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!