Simplicity Sewing Challenge 2017 – My Entry

Simplicity Sewing Challenge 2017 – My Entry

15 September 2017

I wasn’t planning on entering the challenge this year . . .

. . . but then I saw the Vintage Section pattern!

That skirt!    The back view of that skirt!    *swoon*

Simplicity 8342

So I requested the pattern and proceeded to plan my entry – I would make the skirt and, if time permitted, the top with cap sleeves as well.

Skirt and top

Since I was going to be away for a month, visiting my folks in New Zealand, I realised I would have to actually make my entry while out there as entries had to be in just a few days after my return. I thought it would be nice to shop for my fabric in NZ, as I might find something really different and exciting!

I did have an idea in mind – make the skirt in a plain colour, and instead of putting the buttons on, put some sort of rockabilly applique on it instead. Then use the applique fabric for the frill. (I might still do this one day!)

However, in the one (large) fabric shop in my hometown, Spotlight, there wasn’t much choice in the way of stretch wovens. There was a plain in the colour I was looking for, but it was quite creased and I didn’t think it would make a very nice looking skirt.

Skirt and top

So I was basically limited to the stretch cotton sateens, which were actually all quite gorgeous! However, they were all florals, mostly on pale backgrounds and I knew I just wouldn’t wear a pale background floral skirt, ever!

But . . . . there was one bolt I uncovered, which was on a dark background and wasn’t a floral! It was Asian looking cranes with a tiny splash of red on the top of their heads on a black background and I really liked it! I could immediately picture a pencil skirt with a frill in the same red as the red on the cranes heads.

That was it then! I could see me wearing a skirt like that (not just for the competition photo) and if I made the top in a plain black jersey fabric, I would definitely get a lot of wear out of that as well.

Skirt and top

Mum was very happy to let me play on her sewing machine and overlocker, both of which were very nice to use!

I started with the skirt – View D and made it in size 18.

My waist measurement was just a little more than the size 18, so I did what I very often do, and didn’t cut out the waistband until after I’d made the rest of the skirt, so I could add more on if needed! And yes, I’m sure the waistband would have been too small if I’d cut it out per the pattern piece. In fact, I couldn’t see how it would ever be big enough and the notches didn’t seem to line up either, but I find this with most waistbands – maybe I’m just always doing something wrong! Anyway, I did my own thing with the waistband and it worked out fine.


The skirt was very easy to make and I was surprised how well it fitted without any adjustments (apart from the waistband).

It is actually very comfortable to walk in, despite looking tight, and the frill covers up enough of the back split, so I don’t feel self-conscious wearing it.

Skirt and top

However, there was something missing. It didn’t quite have that zing!

My Mum then said “Why don’t you make some self-covered buttons in the red fabric and put them on the skirt like it shows on the pattern?” My Mum is a GENIUS! That was a moment of pure inspiration! 

I’ve not really heard of many people using self-covered buttons recently, but it was the perfect solution! Mum used to use them all the time, I’m surprised I’d forgotten all about them.

Collage showing the making of the self-covered buttons

Making the buttons – they turned out far better than I was expecting, although the fabric was quite thick so it took a bit of muscle power to get the backs to click on!

Back view of the skirt

I even added a button to the back at the top of the split, which I think finishes it off very nicely.


Now it was time to make the Top – View B with the cap sleeves.

I also made it in size 18, but if I make it again, I would probably go down a size in the body, but keep the larger front ties.

The top was a little bit loose around the body, so I shortened the elastic in the back by 2″ and took a scoop out of the top of the centre back seam as well. It fit nicely around the hips though.

Skirt and top

Also, if I make the top again, I would probably dispense with the cap sleeves. They worked out better than I was expecting, they do actually form a curved cap sleeve which fits over your shoulder well. But it makes adjusting the sleeve tricky, and I think I’d just find it more comfortable to wear without the cap sleeve being there.

Skirt and top

Right, all finished then! Well, maybe.

I tried on the skirt and top and felt there needed to be a little bit of red on my top half. I had a smaller self-covered button set, so covered thee of them with the red fabric, grabbed a bit of black net, and cobbled together a necklace!

Home-made necklace to go with my top and skirt

I was very pleased that I already had the perfect coloured cardigan and shoes to go with the outfit, I’ve had them a few years now and they seem to go with so many of my clothes!

Skirt and top

So to sum up, I’m really happy with how my skirt and top turned out, and how much I enjoyed making them. Since the skirt fits so well, I’m tempted to give the cropped trousers from the pattern a go also!

Okay, I will leave you with a couple more photos (because I always end up with more photos than I need and I can’t bear to throw them away!) 

Skirt and top

Skirt and top

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