Category Archives: Skirt

Burda skirt

Burda #119

I don’t blog nearly everything that I make these days – too many repeat patterns and boring basics to be interesting! But I did want to share this skirt, because I am pretty happy with it, because I don’t make many skirts, and also because have a question and I get such amazing advice on my comments that I may get some guidance here too.

Burda #119

It’s my second Burda #118 05/2102 – coincidentally I made my first almost exactly a year ago (and it does still get worn, although the brightness and print mean it doesn’t go with a whole lot). There are some pattern notes on my previous post if you’re interested. I didn’t alter the fit at all, and I used a thick crossweave denim which helps hold the nice bell shape.

Burda #119

It was a moment of pride because it was the first time I’ve sewn a fly front completely from memory! Usually I have to have the Ginger sewalong or this Sandra Betzina video in front of me, but I did it all by myself this time. Proud.

Burda #119
Burda #119

My question’s this – because I have quite an extreme sway back and a small waist/big bum, I often feel like my skirts ride up at the back and end up visually shorter than the front, which is more apparent in a fitted style like this. What should I do about that? Lengthen the hem at the back, grading to nothing where it hits the side seam? Or slash and spread the extra length in higher up? Has anyone else made that adjustment?

That aside, I’m pleased with this skirt – it’s very wearable and will be a nice autumn/winter workhorse I think as it goes well with tights and a cardi and is a good alternative to denim pants.

coat progress

Slow fashion coat progress update, while I’m here. I had a total change of pattern plan when Grainline Studio released the Tamarack Jacket – props to Jen for getting it out so quickly and straight to PDF. It’s bascially what I would have adjusted the RDC Bernadette to be like anyway, so I decided to use Tamarack instead. I did a quick toile in my usual GL size (4 shoulder, 8 everywhere else) and it was spot on with no adjusting. I’ve cut my outer fabric, applied the fusible batting, and after a few experiments with lining fabrics decided to go with a matching viscose twill which is on order. I have ditched the idea of making it reversible and will probably bind my inside seams. So now I’m just impatiently waiting for the lining fabric so I can get going!

Triple culottes

Vintage culottes

Apparently I only make things in threes now, ha ha. This weekend I busted out three pairs of culottes – all the same pattern but plenty of variation in fabric and detail.

Vintage culottes

This is a vintage pattern that I bought a while ago, I think on Etsy or eBay. It’s from 1984, the year before I was born! Obviously I was mainly drawn to the kicky button-down options, and I finally dug it out after getting culotte envy both from the sewing community and the high street. Some in-print culotte options: Itch to Stitch, Style ArcBurda.

Vintage culottes Vintage culottes

I made this wearable toile first, from a mysterious peachskin/suedette from Myfabrics. I bought it with a voucher and it wasn’t quite what I was expecting – less drapey and quite thick and er, quite bright orange! This is view A of the pattern, which has buttons down the centre front of one of the legs, and halfway between the short and long length options included with each view. I was really happy with the fit with no adjusting – I must have a vintage-style figure because I rarely need to alter old patterns much at all – and they came together really quickly. But to be honest I don’t know if I’d ever be brave enough to wear them – orange suedette mega-shorts make quite a statement. Maybe if I switched out the buttons for some tonal ones? And handed out sunglasses?

Vintage culottes Vintage culottes

Second go, in a really lovely lightweight linen cotton from Minerva Crafts. This is a mash up of views B and C from the pattern – view B’s front pleats and C’s fly front (but I used my own method to do the fly). These are delicious – SO comfortable and way more instantly wearable for me.

Vintage culottesVintage culottes This third pair is my favourite – view B again, with added slash side pockets and a centre back invisible zip instead of the fly. This is an ex-Whistles viscose which you might recognise from a previous make. I liked it so much I bought more during a recent sewcialist trip to Walthamstow (I think Fiona and Portia nabbed some too so look out for it cropping up, heh). It’s amazing to wear but a bit shifty when cutting – it was an effort to get those rows of scribbly dots nicely lined up all around.

Vintage culottes Vintage culottes

Each view was super fast to sew up – like 90 minutes, tops. I typically don’t make many projects with fixed waistband and zips because in my head it seems really time-consuming, but it clearly isn’t really. I’d really like to find some nice drapey solid fabrics (crepe? Sandwashed silk? Any other ideas?) to make more of these because I think I’ll want to wear them all the time.  Cool, comfortable and cycle-friendly – what’s not to love?

Three Ilsley skirts

One thing that Me-made May is showing me is that I’m pretty good for dresses and tops in my wardrobe, but I still don’t have many options for spring-appropriate lower half separates. I’m not a particularly cold-blooded person, so when the weather gets anywhere above 20 degrees I’m much more comfortable in floaty clothes with a bit of skin out. Over the last bank holiday weekend I bashed out these three skirts using stash fabrics… they’re all the same pattern but I got a lot of different looks for no money at all.

Ilsley skirt

The Ilsley skirt is a free (freeeee!) pattern from the lovely Marilla Walker. It’s one of those magic patterns to me that’s basic but a bit special too – the yoked pocket and curved hem detail definitely takes it away from ‘gathered rectangle’ status. I’ve found Marilla’s drafting to be really excellent and perfect for my body shape, and the final bonus is this skirt only takes 1 metre of 54″ wide fabric. Winner? Winner.

Ilsley mod

For my first version, using a leftover scrap from my Style Arc Fern top, I was a bit worried that the straight shape was too far out of my comfort zone so I slashed and spread the pattern a bit to add more volume at the hem like so.

Ilsley skirt
Ilsley skirt

I added a couple of inches to the length and left off the pockets too just to test the shape. I really liked how it came out – swishy and swingy! Though I didn’t really need the extra length or volume at all; I went back and removed about half of it for the next version.

Ilsley skirt

This one uses a yummy ex-Vero Moda (isn’t it fun to find brand cast-off fabrics?) viscose found in Walthamstow. I LOVE the Ilsley in a drapey fabric – I was inspired by this Madewell skirt – and this is an utter dream to wear. It feels pyjama-comfortable and weightless and the fairly straight shape means it doesn’t fly about in the wind. Dream skirt.

Ilsley skirt

I took a tip from Meg and topstitched the pocket facings directly onto the skirt front to make it as light and floaty as possible.

Ilsley hem

I found it tricky to hem the curves on my first one, so I used bias tape on the hems for this one. The only other small tweak was to make the waistband pieces about an inch narrower to suit the width of elastic I had to hand.

Ilsley skirt
Ilsley skirt

Finally, I used up some special fabric: if you remember the hand-printed fabric swap that Marilla herself organised a while back, I received this beautiful hand-dyed and printed cotton linen from Lucy. I’ve been hoarding it ever since, unsure how to make the most of it, and ended up using nearly every last scrap, including some self-bias to face the hem. A trio of lovely skirts for MMM and beyond!

Testing testing: Arielle and Southport

Southport dress

I’m not asked to pattern test that often, but I have happily done so for a couple of my indie designer buddies. Two recent patterns which I tested have just been released – the True Bias Southport dress and the Tilly Arielle skirt – so I thought I’d share my takes on the results. I find pattern testing a really interesting process, which is why I’m happy to give my time to do it. Firstly it often lets me try out patterns that I wouldn’t necessarily choose or buy for myself, and secondly I’m quite interested in the whole process of pattern development and how best to optimise instructions for maximum usability. I love submitting my feedback and seeing it applied to the final product.

Arielle skirt

First up Tilly’s Arielle skirt, which comes in mini or knee lengths and offers a wiggle fit with lovely offset buttons – no zip, hoorah!

Arielle skirt
Arielle skirt

I used a brown twill for my skirt and it’s lined in black silk. Slight changes were made to the hip ease due to the testing feedback, but I actually graded up at the hip anyway because I’m between sizes – it’s an easy one to blend sizes and get a good fit. Pencil skirts aren’t a typical choice for me, but I’m pretty fond of this and it’s so easy to wear with tights and a little tee and feel a bit dressed up.

Arielle skirt

I really enjoyed testing this because it was quite a challenging sew for me – I think it’s the first faced-and-lined skirt I’ve ever put together so I really relished trying a new skill. For an easier sew the lining is totally optional and wouldn’t really be necessary in many fabrics.

Southport dress
Southport dress

Next up – I’m a big fan of Kelli of True Bias’s pattern line, so was really pleased to be asked to test her latest. The Southport is a casual summer tank dress with a half-buttoned front (YASSS, sew all the buttons) and drawstring waist. It’s got above-knee and maxi length options and is recommended for any breezy, drapey fabric. I used a fairly nutty archive Liberty print called Clara – Roisin has used it in another colourway and I scooped this 1.3m piece on eBay for pretty cheap.

Southport dress
Southport dress

Welp, this dress is pretty adorable, right? I love the overall shape and style. Tank dresses are super hard to fit on my body due to my narrow shoulders and hollow chest, but this is pretty darn close. I graded from 4 at the top to 8 at the hips, and Kelli has altered the armsyce/bodice fit a bit based on feedback (so don’t use this as a final fit guide). If we get more of a sniff of summer weather or I book a nice warm holiday I’ll definitely be making a couple more of these.

You can get hold of Arielle here and Southport here. Obvious disclaimer than I sewed up test versions so my review doesn’t apply to the finished fit or instructions, and I got the patterns for free in exchange for testing. Will you be adding either to your S/S sew plans?

Ikat Everyday Skirt

Ikat Everyday Skirt

Yikes, three blue printed makes in quick succession? At least this is a different kind of garment! You might have noticed a distinct lack of skirts from me until now. I’m not really sure why that is, as I wear skirts pretty often and have a few RTW ones in regular rotation. I suppose maybe it’s because I don’t see many skirt patterns that particularly inspire me, and I’m quite particular about waistband level and flare amount on my skirts. It’s something I’m keen to put right now though, and this awesome little pattern is a good kick-start to some skirty sewing.

Ikat Everyday Skirt

This is the Liesl & Co Everyday Skirt. I was tempted to go the self-draft route for my dream skirt, but this pattern is basically it: flat side panels for hip-skimming effect, pockets tucked into in a front-shifted seam and a flat-fronted waist with just the back elasticated. There are some very cute versions of it in the blogosphere which sealed the deal: Kelly, youandmie, Fa Sew La. The PDF pattern is really good – unusually, you cut the pieces out first, before sticking together. This saves both paper and tape – the printout is only 20 pages. Top marks for that, Liesl!

Ikat Everyday Skirt

I didn’t bother with a toile as it’s elasticated at the waist, and cut straight into my lovely Michael Miller ikat print, which I bought a while ago on Fabric.com. It’s a quilting cotton, but good quality and with a little stretch/give which makes it very comfy to wear.

Ikat Everyday Skirt

Making the skirt up was really fun and the instructions are great. It’s got a particularly good way to add the faced front waistband – you sew it to the wrong side of the skirt first, then fold it over to the right side with the seam allowance tucked under and topstitch. This is the opposite way to how waistbands usually go on, but it makes way more sense, giving a cleaner and more accurate finish since you don’t need to stitch ‘blind’ from the RS to catch the loose folded edge underneath. I’ll be adding it to my list of go-to techniques.

Ikat Everyday Skirt

I got a little bit confused about how to finish the last side seam with the elastic enclosed, but just ended up catching it in the side seam which seems fine. The pattern recommends sewing two channels and using thinner elastic, but I just went for one piece of wide elastic (as I recently bought a whole reel in bulk), topstitched down the middle so it doesn’t twist.

Ikat Everyday Skirt

Even though I sized down to a small, the skirt ended up a bit too big so I had to pull the elastic quite tightly at the back. This gives me a bit of bunching at the back and also pulls the side seams backward, but it’s not toooo noticeable because I matched up the pattern pretty well. Next time I’ll reduce the width of both the front and back pieces by an inch or so. I also probably cut it a shade too short since I like it near my natural waist, oops.

Ikat Everyday Skirt

GRATUITOUS POCKET CLOSE UP. It’s a good pocket, perfect size and position.

Ikat Everyday Skirt

Tidy guts, all allowances overlocked, except I just missed catching all the pocket tops in the waistband. I’m really happy with this pattern: I need more skirts in both prints and solids so once I’ve tweaked the fit I think this’ll be a TNT for me. I can imagine it’d be great in loads of fabrics, from chambray to floppy viscose – even a ponte knit perhaps – and will transition well into cooler weather with tights. Truly an everyday skirt!

Recent sews and The Shop

Tania culottes

Here are the final things I made during the end of Me-made May. First, a pair of jazzy culottes! I love culottes: the practicality of breeze-resistant shorts with the cuteness of a little flippy skirt is a winner to me. The pattern is the new Megan Nielsen Tania culottes, bought from M is for Make.

Tania culottes

The pattern was really fun to put together – it felt almost like magical origami creating the pleats and crotch with simple folds and lines of stitching. The only thing I mucked up is the waistband with some wobbly topstitching – I might unpick and redo it neater. I also haven’t properly finished the bottom edge yet because I’m terrible at hemming, so it’s just overlocked for now.

Vintage fabric

The fabric is a vintage piece of 70s polyester with a gorgeous Scandinavian-looking mountain print. I love how the patten drape makes the peaks point up and outwards, a little reminiscent of fireworks. Just don’t make the mistake I did of ironing interfacing onto polyester with a hot iron – I burnt a clean plastic-scented hole through my first waistband piece, and luckily had just enough fabric to cut another. I’ll definitely be using this pattern again; in fact I’ve just bought some jersey that I think will make a great no-zip-required version.

Feather tee
Vintage fabric

(Excuse my face, I appear to have the dead eyes of someone who’s been worrying for three weeks straight..) This is another Scout, although radically different from my last one. The front is made from a vintage silk scarf, which was happily just the right size for the pattern piece. The sleeves and back are the same grey jersey as my ballet dress. Very pleased that this turned out just how I imagined it. The Scout tee is such an amazing pattern: so simple but hangs so well despite having no darts or shaping, and the possibilities for creative variations are vast.

Vintage fabric

Finally, a fail. I tried to take photos but they looked too awful to share! It was supposed to be a Sureau dress by Deer & Doe, made from a super soft piece of vintage cotton with an abstract tulip print, above. It seems in sewing that lots of small mistakes can add up to a big mess of a garment, which sadly I think happened here. I chose a size too big so the fit isn’t quite right. The neckline was gaping so I attempted a shoulder-line fix, then added a half collar which sits wonkily. The sleeve caps billow at the back. The skirt twists annoyingly to the side. I’m not sure if I’ll try and fix it some more, or cut it down into a skirt maybe. It would be a shame to waste the pretty fabric completely. Perhaps I should start making toiles before cutting the real fabric.

theshop1

All of the fabrics came from The Shop on Cheshire St, which I visited with Jen one lunchtime (check out Jen’s blog for some much better photos and info, this unprepared blogger didn’t have her camera). It is indeed the treasure trove that countless bloggers promised: walls lined with shelves of vintage fabric, with even more stuffed into drawers and baskets underneath which you’re encouraged to rummage through. There’s everything from recycled curtains to half-finished handmade skirt pieces, plus loads of large pieces of 2-4 metre long cottons and polys, perfect for skirt or dress projects.

theshop2

There’s also a great line in vintage notions, and basket upon basket of vintage silk scarves at around a fiver a pop. At the back are curtains, cushions and clothing and there’s also plenty of knitted scarves and crochet blankets. Prices are eye-poppingly amazing, ranging from a few quid for the smaller bits to no more than £15 for larger pieces (my take-home stash that made everything in this post was only £18). You’d be hard pushed to find such a lovely variety of prints in new fabrics for those kinds of prices. Find The Shop at 3 Cheshire St just off the top of Brick Lane – I’ll be back to replenish my stash very soon.