Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Colette Beignet Skirt

Well, my back recovered very quickly, as it happens, but I've had little time to sew. However, that didn't stop me from making my Beignet Skirt little by little in the evenings last week. It's surprising what can be achieved in just 30 mins or so every day.

This version was only ever meant to be a muslin, and not a wearable one. I had planned only to fit the shell of the skirt and "waste" this fabric in the process because I had thought the fabric to be unwearable itself. It's a stretch cotton drill and when I washed it (originally for a pair of Clover trousers, but that's another story altogether) no matter what I did to it I couldn't remove the creases made in the washing process. I even tried washing it again on a slower spin, ironing it almost wet...but nothing worked. Once I started making up the skirt, I was delighted to find that although the fabric wasn't behaving any better, it didn't show enough to be detrimental to the appearance of the garment, so I quickly fished out a remnant of Kaffe Fassett cotton and some really terrible, stiff lining that I had nearly thrown away a couple of years ago (after washing, the lining was much softer, though it frayed like a devil).
This pattern is made for a much more curvy, pear shaped individual than me. Therefore, although the size 4 waist fitted just right, the hips and bottom were HUGE on me. I took some of the excess out but there is still a lot of room in the hip area.

I really enjoyed putting this one together; I enjoyed attaching the shiny lining to the crisp, matt cotton and the curve where they join at the front (inside). I enjoyed making the little belt loops (though my drill fabric was so think I had to make my loops up in a totally different way to the pattern) and I even enjoyed making all the buttonholes. I must say, I think I got more satisfaction in making this skirt than I ever have in my sewing before! I keep looking at it and thinking "brilliant". I just love how everything came together so nicely, even though there were so many opportunities for things to go wrong, with three different fabric types and all those buttons, and the loops.

Things I have learnt and could really improve upon next time (I have already bought some navy drill - no stretch, and washes MUCH better - red lining and navy polka dot cotton for the facings):

Next time I will make sure the thread I use for understitching the facings matches the facings and not the shell. On the inside, the stitching really shows.

I don't think I can face ever using fabric covered buttons ever ever again. It took me and hour and a half to cover my metal buttons with such thick drill, even though I have the little "instrument" required. Honestly, the palm of my left hand was purple the following day, from pressing so hard. And I ruined about seven buttons by denting the metal.

I learnt to do blind herringbone stitch for the hem. It can't be seen at all from the inside, as it all happens within the hem. On the outside I still have lots of tiny puckers where I picked up threads from the outer. I found Sherry's advice so helpful - I just need more practise (or maybe stretch drill is tricky to do an invisible hem on). My stitches look beautiful anyway, if you pull the hem down and take a look!
Will I wear this skirt? You bet. I love it! (Will take pics of the skirt being worn when I get more time).

To finish off, here is yet another V2091 (it's one of the five versions I have made, and I must also say...please don't think I only ever wear these socks! I do have plenty of other types!):



  1. Yay, welcome back! Nice tunic/dress I really like the fabric and the socks are cute too. I've gathered from a whole heap of sewists that Collette patterns are sized for very curvy women (i.e. larger than than the sizing used by the big four) so I haven't even bothered trying it. Don't want to waste my time fitting and modifying when there's so much out there to make and use immediately ;) Good on you for giving it a go. Hopefully you have a modified pattern you can do more with now. For covered buttons a cool way to do it is to baste long stitches around the circle of fabric and then pull the thread to gather the edges in before sealing. Don't know how it'd work on super thick fabric though.

  2. Shut down this post! It has given me the most enormous guilt trip about my unfinished Beignet and the ridiculousness of covered button holes. You don't see them.
    Seriously though, your skirt looks great and I love that wild fabric for your dress.

  3. My goodness your skirt is perfection. Totally worth the effort with the buttons. And the Awesome!

  4. That skirt is great -- a neutral color, but not a boring skirt at all! I love the covered buttons and contrasting facing. You will have so much fun wearing it.