I have to admit, I wasn’t looking forward to making this. For a few weeks before the pattern landed, I had had at least three sewing disasters, and they’re just the ones that immediately spring to mind. I even ended up purposefully ripping one of my beloved Cleos apart, straight through the middle, with a seam ripper. My sewing room had turned into some kind of sewing-themed Halloween B-movie. So the thought of making a skirt with top stitching and a fly zip filled me with dread, but given the job I’m in, sometimes I HAVE to sew rather than WANT to sew, therefore I begrudgingly cracked on.
Akin to the other more recent patterns Tilly has released, I am pleased to say that there was little fabric waste after cutting out, so if you go by the fabric requirements on the pattern, you’ll be just about bob on.
Cutting out done, on with the stitching…hmm…the first job of inserting the pockets seemed to go ok (yes, it has both back AND in-seam pockets!!!)…the topstitching is relatively straight…surely I’m going to falter at the zip? Nope, in fact that went ridiculously well, to the point where I now profess to anyone who cares to listen that a fly zip is my favourite kind of zip. (I can guarantee that there is no more boring conversation in the world than talking about your favourite zip, even to those who sew.) Let me explain why it is in fact my favourite zip (feel free to scroll past this bit if you can feel yourself nodding off). As the zip isn’t actually on display when you’ve sewn it in because of the zip guard and the zip facing, a multitude of sins are hidden. I avoid zips wherever possible as sometimes they’re more trouble than they’re worth, but I would never avoid a fly zip. You don’t even have to baste them in before you sew them. (Yes, I am in fact still talking about my love of the fly zip, if you’ve scrolled back up!) A couple of pins and bosh, it’s in! They’re short as well, so before you know it, it’s done. As am I, you’ll be pleased to hear, talking about zips.
So, onto the waistband, which isn’t as impressive as the fly zip, but hey-ho, we can’t have everything. I have form in making mountains out of molehills with waistbands. I confuse myself constantly with regards to which curve of the waistband is stitched to the waist of the skirt/trousers/whatever and I regularly have to unpick and redo it again the other way round. I can’t comment for any other pattern at this moment in time, but for Ness I have a tip: make sure your waistband is smiling at you rather than frowning, then stitch the bottom edge to the skirt! Smile = right, frown = wrong!!! Where the waistband sits is perfect for me; I’m definitely a high-waist girl. Anything that sits too low on me can have the tendency to show a paunch that any professional darts player would be proud of. This skirt definitely tucks away any food/booze babies you may be carrying, which also makes it ideal for wearing when going out for a meal! 🙂
I have made this skirt twice at the writing of this (don’t you worry, more are definitely planned!) and for the second one I completely forgot to “stitch in the ditch” to secure the inner waistband and instead edge-stitched around the whole thing. To be perfectly honest, it doesn’t seem to have made any difference to the end item and let’s face it, life’s too chuffing short to sweat about the small stuff!
The first skirt I made was the longer version using denim with a slight stretch to it. Not too much stretch; there was only 3% Spandex in the composition, but I was a little concerned having never made it before that I wasn’t going to be comfortable wearing it in a fabric with no stretch. I needn’t have worried though, as the second skirt was made using a 9 wale corduroy which is fairly heavyweight and doesn’t have any give in it at all, and I love it just as much! With regards to the longer version, I wasn’t keen on the finished shape as per the pattern. As there is very little shaping, I think it makes the longer version look a bit boxy and shapeless. To rectify this, I just basically tapered the side seams in from the waist right down to the hem, probably around 3/4″ each side all told. Please don’t be led to believe that I am in any way accurate when I do things like this; it’s a miracle I even chalk on sewing lines first to get each side equal!! 🙂 When I made the mini version, however, I kept the shape as is as I like the bit of flare.
So there you have it; two versions of the Ness skirt – a longer one, almost pencil-style to wear with tucked in tops (if you think I’m hiding my fly zip, you’re very much mistaken!) and then a mini which this time of year will go well with jumpers and thick black tights, but as the weather warms up will also wear well with t-shirts.
Ability-wise, Tilly has labelled this as “For Improvers”. If you already have a good skill level and have made a few different skirts or dresses, then I don’t think you’ll have any bother. For you newbie sewers, I would probably recommend you make a skirt with an elasticated waist or a regular skirt zip first so you can see how a skirt is constructed before moving on to this one. When you do have a go at Ness, you could build up to how complicated you make it; try your first one without any contrasting top stitching or even back pockets and then bring in the more complicated bits as your skills improve.
So make sure you send me photos of your Ness creations, oh, and if you also love the fly zip, you know where to come for an in-depth discussion!