Pattern: McCalls 5817


Pattern $0.99

Fabric $3.87

Lining $7.18

Buttons $2.65

Zipper $1.99

Thread $1.39

Total $18.07

Hours: 15

This is one of my summer skirt suits, and the outer fabric is a linen cotton blend. Initially I thought the color is very bright, so I probably wouldn’t wear both pieces at the same time. Unless I’m trying to look like a smurf. Or a neon blueberry. Neither of which are looks that I go for on a regular basis. Or ever, for that matter. But paired with a neutral blouse or slacks, and some great accessories, each of these pieces will be very functional. Once I got the outfit completed, I was really impressed with how nice it looked together on the dress form. It’s a pretty, bright, spring/summer color, but it’s not nearly as overwhelming as I had expected.

This is a prime example of how watching sales and knowing when to buy can really save you a ton of money. The original price of the fabric I purchased was 12.99 per yard. I chanced upon it in July when it was going clearance to make way for fall fashion fabrics and got it an an amazing 90% off the regular price. The buttons were on a 50% off sale (one that happens pretty regularly), and the thread was 40% off. Had I paid full price for everything I needed for this suit, it would have cost me $70.42!! Nearly four times what I paid. And that’s just comparing the prices I found to retail prices for the fabric and supplies to make the outfit. Now let’s compare to purchasing high end clothing. Saks Fifth Avenue (Salon Z, since I’m a plus size) offers a rayon/nylon skirt for $168. A linen blend jacket is $498. $18.07 compared to $665… there’s really no comparison.

Construction on this one is pretty straight-forward. I’m adding a lining to the skirt because, well, it’s intended to be worn in summer and there’s nothing worse than a skirt sticking to your legs in summer. The lining will help prevent wrinkles from forming when I sit down (Grandma called it a butt print, but I’m trying to be a little more…tactful) and will help the skirt slide into place when I stand up without embarrassing tugging at my hemline. The only other major consideration is that the fabric ravels very easily, but I cut out all of the pieces with pinking shears and both garments will be fully lined so it shouldn’t be a problem. Pinking shears make a zig-zag cut which helps prevent woven fabrics from raveling extensively by breaking up the edge. With a pinked edge, if a thread from the fabric comes loose, it only comes loose for about ¼ of an inch rather than the entire length of the seam.

While constructing the skirt, the lining was fairly simple to add, with the exception of working around the two walking slits in the back of the skirt. Difficult, but workable. As I added the lining, I made a few notes about how to add the lining better in the future. This is a nice, basic skirt pattern, and I’ll probably make a few extra skirts (and pants) so that I have more mix and match options when my wardrobe is complete. I’m also going to make at least two shirts from each shirt pattern I’ve chosen so that I’ve got at least one for each day of the week. Back to the skirt, I was impressed as I began sewing the shell (outer part of the skirt) how well the fabric ironed out. I purchased the end of the bolt of this fabric, and it was wrinkly from being wrapped on the bolt for so long.

Details were the name of the game on this jacket. The pockets on the front of the jacket required a lot of top stitching and careful pressing. I’m also not normally a big fan of interfacing, which is a layer added between the outer fabric and lining that adds shape and stability to portions of garments. But on this project I gave in and added interfacing as suggested on the jacket, but not the skirt. In the end I was pleased with how the interfacing made the jacket look.

You might notice that there’s one thing missing from this jacket, the buttons and button holes. Those will have to be added later because my old Singer Fashion Mate from the 1960’s doesn’t do button holes. (It may actually do button holes, however all of the extra attachments were in storage at my Aunt’s house when it went up in flames last month, so no more attachments.)  I’ve got a newer Singer available for me to use, however I’ve been unable to get the one-step automatic button hole feature to work.  I loathe newer Singer sewing machines.  The only one I’ve come remotely close to liking was a heavy duty model marketed exclusively for schools.  I just wish my lovely old machine could have a free arm (which makes sewing on sleeves and other tight spaces easier) and button-hole capability.  Then it would be perfect.