Monday, May 2, 2011

The Traveling Beignet (and a Hat!)

I did it! I successfully scared myself into finishing this skirt by today, Sunday! This is my second Beignet Skirt from Colette Patterns and I really loved how it turned out. I paired it with a hat to go with this week's "Hat Trick" challenge over at the Sew Weekly. Sorry for the poor-ish quality photos, I need to invest in a better camera (or steal my sister's!).

I call this the Traveling Beignet because the materials are from all over the place! The shell is from New York's Garment District, the bias trim and lining is from Sew L.A. in Los Angeles, the cotton facings are from a Joann's in Connecticut (leftover from a bag I made for my cousin), the buttons are from a Joann's in Burbank, CA, and the lace is from a thrift store here in Virginia. The hat and the (on its way out) top are from my old neighborhood in Brooklyn and the shoes are from Tip Top Shoes on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I can just hear my ol' co-worker in L.A. lecturing me on the high carbon footprint of this ensemble.

The Basics
  • Pattern: Beignet Skirt from Colette Patterns
  • Fabric: Cotton Blend Tweed (shell); cotton voile (lining); lightweight cotton (facings)
  • Other Goodies: Bias tape for the belt; 11 buttons; lace at the lining hem; twill tape at waist seam
  • Size: 4 at waist; 2 from hip to hem

I had learned that hats went out of fashion (at least in the U.S.) when JFK showed up to his inauguration sans hat. If that's so, wow, did he have some kind of influence on our heads or what? Some historians and I talk about bringing hats back, especially since we love how people look in old photos we use for our research. So darn classy, if you ask me. And, oh, those hat boxes!

The first Beignet I made was a straight size 2, which ended up being a bit too tight for me at the waist. It still fits, but just a little snug for my comfort! It fits a lot better now with the sizing adjustments, although can you see where the seam lines kind of go inward and then outward again at the front of the skirt? Oh well, I think that's just the contours of my body more than anything else, but I could be wrong!

For some reason, wearing a hat brought out these poses in me, what can I say? :) I never wear this hat because I've convinced myself it just looks busy with my glasses, but maybe it's not so bad. I bought it with the vision that I'd be reading away in Barnsdall Park in Los Angeles when I lived out there (that happened...once).

Below are my "Ode to Hollywood" photos.

I had cut the pieces to this skirt a few weeks ago in the hopes it'd be an Easter skirt, but things got busy. Maybe a good thing because I probably would've called this post, "It's the Easter Beignet, Charlie Brown!" As it is, I had to refrain from calling it "The May Day Beignet". Yeah, it's not hard to get cheesy around here quick.

The whole skirt didn't take much time to finish once I got back into it. I eliminated the pockets and the belt loops this time around. I wanted straight lines down the sides and found that the pocket openings on my first pair gaped a little (probably because it was heavy fabric). Clearly I need some narrow belts in my wardrobe because all I could do to add some color was grab bias tape and call it a day. Actually, I like the look! I was thinking of stitching the tape to the skirt and leaving the ends loose so I could tie them (and get in and out of the skirt).

The lighting on the above shot isn't the greatest, but it shows the 3 fabrics all together. I thought at first to use the tweed for the facings, but I worried that would make the skirt too thick. I love the contrast dotted fabric on the inside. 

I bought the cotton blend tweed at B & J Fabrics in New York. First time in that store and I loved it! Took me a second to realize you look at the fabric swatches along the walls of the store and then ask someone for the amount of fabric you need (rather than attempt to pull fabric out of the stacks and stacks of fabric at the center of the room). I took Tilly's advice and only bought 1 yard of 55" fabric; the pattern book calls for 2 1/2 yards so it was quite the risk! But at $21.99/yd it was a risk I decided to take. I definitely had enough for the facings if I wanted to go with the tweed there. I think if you have a directional print though you should probably go with a little more than that. 
The lace at the lining! Please excuse the holes where the
old stitch lines used to be! At least it's on the inside...
I really loved working with the tweed fabric. I had never done so before, but it cooperated nicely. The feel and the texture are great. I was nervous to see how they would hold up with the buttonholes, but it ended up being fine! Can you imagine getting through this and then the buttonholes fail on you?

The only thing I don't like about this skirt pattern is that lots of people love it and want me to make one for them! I'm a slow stitcher to begin with so I'd probably have to charge $500 for the whole thing to be worth the time it would take me ;)

Oh, and my newest sewing tool is this wonderful wrist pincushion from A Fashionable Stitch. You can also see it on my wrist in the 2nd photo of this post, the perfect bracelet for this seamstress! It's hard to tell, but the colors go from orange to peach to pink (it's silk dupioni). I've been told I'm pretty mellow in real life, but I can't help but gush about this one, it just makes me happy :) I have a small wrist and it's such a relief to have a wrist pincushion that doesn't flop upside down as I'm working. And the metal base keeps the pins from pricking my skin, which my skin appreciates wholeheartedly. 

And that's a wrap! I'm off to test a pattern this week (which I can't share for a loooooooong time), but after that will be on to my next be determined. Happy May, everyone!


  1. Its lovely! And so well made. I absolutely love the lace finishing on the hem. Very nice job. :)


  2. The beignet is super classy and beautiful! I'm scared to do this pattern because of all the buttons in a row--you've done an amazing job. Love that fabric too!! And the hat looks fabulous!!

  3. I love the colour , the lining , the lace trim and most of all I adore the buttons all in a row. I have just won this pattern so I am especially interested in this post. I love the Beignet .

  4. Another gorgeous Beignet Amanda and it fits perfectly! I like the fact you omitted the pockets and belt loops. I think the pockets add bulk too and the belt loops are such a pain to make! Love the fabric choices too, great job. x

  5. It's lovely! What a great colour, especially with the bias tape belt. The hat is great, too! :)

  6. I have to finish testing something by May 6, perhaps we're doing the same thing? Good luck!

  7. So so so darling! I love the skirt and the fabric choice is simply stellar! I adore it with the hat! You are definitely a hat person.

    I'm so glad you like the pincushion too! And so glad that it fits and doesn't flip flop around!


  8. AnonymousMay 02, 2011

    Really cute, love the color :)

  9. AnonymousMay 02, 2011

    Love the color of the skirt! Well done! :-) I wonder if the tweed would have been scratchy against the skin if you'd have used it for the facings...

  10. Thanks, everyone! Glad the lace went over well, a last minute add. And thanks for the hat comments, I must make an effort to wear it more often!

    Debi: You've done so many amazing things I'm sure this will be a piece of cake in comparison :)

    Lisa: How fun to win the Beignet, you will have lots of fun making it!

    lsaspacey: Hmmm, we could very well be working on the same thing! Do you pretty much have to wait over a year to be able to share it?

    countrygirlcouture: The tweed is pretty soft, but you're right, over a day's wear there's a chance it could be irritable for the skin. I'm glad I didn't risk it :)

  11. I think it looks fabulous- I really love how the skirt sews up :)
    I really need to hit the thrift stores here in Virginia- now I know what I am going to do this weekend :D

  12. Very cute. The color and texture are so fun on an otherwise very structured skirt.

  13. Your skirt is Amazing! (with the capital "A").

    All of the other beignet's I've seen have been made in cotton. I love how you used a tweed.

    Oh! I just bought the Oolong dress pattern from Colette because I loved your version so much. Yours was really inspiring!

  14. Sooo pretty. I am so lazy about lining this skirt, but yours makes me want to do better next time! :)

  15. Thank you, ladies!

    **Liz, I look forward to seeing your Oolong, I bet it'll be Outstanding with a capital "O" ;)

    **Angie, lining was definitely helpful with the tweed since it could be a bit see through if pulled a bit!

  16. What a great idea to make this skirt out of tweed. Oooh, I feel inspiration coming on!


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