For March’s Simple Sew make I chose a pattern that I’ve had in my pattern stash for quite some time. It is the Chelsea skirt. This skirt comes with several other patterns including a blouse and a pair of trousers too. This skirt has been in the back of my mind for some time especially once I realised that I had only made myself one skirt last year and that is a fancy one (here) that doesn’t get much wear!
The Chelsea skirt is flattering and casual and I thought that it would be perfect for work. I do tend to wear skirts a lot at work so this would be well-placed in my wardrobe.
For this skirt I used the left over fabric from my Deer and Doe Luzerne trench coat and, as the fabric didn’t cost me anything, I used it as an opportunity to experiment a little. The fabric is quite a utilitarian cotton twill but I thought it would be perfect to hold the shape of the skirt. A denim skirt would look fab too!
If you want to make this skirt I would recommend that you make a toile to check the fit. I’ve counted this fabric as my ‘wearable toile’ as the fit is not quite right on me but it’s wearable with the right top!
This pattern does not come with pockets, so I wanted to add them to this. But I didn’t want boring old in-seam, flapping about pockets! I wanted welt pockets. This was a technique that I used on my recent trench coat, and the pattern instructions referred to the pockets as welt pockets, but I’m not sure if that’s their proper name!
Because this skirt has panels to it, and therefore plenty of seams, I thought it would be nice to insert a cheeky pocket in between the seam lines. Here is how I did it:
To make the pockets I used pattern piece no. 2, the side front skirt. I drew a horizontal line on this pattern piece to where I wanted my hand to reach. I did this by the really scientific way of holding the pattern piece up to myself and working out roughly where my hand would end up in a pocket. I drew the line on the pattern piece parallel to the notches and the lengthen-shorten line. I added a 5/8ths inch seam allowance to the bottom of that line. I folded the pattern up at this line and cut out around it (saved me from having to trace it). This is the pocket and the top of the skirt panel. I then worked out how far up the pattern I wanted the top of the pocket to be and folded the pattern piece down at this point and cut around that. I then made a facing to attach the pocket to the front panel. All three of these pieces came from the same pattern piece. I made sure I added the notches that were on the pattern piece to all these pieces, which allowed me to match everything up.
Finally, I cut a strip of fabric double the seam allowance and double the width I wanted the welt to be. I made mine a little too long and cut to size later. Here are all my pattern pieces cut out.
No. 1 is the side front panel with a bit chopped off at the top. No. 2 is the top of the front panel and the pocket. No. 3 is the pocket facing. No. 4 is the welt.
The first thing was to fold the welt in half, so the long edges meet, wrong sides together.
I then pinned the welt so that the raw edges met up with the top of the side front panel and basted in place.
I then took my pocket facing and stitched this over the welt. I flipped the facing over onto the wrong side and pressed it. The pocket facing was then attached to the pocket at the bottom and at the sides.
The left piece below shows what the wrong side looks like (before I stitched the pocket to the facings) and the right piece shown from the right side.
Once I had made my pockets I just sewed up the skirt as directed in the instructions, taking care not to trap the pocket itself in the seams. Here is what the pocket looks like all sewn up…
I think it looks really smart and it doesn’t change the original shape of the skirt at all. The only thing I would change for next time is to move the pocket down a smidge. It is a bit narrow, and I have fat hands! I can just about get my hands in though, and my phone fits in nicely.
So, there’s my finished skirt. You’ll notice that I’m not modelling it. It looks better on my dress form than on me unfortunately. The skirt fits around my waist, it fits around my hips, but it does not fit particularly well around my belly! The skirt tends to move up until it’s wide enough to fit around my widest point (I blame the kids). This causes wrinkles, so it doesn’t quite look right. I will wear this skirt under a long top that covers the top of the skirt.
I certainly haven’t finished with this skirt pattern. I’ve learnt my lesson and next time I will size up and check the fit is right before it gets all sewn up!