Amy sewalong: welcome!
Welcome and introduction to the basics
Why hello there! Thanks for joining in on the Amy sewalong. Every few days this month, we'll take a look at each step of making the Amy skirt from start to finish. If you've ever wanted to start sewing, but weren't sure just how to tackle it, this is a great chance to jump in! During the sewalong, I'll post lots of pictures and explain concepts more fully so that you can follow along with confidence.
Before you get going, let's go over the equipment you'll need to have on hand.
- Sewing machine
- Fabric scissors
- Dressmaking pins
- Tailor's chalk or fabric marker
- Sewing thread (make sure it matches the fabric you've chosen!)
- Measuring tape
- A big table for laying out your pattern and cutting (I find a clean floor to be just fine if you're short on a good table)
Amy skirt requirements
Now that that's in order, here's what you'll need to make the skirt itself!
1,8m dress fabric at 150cm wide
The Amy skirt is designed with lightweight, summer fabrics in mind. But since its winter here in South Africa, I'm going to go for a heavier, more cosy fabric. If you're dialling in from currently sunnier climes, stick to cotton lawn or rayon challis for a nice warm-weather Amy skirt.
For those sewing a winter version like me, go for a fine suiting, wool blend, tartan or melton. Nothing too thick – melton is about the thickest you'll want to go – otherwise the gathers can get a little bulky around your waist! (If you're not familiar with melton, ask the shop assistant to show it to you. Lots of winter coats are made from melton, so you'll probably recognise its soft, felty feeling.)
Once you've found the fabric you love, ask the shop assistant to cut you 1,8 metres. Before they snip in, confirm the width of the fabric – we're aiming for 150cm here. But if your chosen fabric only comes in a 115cm width, you're in luck, you'll still get your skirt out of 1,8m!
For this sewalong, I'll be making the Amy skirt in this toasty melton. I love the biscuity colour, I think it will make a fabulous vintage-looking skirt.
A 30cm invisible zip
The teeth of an invisible zip are concealed so that the zip can be sewn into a seam, completely hidden. Magical!
Invisible zip foot for your sewing machine
This snazzy little zipper foot makes putting in an invisible zip a breeze. Definitely a good addition to your sewing kit!
You'll need about 20cm of fusible interfacing, just enough for your waistband piece. Interfacing is used to stabilise areas of a garment. Fusible interfacing is a light, woven fabric that looks a bit bobbly on one side – this is the sticky side! This side will be placed face down and ironed onto the wrong side of your waistband. More on this when we get there!
Choosing your size
Afternoon's pattern sizing is based on an alphabetised chart. I feel that too many people are focused on what size they are, when really what's important is that you love what you're wearing and you're comfortable in it. For the Amy skirt, the most important measurement is the waist, so base your size choice on your waist measurement.
If you're blessed with long pins, you might want to add a few centimetres to the hem edge of the skirt so that you get the desired midi-length.
Cutting your paper pattern
If you're sewing from a digital download, follow the guidelines here on how to print and collate your pattern pieces.
If you're using a printed pattern, lay your pattern sheet out flat and trace off your size. It's best practise to trace off a copy of the pattern, in case you want to make another size for yourself or a friend in the future.
Normal household baking paper works really well for the purposes of tracing your pattern, it's just translucent enough to see the lines and it's sturdy to work with. A sharp pencil and ruler should be all you'll need to get an accurate trace of the lines.
There aren't many boldly curved edges on the Amy skirt pattern, but if you have a French curve, that can help to get the shape of the curve neatly.
While you're tracing, remember to transfer all your pattern markings like the grainline and lines that show where to cut on the fold. Also make a point of labelling each individual pattern piece. For example, "Amy skirt, pocket piece, cut 4". If you come back to use the same pattern, unlabelled pieces can get a bit confusing!
If you're using a printed pattern in sizes D to F, assemble your skirt piece by matching the triangles to join the upper and lower halves. Along the joining line, I find it useful to cut one half of the skirt piece on the line, and leave a bit of paper space on the other. This makes it easy to glue together. You can tape it afterwards too, just to make sure it's not going anywhere!
Now to snip out those pieces! (As you can see, I'm cheating and cutting straight out of the sheet.)
Nice! All of this preliminary work is like the admin of sewing. But we've laid some solid groundwork for the next stage of our sewing adventure. See you back here soon for more!
In the meantime, share your progress with us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with the hashtags #amysewalong #amyskirt #sewingamy and #afternoonpatterns
Still don't have your pattern?
It's never too late to join! Pop on over to the online shop here or pick one up at Fabricate in the Gardens Centre if you're in Cape Town.