Real talk time: I am hyper competitive.
As in I can find a way to make the most mundane tasks a life or death battle royale. Washing the dishes? Bring it. Politest customer in the queue? I’ve got it. Grocery shopping? Total time trial I will win. So when I was stuck with what to make next the only way to get me started was a competition. Enter the husband choosing a random fabric from my stash to try and make an outfit out of.
Welcome to the Amanda vs Husband fabric challenge. And I totally declare myself the winner!
The challenge fabric that was picked for me was one metre of Ikea’s grey and white gingham upholstery fabric. The original plan was to make yet another pair of Iris shorts (yes, I am well aware that I have a problem) but I wanted to stretch myself a little. I had a trawl around the magical interwebs with a search titled “fierce gingham clothing” and came across a number of beautiful circle skirts and fitted top combos. Small problem – not enough gingham for a circle skirt but enough to make a cute fitted top. After a potter through my pattern stash I came up empty on fitted tops to match the skirt so decided to free style things a little by hacking up my tiki dress pattern and manipulating V8849 bodice yet again…
Due to all my previous work on fitting the bodice this was a pretty straightforward construction. Three inches was added to turn the bodice into a bustier but that was it. I decided to mix things up a bit by cutting the front panel on the bias – but this was really sheer laziness, as I didn’t want to match the gingham there as well. I played around a little with the strap placement and shortened the right hand side strap 0.5” to compensate for posture issues. Actually, that sounds lame. I adjusted the right hand strap because my epic lady shoulders are buffer on the left hand side. Like. A. Boss.
The only issue I had was due to not using my noggin. I made the bustier up, put in a zip and went to try the final fit. And of course I had used an invisible zip so I couldn’t get the bloody thing over my arms. Frack. I then had to carefully unpick the zip of disappointment and tears, hunt down a separating zip, and try to insert that. Can I say I had real trouble finding a tutorial for a separating zip and in the end did a bit of a dodgy hand picked lapped zipper that seems to work well. Necessity is the mother of all invention and all that…
Now that I had the bustier finished I needed to match it with something. My first thought was Iris shorts (the hot pink, electric blue and denim were all fine options) but I thought this needed more pizazz – hullo circle skirt. With my gingham in hand I went hunting for colours that would really pop. Teal broadcloth was the definite winner so four metres followed me home…
I used Casey’s circle skirt sewalong to walk me through the process and the By Hand London circle skirt app to help me work out fabric requirements. The skirt was ridiculously easy to construct. I’m talking one afternoon to draft the pattern, cut the fabric and sew together. It took another evening to pick the zip in and hand stitch the hook and eye on. And as I am a lazy sewist I totally used my blind hem foot to hem this sucker. What can I say? The idea of several metres of blind hemming is horrifying to me!
What I loved about these patterns:
- Bustier tops are ridiculously super cute and when some comes around I’ll be making some kind of sunshine yellow version to go with sailor shorts…
- The circle skirts was ridic easy to make. So much so I feel almost embarrassed to blog about it.
- How cute it all looks – I’m slowly starting to imagine looks in my head and manipulate patterns to make it happen. This is one of my favourite noggin to reality makes so far.
What I would change for next time.
- Take the waist in on the circle skirt an inch. It is a little loose and I would rather have it nice and fitted.
- Add an extra inch to the bustier. This would make it a bit more versatile – hullo bustier and sailor shorts!
- Horsehair braid the skirt. Because every lady wants a bit more floof to their skirt.
Bustier and Circle Skirt
Pattern: Bodice from hacked Vogue 8849 and circle skirt from Elegant Musings
Fabric: Gingham in stash x 1m; teal cotton broadcloth x 4m
Notions: Boning; grey and teal thread, hook and eye, separating zip
Overall I am super happy with how this combo turned out. Yippee! The skirt is so much fun to twirl in and I feel like some 50s bombshell. Booyah! In fact, I loved this look so much I made a frock for a wedding using this as a template which I may have to show you soon… Now let’s spin out!