A couple of weeks I wrote a review of Sew Serendipity, a book containing patterns for variations on a skirt, a tunic and a jacket. I’m pleased to say that I’ve now made a skirt and a tunic from the book, and am still just as sold on it!
The skirts is the easiest pattern, with five main pieces and a waistband. You can then add on the optional flounce along the bottom, add pockets, or use one of the many other ideas for embellishments. There is an overall set of instructions, but each of the variations also has its own instructions so you don’t feel all at sea. I made a very simple skirt (no ruffles – gasp!), with patch pockets. I used a heavy red cotton I got at the stash swap (thanks, Roisin!), but my embellishment was to do all the topstitching (which is visible from the front) in a double line of white. I used a twin needle to do this – a magically simple little doo-hicky which attaches onto the sewing machine like a regular needle, but which branches in two, making two perfectly parallel lines of stitching. You need two top-threads and one bobbin thread and it’s very easy to use.
One of the things I said I liked about this book is that it shows you how to make a nice finish. Every seam is finished to prevent fraying (I used my overlocker), pressed, and then topstitched. I found this extremely satisfying, being someone who likes method and neatness 🙂 I had to take the side seams in quite a lot to get it to fit which meant encroaching on the pockets too. However the final fit worked well and I can still get my hands in the pockets! Overall I was really pleased with the skirt – right up until wearing it out for a day and finding that it crawled up my legs constantly! However this isn’t the pattern’s fault, and I’ve since made a lining which I’m hoping will fix the problem.
The second project I made was a tunic dress. Again, the instructions were extremely clear and methodical but with a few interesting methods and construction. For example, the sleeves are joined straight up to the neckline and the shoulders are fitted by adding elastic which I found made for a very nice fit. I also found the guidance on using a fabric with a border print very useful as my fabric had lots of patterns on it. I even managed to squeeze it out of much less fabric than it asked for – thankfully since it was all I had (an impulse purchase from Fabrics Galore at the recent Festival of Quilts).
So I’m still absolutely sold on this book, not only for the projects themselves, but also for the clarity of the instructions and the ideas for customising the patterns. I’ve worn the tunic dress lots already and plan to try out the newly lined skirt later this week!