Monday, 18 May 2015

Voila: Pattern Testing the Pin Pegs Mini Skirt


Happy Monday! Hope you had a great weekend! We have my parents visiting us in Shanghai so it's been busy but it's just a dream sharing the city with them. Husbie even had a day off! YAY!

I'm really happy to show you my Pin Pegs Mini Skirt this week... it's a new pattern from a brand spanking new independent pattern designer.... Annie Mollison who's 'Sew This Pattern' stems from a lifetime of fashion design, sewing and modern living & blogging. I can't remember when I first saw Annie's blog, Nine Stitches... but I just remember her moxie sewn garments & sunshiney photos and her fabric choices being really strong. So when I saw she was looking for pattern testers, I was very curious about her pattern design... and I wasn't disappointed ... this skirt has as much spunk and edge as Annie!

So first up, I'm very happy with the skirt... delighted it fits so well, but mostly really happy with my sewing on this one... it was a challenge for me at times (there are more pattern pieces that I usually sew with because I usually try to cut corners) and that's a VERY GOOD thing for me right now.

I can't even look at tracing a pattern until I confirm my fabric for some reason at the moment... I bought this faux suede from my closest fabric shop that is EXTREMELY limited with fabric choice as there were probably no more than 5 bolts that I could have sewn with and 2 were corduroy (!) that I was not interested in even touching! The pattern calls for a cotton-sateen like weight with that kinda stretch... but in my travels through the fabric markets here, I have not found anything like it yet... so the animal print faux suede with a small amount of stretch was kind of my only option. It really is an autumn or winter fabric and I don't think I'll get to wear it again until later in the year now as Friday (when I wore the skirt out) was our last hurrah of rainy spring (I suppose, we'll see) here in Shanghai.

So tracing the pieces were great, but you totally have to number and mark and even name all the pieces correctly because as you can see the waistband has a facing and also all the skinny edges have facings... so there's a bit of time there for tracing but now I have a proper ruler and chalk for transferring markings I felt swish and virgo-like in ticking all the boxes as I went along.

Seeing Annie's version of the skirt gave me a lot of guidance, so that's why I thought I'd show my insides here too... because before I began, and even while cutting, I just couldn't imagine how the skirt was sewn up... often with dresses I know the steps and the process... but the wrap skirt exterior looks very polished so I was a little daunted and hoped hoped hoped mine could look the same.

The pattern includes photos (and I believe there are even more in the finished pattern) and I did rely on them mostly to double check the order and shape of the waistband and those skirt facings. There was a couple of times I actually said out loud 'I think I'm doing it!' because I had to concentrate a lot more and don't we all need a little positive cheering on...!?

I strongly recommend ironing a lot and basting like Annie suggests because putting in the zipper could be problematic if you don't plan that out... I was SO surprised how neat and flat and I guess a little easy it was after it was all sewn up... a big relief after the zipper was completed and a bit relief to be pushing out those facing pieces with the chopstick knowing the finishing line was around the corner... !

The skirt wasn't a quick sew for me, only because my parents also arrived mid-make and I moved my sewing machine so I could finish it (and thanks to Dad for his photos!) and because of parenting a small active child, so I didn't really take note of the hours I put into it... but I really enjoyed the challenging parts and I think I said in my review (or to my mum) that it's a nice balance of easy bits and tricky bits for my level of sewing... which I'd say is between beginner & intermediate most of the time. And it's a totally different skirt for my wardrobe!

What I do love about wearing it, and this is a size 10 with no changes at all, is it shows off my legs! My pins! And I totally don't mind a mini skirt at all... it doesn't actually look that short on me, but you'll recall I'm 150cm tall (4 foot eleven) so if you're petite, it's not that mini for a mini skirt. I would like to sew it again in summer fabric, but only if I can find the fabric... last time I was at the market I bought only stretch velour in gigantic floral print so I have no idea what I'll find the next time I go.

I actually can't think of any negative part of the pattern... only that the amount of pieces is a lot for lazy sewing queens, but it's appropriate to the pattern and wouldn't be as stylish or polished otherwise! There may be a bit of extra fabric on my flat bum area (just under the waistband, some extra fabric hangs out horizontally, if that makes sense) so I might just drop that waist line on the skirt a little next time. But the lines of the pattern vertical are very sharp and feel very flattering on. The pattern pieces do have a nice curve in places so Annie has really considered the design overall rather than rectangular waistbands etc.

FYI, Annie provided me and her other pattern testers with a copy of the pattern in draft form, in exchange for our thoughts & feedback & a couple of photos... and in return we received a copy of the final pattern for free. I bought my own fabric and spent my own time pattern testing and these thoughts today are all my own opinion... and this is totally all my personal experience sewing with the pattern. I feel quite happy to have contributed to Annie's creative process in some small way, and also feel like it's a fair process, considering I don't have a lot of patterns with me in Shanghai and for the first time in my sewing lifetime, I have the actual time to sew! Slowly, but still I'm making stuff!

Have a great week to you! This week, I have a blog post coming about the Haberdashery Market in Renmin Lu here in Shanghai ... so see you again soon!


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