Thursday, August 30, 2012

the little denim skirt that could

Butterick 5649 skirt in stretch denim

At last – some more content on this little beginner’s blog!

Oh, Butterick 5649….  This is my most favorite flawed sewing project to date.  There are so many things wrong with this skirt, but that has not kept me from wearing it everywhere all the time.

here be the pattern illustration

I have wanted a denim straight skirt for ages.  I don’t know if these things are stylish.  It doesn’t seem like you can find them anywhere in stores, and I remember them being a wardrobe staple when I was in junior high in the late 80s.  I guess this should tell me something, but I just don’t care.  I wanted a denim skirt, so I made me a denim skirt!

here be the innards as seen hanging from the ole ironin' board

I used this wonderful, comfortable stretch denim that I got on sale at JoAnn’s.  Stretch denim has to be one of the best inventions ever.  I had some issues with the waistband and front closure – which, granted, was the only tricky thing about this pattern.  This was my first attempt at a fly-front zipper closure, and I kind of stumbled my way through it.

my first fly front zipper

I thought I had everything cut and marked and lined up properly, but I ended up having to sew directly over this metal zipper, which just doesn’t seem right.  Luckily it did not break a needle or throw my machine off-kilter, but it made a lot of scary noise, and it looks strange to me from the inside.

The waistband is wonky….

hand-worked buttonhole / ugly waistband with pretty button

In case it isn’t obvious, the waistband doesn’t really line up.  I am sure that 99% of this wonkiness is the result of my waistband ineptitude.  I think this is only my second attempt at a non-elastic waistband.  But the waistband pattern was confusing because there were a lot of different lines to be sorted out.  It would help tremendously if there was a different waistband pattern for each size.  Again, this is not going to keep me from wearing the heck out of this skirt.  (Actually, I already have.  Yes, I finished this skirt over 2 weeks ago and was too lazy to take pics until last night.  I hang my head in shame.)

Also, my cheapo machine makes questionable buttonholes at its best, and it did not like this stretch denim at all.  So I ended up having to hand work the buttonhole.  The result kind of makes me chuckle, and it’s OK if you chuckle a bit, too.

triptych of poses, including obligatory booty shot
(believe it or not, this is my legs AFTER tan-in-a-bottle)

Overall, I am thrilled with this skirt!  I have worn it to work with a pretty blouse and out running errands on the weekend with a plain t-shirt and statement necklace.  There is just something about dark denim…. It has an almost magical way of instantly multiplying your wardrobe.

AND!  Nice, deep pockets!!!

enjoying my pockets

On an unrelated note, have a look at all of my poor UFOs….

Aren’t they sad?  I have never, ever finished a top, which is problematic because I am sorely lacking in nice tops and blouses for work.  Here’s the rundown:
- New Look 1607:  Confused over what to do about the front facings, which will show right through this poly chiffon if sewn as drafted.
- Butterick 5615:  That front tie was much cuter in theory than it is over my belly.
- Simplicity 1779:  Way too low cut!  And also a bit too small.

As I hung them all up on the ironing board, it occurred to me that I seem to have a thing for the color blue.  You’ll never guess what color my wedding dress is going to be!

300 dollars worth of silk

Speaking of which, there is some progress on the wedding dress front.  Here’s a sneak peek….

oooh.... musliny!

Before I sign off, I wanted to thank all of you who have stopped by say hi and give me some words of encouragement!  As a newbie to both sewing and blogging, I really appreciate it.  Hope everyone has a great Labor Day weekend!  :D


  1. I think your skirt is cute! And I'm a firm believer that "flaws" give the garment character and mark it as yours (you'll always be able to pick it out if someone happens to make the exact same piece as you)! Aw, now I want one too.

    For your too-low-cut blouse, you could always add a modesty panel or wear a cardi underneath. Not ideal, but it's a way of salvaging the garments if you like it still.

    And oh my your gown!! I love the blue silk, and the neckline looks really good. AAAH I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE IT!!

    1. Thanks! I agree about flaws giving pieces character. That's one of the joys of sewing clothes for yourself - having something that isn't cookie-cutter perfect but lovingly created stitch by stitch.

      I thought about a modesty panel, especially since I put so much work into that darn neck ruffle. It's definitely not going into the trash just yet. But I have to really be loving something to go so far as to set sleeves.

      I am so nervous to cut into that silk fabric! I need to get over that soon. I am down to the wire now, just 5 weeks until the wedding... yikes!

    2. Fair enough. I totally understand the reluctance to set in sleeves. :D

      EEK! How has your muslin gone? Are you happy with the fit? Or do you still have some tweeks to go on it?

    3. The muslin went really well, probably because I did some meticulous tissue-fitting beforehand. I am hoping to do a muslin post this weekend.

      I started cutting last night! :D

  2. Hrm, did you use a needle made for stretch, i think it's called ballpoint or roundpoint needle? That might've been the issue with the buttonhole.

    I love straight jean skirts; I think they'll def come back this fall because they're such a classic cut so good for you for making your own. And that button is soooo cute!

    1. Hey, I bet that was the problem! I was using a regular needle, and it did seem to be "catching" in the fabric. Thanks for the tip!

      I totally think denim straight skirt should be on the list of classics!

  3. Fab skirt, girl! Looks great on you.

    Don't sweat the buttonhole - they can be finicky sometimes. Even though it has stretch, it is a woven, so I wouldn't necessarily say that using a ballpoint needle is the cure. I typically use a "universal" or sharp for all woven fabrics (even if they have some lycra) and ballpoints for knits.

    Poor, sad UFOs. My thoughts? Skip the facings on 1607 and use self bias binding (if you don't have enough fabric leftover, I'd recommend purchasing a solid that coordinates), think of 5615 as a learning experience, and finish 1779 'cause it's so darn cute! you can always pop a cami under.

    And that silk...holy cow lady, jealous over here! So beautiful. Your dress is going to be gorgeous.

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughts on the UFOs! You have inspired me to break out the bias binding for the New Look blouse. I've already put so much work into it, and I love the blue floral print.

      The buttonhole thing might just be my sewing machine. I got a cheapie machine to learn on, and it causes me a good bit of grief. But hey, the buttonhole is functional and isn't falling apart (yet), so I'm good to go.

      Thanks for stopping by! More on the wedding dress soon, I hope!

  4. Super cute skirt. Love those pockets. You look so happy wearing it. Wedding dress material is stunning too. Have a wonderful Labor Day.

    1. Thank you! Nice, deep pockets make everything better, don't they? It's a blast to wear!

  5. That skirt is super-lovely! How good is creating something that can be worn with pretty much everything?! xx

    1. Thanks! I am all for multi-tasking garments!

  6. Just picked up this pattern after seeing your skirt - the deep pockets have sold me on this skirt. Now, just need to find some fabric...

  7. Holy moly - seeing your own wedding dress?! You go girl...obviously I'm late here, so I'll check your archives.