Saturday, 15 February 2014

Simplicity 2451 and the Fabric First Camp

Back in the summer, Winnie from Scruffy Badger, wrote an interesting post about the sewist's chicken vs egg conundrum.  What comes first: the pattern or the fabric?

Up until now it's been the pattern first for me.  That's been helpful as a beginner in letting me gradually try out new techniques, but it's often meant I've used a 'that'll do' fabric just so I can get going on a project.  

So when I got lucky and scored nearly three metres of this stripey denim beaut of a fabric for $5 I took the opportunity to try out the fabric first camp.  This definitely seems to be where the party is at!  Playing matchmaker to work out what pattern would best compliment the fabric seemed far more fun and instinctive than my usual starting point of a pattern, a blank canvas and an overwhelming array of fabric possibilities to get my head around.

I settled on Simplicity 2451, version D, a repeat pattern I first made last spring with Mili's help.

This was actually my second pattern choice.  My first being the Grainline Moss skirt. Though I thought a fly front zip might be a bit of a stretch when even regular zips remain a challenge.  Design-wise it was probably for the best anyway as the wide waistband on the Simplicity skirt seems to help make the contrasting horizontal stripes become more of a feature.

This pattern already has a lot of love in blogland.  I've drooled over Karen from Did You Make That's four recent versions. There has also been Zoe's epic week of wearing nothing but this pattern.  At the moment there seems to be lots of talk in the blog world of TNTs (Tried n True) patterns, an acronym that was alien to me a few weeks ago.  Now I know what it means I can confirm that this is definitely a TNT pattern for me!

After a couple of snaps I had to wrap up quick, as unsurprisingly it's not been al fresco photo weather in Montreal lately.  I did want to get some ok-ish photos though of this skirt, as I'm a big fan of the fabric. It's especially nice to have a small injection of red in my wardrobe as it's not a colour I usually wear, and it feels like a cheerful, warming colour palette for a winter skirt.

The above photo shows the back of the skirt and this strange diamond shaped crease. I don't know if that's from dodgy back darts, a dodgy zip, dodgy fit or all or none of the above.  I didn't notice it in real life, or when it was on the hanger, but if anyone has any ideas? I've heard of FBAs for Full Bust Adjustments, but perhaps I need a Full Bottom Adjustment!

After a run of using beginner friendly patterns from independent pattern companies, the relative sparseness of the instructions in a big four pattern was a bit of a culture shock. I'm so used to instructions and Sew Alongs that spell everything out to me, that annoyingly I missed the opportunity to use French seams and so the inside isn't particularly pretty.  Overall it came together quickly and painlessly though.

A lot less painful than the post photo back-breaking labour that awaited me.  While our decking area is glorious in the summer, it's a pain in the winter, as to avoid the kitchen roof of our neighbour below caving in from the weight of the snow, we're contractually obliged to keep it cleared.  Not only do we have to hoist the snow over the fence but we then have to position the shovel carefully to avoid the load dropping on to the power lines below.  And here's the action shot!

Ouch, makes my back ache just looking at it! Let the countdown to spring begin :)


  1. Lovely skirt. Fits you nicely and I love the stripe here. Keep sharing. :-)

  2. Great fabric and it's made a lovely skirt.

  3. Very cute skirt. I have this pattern and I had this version as a ufo and never did finish it. I was just beginning so I think it must of overwhelmed me. Since I have a few years under my belt now I really need to give it another go.

    1. Oh yes, you must! I have a UFO one too from last year as I made one while I was having sewing lessons, but then struggled to make a 2nd one on my own. Revisiting it this year was much easier though, and it doesn't use much fabric :)