So: I made a plain solid-colored skirt in a neutral color with no embellishment. Somewhat out of character for me but I really needed this wardrobe staple to balance out all the wild print tops in my drawers. And, well, I love it!
Inspiration: Ten years ago I had a sudden urge to make a polka-dot skirt (as one does) and pulled Simplicity 5914 and some cheap $2/yard polyester woven from my then-small stash. The result was this simple gored skirt with petersham waist facing (a special type of flexible hat ribbon you can steam into a curve and use instead of a self-fabric facing):
I didn't actually adjust the pattern or check for fit, so the size 14 was way too big at the time. It was the first pattern I reviewed for Pattern Review, and I was able to wear it as recently as last Me-Made-May:
Post-baby #2, I can't squeeze into it any more, but when a thrift store denim skirt hunt turned up nothing good, I decided to turn to this well-loved TNT. When I first reviewed it in 2005 I answered the "Would you sew it again?" question with "Yes, I think I'll make again, since it's so simple. You can never have too many comfy skirts." And now I have and I'm so glad because I cannot stop wearing this thing!
This time I made View B, the flared hem trumpet version.
This is my ideal skirt. It's everything I love and need in a skirt for both my casual workplace (that I'll be returning to in less than a month) AND the playground — a spitup-proof cross between polished and casual, with the best features of a pencil and A-line skirt combined.
- Fitted through the hips, but loose at the hem for running around.
- Tight but comfortable thanks to hidden elastic waist facing.
- Can sit on the playground floor or grass if necessary without fear of stains or showing my underthings.
- Resistant to spitup.
- Stretch woven BUT with a "tummy tuck" or pocketless "pocket stay" style interior woven panel so I can wear my tops tucked in without fear of being thought still pregnant.
Anyway, FINALLY not looking pregnant AND having an awesome new wardrobe staple is definitely a booster on the self-image front, and I'm feeling a bit better than I did in my previous post about it all ("What to Wear and Sew When Nothing Fits"). Taking Me Made May photos helps, even if posing always makes me feel super awkward (what the heck am I supposed to do with my camera-proximate arm? why does it look weirdly distorted?).
OK, basic details:
Pattern: Simplicity 5914 (out of print, but easily available on eBay), View B. A 6-gore woven fabric trumpet skirt with side zipper that hits at the natural waist.
Fabric: Dark wash stretch denim from Mood, I think it is the Theory denim everyone raves about. When I saw Nettie of Sown Brooklyn recently she was wearing some amazing Ginger jeans in the exact same fabric. This stuff is AWESOME, the perfect medium weight with great stretch and recovery ... but I bought it in the store and have no idea which website item corresponds, sorry!
Notions: 7" invisible zipper, hook and eye, 1" waistband elastic.
Sizing: Since I can no longer squeeze into my size 14 version, I figured I would make the 16, but I forgot to factor in that I was using a stretch woven this time, so... OOPS. I basted the side seams, checked fit and wound up taking them in by at least 1.5" (so about 6" total) to get a nice snug stretch fit. I'm sure it would have been more accurate to take some of that width out of the gored seams, but I didn't feeling like it at the time—maybe I'll do that if/when I need to take the skirt in again.
- I used an invisible zipper instead of the lapped zipper recommended.
- I was going to use petersham for the waist facing (a technique covered in Sandra Betzina's wonderful Power Sewing: Step by Step book), but hated the idea of something rigid at my waist when my size continues to fluctuate... so I pretended that a piece of 1" elastic about 3" shorter than my waist circumference was the petersham and it totally works, even if it looks messy inside.
- I sewed in a double layer of quilting cotton as a tummy tuck panel or pocketless "pocket stay" on the skirt front (I first got this idea from Fehr Trade blog, Heather Lou discusses it in her Ginger Jeans sew-along and Jenny/Cashmerette has blogged about it as well).
Here's what the innards look like:
The skirt has already passed the spitup test several times, and I was able to clean it no problem. Phew!
(I realize that looks oddly precarious but I swear I was holding my precious little guy securely!)
Skirt happiness... the end!
Will I make it AGAIN AGAIN? Maybe, though I'm running out of time for sewing while on maternity leave and will probably be too tired to do much once I go back to work. This stretch cotton woven from the stash might do nicely, though the pattern matching might make me cranky.
P.S. It is bizarre to think I first started sewing regularly 10 years ago. I did take a five year hiatus and didn't really pick it up again until 2010, but I still feel like somehow I should have more to show for 10+ years of owning my own sewing machine... but here I am, still making basic daywear skirts instead of, I don't know, tailored wool jackets and elaborate evening gowns. Maybe someday!