Completed: Self-drafted A-line skirt with button front placket

A-line skirt close upAfter my first self-drafted A-line skirt was such a success I simply had to make another one. I used the same basic pattern and adapted it so that it features a waistband, button front placket and inset pockets. It results in a very different look. I am really enjoying this pattern drafting business and am already dreaming about yet another version that may or may not include a lined vent.

This skirt was inspired by the Colette Beignet and Megan Nielsen’s Kelly skirt. Instead of spending money on a pattern and a lot of time getting it to fit right it seemed much easier and faster to draft my own and it was.

skirt buttonsI used a denim fabric with some stretch that I can only describe as looking splotched with bleach. The pattern placement looked rather random so I did not attempt any pattern matching and I think it turned out fine (May and Patrick might disagree though). The buttons are from my stash and I think they are a perfect match for this fabric. The waistband closes with a hook. I sometimes struggle to get my buttonhole foot to behave on parts that are a bit more bulky and I didn’t feel like doing that yesterday.

skirt pocketI made the pockets a bit deeper on this skirt than on my previous version and I think this is an improvement. The opening of the pockets is finished with my coverstitch machine as was the hem. I just love those neat rows of double stitching.

For the finish of the waistband facing on the inside I tried something new. In some of my RTW jeans the bottom edge of the waistband facing is  finished with bias tape and I really like that detail. It is a neat finish and because the seam allowance isn’t folded to the inside of the waistband to hide it, it is far less bulky than what I used to do. It made topstitching the waistband a breeze. It also adds a fun touch of colour that only the wearer of the garment will see.

waistband biastape finishI am probably not the only one that loves to have a look inside other people’s garments:

Self-drafted A-line skirtFor those of you that would like to add a button front placket to an existing skirt pattern I’ve made a schematic that shows how I changed my pattern. The important things when drafting are how wide you want the waistband to be and how much overlap you want between the front skirt pieces. For a 4 cm overlap you first measure 2 cm (so half the measurement of the final overlap) from the center front and then add another 4 cm for the facing. I interfaced the facing before folding it to the inside. Don’t forget to add seam allowances to the top of the skirt and the bottom and center front of the waistband after cutting the pattern in two when you are working with a pattern that has the seam allowance already included in each pattern piece.

How to add button front placket to A-line skirt pattern

Giveaway winner

Then finally, we also have a winner for the Sunnyside quiltfabric giveaway! My boyfriend was so kind to draw a winner on Wednesday night and I took some photographic evidence:

Sunnyside_giveawaywinnerI’ve already contacted Selma and I hope she will enjoy making her first quilt!

self-drafted A-line skirt

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UFO Busting: Self-drafted A-line skirt

I proudly present what may very well be the best fitting skirt I have ever had. I made the pattern following (most of the) instructions from Craftsy’s “Design and sew an a-line skirt” class. The fit of this skirt is so much better than any RTW skirt I have been able to find. The main reason I hardly ever used to wear a skirt is that I simply didn’t have any good fitting ones. Usually, when I tried on a RTW skirt it was either way too large at the waist or way too tight at the hip. Now I want to make lots more!

Denim A-line skirt

This quite simple skirt turned into an UFO because I probably used inaccurate measurements when I drafted my first pattern months ago. My muslin looked hideous. I decided to toss it and start from scratch. This time, I marked the exact location of my waist, hip and desired hem line on my body so that I would be sure to measure in the right location and also have accurate waist-hip and waist-hemline measurements.

I still had to tweak the side seam between waist and hip quite a bit in my muslin because the difference between those two measurements is quite large due to my pear shape. Perhaps I could get it to fit even better in that region in a next version but for now I’m very pleased with how it looks.

A-line skirt with inset pocketInstead of making a very basic skirt I wanted something a bit more special, so I added a facing, cut up the front and back to do some colour blocking and added inset pockets. How to draft this type of pocket isn’t included in the class but I very much prefer this pocket over the options provided in the class. For example, I detest inseam pockets. Seriously, they always gape and then stand out a little bit from your body and since they’re usually located in the hip region of a skirt or dress they draw extra attention to your hips. I think it is safe to assume that over 90% of Western women does not want to draw extra attention to her hips. So, my advice is to avoid inseam pockets like the plague. It’s not difficult to add inset pockets to an existing pattern, although with hindsight I should probably have made mine a little deeper.

Facing

For the skirt fabric I used pieces of cut up old jeans. I have collected a selection of old worn jeans that I occasionally cut up into pieces and use to make stuff. When I pulled out my stash I discovered I had 14(!) pairs that I hadn’t yet cut into, which, even to me, seems like a somewhat ridiculous amount. Most worn jeans still have areas where the fabric is in very good condition, most often the back of the lower part of the leg. You want to avoid using parts that are clearly worn and the knees. Most denim nowadays contains some spandex and the knees in old jeans have usually become stretched out and baggy. For this skirt I used fabric from 5 different pairs and I really like how they work together. For the facing and pocket lining I used a floral cotton. The facing is interfaced with medium weight woven interfacing.

denim A-line skirtSome of you may have been wondering when I was ever going to post a project for which I used my new overlocker and coverstitch machine. Right now! I finished the seam allowances with a 3-thread overlock stitch and I think the inside now looks very nice and it was so much faster than what I used to do before. The hem was finished with a 2 needle coverstitch and I also really like how that turned out.

Left: details of 3-thread overlock stitch. Right: 2-needle coverstitch on hem.

Left: details of 3-thread overlock stitch. Right: 2-needle coverstitch on hem.

Largest revelations during the skirt drafting stage:

  • I do not need darts in the skirt front (which is actually a very good thing because it reduces the number of darts to sew by a whopping 50%!). Instead I lowered the top of the skirt a little bit at the centre front to ensure that the top of the whole skirt would be parallel to the floor.
  • Pinning a back dart on yourself while simultaneously trying to look in a mirror to see what you are doing puts you at serious risk of a strain injury.
  • My back darts needed to be quite a bit longer than I originally thought they should be.

140201_A-lineskirt4I did find this Craftsy class useful but I thought the teacher was a bit too happy. If you want to learn how to draft a simple skirt it is a good option though and if you start out with the right measurements you’ll most likely end up with a very nice fitting skirt. However, would I buy a skirt drafting class today I would most likely get the “Pattern making basics: The skirt sloper” class as that one seems to be much more versatile. I might still get it, I really want to learn more about pattern drafting, I thoroughly enjoy the process and dress making is even more fun when your finished garments actually fit well.