Stoff & Stil Leopard Print Wrap Skirt

In quick succession to the last, here's another flounce-y midi skirt, but this one's arguably (just a bit) more dramatic. Whilst I spoke about sewing the trends on Stitchers Brew, actually seeking out the trends isn't something I often consciously do, but this one was hard to get away from. Leopard print has infiltrated my Instagram feed, my mailing lists and my day to day. I've noticed a lot of fashion bloggers parading (probably expensive) leopard print skirts, not too dissimilar to this Whistles one for £99. I'm left feeling quite smug that I've been able to recreate the look for less than £25!

Stoff & Stil Leopard Print Wrap Skirt
The Whistles version!

Both the pattern and fabric are from Stoff & Stil. Handily, they can be bought together as a 'kit', containing all materials needed to make the skirt, even better though, you can pick and choose which bits of the kit you need - I already had the thread, buttons and interfacing, so removed these from the basket. What I like about Stoff & Stil is that you can buy very specific lengths of fabric, and choosing my pattern size auto calculated the amount of fabric I required (size 10 = 2.15m), so there was also minimal fabric waste or leftovers.

Stoff & Stil kit
Close up of the unusual pattern pieces!
The pattern is only available individually sized, which I know isn't good for everyone, but the HUGE bonus in this case is that the pattern pieces came pre-cut! The pieces are made out of a material that is closer to a non-fusible interfacing than tissue or paper, meaning they're really quite durable and easier to work with. There are no markings on the actual pieces - the notches are marked with triangular cut-outs and little circular holes punched for the dart tip - so you do have to carefully consult the pattern lay plan to work out which one's which.

The instructions are basic but functional, and apart from cutting it the wrong way round (so my skirt wraps the opposite way to what's intended) it was a really straightforward make. The steps don't really expand upon on ways to carry out a task, i.e. the best way to hem, but I think this gives the maker more opportunity to think about and apply their own preferred methods. It's worth pointing out that the instructions are provided in multiple languages too.

I love a good crepe and this one feels particularly luxurious in it's drape and movement - particularly when walking at pace! I'd definitely recommend this or at least a similar fabric, as it pressed and held it's shape well during the masses of hemming for those circular flounce pieces.

Back view
In terms of fit, the skirt turned out very true to size, but as the wrap is quite generous, there is a bit of wiggle room dependent on how tightly it's fastened (I'm also going to add an extra button on the inside of mine for 'post-meal' comfort haha). In the past, I've worn wrap skirts that are totally inappropriate for any kind of weather or walking, but taking these pictures definitely put it to the test - the coverage is great! And I guess it's ended up a lot longer than I thought it would be - I'm a pretty average 5ft 6" - but I'm really into the bold look!

Gale force winds = added glamour in this case!
Overall it makes for a really polished statement skirt, at least in this fabric anyway! I'm encouraged by my first experience with a Stoff & Stil pattern and I'd definitely make it again, maybe in a slightly toned down black crepe for more everyday wear.Whether leopard print stays on trend or not, I can see me wearing this for many years to come!

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DP Studio Le 411 Skirt

When you say DP Studio, 'easy to make' isn't a phrase that usually comes to mind. But after spending more time than necessary building myself up to making the Le411, I was pleasantly surprised at how straightforward it was to sew in comparison to my last DP make (this coat) - and no mean feat considering I relied on Google to translate the instructions from French! Whilst some of their patterns are almost too fashion forward, this is one garment that totally hits the mark in terms of cool yet completely wearable.

DP Studio Le411 
The pattern sits alongside a collection by DP Studio in a special 'couture' edition of French magazine Modes et Travaux. From what I can understand, they seem to be working with different French pattern companies to release special issues, each with a collection of patterns from that designer (French speakers correct me if I'm wrong)! I was pretty thrilled to be sent my copy as a prize from DP Studio. I'm not sure if it's still available anywhere, but at the point of writing, you can still buy the I AM PATTERNS and Wear Lemonade editions online. There are some amazing designs in the DP issue (see below) so I'd definitely recommend it if you can find a copy!

Le411 Skirt pattern

Though some of the patterns look quite complex, overall the written instructions seem more thorough than what is usual for DP. As a fairly simple design, I found the illustrations alone explained most of what I needed to know for this skirt.

I cut a size 40 which was spot on for my measurements, though it's worth noting that this particular pattern had a very small seam allowance - just 0.7cm - so no wiggle room whatsoever with sizing. Some of the other patterns in the magazine had larger seam allowances, which is quite confusing, but  each is stated clearly, and well, at least they're included!

Back view
I visited the Manchester Abakhan armed with a list of specific fabric requirements and this project was on it. The skirt only requires 1.55m so it was easy to find a large enough crepe/viscose in the remnant bin - this one has a very subtle stripe and texture to it which I quite like. Inspired by the magazine sample garment, I bought enough of the black sheer sparkly fabric to double layer with the crepe, but chickened out - partly because I'm not too confident at working with sheer fabric and partly because I thought it would take it way past the point of everyday wearable.

That flounce!

I settled on layering the sheer fabric over the crepe for the ruffle alone. I haven't done much circle-based construction in my sewing before, but it was interesting to see the almost full circle ruffle come to fit with the curved edge of the main skirt - the volume is amazing. I would have quite liked to finish both layers of fabric separately for more movement, but I wasn't sure of the best approach for hemming the sheer fabric - how would you everyone else do this? - so I treated them as one. I overlocked the bottom edges together, and painstakingly hand sewed the whole hem for the neatest finish - it took hours but was quite a satisfying job in all.

I immediately loved this skirt from first try on, and I know it's going to be the perfect wear-all-winter garment. I'll definitely make the Le411 again at some point, and I have some lilac viscose/crepe that would be perfect for a second, I'd just need to figure out how to line it too. I'm encouraged to try more projects from the magazine  - there's an amazing ruffled turtleneck - and would consider buying the others editions too as they're definitely great value for money!

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Sewing Leftovers: Basic Instinct T- Shirt and update

I never thought I could have so much to say about a t-shirt pattern. In fact, I never thought I'd be here writing about making a t-shirt, because I've never had a great deal of room for basics in my sewing or my wardrobe. The Secondo Piano Basic InstincT t-shirt might just be the perfect basic that everyone should have in their life, and considering the pattern is both FREE and a total Sewing Leftovers win, there's little reason not to! Proof that leftovers don't always have to be patch-worked or mindbending-ly jigsawed together to make something new. The simplest makes can be a great way to showcase (and practice) your skills, as I've found with my Basic Instinct Tee.

Basic InstincT in leftovers!
Worn with Lander Pants and favourite accessories
Fabric: Cotton-viscose mix jersey from the B&M Fabrics shop on the side of Leeds Kirkgate Market

Original garment made: Simplicity 8609 crop top (view B)

Leftover fabric amount: 1m. I had originally bought a larger amount of the fabric and it was earmarked for a turtleneck, but chose to make the crop top instead.

Sewing Leftovers make: Sasha of Secondo Piano's Basic InstincT T-Shirt (a free pattern in exchange for signing up to Sasha's blog)

Leftovers-wise what did I learn?: Sometimes you create your own leftovers, as I did in this case by changing my mind with the original make. I made the crop top without really giving the leftovers much thought at the time and while I'm glad I managed to squeeze a Basic Instinct Tee out of them, it could have been pretty wasteful if I couldn't. It has made me think a bit more about effective use, planning and reallocation of fabric.

About the make:

For those of you who prefer your tops untucked, it's a great length!
This is a seriously good pattern. It offers plenty of advice and guidance for anyone who isn't so confident with knits, whilst giving the option to step it up, with instructions on how to make adjustments to achieve the perfect stripe match. The stripe-match hack is something I've never seen before with other patterns and I'm really curious to give it a go - will report back!

The pattern requirements state that you need 1.1 - 1.3m of 150cm wide fabric, but I definitely squeezed mine out of much less. I've since made a second version using 1m of newly purchased fabric, which was just fine! I made a medium and like the relaxed but not oversized fit - the shoulder width is ideal - but if you wanted a more snug fit I'd recommend downsizing. 

Neckline detail
With t-shirts I've made in the past (the main culprit being the Kyoto Tee) I've found a lot of necklines sit too wide, or that neckbands can stick up. The neckline of the Basic Instinct is perfect in fit and depth. The accompanying illustrations show the twin needle topstitching running either side of the seam where the neckband meets the t-shirt. It might just be me, but I always thought both lines of topstitching were meant to run below the seam. I'm so glad my eyes have been opened to this much better/more professional way to finish a neckband!

As well as being good for leftovers, I can see it as the perfect quick-to-make basic that will give other handmade pieces a bit of a lift. I'm planning another few in a range of colours (pale pink, black, brown or rust) to throw into circulation - a rust one would definitely encourage me to wear these orange cords more often! It's rare to find such good jersey, so I went back to B&M and already bought a metre each of pale pink and black - they had loads of good colours in at £8p/m, so those of you coming to Sew Up North, get ready!

And a little #sewingleftovers update...

I've been quite quiet on the Sewing Leftovers front myself, but only because I've been adopting more of the 'make your stash' approach, as encouraged by Pilar and Kate. I think both challenges/initiatives sit so well together in working towards more thoughtful sewing/purchases. Out of my more recent makes, the Honeycomb Dress, vintage pattern lilac trousers and M7661 culottes were all made using fabric that I'd been storing for some time. I've reduced my stash, made some garments I really love and as a bonus, I've saved money too!

Not far from 1000 tags! :)
We're not far off reaching 1000 posts shared using #sewingleftovers now, which is just phenomenal. There's everything from patchwork and pocket linings, to full on garments, fashion forward accessories and even fashion for cats(!!) on there! Thank you everyone for joining in - I hope other makers are noticing the similar positive impact it can have on their sewing, shopping and wardrobe cohesion! 

I'll do another round up soon, but in the meantime, you can see the last one here and browse the hashtag for inspiration!

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