Round two of last Summer’s makes! When I made that first cotton circle skirt, it was actually something of a wearable muslin for this project – the satin circle skirt! Pleased with the success of said cotton skirt, I bravely went ahead with three metres of one of the most notoriously difficult fabrics to sew to try and replicate my success. And I don’t think I did too badly!
Whilst the skirt came out looking lovely, and my first solo zip insertion went over without hassle, I by no means managed to conquer the satin. Twice as slippery as I’d been warned everywhere I read, fraying like mad and warping out of shape right and left. It probably didn’t help that I’d bought the cheapest stuff I could find, either – sewing dance-weight poly satin from Spotlight is, I imagine, a vastly different experience to sewing high-quality silk satin. Still, there’s definitely an upside to my fabric choice: check this out!Again, another beloved Hell Bunny petticoat being worn here; also, because I’m a sucker for both authenticity and 50s glam, a What Katie Did Glamour Merry Widow underneath. Finally, the shoes are actual vintage! They belonged to a friend’s grandmother and I picked them up at their garage sale.
Now to my other luxe make of the summer – champagne satin coordinating crop top and high-waisted shorts! I can’t really tell you anything about this satin other than that it came from Spotlight many moons ago – bought when my grandmother made my sister an outfit, the remnants have resided in my stash ever since. And as I have a fasciation with co-ords and 50s-style playsuit separates, when I finally unearthed it this summer, I knew exactly what I wanted to make.
I am so pleased with the results! I specifically decided to make a top and shorts so I could use as much of the scalloped edge as possible, and really show it off. Besides, there wasn’t a whole lot of fabric left, and I thought the shorts were a safer bet than a very tiny skirt! Both the top and shorts were from self-drafted patterns, and I am delighted that the fit came out so nicely. The top is the same pattern I used to make my floral cotton crop top; I refined the pattern for a better fit, moving the placement of the bust darts, and altered it to have a centre back zip instead of a side closure.
The top is fully lined so all seams are enclosed using the method I got from the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing (older editions are better, I’ve heard; mine is from the 80s, I think) where you sew the top and lining together around the arm and neck holes before side seams are sewn, then turn through the straps. I took me quite a lot of thinking to get my head around the concept, but once I got it it was fairly straightforward. The straps were almost too narrow to turn through though….I’ll have to remember to make them wider or use a smaller seam allowance next time! I then topstitched the neck and armhole for flatness. Whilst the initial fit was not bad and comparable to ready-to-wear, I ended up taking a further inch out of each side seam, and now it fits like a glove.
I drafted the shorts pattern using this tutorial; they are also lined and feature a side zip closure. Unfortunately, the zip is invisible pretty much in name only – by the time I was cutting the shorts back pieces, I had to cut panels instead of full pieces in order to get the remaining fabric to match along the scallops. I underestimated the back seam allowances slightly, which made the back slightly too small…which meant I had to insert two tiny thin pieces either side of the zip in order to get the sides to meet. Damn! Still, the lining was the perfect size, so at least I know the pattern’s good!
I think this ensemble is a really cool balance between fun and chic – and it was great wearing it out on the town in the 40 degree Australian summer! You’d easily pay $150 for a set like this, so the fact that I got it for the cost of the two zips? Priceless 😉
I should also thank my lovely little sister for doing my makeup and playing photographer for me – she’s quite good, in’t she? (even though she kept making me laugh!) It’s thanks to her that I have such nice photos of me modelling my makes – so let’s hope she keeps agreeing to help me out!
Until next time,
Miss Maddy x
- Green poly dance satin – Spotlight
- Champagne scalloped satin – Spotlight
- Bone cotton poplin lining fabric – Spotlight
- Invisible and open-ended zips – Spotlight