So far I’ve had a fairly productive sewing summer although I haven’t blogged too much about it. Autumn’s now looming so I thought I better cram in some pattern reviews of my summery makes before it gets too late. But where do I start?
I’ve made more skirts and tops than dresses and I’ve decided to go back to the beginning and start there because there have been some lessons learnt along the way with the progression of the patterns which may be useful to pass on. So let’s start with this maxi skirt pattern from Burdastyle magazine 3/2013.
This is pattern #122 from 3/2013 Burdastyle. It’s a maxi skirt pattern with a fitted yoke and side seam pockets and a tiered part on the bottom of the skirt attached with a piped seam.
I made the skirt out of three metres of linen that I bought from my favourite online fabric shop ‘Anita Pavani natural fabrics’ in Germany (see my ‘European Insider Top Tips’ for more details of the shop).
My fabric is soft and not too heavy but I would warn that the suggested fabrics for the pattern are ‘lightweight, softly draping skirt fabrics’ which my medium weight linen wasn’t really. With three metres of it hanging there, as you can imagine it can feel a bit heavy! This turned out well in the spring when it was still on the chilly side and a bit of extra coverage was welcomed but I haven’t worn it over the summer. If you do go with linen, I would suggest using the lightest crepe type of linen that you can find.
One of the consequences of my needlessly heavy fabric choice was that the skirt pulls down a bit and I cut out the pattern size according to my measurements which I matched up to the Burdastyle size chart but the yoke was too loose and I can only wear it with a belt now. So for my next attempt I made up the smallest size and now the yoke fits snugly.
The pattern came together fairly easily although I did struggle with the inseam side pockets and side zip combo. I’ve sorted this out now – it finally all clicked with a skirt pattern I did after this – you have to attach the zip to the edge of the pocket but more about that later.
The bottom tier was a nice way to finish the skirt off because it is basically just a big strip folded in half along the bottom of the skirt encasing the raw lower edge of the main body of the skirt and eliminating the need for hemming. Not sure whether it was necessary to hand-make the piping that is sandwiched between this seam though – even though I did do it. If I made it again, I would probably omit this or use ready made piping out of sheer laziness!
This skirt was my warm-up for this tiered maxi skirt #123 which I made out of three metres of Liberty Art Fabrics tana lawn cotton that I bought online at Shaukat in London, UK.
I’m really pleased with this skirt but it required a marathon sewing effort to make it!
It’s got the easiest sewing rating in Burdastyle aimed at a novice sewer and while there aren’t any complicated techniques needed to make it, it is worth noting that that bottom tier is four and a half metres long and needs to be gathered before it is sewn and then hemmed and I did French seams and that was a LOT of sewing! Like cramp-inducing sewing – just keeping the foot pedal pressed to the floor for all those metres was enough to put me off sewing for a very long time. You could maybe weight your foot pedal down with a heavy book or something and go off, have a relaxing cup of tea, come back and maybe your seam would be just about finished!
I made a couple of adjustments to the basic pattern.
Firstly I lined the whole thing with more of my organic natural coloured cotton batist from http://www.lebenskleidung.com. I did this because the Liberty tana lawn is lightweight and can be a bit see-through and also to extend the life of my skirt. It was easy to do, I just cut all the pattern pieces out in the lining fabric and sewed them up as instructed in the main skirt instructions and then attached the Liberty skirt and lining together at the upper edge of the first tier.
I added in-seam side pockets.
I also French seamed all the seams.
Overall I’m really happy with the skirt. It’s a nice simple pattern which results in a twirl-worthy multi-purpose maxi skirt that is equally happy dressed up or down. Just be prepared for some long distance sewing and check the sizing of your yoke first as I found the pattern to have a generous amount of ease.
Can you recommend any maxi skirt patterns? I’d love to hear about them.