Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hand-Stitched Top with Asymmetrical Hem Skirt

So, there has been some very productive napping in our house. I began sewing this hand-stitched top and coordinating skirt two weeks ago and wrote about it here. I expected this project would take me six weeks of hand-sewing, but it went faster than I thought. I finished the top in 2 weeks putting in about 20 hours of stitching. The skirt took considerably less time, only 1 hour.

I had been auditioning a new t-shirt pattern. After not finding a fit I loved, I hit my wardrobe and deconstructed a thread bear shirt I wore into the ground. I used that as a pattern and stenciled grey jersey fabric that I  scored on one of my thrift store trips. I used silver airbrush paint and a home decor stencil my hubby purchased at a craft store. I chose a cranberry colored jersey fabric from my stash  for the bottom layer of my double layer reverse applique shirt.

Airbrushed with silver paint.

Stitching along the outside of the shapes before cutting.
I made quick work of the stitching and was undecided about the sleeve option, cap or sleeveless. I polled my friends on the Thanks! I Made Them, Sew Can You Facebook page. The responses were split and I decided to go with a sleeveless option. I planned on a straight skirt of some kind and felt the sleeveless choice would maintain the silhouette I wanted.

For the skirt, I explored my pattern stash and found McCall's 4457. I decided to make the top portion of view A for an asymmetrical hem skirt.

I hand-stitched the two side seams and applied fold-over elastic to the waistband using a machine applied Cretan stitch. I have a Brother SQ 9000, but other machines will have this stitch.
I chose stitch "51" and increased it to as long and wide as it goes.

The density of the double layer of elastic and jersey was the correct thickness and sewed with ease. This was so fast and easy I may never hand-stitch another waistband. I do not recommend this technique for the bindings because those layers are too thin. They are also visible and the appeal of the hand sewing would be lost.  I left the hem unfinished as it will curl with time.

Machine applied Cretan stitch on fold-over elastic waistband.

Hem left to curl with time.

Here is the finished outfit.


Skirt spun for a high-lo look.

Herringbone Stitch applied to bindings.
I am happy with this new stencil. I have some issues with it, but I want to hold off evaluating it for now. I want to paint another piece to see if my concerns will be resolved with a second run. 

Thanks for stopping by,


  1. You've made yourself an artistic and classy outfit! Congratulations on a great job.

  2. Love your outfit! I've been considering an Alabama Chanin-inspired project myself ;-)

    1. Thank you Patty.
      A.C is all hand-sewing, but not all hand-sewing is A.C. :)
      I am currently exploring hand-sewing with fabrics and stencils from other sources. You can read more here:

  3. Wait - how did you get a Cretan stitch on the machine? I have to know how to do this! Love the outfit...

    1. Thanks! The Cretan stitch on the machine was heaven sent! I will update the post with the information. :)

  4. I am SO envious! This looks fanTASTIC!!!!!!