Friday, June 29, 2012

Sewing for Myself: Book Review For Sew What! Skirts

A few weeks ago I declared I was going to start sewing for myself.  Making the kinds of things I wanted to wear and actually would.  No more finishing something, hating it, and putting it straight in the back of the closet.  

Today's effort is a sassy little skirt just in time for the upcoming 4th of July festivities.  It's a Fitted Waist A-Line Skirt from the book Sew What! Skirts16 Simple Styles You Can Make with Fabulous Fabrics by Francesca DenHartog.
This is also the book I used to make this elastic waisted, full skirt a while back:
This book is great for so many reasons.  First, it's perfect for someone new to sewing (or just new to sewing women's clothing).  It gives you a lot of good foundation info and explains why and how to use   zippers, waistbands, facings - all the things that usually scare people away.  It also teaches you how to sew skirts without a pattern - just using your measurements and easily drafting up what's needed.  And it gives a lot of good tips for variations on the styles so you can change up the looks or get creative with your own ideas.

The one thing I wish there was more of is pictures of the finished items from all sides.  Each skirt has a front image of just the skirt, unworn, and one modeled shot.  And for most of the shots on an actual person it's taken from the side, out of focus, sitting down or, weirdly enough, in motion, so it's hard to see how it actually looks on someone.  Not exactly helpful for visualizing or selecting the most flattering styles for your body type.
The skirt design I used was called East Meets West and calls for using two colorful prints.  I thought these prints from the Red, White & True Blue collection by Karen Snyder were perfect for this design.  They have a fun 1940's USO-style vibe to them.  This is my best retro pin-up look (I know I'm horrible at posing for the camera, please don't laugh):
The design calls for a side zipper, which was pretty easy to install.  Until recently I always thought zippers were a pain and shied away from them, but after making this, and a few other things recently, zippers are my new best friend.  Especially for wearables since they give a more fitted and professional look than any other closure can.

The waistband for this style is just a simple strip of double fold bias tape so that adds a nice and very easy finish.  I was in a bit of a rush and completely forgot the book's advice to try it on before sewing in the zipper or waistband.  This is key for a fitted waist so you can easily take in the sides, add darts or trim downward if things are a little loose or too tight.  So I discovered after-the-fact that it gaped a bit at the waist.  Doh!  I had to taken in just the one side a bit to fix it up, so it's not the best fit ever, but I know better for next time.

One last thing I wanted to point out was how I finished where the fabrics met.  The design called for stitching a ribbon on top, but it seemed like gilding the lily to add more, so I just topstitched with my twin needle using blue thread on the blue fabric & red on the red stars for a nice, subtle detail.  Overall I'm pretty pleased and can't wait to create some more skirts!

Sharing this with my FAVE LINK PARTIES too-
Click HERE to check them out!


  1. I love this! It looks good on you!

    1. Thanks so much - hearing that makes me want to make another!

  2. It looks really cute on you! I love the little detail with the double needle and the different colored threads. =)

  3. You did a great job and the colors aare nice and bright. A nice trim body does not hurt either!!

  4. Wow! This is such a great idea & niece color.

  5. You did such a great job! I've been wanting to sew some skirts, but I'm scared bc I'm short and I have no idea what looks good on me. I'm 5 foot exactly I used to weigh around 105 lbs until I hit 30 and gained about 12lbs. That doesn't sound like a lot, but I feel like it is. I'm determined to shed 5 lbs before the summer ends, so maybe I'll get the courage to make one. I bookmarked the book you shared, so thank you! I'm a new follower and look forward to see what you share next!

    1. Karrie, I am 5ft myself and run into the same problem. I also gained about 8lbs after near a milestone b-day and when you're short like us it is a big difference! That's why this book is so nice - you can make the skirts exactly as you need them to fit and the ideal length from the start (no more chopping off a bunch to hem the right length!). I've got more wearables coming so I'm thrilled to have you check them out:)

  6. This skirt is adorable and it looks great on you! Happy 4th of July!

  7. What a cute skirt! Thanks for linking up with me! Hope you had a great 4th of July!


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