Black Is The New Black

Even though ‘new blacks’ swing around quite frequently – ‘orange is the new black’, ‘red is the new black’ etc – let’s face it there will never actually be a new black. No other neutral colour is as good as this wonderful dark colour that goes with EVERYTHING. Everything but itself, actually – much like the literary rubbish that is 50 Shades of Grey, there are also unfortunately 50 shades of black, and it’s fo sho #FirstWorldProblems when your black top is a different black to your skirt.

**Hands up if you agree that Beetlejuice is one of the best films EVERRRRRR 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼**

Black is my neutral. Not navy, not brown, and DEFINITELY not white. I was a teenage goth, and in fact am still an adult goth. I saw Marilyn Manson in concert a couple of months ago, which was awesome in itself, but when he brought out on stage his best buddy (and guitarist!) Johnny Depp to play a couple of songs with him the whole thing became HOLY-FREAKING-AMAZING and that little teen goth inside me was loving life. Being a goth of course comes with a standard uniform of black, but it’s not as fun to sew plain black things as it is to sew with all the colourful fabrics… and if you sew with all the prints all the time, you risk hitting that point where no two things that you make can be worn together. At least, not in a stylish, put-together way that doesn’t suggest you got dressed in the dark. Don’t get me wrong it can be done, but it takes careful co-ordination and you’ve got to have some sort of common thread between them all. Like pink:

(which of course, is THE BEST colour – especially when paired with black)

I mean, this is totally cool, right? It’s actually making me REALLY want to sew something similar. My rainbow-coloured Gerard coat that I made has reignited my love for bright colours that I had when I was younger. I’ve just put the finishing touches on a very crazy colourful Kielo dress which I cannot WAIT to show you guys – it’s actually in a similar colour scheme to the picture above. You’ll have to wait a few more weeks for it, but I promise it’ll be worth it!

So back to the too-many-prints dilemma. To go some way towards solving this fiasco I’ve decided to put on my sensible-grown-up’s hat this year and sew a few plain things that can be used as coordinates. Don’t worry – this is NOT the end of my love of patterns, far from it. I’m doing this for The Greater Good, which is of course continuing to sew more crazy prints. Sewing with black fabric does not in any way make my heart sing in the same way as sewing with a hot pink fabric does. Sewing the plain stuff is just a necessary evil, like having to go to work or having to get out of bed or exercising. This black clothing is the yin to my oh-so-colourful and crazy yang. In order to save my sanity I’m moderating it in the same way you’re told to moderate alcohol – one black glass of water for every four colourful cocktails.

So, for my first sensible item (which is also my January Minerva Crafts Blogger make) I’ve made a skirt.

I chose the Pauline Alice Rosari skirt for its comfortable A-Line style, and also for a change because I’d been churning out the Republique Du Chiffon Charlotte skirts with alarming regularity and it’s nice to have something different. I couldn’t make my mind up on the length I wanted though – midi seemed too long, and mini too short – so I went somewhere in the middle. There’s quite a difference in length between the two options – the longer length is too ‘Mom’ and the shorter length is too ‘teenager’ for me – so I cut myself a sensible-30-something’s length halfway between the two.

Fabric-wise I decided to go for a corduroy, because it seems really hard to find a jet black denim these days – I tend to find that they are all ‘washed’ and slightly grey. What is that even about? I want black denim. Pure jet black, none of this ‘grey’ business. Grey is for boring business suits and nothing else. There’s no place for grey in my wardrobe.

The Rosari pattern isn’t lined, but a word of advice if you’re wanting to wear this with tights – LINE IT. Ok that’s two words, but they are very important ones. Even just walking a few steps in it causes the fabric to stick to my tights and it all makes its way forward to the front of my legs and chills there in a big bundle. NOT a good look. Since I’ve made this in a winter fabric, it’s going to be no good for summer (and therefore wearing on its own sans tights), so my only real option if I want to continue wearing it is to buy a half-slip. Yes, I could make one, but do I *really* want to spend my sewing time making that? No. No I do not. I really feel that as a rule, all skirts (ok, most) should be lined anyway, just because it looks and feels better. In fact I think I might make it my new rule to line every skirt. Yes. Its official. DECISION MADE. I’m not sewing any more skirts without a lining 💪🏻

The construction of the skirt was quite simple and quick, and I chose to line my pockets with some Liberty lawn scraps that I had kicking about (for anyone that’s curious, the print is called Joy and Sorrow). The pockets came together fine and without a visit from the drama llama, but unless I was sloppy and cut off grain (which is quite possible), the wales on the pocket pieces and the skirt front don’t line up with each other. No biggie, but it’s horrifically obvious on corduroy and it does look a bit crap if you look closely. My other gripe with the pocket (other than the one that might actually be my fault, lol) is that I would have preferred the inner pocket lining to be sewn to both the centre front seam AND the side seam – because as they are, they’re not fully anchored down and they can flap about all over the place and start poking out the pocket hole if you’ve been sitting down/fidgeting/whatever.

Dodgy pockets aside, the sizing on this pattern is pretty good. I measured my hip and my waist and compared to the size chart – and graded two sizes bigger at the hip based on this. Sounds a lot, but that’s usual on skirts for me. The fit came out spot on – I’m really happy with it. The skirt has a curved waistband which really helps get a nice fit around your middle, and you can leave the belt loops off if you don’t fancy them. Just as an FYI – the belt loops are folded and sewn, there’s none of this turning-a-tube-inside-out-business that I’ve had before. Minimal faff.

You can (and should) go topstitch crazy with this skirt. I love me a bit of topstitching, and toyed with the idea of doing it in gold (and by gold I mean just regular jeans colour, not like metallic or anything) but settled on black because after all I was being all sensible and making a skirt that I could wear with pretty much everything. In hindsight it was probably a good call because I decided to topstitch the pockets with a little design and with this being the first time that I’d attempted anything resembling freehand embroidery, well lets just say that I could do with a bit more practice. The designs I could picture in my head were WAY above the actual designs I could create with my hands and needle. It seems there’s a good reason why my lowest grade at school was art (yep, really) – I probably liked to think I was good at it but actually I had the drawing skills of a dog that’s been given a pencil.

(and yes – in case you didn’t realise, corduroy fabric is a TOTAL dust magnet).

I let the husbeast feel all manly and get the hammer out to install the buttons for me. I probably should have used an awl to make the holes for the button, but I didn’t have one so I just poked my scissors through and spun ’em round a bit… don’t try this at home kids.

Despite my gripes with this first attempt, I will actually make another skirt from this pattern. It’s a really good wardrobe builder that you can make out of so many different fabrics. I’m genuinely considering making the version with the exposed zips on the front, as the design would then be verrrry similar to an American Eagle velvet skirt that I have and love but I don’t wear because it’s just the wrong shape for my figure (and plus its waaaay too short anyway). But how cool is the fabric?! It’s like a proper 70’s curtain. Which means that I love it, obvs. If I could recreate it, I’d be a very happy bunny – so if you’ve seen velvet like this anywhere, holla!

This was my January Minerva Crafts Blogger Network make, so head on over to the post here for the full lowdown on the skirt (including my planned method of lining it) and to get your hands on the materials and pattern I used!

Coming up next week on the Wanderstitch blog… a skirt I made using a pattern from a fabulous new company that’s just launched! 😍 Full deets next week – subscribe below to make sure you don’t miss out!

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12 Comments

  1. February 4, 2018 / 9:03 am

    That looks gorgeous, as usual! 😍 it does look very comfy and I agree that longer would have been too much and shorter maybe not as comfortable to wet. This is the perfect length! Always great to see your makes. Can’t wat for the next!
    Andreia

    • Sarah
      Author
      February 5, 2018 / 8:02 pm

      Ahh thank you Andreia! Yeah I couldn’t understand why they didn’t give a ‘halfway’ length in the pattern as the difference between the two length is so much… but not to worry, I traced my pieces at this length so that I can use them again next time!

  2. February 4, 2018 / 11:07 am

    ‘sensible length’ my arse- that’s a mini, child! And a very nice one too. Oh, you can also sod off with all the breast-beating about the ‘crap’ pockets. Who the flying fook would give two tosses about ‘mismatched wales’? Sheesh. Will you let yourself take pleasure in your skills and stop looking for mistakes? Listen to Auntie Fairy!
    I’ll keep my eyes open for the 1970s looking stuff when I head for the markets in a fortnight, although why anyone would want it… *slinks off muttering darkly*

    • Sarah
      Author
      February 5, 2018 / 8:05 pm

      Haha, it is a sensible length! You should see the ‘mini’ length, it’s practically a belt.
      Ahh I know, I’m just a sad perfectionist and mismatched wales bother me lol.
      Ooh, yes please! If you see anything similar let me know! a 70’s curtain skirt would make me very happy 🙂 🙂

  3. Melody Srygley
    February 4, 2018 / 3:59 pm

    LOVE the skirt. Take a word or two of advice from Auntie Lodi. Half slip. Seams at center front and back. Seams are open and rounded from low crotch/bum depth downward (thus open for a front or back skirt slit). Make your heart sing and make one in a wild slippery pink print!

    • Sarah
      Author
      February 5, 2018 / 8:07 pm

      Ahh thank you, I’m glad you like it! And thanks for the tip – a slip does seem to be the only way to go with this one. From your description it does actually sound quite simple to make – two half-circles (ish) joined at the front and back? And yes, a pink one would be VERY cool… 🙂

  4. PsychicSewerKathleen
    February 4, 2018 / 4:27 pm

    Love your skirt but your post was the absolute best :)) What a brilliant writer you are – I don’t often really READ a post top to bottom but yours, I savoured every word. I have a hankerin’ for one of these skirts. I’m feeling nostalgic for a denim/needle cord/button down skirt with topstitching like I used to wear 50 years ago.. I’ll look into this pattern because I do like Pauline Alice’s patterns a LOT. I’ll take your advice re lining as well. I remember skirts sticking to my leotards (remember when we used to call them that?) and it was not a nice feeling or look…

    • Sarah
      Author
      February 5, 2018 / 8:15 pm

      Thank you Kathleen, I’m really glad you enjoyed it! Once I get talking I can’t stop lol.
      I think that’s why I love this skirt – I really love the retro fashions and it feels like a vintage style, especially in corduroy. I do love a bit of corduroy. I’m definitely going to make more – and I’ll line them moving forwards! I’ve got my eye on the Quart coat by Pauline Alice, though my ‘coat’ sewing list is dangerously long as it is – it might have to wait for next winter! Which others of their patterns have you sewn?

  5. February 4, 2018 / 7:48 pm

    Hey Sarah, we have some ABSOLUTE black stretch denim in our Crafty Sew&So Shop! Let me know if you want me to send you a sample! We also have some delish black velvet. Loving your cord version of this pattern though. X

    • Sarah
      Author
      February 5, 2018 / 8:18 pm

      Ah, OMG really?! Yes please to the sample! I’ll DM you my address on instagram 🙂 I have a list of so many things that I want to make with black denim! The velvet sounds fabulous too… 🙂

  6. February 5, 2018 / 11:22 am

    I totally had a black denim skirt like this in the 90’s when I was 16. My mum hated it and I used to wear it with a ren and stimpy tee. Chic. Not.

    • Sarah
      Author
      February 5, 2018 / 8:21 pm

      Ah, that sounds totally cool! I want to make a denim one too, and it sounds like Sarah (in the comments above) might be able to sort me out with some fabric! All the good fashions were in the decades gone by… I feel like we don’t have anything good now! 🙁

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