Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The toughest chambray in the world

It got the better of me with this top, but I have now managed to conquer the Toughest Chambray in the World. Hurrah!

I picked up this piece of chambray, about 3m, from a local op shop for a couple of bucks last year, and while initially, I totally underestimated its surly nature with regards to drape, I have now managed to beat it into submission using this Burda WOF tulip skirt.

BWOF 123-10-2009

If you saw this post, you will remember the lovely light blue denim skirt that Lisa from Tessuti put together as being my reference point.

That skirt however looks quite full, and appears to have a straight waistband, which I have an undying horror of, ever since having to make them at high school using that cheap unwieldy sew in interfacing ( I will NEVER use that stuff again!), so I looked for a pattern that would suit both me and the Toughest Chambray in the World.

The BWOF pattern has a curved waistband (yay!) and a straighter shape, with pleats at the front and darts at the back. I did have to adjust the pattern to get rid of the zip and add a button extension, but this pattern is so quick to run up and easy peasy to sew.

I even tackled using proper topstitching thread which has always given me problems on domestic machines before ( I discovered that if you use regular thread on the bobbin you don’t need to muck around with the tension).

Tostitching in all it's glory

So here is the rundown.
I traced the size 38 and didn’t make any changes to the shape or fit of the pattern.
To change fly front to a button extension
1. Trace front skirt to CF line, ignoring fly front extension.
2. Measure button, in my case they were 1.5cm
3. Add button measurement (1.5cm) to CF and square down. This is now the fold line.
4. Add twice the button measurement (3cm) to the fold line and square down. This is the underlap.
5. Add seam allowance if needed. I added ¼ inch to allow a bit extra even though I overlocked the edge.
6. From front waistband CF, add button measurement (1.5cm) and then ¼ inch s.a.

Front skirt pattern showing new extension

I left out the hip pockets as I didn’t want any extra padding there thank you very much!
Back skirt and waistband pattern were unchanged.
I added ½ inch s.a to side seams and ¼ inch s.a for the waistband and facings.
(Apologies for skipping between imperial and metric. I tend to favour imperial but will switch to metric when it suits me!)

1. Apply iron on fusing to extension (making sure fusing extends past foldline) and waistband ( I didn’t fuse the waistband facings on account of the weight of the fabric).

Front extension and fusing

2. Finish front extension edge, fold under on fold line and press and topstitch.
3. Fold pleats on front skirt and sew darts on back skirt and press.
4. Sew side seams, finish and press.
5. Sew waistband and waistband facings at side seams and press.
6. Sew waistband to skirt, clip and press.
7. Finish waistband facing edge and sew to waistband. Clip seam and turn through.
8. Topstitch waistband.
9. Topstitch hem.
10. Sew buttonholes and buttons.

As the skirt has a curved waistband and sits slightly on the hip, I just used the waistband pattern to make the sash, extending past CF to create extra length for the ties.

Well at least the skirt is in focus

The fit is a little on the big side, I could have taken it in a smidgen, but I still have to run the skirt through a couple of hot wash cycles just to make sure the fabric is well and truly under my thumb, and hopefully it might shrink a bit (bit worried about the thread though, its a reel of scarlet vintage topstitching thread and the colour looks like it can’t wait to bleed all over the place!).

So take that Toughest Chambray in the World.
Now to take on the Trickiest Voile in the World!


  1. Ooh I like! I have that Burda and totally overlooked the skirt. Might have to give this a go. Thanks