Sunday, May 5, 2013

The GBSB Sew Along--Challenge 1 A-Line Skirt Part 1

The Great British Sewing Bee Sew Along begins...

Watched episode 1 yet?  If you have, then you know that the first challenge involves sewing an A-line skirt from a pattern.  Contestants were to show that they could properly carrying out basic techniques such as following pattern instructions, inserting zippers, sewing darts, etc. while completing a basic skirt.  They could also embellish and personalize it as long as they did not change the basic shape of the A-line.  For the experienced sewers, it was really about perfecting technique and showing the ability to work with linings, tricky fabrics, etc. and for the less experienced, getting the zipper in correctly seemed to be the biggest challenge. 

Skirts with an A-line shape fit at the waist, skim over the hip area and continue to widen just a bit, and fall slightly out from the body----like the legs of a capital letter "A".  This is different from a straight skirt which fits at the waist, skims over the him and then continues at that same width to the hem---like the sides of a capital "H".  Pencil skirts taper in after the hip area---like a "V" and, of course, there are flared or full skirts that have more volume to them than a classic A-line, often created with gathers, godets, panels or pleating.  Let's face it, there is an infinite variety to skirts!

For this challenge, we'll be sticking with the A-line style skirt with darts and zipper.  Do you have to have a commercial pattern?  Nope.  You are certainly welcome to draft you're own.  Books such as Sew What! Skirts and classes such as Craftsy's Design and Sew an A-line Skirt (which happens to be on sale at the moment) can teach you to draft a custom pattern. 

Commercial patterns for A-line skirts abound and you can choose one of the ones listed below or find a different one.

Burda 04-2013-122
Burda 03-2013-109
Burda 11-2012-124
Burda 10-2012-121A
Burda 09-2012-116B  (I'll be making this one for a second skirt.)
McCall's 3341
Butterick 4461  (I'll be using this one for my first skirt demo.)
Colette Ginger
Simplicity 1717
New Look 6106

As you can see, there's quite a few out there, and those are just the ones I listed.  There are also vintage patterns and independent designers available.  Just make sure that, for the purposes of this sew along, it has a zipper (can be on the side or back) and darts.  There are lots of really cool a-lines out there with buttons, wraps, even elastic and there are lots of other skirt styles, but save those for another time.

Just like in The Great British Sewing Bee, you can choose your length, embellishments, fabric, lining, etc. and for this sew along, you can choose to fit the skirt to whomever you want.  That's right---it should fit the person who'll wear it!  Unlike the show, which simply used the manufacturer's sizing for a mannequin, we want to actually be able to use what we make.  Because of the need to fit the skirt to a real person (and still hold down our day jobs), we'll be taking more than the 3.5 hours allotted to the contestants.

Don't panic though---fitting a skirt is really easy!  You only need three measurements to get started:  waist (in this case not your natural waist, but where you actually wear your skirt), hip (widest spot below the waist, this may include more thigh) and length.  It is totally okay to have a friend help!  So, go pick your pattern, fabric and plan some embellishments.  Don't forget your zipper, interfacing, thread, etc..  I'm trying to use what's in my stash, so I probably won't need to shop for anything for this challenge.  (I was going to add the need to have supplies and pattern in a week, but I know many of us need to order online to get anything decent or plan trips into bigger cities, so just begin the time frame when you have your needed supplies.)

Remember, that while this is to challenge ourselves, its also about having some fun with sewing!  So go ahead and pick that crazy novelty or seasonal fabric, get out the trims, and make it fun...after all, we're making a skirt, not performing brain surgery!

Imagine hearing this next part in a British accent...

You'll have two weeks total (from the time you have pattern and supplies) to complete the challenge including fitting your model.  Your time

The GBSB Sew Along--Challenge 1 A-Line Skirt Part 1SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

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