After seeing several striking versions of this wrap skirt on sewing blogs including the wonderfully colourful version by http://www.lladybird.com, I succumbed to ordering the Megan Nielsen Cascade skirt pattern.
Megan Nielsen is an independent fashion designer who has branched out into selling garment sewing patterns for home sewists. This is the first of her patterns that I’ve tried and so far I’m really impressed.
The Cascade Skirt is described by the designer as a ‘full wrap skirt with a graduated hem and attractive cascades along the hemline.’ It’s aimed at novice sewers and is perfect for every day but also dramatic enough for special occasion wear.
The pattern itself is well packaged in a bulging envelope with a velcro closure, which includes an instruction booklet and a multi-sized pattern made from sturdy paper. The instruction booklet is really comprehensive and covers everything you need to make the skirt from the recommended fabrics and tips for their pre-sewing preparation to cutting layouts and sewing directions including how to make a lining if using a very sheer fabric. There are also suggestions for how you could customise the skirt by altering its length and adding layers.
At the end there’s space to sketch out your own ideas and record all the details of your make in a pattern log, such as the fabric used, size, modifications etc. This is really useful and a thoughtful addition for people with sieve-like memories like me!
I decided to make the version with the front tie and found this cotton/silk blend batiste in the Italian designer section of Anita Pavani Stoffe online shop http://www.naturstoff.de. The pattern suggests lightweight fabrics with lots of drape so I thought this colourful batiste was perfect for this pattern, with the added bonus that it is machine-washable – a definite must for me especially as I’m around little kiddies all day!
The fabric was a dream to sew but in full sunlight it’s quite sheer – as you can see in the above photo but I decided against a lining because I wanted to retain the fabric’s floaty nature and with the cotton content you can’t really see completely through it so I’m not being too indecent!
The main body of the skirt was super quick to make – it only has four pattern pieces and is really straightforward, with only two seams to sew. I did French seams as recommended in the pattern.
My one sticking point with this skirt was the narrow hem which I really struggled with at first. The sewing instructions explain how to make one but I have a narrow hem foot so it should have been simple for me – right?!
I’ve had two babies and many sleepless nights since I last used my narrow hem foot and I find that lots of things pre-babies have just been erased from my memory! It’s as though I had a mental re-boot when I gave birth so that I could become a mindless nappy changing, bottom wiping and feeding machine. Has anyone else experienced this? Anyway unfortunately the knowledge of how to use my narrow hem foot appears to have been one of the things that ended up in the trash bin of my brain!
I turned to my trusted friend Google and found ‘BrianSews Hemming Foot Tutorial’ on YouTube which was the perfect remedy. What set this online tutorial apart from the others that I came across was that it was long enough to get the full gist of what I needed to do and also showed how to do a narrow hem using the specialist foot on a curved edge which is what makes hemming this skirt tricky.
After watching this, I realised that I’d had too high expectations of my little gadget and had expected the foot to do the hem all by itself and I didn’t appreciate how much continuous manual manipulation of the fabric was required from me to correctly feed the fabric into the foot. As I pushed the fabric through the foot it kept popping out again and refused to roll over. Once I’d figured out why this was happening, hemming became a lot easier.
The key to a successful rolled hem seems to be taking care to keep the width of the fabric being fed into the gap in the narrow hem foot roughly the same width as the gap. When it’s narrower the fabric tends to pop out of the foot and enough fabric doesn’t feed in for it to be able to roll over itself as it should. Once I’d practiced a bit, it worked a treat – well almost, the finished hem isn’t perfect but it’ll do for a first attempt.
Overall I’m happy with the final result and it was a light and breezy skirt to wear when it was baking hot here this summer. I would like to make another version with a level hem but that’ll have to wait its turn in the sewing queue.
To wrap this wrap review up, I’ll leave you with this photo of me and my dog – don’t you think that it looks like we’re about to be abducted by an alien spaceship!
Wishing you a happy sewing weekend!