Friday, 12 August 2016

Sew It - 1950s Box Pleat Skirt

Today I am finally going to give you all a proper look at my Sew Over It Vintage, 50s Box Pleat Skirt, which I finished a few months ago now and have worn almost constantly since!

~ 1950s Box Pleat Skirt ~
Pattern: A self-draft 1950s Box Pleat Skirt from Sew Over It Vintage
By: Lisa Comfort
Fabric: Approx 1.5m Thick Red Crepe from Walthamstow Market £1pm
Tools: Paper for Drafting the pattern,
Ruler or tape measure,
9" (23cm) invisible zipper,
Lightweight interfacing

The Butterfly Balcony: Sew It - Sew Over it Vintage 1950s Box Pleat Skirt Pattern Review

The fabric for this skirt was originally bought to make my ill-fated 1950s Jubilee suit, which I listed in my much talked about, UFO Hall of Shame post. I decided to scrap this project, after I gave inserting those sodding, set-in-sleeves one last try, after failing again I decided to throw in the towel and to repurpose the remaining fabric into this skirt - I can't exactly remember how much fabric I had left, I think I had about a meter and a half.

The Butterfly Balcony: Sew It - Sew Over it Vintage 1950s Box Pleat Skirt Pattern Review

 It was the first time I have attempted - a completely from scratch - self-draft pattern and so I was nervous, to say the least. My math skills are pretty limited and so I feared that my measurements may end up going awry. I needn't of worried though, as the skirt is very simple and essentially made up of various sized rectangles which means there is very little that can go wrong. The only issue I have is that I sized the waistband a bit too big and so it's rather too loose (I pinned it for these pictures) so that is something I want to go back and fix at some point soon.

I was a little concerned when starting, as even though the construction instructions (say that three times fast!) are very detailed, there aren't really enough clear photos of the finished garment for you to get a good look at the overall construction. So in my ignorance, I'd convinced myself that the closing zipper was at the side (vintage style) rather than the back and so spent more time than necessary scratching my head before the penny finally dropped. I will say the instructions in the book for inserting an invisible zip are marvellous, very clear and concise meaning that this is the best one I have ever sewn. It also helped that I recently treated myself to an invisible zipper foot - honestly, do yourself a favour if you haven't already, get one they make inserting zips a breeze!

The Butterfly Balcony: Sew It - Sew Over it Vintage 1950s Box Pleat Skirt Pattern Review

Once I'd figured out the main construction, the skirt was very easy to sew together and probably took time wise, a little over a day to finish, all barring the hem. I left the skirt to hang for a day or two before attempting hemming, but it still became a bit of a nightmare to finish.

Usually, I add a few extra inches to the length of my skirt patterns, to account for my taller than average frame, this does normally work out well and gives me a bit more leeway when hemming. But on this pattern I found the extra length made it far too long; the combination of front pleat and extra length created a really ugly effect, as the front pleat is only secured at the waistband it drapes out from there, adding extra length made this splay out even more at the hemline giving the skirt an odd boxy look.

The Butterfly Balcony: Sew It - Sew Over it Vintage 1950s Box Pleat Skirt Pattern Review

 So I decided to cut off a couple of inches so that the skirt would finish just below my knees rather than mid-calf, which was where I hit my next snag. Due to the gathers around the waist and the fact the hem is cut on a curve, I just could not cut the hem so that it was level, I was starting to pull my hair out at this point as I was convinced it would never get it finished and if I kept cutting to rectify, it was soon going to be a mini rather than a midi skirt!

Eventually, I decided to try another approach.While the skirt was on my dress form I turned up the hem, ironed it flat to check how level it was, then hand basted it into place. Next, I trimmed off some of the excess with my overlocker, making the hem neater and narrower before I whip stitched the overlocked edge into place and then removed all the basting stitches. It worked, in the end, but blimey it was a battle, and one I have to say was completely of my own creation!

The Butterfly Balcony: Sew It - Sew Over it Vintage 1950s Box Pleat Skirt Pattern Review

The only regret I have with this skirt is that I wish I'd put pockets in the side seams, as they are so useful (especially for awkward photo posing purposes), but I am happy with it and love the fact that it goes well with a lot of things already in my wardrobe. I also love that it's smart enough to wear to work but also relaxed enough to wear for a day trip out or to the pub (or more likely in my case on a trip down to Tesco's) I was especially pleased when the red matched up with my victory sweater as it will mean they will both get lots more wear throughout the year!

Oh, I have just spotted that this skirt is the same as on Lisa's newest pattern release The Rosie Dress, so if you fancy making the skirt but don't fancy a spot of self-drafting then that's the pattern for you!

Wendy x

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