Tag Archives: Kelly skirt

Completed: Runway-Inspired Separates

25 Mar

So, everyone at the Mood Sewing Network decided a couple of months ago that we would challenge ourselves to make pieces that were inspired by the Spring 2014 runway. Real talk: this shit sent me into a panic. Runway? I can honestly say I have never even so much as glanced at a series of runway photos, let alone determined an outfit based on what I saw (I’m not saying this in an ~ooh, I’m so cool I just don’t even pay attention to fashion~ way, more like, yo clueless!). Furthermore, it’s difficult for me to grab “inspiration” from something without just blatantly copying it. I spent an entire month agonizing over designers, pouring over runway sets at style.com (holy crap, there are a lot of them) and wringing my hands over what to make.

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

Then I discovered Alberta Ferretti.

Alberta Ferretti Spring 2014

I still don’t know who this designer is, exactly, but the entire runway show is magical. Bright, saturated colors! Crisp white accents! Flowers! Stripes! This is the kind of inspiration I can get behind! I decided to make myself a *wearable* (emphasis on wearable ;)) version of my favorite look.

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

Figuring out the fabric and patterns I would use was almost as difficult as picking a designer! I knew I wanted to make a striped skirt with pleats similar to the runway version, because I just really love how that turned out (plus, who doesn’t love a good striped skirt?), but finding a good striped fabric on the Mood Fabrics website was haaard. I mean, they have all sorts of good stripes to choose from – but very little in that specific combination of wide, irregular stripes in bright saturated colors. I know, I know – this is supposed to be an inspiration, not a literal interpretation. But dangit, I wanted those irregular stripes!

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

I’m not going to tell you how long I spent picking through the Mood website with a fine-tooth comb; let’s just say I probably know every apparel fabric they sell now. I did finally find my big prize, though – this amazingly bright orange stripe cotton sateen is the clear winner. Woohoo! Of course, it clashes with my hair like big time crazy bad, but whatever, I picked all this shit out pre-blue LT. Anyway, I just love love LOVE the bright colors of the stripes – it’s not quite the same colors as the inspiration skirt – it’s way more happy springy! Yay spring colors!

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

I was originally going to make the fabric in a skirt that is more similar to the runway inspiration – no button front + pleats all the way around – but at the very last minute (like, right before I cut into the fabric, lolz), I changed my mind and decided to go with a pattern I knew I would actually wear and love. Enter the Kelly skirt! Cutting that shit took forever, btw. I agonized for a long time on how to cut the stripes – where each color and wide stripe should hit. I used the inspiration photo to help me decide how to cut the waistband (it was originally going to be a mess of stripes on it’s own, but I like it as one solid, thick stripe!), and was careful to match up the stripes along the side seams, the button front, and the pockets. Like I said, it took forever, but once I got the pieces cut, the actual assembly took no time at all.

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

The fabric is described as a lightweight cotton sateen, but it’s weighty enough to work as a bottom weight. There is definitely some texture in the weave, and it stretches quite a bit. I made sure to stabilize the waistband and button placket so the fabric would keep it’s shape in those areas, and used a long stitch on my machine for all the topstitching. It presses very well – really easy to get a sharp crease in there, yeah! – but it also tends to leave pin holes. For areas that needed to be pinned together and topstitched (such as the button band and inside of the waistband), I fused the pieces with a long strip of stitch witchery instead of pinning; this keeps everything in place and makes topstitching SO much easier! Especially if you tend to miss spots and only discover them after you’ve finished topstitching the seam, which means they gotta be ripped out and restitched so you catch the entire fold (er… not that I would know anything about that…). That shit’s not a problem at all when you’ve got Stitch Witchery on your side. Yay, Stitch Witchery!

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

Since my skirt is so bright and colorful, I went the boring route with my top and made a classic button-down shirt. I seriously considered adding embellishment – or even making it into a crop top, because, why the fuck not? – but in the end, I stuck with the classic tried and true. Mainly because my wardrobe is sorely lacking a solid white button down with sleeves, so I know this shirt will get quite a bit of wear with other pieces to mix and match. I used this Theory lightweight cotton shirting – which, if you were wondering, took almost as much agonizing as find the perfect stripe. There are SO MANY WHITE SHIRTING FABRICS available at moodfabrics.com! SO FUCKING MANY. Like, how do you even choose? I figured that I’ve had really good experiences with all the Theory denims I’ve bought, so the shirting fabric must be just as excellent. Which ended up being true – this shit is soft as angel’s wings, presses and stitches beautifully, and it’s right along that line of being *almost* sheer because it’s so lightweight. A skin-colored bra is a must with this fabric. The only drawback is that since it’s 100% cotton, it does wrinkle like crazy. Like, when I pulled it out of the dryer, it was a hot mess of wadded wrinkled ball I don’t even know what. Good thing it presses well! 🙂

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

For my pattern, I used Butterick 5526. Like I said, I knew I wanted a classic button-down shirt but nothing in my stash was exactly what I wanted – everything was either a relaxed fit, or had something twee like a peter pan collar or an abundance of ruffles cascading down the front. Which is fine – clearly I like these patterns enough to even have them in my stash – but I wanted something super basic. Butterick 5526 perfectly fit the bill – I went with the princess-seamed version with 3/4 sleeves, and I’m actually a little surprised at how much I like it. I made the size 6 with no muslin, with the hopes that the princess seams would give me enough room to play around with the fitting. It actually came out perfect straight out of the envelope – I KNOW, RIGHT? – although next time, I will shorten the sleeves because they are stupid long. They’re supposed to be 3/4 and they come to right above my wrists – in that weird spot that’s not quite long sleeve, but rather looks like I measured my arms wrong. Wah wah! I’ll just wear these rolled up, I guess. I also may reduce some of the ease out of the sleeve cap in the next version; these were pretty hard to ease in smoothly and there are still tons of wrinkles. But, for the most part – it ain’t bad!

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

I did try to jazz up the shirt a little bit by adding topstitching, but for the most part – it’s just a plain jane backdrop to an awesomely loud skirt. I love it!

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

Ok, now I have to tell you my secret – I didn’t start sewing this until Saturday morning! On top of that, it had to be finished and photographed before dark on Sunday – and I had a wedding to attend on Saturday night. I spent so long agonizing over my designer inspiration, then the fabric, then the pattern – that by the time I had everything (mostly)figured out, it was time for me to get on a plane and head to NY. When I got home on Monday, I had another more urgent deadline that needed to be taken care of asap (more on that later), which put this project on the backburner for a few days. Needless to say – I was pretty stressed come Saturday morning! I like to think I’m pretty efficient when it comes to making things quickly, but even that’s a stretch for me, especially two garments. I’ll be honest – I was tempted to half ass this one, just for the sake of time, but I decided early on that it wasn’t even worth my while if I didn’t end up making something that would be wearable past this photoshoot. Which means I forced myself to slow down – I made time for fitting, for the details like topstitching, for fixing mistakes (oh yeah, I totally sewed that collar stand on backwards the first time NO BIG DEAL), for eating lunch. But hey, look – not only did I actually get it done, but I actually made something nice without cutting corners.

Butterick 5526, made with Mood Fabrics

Butterick 5526, made with Mood Fabrics
I mean, check out that topstitching!

Butterick 5526, made with Mood Fabrics

Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics
Lots of topstitching on the skirt too, woohoo 🙂

Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

I know my outfit isn’t quite as fashion forward as what I could have done, but I am elated with how both pieces turned out and I can’t wait to give them some proper wear to welcome spring in with loving arms. Come on, spring! I know you’re lurking back there somewhere, time to come out of hiding!

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

One last thing – most of y’all are probably aware by now, but just in case you weren’t… By Hand London is going to start printing fabrics on-demand! How freaking awesome is that?? They need some help with costs to get production started, so they’ve got a Kickstarter going to raise funds. You can get some pretty sweet loot in exchange for your money – from tote bags, to coffee mugs, to free patterns, to private sewing lessons – but even $5 helps. Every little bit adds up! I am so so excited for this new venture that the BHL ladies are seeking out, and I really hope they meet their goal so it can become a reality (especially if it means I can start printing wildly tacky fabric to my heart’s desire). You can check out the Kickstarter here – watch the super cute video, and I dare you not to fall in love. I dare you.

Completed: A Cozy Kelly Skirt

16 Sep

Look at me, I’m like a 1970s Sherwin Williams swatch book all up in hurr.

Corduroy Kelly Skirt

I know I haven’t talked about her much since the denim version came out to play, but OMG I LOVE KELLY. I seriously can’t get enough of this pattern – it’s very simple, but delivers maximum effect!

Corduroy Kelly Skirt

This is my second corduroy Kelly, same difference as the first, although this cord is a much thicker wale with a softer hand. I snatched it up during my trip to NYC – it was part of a swap, although I am a terrible swapper and I don’t remember who it came from 😦 Sonja? I know the majority of the goods came from your stash haha 🙂

Corduroy Kelly Skirt

Anyway, origin aside, this fabric is pretty fabulous! It’s super soft with a fair amount of body, and the color is one of those great browns that goes with everyyyyything (except the new top I made, apparently, which is not the same top I’m wearing in these pictures btw. Oh well haha!). I love corduroys, but sometimes finding a good one that’s pure cotton with no stretch and a nice color can be surprisingly difficult!

Corduroy Kelly Skirt

I can’t speak much on this pattern because obviously I’ve already made/discussed it, but I will tell you what I did differently this time ’round. For one, I used sew-in interfacing instead of my regular fusible… corduroy can be kind of finicky when you press it (specifically – you risk squishing the wales flat and ruining your fabric and WAH), and a quick test of the fusible proved that I would be making a huge mistake. I used muslin as my sew-in – just cut the pieces, basted them to the waistband and button hole placket, and then proceeded as usual.

Corduroy Kelly Skirt

I did topstitch my skirt as directed, but it’s not really noticeable due to the thickness of the fabric. It doesn’t bother me – I like the subtle look – but if you’re planning on making this with a similar fabric and want the topstitching to be visible, you will need to use top stitching thread and the accompanying needle.

Corduroy Kelly Skirt

Obviously, you want to be careful when pressing corduroy – but some stuff does need a good sharp crease, like these pleats and the hem. To do this, I laid a scrap piece of corduroy on my ironing board, right side up, and put my skirt on top of the scrap right down down (this keeps the nap from getting crushed, as the fabric on the bottom provides some support). I used my silk organza press cloth and steamed the beejeezus out of everything, and then used my clapper to hold everything down until it cooled off.

I love that clapper. I always feel like such a fancy-pants when I use it, ha.

Corduroy Kelly Skirt

I also omitted the second button on the waistband – I want to wear this skirt with belts, which I can’t do if there’s a giant button in the way. I put in the top button and added a hook and eye where the second button should be.

Corduroy Kelly Skirt

Here you can see my hook and eye. The skirt in unlined, but it works fine with a slip underneath in the winter, for wearing with tights. Well, the other corduroy one does, anyway, haha.

Corduroy Kelly Skirt

Oh yeah, my buttons were free too! They’re some faux-leather suiting buttons that my Mamaw gave me. She gave me HUNDREDS of them (and my mom took half… but still… that’s a lot of buttons) and I rarely find a change to use them since they’re just really big. But I think they work here! The color looks great with the color of the fabric.

Corduroy Kelly Skirt

I almost forgot – look at this cute pocket lining! It’s a tiny little scrap I got at the flea market. The seller threw it in for free (lord, can I say “free” enough in this post??? FREE FREE FREEEEEEEE) with a few other scraps, after I made a purchase pile. It was just big enough to use to line the pockets. I love those colors, wish I could find a big yardage that looked like it!

Corduroy Kelly Skirt

I guess that it’s! Kind of a boring staple to make, but these kinds of basic pieces get a lot of wear in my life 🙂 Plus, it looks sooo good with my mustard Renfrew, which is always a plus in my book.

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 🙂

Completed: The Kelly Skirt/Jalie 2921

4 Mar

I’m doubling up on this post – I hope y’all don’t mind. Just didn’t think either of these pieces deserved a whole post of their own 🙂 This is pretty basic cake stuff we’re working with here.

Also, this is a result of me waking up on Sunday morning and going “OMG I’M GOING TO NY NEXT WEEK AND I HAVE NOTHING TO WEEEEEAR!!”
(not literally – I mean, have you seen my closet?)

Anyway, I’d just picked up the Kelly skirt pattern and I was dying to try it out. I found this giant yardage of navy corduroy in my stash – I’m trying to stash-bust as much as I can before I overfill my sewing room with more fabric next week heh heh – I think I got it at a yard sale a few years ago?

Kelly Skirt, Jalie 2921
It works great for this pattern although it is very STIFF… you can’t see too much from these pictures, but the skirt just balloons away from my body and stays that way. Now, I like me a stiff skirt as much as any girl, but this is almost comical. Next time, I will opt for a slightly softer fabric. I may try to wash this skirt a few times in the meantime and see if I can beat down the stiffness a little as well.

Kelly Skirt, Jalie 2921
This pattern was soo easy to whip together. There are just 5 pieces, a little bit of topstitching, and a smattering of buttonholes. I had the whole thing made from start to finish in less than 3 hours. Now that’s what I call fast fashion, derp.

Kelly Skirt, Jalie 2921
The only change I made was to not interface the waistband – like I said, my corduroy is very stiff. Also, I am lazy. I think it holds up fine, though.

Kelly Skirt, Jalie 2921
I made a size XS and it’s a tiiiiny bit big at the waist, but nothing that I can’t cinch in with a belt.

Kelly Skirt, Jalie 2921
I can see this pattern working beautifully with a wide range of fabrics, from a lightweight chambray to a nice cotton twill. Ooh!

Kelly Skirt, Jalie 2921
I also made my top over the weekend, same Sunday, even! Before you get too excited – it’s a knit top, which takes me like an hour to put together. Srsly, I looove sewing knits. The pattern is Jalie 2921, and the fabric is this Coral rayon jersey from Mood. More Nard-Dog colors, sorry y’all.

Kelly Skirt, Jalie 2921
I only made a couple of changes to the pattern – had to shorten the sleeves because there were REALLY long, and I also shortened the ties because they overwhelmed the shirt. There was no scientific method to shortening the ties – I just put the shirt on and hacked away. Instead of leaving a hole in the center front seam to pull the ties though, I sewed it up all the way and just looped the ties over each other. The fabric is too heavy to make a proper bow. I feel like this look is kind of jaunty, with the ascot and preppy colors.

I did experiment with my hems on this top – I found a bunch of wooly nylon in my stash that I’d forgotten about (oops) and I wound some of that in the bobbin and then did my usual twin needle topstitching. I LOVE the result; the stitches are very uniform and there are no ridges or rippling. Worked like a charm!

Kelly Skirt

Kelly Skirt - pocket!
Since the cord was so thick, I used this fun quilting cotton to face the pockets 🙂 Isn’t it sweet? Kiddie cowboys!

Jalie 2921

Jalie 2921 - hem

Kelly Skirt, Jalie 2921

As a side note – if you didn’t see the first post announcement – I’ll be in New York this week and planning a meet-up for Saturday! If you’re in the area and want to join for some fabric shopping, send me an email and I’ll pass on the details 🙂