I'm sure many sewists active on the interwebs were aware of the Surprise Sewing Bee Contest going on over at Pattern Review. For fun, I decided to give it a try. The first round challenge was to make at A-line skirt. It's a bit different sewing something you are told to, since I almost only sew for myself and generally make whatever I want. It required a waistband, lining, zipper, closure and hem.
I went through my patterns and the only thing I had that really fit the challenge was the A-line Variation of the Pencil Skirt found in Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing. Basically, I added 3 inches to the hem on both front and back, then re-drew the side seam lines to meet up with the original lines at the hip. I also omitted the back kick pleat. To make things a bit more interesting, I added some colour-blocking that matched the contrast waistband. Oh, and I added pockets, since I hate not having access to pockets. But more on that later.
I made this with two kinds of twill I had hanging around in my stash. The black twill came from Walmart s few years ago (2011?) back when the ones here still cut fabric. The grey is Galaxy twill from Fabricland last winter. It was pretty interesting to see the differences between these two twills. The biggest difference is that the black twill attracts cat hair like no one's business, while the grey does not.
When I did a test fitting on this skirt, it was really tight and the waist was REALLY high and I didn't find it comfortable at all. So I chopped 1.5 inches off the top of the skirt. I think it was a bit too much, as now it's a bit too loose (plus a bit of weight loss on my part I think). But it's pretty comfortable and I likely won't tuck my shirts in when I wear it. In fact, I'm not crazy about the shirt-tucked-in look I have in the photos, but I needed them in for the contest and wanted to show the waistband. Plus, I think it helped the proportions of the colour-blocking. Also, this skirt was really long! I think it's designed to hit somewhere below the knee, but I don't think that's a good look for me, so I hemmed it really deep to hit above my knee.
Finally, the pockets. I mess up on these and didn't realize until the skirt was pretty much finished. I drafted my own pocket bag because it is pretty simple when you have your brain working. But I completely forgot to add the seam allowance ! So these pockets are pretty darn snug. I can still cram my hands into them, so they will work, but it's a lot tougher than it should be. But look! My crazy cat lady fabric is back! Hooray!
Overall, I think I have a very wearable, season-appropriate (yay!) skirt. It's not my favourite skirt ever, but I think I will wear it quite a bit with tights through winter. Unfortunately, I didn't qualify to move on in the competition, but I'm still pretty happy with how things turned out.
Pattern: altered Pencil Skirt from Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing
Fabric: ~0.5 m black twill from Walmart, ~0.5 m grey galaxy twill from Fabricland and 1 m slightly pinkish poly lining from Fabricland.
Notions: 9 inch grey zipper, 1 pleather-covered button and thread (black, grey and white)