I finished my Sew for Victory skirt and by the deadline too! (the deadline was extended to 1st April). Here are my thoughts on the project…

I made the skirt from Simplicity 3688, which is a reproduction of a 1940s pattern. I cut a straight size 18 with no adjustments (which is unusual for me where skirt patterns are concerned). The fabric was a polyviscose blend in black and white dogtooth that I bought on a trip to a fabric shop with friends.

The skirt is made from 6 panels (2 front/back panels cut on the fold and 4 side panels). I serged the edges of the skirt panels – not historically correct but there was no way I was going to hand overcast all the seams! The pattern suggests top stitching the right side of the skirt panels along the seams, but I didn’t want to do that. I struggled massively with inserting a lapped zip, as described here.

I found attaching the waistband tricky. The skirt panels are bigger than the waistband, so they have to be eased together. I had no idea whether I should insert gathering stitches along the top of the skirt panels and ease the fabric that way, but in the end I used the technique from this YouTube video, where the ease is distributed using pins to divide and smooth the excess fabric. It’s fiddly and I had to use a LOT of pins to ensure I didn’t get tucks in the skirt panels. Then I slip stitched the edge of the waistband to the skirt on the inside.

I had serged the bottom edge of the skirt panels to avoid fraying. To hem, I pressed at 5/8″, sewed a gathering stitch at 1/4″, eased in the fullness, then pressed and basted. I sewed the hem up using blind hem stitch. The finished skirt length is 27″. Finally, I sewed a skirt hook and bar to the waistband. The pattern suggests creating a buttonhole, but I was worried about creating an evenly sewed buttonhole through several layers of fabric at the waistband.

So, the important question – do I like the finished skirt? Yes and no. I think it fits well, although as it’s a 40s style it needs to be worn with the right sort of underpinnings to ensure a smooth shape around the hips. I didn’t line the skirt, and although I don’t enjoy lining garments, I do think winter weight clothes benefit from being lined. It gives them a better weight and a more professional finish. I would definitely make another version of this pattern, perhaps using a better quality fabric.

Once I’d finished the skirt, I realised that I had nothing to wear with it on top! So I did some knitting for victory. The jumper is ‘Ena’s Sweater’ (1940), knitted from a pattern in A Stitch in Time vol 1 by Susan Crawford. More on that in my next post!

In case you were wondering, the other bits of my outfit are Gio cuban heel fully fashioned stockings, court shoes from Clarks and Besame Red lipstick.

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