Ah, thank you for your input! That totally makes sense… I’ll switch to Mettler, at least for topstitching purposes :)

  17. Kimberly April 15, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    It’s a great skirt, and the denim plus the shape of the skirt are a nice casual addition to your wardrobe :) Also, idk what’s different about your hair but it gives you a totally different look from usual. :)

    • LLADYBIRD April 16, 2013 at 8:59 am #

      Hehe it’s because I dyed it last week! The results were SO subtle (it’s pretty orangey in sunlight, but still subtle), that I didn’t feel the need to mention it. You are the third person to have noticed, so thank you! :D

  18. Carlee April 15, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

    Despite all the trouble you went through to make this, I think it looks lovely and it makes me want to try the Kelly skirt as well as try denim.

  19. Sarah W. April 15, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

    Wonderfui! I think denim skirts are so comfortable.

  20. maddie April 15, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

    this skirt looks great in denim. Who cares about the number of buttons? You freaking have polka dot lining!

  21. Sally @ thequirkypeach April 15, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

    I’m convinced I need a denim skirt now – it’s been on the mind for awhile but I love this one sooooo much :) and what about those polka dot pockets! Love surprise pockets!

  22. Maggie April 15, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    I just bought this pattern a few weekends ago and I have also have denim from a mood shopping trip! Hopefully mine will turn out as cute as yours!

    • LLADYBIRD April 16, 2013 at 9:00 am #

      Oooh does this mean we’ll be skirt twins!? :)

  23. Nicole April 15, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    Buttonholes are the worst. My machine keeps giving me crap about it too and last night I was sewing buttonholes with reeeallly delicate fabric, having to pull them out a few times.

    Your skirt looks awesome though! Even if it was a pain in the ass. :)

  24. Kelly April 15, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

    Last summer I made a pair of corduroy shorts that came out a bit too big, so when I made them a second time out of a denim that had some stretch I cut them a tiny bit smaller. And they turned out too small. What is it with these fabrics?? Your skirt looks super cute though, all your troubles making it are certainly not reflected in the final product!

  25. Laura April 15, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

    Uh oh… You’ve got me scared now. I’ve just ordered the Kelly Skirt pattern and some denim. And I have a Bernina. This could be fun….
    And it looks great by the way!

    • LLADYBIRD April 16, 2013 at 9:01 am #

      You’ll be fine :) Just get a topstitching needle and Mettler thread (if you want the gold top stitching, anyway), play around with the tensions before you start sewing, and don’t serge off your seam allowances before you try it on ;)

  26. Carolyn April 15, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

    You are the poster girl for persistence! I love the new skirt…you did an amazing job!

  27. Clipped Curves April 15, 2013 at 11:39 pm #

    All the unpicking, adjusting, recutting and to some extent were worth it because it looks great. I’m looking forward to seeing how you style it during me-made-may – so many options.

  28. Liz April 15, 2013 at 11:50 pm #

    Great skirt – I love the Kelly too. Could you try snaps next time? Super fun cos you have to hammer them on!!

    • LLADYBIRD April 16, 2013 at 9:02 am #

      I want to, but I need to find a better snap source first. The Dritz ones always fall out, no matter how much I hammer them in :( Plus the color selection is subpar haha

      • Heather P. April 16, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

        Dritz snaps suck, I know from experience. Try Cowgirl Snaps on Etsy, great color selection and fast shipping.

        Great skirt and love the shirt!

        • LLADYBIRD April 16, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

          Ooh, lurking now… thank you!

  29. johanna@projects by me April 16, 2013 at 1:20 am #

    You make me want to sew skirts, lots and lots of skirts! Too bad I don’t wear skirts a lot… But your Kelly looks fan-tastic even with only five buttons. :)

  30. Kay April 16, 2013 at 3:43 am #

    Now, I need the Kelly pattern, because this is the type of skirt that will look good on me and my figure! Yours is fantastic in the denim!

  31. Anonymous April 16, 2013 at 7:42 am #

    I work at an alterations shop, and we do a lot of jean hems, we put the topstitching thread in the bobbin and regular thread through the needle. We usually use a size 90/14 needle and lengthen the stitch length. As long as the stitching is near an edge you still have a guide to keep the stitching straight. You may have adjust the tension a bit. It works for us and it may be worth a try.

    In line with everyone else, the kelly skirt looks great in denim!

    • LLADYBIRD April 16, 2013 at 9:02 am #

      Very interesting – I’ll have to try that. Thanks!

  32. Becca April 16, 2013 at 9:11 am #

    I love this! You’re topstitching is impeccable, definitely worth all the trouble. The skirt has such a nice shape. I see a denim skirt in my future, and I’m adding the Kelly pattern to my wishlist.

  33. megannielsen April 16, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    totally loving this version Lauren! i hear you with the denim issues – that’s happened to me before – and i spent soooo much time messing around with stitch lengths and tensions that i actually made notes for next time hehhe.
    BUT having said that – your skirt looks amazing!! You recovered from the drama really well, because everything simply perfect now!
    YAY! xoxo

  34. Kitty Cat Stevens April 16, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    i love this skirt— it was worth al the fuss, i think! this pattern is so great, you are getting me so excited about all the things i want to learn to sew!

  35. missjoiedevivre April 16, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

    How frustrating that your nice easy post silk recovery project turned out to be so much hard work! But it was worth it, this looks amazing!

  36. Lori April 16, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

    Love this,it looks amazing on you.

  37. gingermakes April 17, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    This is too cute! Glad you were able to forge through the drama like a boss cause this is a total win!

  38. Anna April 18, 2013 at 7:01 am #

    Kelly is just one of the bes things in the sewing universe!

  39. kimi encarnacion May 28, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    Awesome!!! Just found you!!! Sooo cool! I take old stuff and rework it but you’re making me wanna bust out the old patterns!!!! Thanks for the fun looks! kimi.

  40. kate0795 May 30, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

    Loving your blog!! Your clothes fit so beautifully. This skirt is sooo pretty. I’m just starting out with sewing and have a head bursting with ideas and plans….just got to fix and start with one!! I was planning on the Miette skirt or Ginger. I’m looking forward to reading more of your individual posts for tips and more inspiration! Lovely. Kate x http//:thepolkadotroom.wordpress.com

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