For a long time, I have dreamed of making my own clothes, so this is kind of a milestone for me. Last weekend, I completed my first ever garment; the “Meringue” skirt from The Colette Sewing Handbook.
First of all, this book is awesome. I read about it in a post on Seattle blog, Not Martha. It was perfect timing when I saw it, because I had just gotten my new sewing machine and was looking for a good book to learn from. I ordered it right away and was not disapointed when it arrived. It’s hard cover and spiral bound, so it lays flat and and stays open while you work. The photography, graphic design and layout of the book are all beautiful, creative and contemporary. And that’s just the looks! The patterns are adorable, unique, vintage inspired garments, that I would actually wear. There are clear and detailed sections in the book, leading up to each project (the first one being the Meringue skirt) that explain everything you need to know to complete that project. I sometimes have a hard time following instructions from a book, and am just learning how to sew, so I attribute my success on this skirt to the author, Sarai Mitnick’s great pattern and easy to understand directions on how to construct it.
I heard that there was going to be a book signing event with the author, at Made Sewing Studio in Greenwood, and there would be discounts on patterns for attendees that showed up in a Colette pattern creation. I already had all my supplies for the skirt and had been planning on making the skirt. I had also been eyeballing the beginners patterns on the Colette Patterns website and knew I would eventually want to purchase them. Plus, I’m always up to meet an author and get a book signed, so not only did this created an opportunity, but a deadline as well!
Here is my finished Meringue skirt:
I have become a total nerd for sewing blogs. There are so many amazing ones out there. It’s cool because a lot of people have made, or are currently making, the projects in this book, so I have found a lot of examples of what other people have done. On the Minneapolis blog Sharon Sews, she posted her version of the Meringue skirt. I loved the pinstriped fabric she used and her addition of piping to the scalloped edges. I thought piping might look good on the cute bird fabric I got from the West Seattle Fabric Company as well, so I gave it a try.
It was my first time following a pattern, installing an invisible zipper, sewing a dart, installing a facing, catchstitching and adding piping. So basically, all of it was new to me! I made quite a few mistakes. I used my seam ripper A LOT and I installed the invisible zipper three times before I did it correctly, but I learned so much!
It must not have looked too bad either, because I wore the skirt to the book signing event and got a lot of compliments, not only from other attendees, but from the author herself! The bird fabric was a hit.
I then wore it out to a karaoke birthday party at the Orient Express, where I danced and got “low, low, low” and it didn’t even rip! My meringue skirt is now dance party tested and sewing nerd approved. Not bad for my first skirt!