A sew along for a Ukrainian designer

There was an interview on Seworganisedstyle podcast with Teresa Hardy who has compiled a list of Ukrainian sellers for people to buy directly from. These are people who desperately need not just money, but the knowledge that the rest of the world is trying to support and help them in whatever way we can. All businesses listed have digital downloads so the business owner doesn’t need to do anything.

Having listened to the podcast, two Instagrammers, Helga from @salixsews and Nic from @septemberfaden decided to run a sewalong. They chose a skirt from factorem_imago_patterns. This is a really cleverly designed pattern; it is a mid-length skirt with an interesting asymmetric cut on a yoke with a sloped pleat.

It basically has a single, very large pattern piece, but there are cut lines for anyone with narrow fabric or wishing to colour block.

I found a piece of fairly heavy, but loosely woven cotton, that was large enough to take the whole pattern piece. I was pleased to be using stripes, and also to use this fabric of indeterminate provenance as it has been kicking around in my stash for more years than I care to think.

As this was a sew along with a timeline, I delayed cutting out as once I start I can’t stop – the Pringle effect? I had to finish by 30 April, but pretty much finished well in advance. I left the skirt to hang for a couple of days before hemming as I wasn’t sure how much it would drop. I also wanted to consider a pocket and buttons.

I couldn’t quite make my stripes match up – not a lot of wriggle room, so I attempted to distract the unevenness with buttons. I initially chose two different vintage buttons from my stash and sewed them on. I quite liked the look and think they help with the stripe issue, but I wasn’t quite happy.

I looked at that skirt for a few hours and decided I wanted covered buttons, so back to the button box. The ones that require the gathering stitch round the circle didn’t work as the fabric frayed so badly so I found this system that my mother had used

It consists of a cup and a pusher. The fabric goes into the cup with a button shell and it’s pushed down. The fabric is trimmed and folded in. The button back goes on and is pushed into place. I found this the hardest part. I was delighted with the buttons though and I feel that they work better than the vintage ones.

I also added a pocket on the back. I cut it on the bias to add interest, and then found that I had to line it up with a stripe so the whole pocket is on an angle. I didn’t feel as though I had a choice as it looked odd when placed on straight. I’m still picking out tacking stitches, so that’s what the red and blue threads are.

Then my mind turned to what I’d wear it with. I made a new Pattern Union Cora blouse from wool and felted scraps, but then decided it was too black and the wrong shape.

I had made the short version of the Cora, and made it slightly more boxy, but don’t think it’s the very best top for this skirt, although I love it with other things. I decided on another Cora blouse from some knit scraps leftover from a secret dressing gown made in 2017. It was too floppy – I’ll wear it, but not with this skirt!

So I’ve got too black, too floppy and too boxy; I foraged in my wardrobe and present to you the following alternatives:

I thought red might make a nice foil, so played around with a black tee shirt and red loopy mango cardigan. I don’t mind this combo for cool weather.

Then I tried it with an older Seamwork Astoria top, a cardigan refashioned from a skirt and a knitted necklace. I also don’t mind this.

I teamed the skirt with a Pattern Union Eva tee and my Tunisian crochet cardigan, it was perfect for our warmer autumn weather.

I have worn this outfit out for coffee with an lovely friend, and we had the obligatory photo.

More than forty sewists participated in the sew along, and if you want to check them out go to SewpportUkranianDesigners on Instagram.

You’ve got to the end, so here are some photos of my favourite girls.


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