After watching the show, as is often the case I felt inspired to improve my sewing skills, and I simply could not get those box pleats out of my head. I resolved to make a box pleated skirt with perfect pattern matching!
I should say at this point I had no thoughts whatever about how a box pleated skirt would suit me, or fit into my wardrobe, I was merely interested in the technical challenge.
I didn't set out to make the exact skirt they made on the show, but simply to play with the pleats, and this I did in stolen moments over half term.
I had to use fabric from stash for this, so was limited in what I had that might work. I fished out a large floral Amy Butler print, but soon realised the pattern repeat was too large , then I found this African print, and began playing.African prints really don't want to play ball, the prints are hand block printed by eye, often not even on the straight grain, so yeah not ideal at all ! (But I may be able to resurrect this skirt at some point I think!)
After struggling with the African print, I began playing with this geometric print cotton. Again not ideal, but slightly better to work with.
I only had a small amount of fabric to work with, so after checking my maths with my 8 year old ( I never did get a maths O level ) , I decided I could get three small box pleats across the front and back of a skirt. (I didn't use a pattern for this skirt.)
I pressed the pleats in, tacked them securely in place, and then began to construct my skirt.
Two side seams, a lapped zipper and button fastening.
I hadn't intended to make the exact skirt featured on the show, but I thought just for fun I'd half machine sew, and half hand pick my zip. I wouldn't usually hand pick a zip unless using a delicate fabric, or I particularly wanted to achieve a vintage look. For example Jemma's prom dress made last year ;the zip was entirely hand sewn into that delicate lace in the bodice.
You may notice my side seams don't exactly match. Again I was working with the small amount of fabric I had and couldn't match front and back vertically without losing too much off the length.
I machine stitched my waistband on too, as they had on the show. I have to say, I'm in full agreement with Julie who hand stitched her waistband down. that is my favourite method. I think it gives a nicer finish, but to push me out of my comfort zone, I top stitched my waistband.
And yes, my waistband doesn't match! I had nowhere near enough fabric left to pattern match the waistband, so I flipped the design instead.
I finished off my skirt with a vintage button, and a machine sewn hem.
Am I happy with the finished skirt? Well, yes and no. I enjoyed the challenge I set myself. I'm happy with the finish of my skirt, glad to have pushed myself out of my comfort zone of invisible zips and hand stitched waistbands. Mostly I'm happy with my pattern matching using a not really ideal print, but I really don't like this skirt on me!
The print is one I wouldn't usually wear, nothing in my wardrobe goes with it, and it is not particularly flattering. (These photos of me wearing the skirt have made the print on the skirt look very washed out, that is a trick of the light, it is a bright print in reality.)
I may wear it in the summer with leggings and ballet flats. That might work.
I'm not disappointed that I've made myself a skirt I don't really like, as I've already said, I enjoyed the challenge!