Last week I made two skirts, very simple jersey ones, just two side seams and a waistband. This week I’ve gone to the other extreme and made a denim skirt with 39 steps in it!!
I’ve made this one before, it’s called the Clementine, it’s by Merchant and Mills in their denim range of patterns. It’s actually fairly straight forward, you just have to take your time and go step by step. Luckily all the fiddly bits like fly zips and pockets are stitched whilst the pieces are still fairly flat. The instructions are pretty clear, there’s only one bit that I had to read about three times, but I got there in the end.
I used a black denim from my stash, I bought it last year sometime at Fabworks in Dewsbury – £5 for 1.5 metres, a bargain! It’s quite a firm denim with a little bit of stretch. I nearly did all the top stitching in black but at the last minute I decided to use a variegated quilting thread in pinks and purples. It’s quite bright at the moment, but I’m anticipating that after a few washes with all the dark clothes, it will tone down a bit. The pockets are lined with a sewing themed fabric, I used the same fabric to line the waistband too so I didn’t have two layers of denim to contend with. Last time I made this skirt exactly to the pattern, I love wearing it but I always wish it was just a bit longer, so this time I added 6″ onto the length, I anticipated cutting it back once it was made, but I liked the long length, so I just did the usual jeans hem on it.
The pocket top-stitching is the first step in the whole procedure. Of course this means you have to decide what to put on the pockets. I ummed and arred for a while, last time I put an ECG on the pockets, but I couldn’t decide what rhythm to do – it’s got to be accurate when you’re a cardiac nurse!! The one provided in the pattern was a bit like an M, I decided to stylize it a bit and then had the idea of having my initials on the back pockets, M and C. I was pretty pleased with how they came out – my C could have done with being a bit lower, but it was OK. Then my OH looked at it, couldn’t see that it was M and C and thought it odd that they weren’t the same…well they’re staying!
The zip fly came out OK, I was a bit annoyed with my top-stitching as I thought I’d done it wrong at the bottom, catching in the zip, undid it and restitched it, only to realise it was right the first time, so I had to undo it again!!
As soon as I stitched the side seams up I tried it on and as expected (from last time I made it) it was too big on the waist but OK on the hips, I took in about 3/4″ on each side, tapering it off to the hips.
I had taken the precaution of not cutting out the waistband until I knew how much I was taking in. The waists are funny on jeans, there’s a left and a right, not a front and back, so I pinched a similar amount in the middle of each pattern, double checked the pattern was the right way up, cut it out and it fitted perfectly -phew!!
The only steps I haven’t done is the belt loops, they were to be added right at the end, I still might add them, but I knew I’d never use them and most of my tops cover the waistband anyway!
I tried to play thread chicken at the end and lost big time, with 5″ to go of the hem not only did my top thread run out, my bottom thread ran out too, I thought some thread had got stuck underneath so I had to take the needle plate off…only it’s the first time I’ve done this on my new machine, I ended up getting the instruction manual out to discover a weird piece of metal is actually a (not very easy to use) screwdriver!! Half an hour later…
Until the last half hour I was really please with my new machine, it coped with all the thicknesses of denim, made a very nice button hole too. I got the hang of using various settings for edge-stitching and top stitching. I set up my overlocker next to it so I could switch between the two machines and it worked really well, though in a perfect world you would have one machine set up with top stitching thread and another with sewing thread – there’s an awful lot of changing threads, I was so glad of the easy threading and automatic needle threader!
I’m really pleased with my new skirt, I really must crack on and make some jeans now!