Clothing,Sewing

Ava Skirt – Take One!

When I saw the Ava Skirt pattern on Sew Over It, I knew that I must make this in one fabric and one fabric only; Wool! It’s a gorgeous A-Line pattern that is destined to be worn with tights, ankle boots and a nice jumper in the Autumn and Winter months.

I found some Wool from one of my favourite online fabric goldmines (Textile Express) and because there were too many to choose from, I ended up ordering 4 different types so that I had a good selection to work with! I went for a Melton Wool in Midnight Navy, a Boucle Weave in Rust Orange Brown, a Black Wool/Lycra blend and a Moon Rogart in Dark Forest.

L-R Clockwise – Navy Melton, Dark Forest Moon Rogart, Orange Brown Boucle Weave, and Black Wool/Lycra

In terms of the pattern, I thought I’d try an all over 12 with no grading to see how it fitted based on the style and measurements. I knew I’d gained some lockdown pounds so I wasn’t completely convinced it would fit, but I thought it would be a good place to start.

On to the sewing…

For some crazy reason I chose to pick probably the trickiest fabric of the four to start with and went for the Boucle Weave. I knew it needed a lining so I had purchased some plain black anti-static lining from the market in Victoria Centre in Nottingham.

The fabric was easy to cut but the bits from it went everywhere, and the same can be said when sewing it. It moved around quite a lot on the machine, but I found I didn’t need to use any particular needle, foot or stitch. I opted for a 90/14 universal needle with a straight stitch, at stitch length of 2 and this seemed to work just fine. I still don’t have an overlocker so I zig-zagged the edges which was the most important thing as the fraying potential given the weave in this fabric was huge!

Putting the skirt together was easy enough. The pattern has pockets and I decided I would stick with that plan but it was hard to work out how to fit them when I needed to insert a lining too. I was using an existing wool lined A-Line skirt for reference but this one didn’t have pockets so I was on my own for this part. I stitched some black plain polycotton pockets into the main skirt side seams but this really didn’t work as pocket fabric, and with them sitting between the wool and the lining fabric, it made the skirt bulge at the sides and the fit awkward. The best thing about making your own clothes is that you can undo something that doesn’t work for you, so I quickly opted to remove the pockets and stitched up the side seams. What a difference that made!

The lining was just a repeat of the front and back skirt pieces. I stitched the back skirt pieces of the lining fabric together starting from the base of the zip down to the bottom hem. I zig-zagged the edges and hemmed it in the same way as the main skirt, and then stitched this with a 1cm seam allowance to the top of the main skirt before attaching the waistband. This meant it was well secured and no hand stitching was required to insert the lining. I did however handstitch the lining to the zip tape as I left it unstitched at the top to be able to open the zip without it catching. I did this at the same time as slip stitching the last section of the waistband.

Room for improvement

The waistband on this pattern for me just doesn’t seem to work. The notches didn’t meet on the top of the skirt and the waistband, and I found with it being quite a bulky wool, it didn’t give me enough of a tab as the pattern suggested. I opted for a hook and bar on the waistband because of the lack of tab, and with this it looked fine. I’ve put this down to the fabric type and will see if it works better for one of the other types of wool i’ve still got to play with!

All in all, it’s a lovely skirt, and someone commented that the style with the fabric was very “Chanel” which was such a lovely thing to say, and made the challenges I faced when sewing it worth while. Things I would improve:

  • The tab at the top
  • Using lining fabric for pockets if I were to make it in a different fabric that didn’t require a lining
  • Grading the pattern from a 10/12 to a 14 to give it a nicer shape and a better fit

I’ll redraft the pattern in the 10-14, opt for no pockets and a lining again and see how the next one goes. Wish me luck!

Em x

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