Learning to sew - Delphine Skirt

My first solo sewing project - the Delphine skirt with a lining.

Having thoroughly examined Tilly's book Love at First Stitch and the Tilly and the Buttons website I decided to try making a skirt, and ambitiously settled on including a lining. Given this was the first garment I have ever made on my own it really was ambitious - I had never put in a zip before either but decided the step by step guides on line and in the book would be enough.

New skills
  • Transferring a pattern
  • Choosing fabric
  • Inserting an invisible zip
  • Inserting a lining

Now, this is where experience really does come in...suggested fabric; drill.
What is drill?
No amount of internet research satisfied me that I was making the right online fabric purchase so returned to default settings and headed down to the nearest John Lewis (yes, totally home counties but the results speak for themselves).

It took a bit of hanging around and trying to look like I belonged before I plucked up the courage to just ask - and as soon as I did I was carried through every item I needed. Lovely navy drill and electric blue lining all ready along with interfacings, zip and thread.

Using a combination of the book's tutorial steps, along with videos from Tilly and from Youtube I steadily worked through the skirt, waistband, zip and lining.

I also discovered a crucial tool - the stitch unpicker.

It took about 4 attempts before I could successfully attach the zip to the skirt, and the lining was not easy either. In fact one side where the lining is sewn to the zip tape is really bad, but I decided to not show that bit to anyone as I had used up all my patience earlier.  And I had discovered that my lining really liked fraying and getting caught in the machine, so least amount of messing around required.It is really obvious too as I was trying to economise and only use one colour thread - the lining looks amazing with contrasting thread where it is done well. Otherwise it just highlights the mess I made.

Another problem I had right at the end was that the skirt was too big around the waist (even though I had meticulously measured, the pattern size was exactly matched, and my sewing was bang on the marks...for the waistband at least!). Obviously I then searched for How to alter the waistband of a skirt. The advice I found online was to alter the back seam and zip attachments. No way was I going near that again after the heartache so far. So I unpicked a bit of the waistband's side seams, and sewed these closer together. There was a bit of creativity needed to get it to match up where it met the skirt pieces (and I felt very naughty for deviating from plan), but actually it ended up a successful alteration!

Finally I ended up with a skirt that I was satisfied to call finished...well enough to wear and not show people all my dodgy stitching.

Lessons learned
  • Pin Pin Test Pin.
  • Ironing is amazing.
  • Get another thread to match your lining.
  • Find a way to deal with lining better for future projects.
  • Clipping in notches with scissors rather than relying on chalk markings makes it easier to find them again...especially if interfacing is involved.


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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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