After having to abandon my last make (A shirt that just never went well from the start!) I really needed to sew something I would be happy with. I decided on a Fumeterre skirt.
Fumeterre is a maxi skirt pattern by the French company Doe & Deer, I bought it down at Guthrie & Ghani’s last week. It’s an 8 gore skirt with the option of either buttons all the way down, or a fly front zipper. It reminded me of one of my favourite RTW skirts I have, a button down skirt in plum velvet. It’s even got a comfort band of elastic along the back, does that mean I’m getting old! There is also a rather nice pocket option too. It’s sort of like a simpler version of the Gabriola skirt, which with five makes under my belt, must be my favourite pattern of all time!
When I was sorting out my stash last week I found a 4m length of teal fabric, it’s gorgeous but I have absolutely no idea what kind of fabric it is! It’s woven like a quilting cotton, but it clearly has a little spandex in it as it has more of a bias stretch than I would expect. It also drapes beautifully, it feels heavy for the weight of the fabric if you get my drift. It’s the sort of fabric that will fall off your sewing table or ironing board given half a chance! It irons easily but it doesn’t hold a sharp crease on seams and hems. It sews beautifully, it doesn’t move or stretch whilst sewing, it frays slightly…I just don’t know what it is, any suggestions welcome! I’ve no idea where I bought it, though I suspect it was either the Shuttle in Shipley or the Fent Shop in Skipton, it’s got occasional faults clearly marked with yellow tape, so I clearly got it cheap!
I had plenty of fabric for the Fumeterre, I even had enough for a second back piece when I realised I’d missed a fault and there was a hole right in the middle!
The Doe & Deer patterns come in a lovely card folder with the instructions written in a booklet. I love the weight of the paper the independent pattern makers use, although I did discover one disadvantage, I usually cut out wide round the pattern pieces, pin them to the fabric and then cut on the line, cutting pattern and fabric at the same time. This doesn’t work with heavy paper patterns if you need to turn the pattern over!!
The skirt went together really easily, I French-seamed all the skirt seams, so as not to get confused I stitched all the seams once and then went back and did the second seam, I could just see I would get confused which was front and back otherwise!
The one part I would change next time is their method for attaching the waistband. They stitched the lining to the inside first, then stitched the front to the lining along the top and sides before edge stitching the front down. I hand stitched it down first as I wasn’t confident of getting a neat finish otherwise. I prefer to stitch the front on first, hand-stitch the back down and then edge-stitch the front.
Once the waistband was on I let it hang for 24 hours before I did the hem, just to make sure there wasn’t any movement.
The colour of the fabric proved to be one of those where nothing matches, there was nothing even near with buttons, then I spotted these on Leeds market, they’re like a pewter coloured plastic, even better they were only 12 pence each (especially as I needed quite a few!) They had them in three sizes so I decided to get a slightly bigger one for the waistband and then smaller for the skirt front. I’m really pleased with them.
The hem of the skirt is sewn using a facing which does give a lovely neat finish with curved hems. The pattern instructions say to finish upper edge, I decided to use bias binding again as it does give a nice flat finish. I couldn’t find any bias that even remotely matched, so I decided to go for a contrast…when I was in Guthrie & Ghani they had some really pretty patterned bias, I bought a length of floral tape, I think it co-ordinates quite nicely and as I had just enough with 3″ to spare, I decided it was meant to be. It won’t be visible on the whole, but when it is, it looks pretty!
I love my Fumeterre skirt, I wore it last night to a restaurant. It stitched together easily, and it’s great to wear, I love the way it twirls! I’ll definitely be making a few more of these. In my stash I also founds a length of teal jersey that will make a great co-coordinating cardigan, so I think that’s added to my list of January to do’s!