DIY City Break Maxi Skirt + Rome Update

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A few weeks ago I went on a belated birthday trip to Rome for a weekend with my family!
Before we went I had been searching for a simple, pleated maxi skirt, but hadn’t found one I was willing to pay for. So I decided to make my own! I whipped it up in less than an hour using only about 1.5m of fabric and a piece of elastic. I would suggest more fabric than this depending on your size…I’m a medium and I was struggling a bit! Plus the more fabric you have, the better the gathered effect! the fabric is used was a kind of opaque synthetic with a good drape like chiffon.
Here’s my simple tutorial on how to make a maxi skirt!

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First start by measuring a piece of elastic around where you want the skirt to sit i.e. waist, hips etc. Make sure that the elastic is stretched a little as this will help to create the gathered effect on the fabric! Also make sure you have enough for the elastic to be seen together at the ends.

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Next make a channel for your elastic across the top of your fabric by folding over a small section. The size of this will depend on the width of your elastic, mine was about 1cm so my channel was about 2cm wide. Then sew this channel down, making sure you leave enough room to thread your elastic through.

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Thread the elastic through using a safety or bobby pin- try to keep hold of both ends, I kept dropping one end and having to start again! Gather the fabric as you go. Once you’ve threaded it through pin down or stitch together at each end.

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Now with your fabric fold in a seam allowance of about 2cm and stitch all the way down. This is your centre seam which will sit at the back! At this stage, try it on for size as it may need adjusting of its too big/small/tight/loose etc
I ended up having to sew a split up the back of mine because my lack of fabric meant that I was waddling when I walked 🙂 (even so, I managed to rip the split up even further when walking to dinner…oops! Darn me and my long strides ;)!
Once you’ve determined that your skirt is the right size, you can then hem it or finish as you like. I did a simple folded hem of about 1.5cm before stitching down, making sure I ironed down to ensure a nice neat finish! And voila! Simples 😉
We had a lovely, busy weekend and got to see so many beautiful sites! We also, very proudly used EVERY form of public transport available; train, bus, tram, tube… You name it 😉
Here are a few of my phone snaps, I still haven’t uploaded my camera ones yet :/ oops!

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What a beautiful city! I definitely want to visit again…soon 🙂 probably for even longer to do more exploring!
If any of you try out this tutorial I’d love to see what you make! Write in the comments below and let me know what you think 🙂
J x

DIY detachable collar pattern tutorial

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Hey all,
Collars are a big accessory for S/S’12 and I know there are lots of DIY tutorials on how to embellish a collar from a pre-made shirt, but as I don’t have an abundance of these hanging around, I wanted to find out how to make my own!
I managed to find a great pair of videos from SecretLifeOfaBioNerd on YouTube.
The first shows you how to draft the pattern to your own measurements, which is really great: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Hnb14aF_LQA
The second shows you how to sew the pattern together: http://youtube.com/watch?v=ahWmkPYnpNU
However I adapted this slightly as I added a collar stand with a button to fasten it and to add a more “shirt-like” look.

Collar Stand Tutorial
I made the collar stand by making a long rectangle, the length of my neck measurement + 5cm (2″ approx) and about 7.5cm (3″ approx) but this depends how thick you want your collar stand to be!
Then cut out the fabric from your drafted stand pattern, added fusible interfacing and fold in half so the stand is half the width.
Next placed your constructed collar into the fold near the top and iron down a small seam allowance on the collar stand.
Then topstitch the collar stand down at the long open edge, sandwiching the collar in between the two layers. MAKE SURE YOU PIN THIS FIRST, it saves a lot of unpicking later! 🙂
Then you will just have the two open short sides to close. I did this by tucking the ends of the collar stand in and sewing in a curved shape. I did this because I think it’s slightly more like a real shirt but you could do this with a straight edge if you want!
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Finally to finish off I tried it on, marked where I wanted my button to be and sewed a simple buttonhole using my sewing machine and cut it open. I then hand stitched my button in place and voila! You’re finished!
N.B. because I only cut my collar straight it was a little bit wrinkly when I sewed it for a curved neck collar. If you want to make it really smooth, use a French curve (which I don’t have), or cut some slits into your pattern draft to add more curve. To me it didn’t really matter as the collar covers the stand when you wear it!

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This is a really great simple pattern and is great if you have a lot of scraps in nice prints. My fabric was actually from Ikea and I had some scraps left from a dress I made.

I would love to see pics if any of you try this out and hear if my cobbled together collar stand pattern works for anyone else!
Happy sewing!
J x

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