McCalls 6706: Red and Khaki Pleated Skirt

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I fell in love with this full skirt striped silhouette a few years ago when it was popping up on style blogs and in stores. I even remember emailing Mood last year to see if they had a red and white stripe version.  Naturally, I took three years to find the right fabric and ID the perfect pattern.

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Fabric is from Fabric Mart. It’s a double cotton/linen blend from Marc Jacobs. Mood has something similar on their site now (narrower stripes and closer to my inspiration). And, Idle Fancy worked the Mood fabric into a dress.  Liz and Trena both thought it looked like upholstery fabric. It may well be. I think Trena was pretty wary at the thought of me wearing wide horizontal stripes. You know that sound your friend makes when she thinks you’re doing something terrible but wants to be supportive. Heh. That’s the sound she made. Like, ‘Oh. Horizontal stripes…?’

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The pattern is this great McCalls 6706 that actually has a plan for you to piece together the stripes. But, I just cut the non pieced version for my already striped fabric.

My skirt = store awning. I quite love it.

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For this pattern, I sewed down the pleats to release rather than have them open. When open, they added an extra five lbs right at my waist. And, I’m already sewing wider horizontal stripes.  Closed, they are more slimming (I mean as slimming as wide stripes on someone with with hips can be). And, while more slimming, it eats away at the wearing ease.

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I finished the hem with rayon tape (from my last Garment District trip) and my blind hemmer (invisible thread).

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I won’t call this a slam dunk. The waist is a little snug and the horizontal lines at the waist aren’t totally level. But, I’m happy to realize one inspired piece. Also, I know the stripes add width, but I LOVE stripes. And plaid. And polka dots.

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Gah. That part in my hair is super crooked! I like this skirt with my Vogue 1099  jacket from a few years ago. If you recall, I lamented I didn’t really know what to wear this with. I think it works really well with this skirt. Maybe the high waist?

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Jordan and I are still learning to work together to take blog photos.  I think there’s literally one photo of me smiling. And, he thought this below was hilarious. I was making sure my tee shirt wasn’t bunching up under my skirt.

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After wearing this skirt all day, I’m making a few changes. I’m going to lower the waist band. It sits so high that when I’m sitting down, the waist is under my bewbs. And, when I do lower the waist band, I’m going to try and level the center front a smidge more so the line is as perfectly balanced as it can be :)


And, thanks to all the good styling advice on my seersucker dress. I bought a skinny patent navy belt from Nordstrom to break up the swath of fabric and define my waist. And, rather than lower the neckline (I just would never do it)  I added a scarf (a tip I saw online for high necklines and busty women). I think it’s much better! I got several compliments on my outfit at work the second time I wore it (which are several more than I got the first time). Yay! You guys are the best.

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Finally, still no home computer and no posting from work. Editing pictures is a PITA on J.’s eight year old laptop. This is such a first world problem… My plan is a new computer come October. Yay!

Four Skirts in Four Days, Part IV!: Burda 6-2009-104 Wrap Skirt

I actually finished this skirt months ago and didn’t get a chance for photos or to blog. After writing this post ages after completing the garment, I realize I am *boring* when an article isn’t fresh on my mind! So, I apologize now for the rudimentary post. I’m just fuzzy on the finer points after all this time. What happened to my memory? I used to recall conversations verbatim. Now, I write notes to myself so I can remember what people said to me. While we’re talking about getting older. I’ve been obsessed about these laugh lines around my mouth lately. I was almost relieved when I saw some forgotten photos of me from 10+ years ago with the same lines. Turns out I didn’t care in my 20s. Only in my 30s did they stand out :)

Enough of that. Back to the skirt! The flash washed the color of the skirt out a bit so I’m posting it below with no flash.

 It’s a strawberry cream seersucker. I *think* I bought it at Metro Textiles last year. But, I honestly don’t remember! See, again with the memory thing! The cream buttons are from A Fabric Place here in Baltimore.

This Burda 6-2009-104 skirt sucked me in by two elements: double row of buttons and seersucker. I am so totally predictable. Make it a trench, vest, cape or seersucker and I’m all in.

The line drawing shows it looking fairly straight, but I found on me it was a little a-line. This could have been for the additional width I added at the thighs.

The buttons on the front are mostly decorative as this is a wrap skirt with a side zipper.

There’s a slit on the inside for walking.

Ummm, I’ve worn the skirt bunches. But, I dont’ love it on me. It’s slightly too small with no room to let out. I had to do a lot of futzing with fit. After completion, I actually took the waist in two more times before it was wearable.

Despite adding about 2 inches of width in the thigh, it’s still about 1/2 inch snug. I also made a full seat adjustment in two places to accommodate for my swayback and full seat and it’s not quite enough (or smooth based on this photo!).

You can see the skirt still sits a scootch higher at the center front. The center back seam isn’t really centered on me and the side seams are off because of all my adjustments (and my full forward thighs).

Overall, I’m meh. It’s a nice staple and certainly adds to the work wardrobe. But, it’s not top garment for 2011. I’ve gotten a lot of wear out of it, but I don’t know if I would make it again. I think I need to make a simple pencil skirt and make some decisions on the best skirt style for me.

Four Skirts in Four Days Part III: BWOF 9/2009 #121

You know, the last time I tried the skirt-a-day project was a few Memorial Day Weekends ago. That netted me three Patrones skirts I still wear (Chloe, Vero Moda, Roberto Musso). My goal is to have the 40+ skirts of Trena. Ok. Fine. I’ll settle for 10 wearable skirts for each season :)

Is it cheating that I decided to make two skirts from the same pattern during my mini-break? This #121 gather skirt from the September 2009 Burda World of Fashion magazine is just perfect for summer. I chose skirts for my break because they are good for biking to work. I can wear an athletic top with them and switch to a work blouse when I get in the office. Plus, it made me bite the bullet and start incoporating seperates into my wardrobe.

This fabric is from PR Weekend Los Angeles back in 2008 (the first version is from PR Weekend 2010 in Philly). Man. I realize I have problem fabric shopping. I never want to buy less than four yards. Then, I don’t want to just cut some of it for something like a skirt. And, I have no ability / memory to estimate the amount of fabric needed for any project. Just ask Robin. We went fabric shopping last week and I may have driven her bananas.

I am happy to report that I’ve sewn all but one of the fabrics from LA (the silk all the way to the right is uncut). Sad to say, I ruined the rainbow striped knit the first time I cut it. Booo! I *adored* that fabric. I mean, really. I’m still looking for something similar.

Can you imagine that people asked me if I actually embroidered and sewed on all the sequins? I couldn’t help but laugh. And, I was asked THREE TIMES! This skirt material is a super lightweight cotton with bronze embroidery and sequins on the border. It’s really more of a shirt / tunic weight. Which of course I didn’t consider until construction. To beef it up and make it opaque, I used the non embroidered top half as skirt lining.

The skirt is full without adding width. I shortened the skirt pattern by two inches and planned to hem the 4 cm length at the bottom. Then, I realized the skirt edge was on the selvedge. So, I’m leaving well enough alone and just hemmed the lining.

Construction was less than two hours. I was so thrilled with the ease and overall cuteness of this project. It’s interesting to see the difference between the two skirts based solely on material.

One last skirt from my mini-break to go!


Some of you have asked about my shoes lately. I am honest when I say it’s because of blog comments that I’ve been trying to buy better shoes. You guys are pretty quick to point out when my shoes don’t go with my outfits. I HATE shoe shopping. Well, I actually hate shopping. I’d rather chew glass.

The red pair of Borns are from the beginning of the season. I don’t know that they are still available. And, I overpaid for them so I’m loathe to post their price here.

The shoes in this post are from Aerosoles. I have the Gingeroot pair in grey and also in a pinkish leather. They are currently $30 on sale.

The strappy pair from the plaid silk jersey dress last week are South Role are also Aerosoles and are on sale for $30. I have them in green and tan. I would suggest going up half a size in these.

I like Aerosoles because I know my size, they are comfortable, they come in wide options, I can usually find a coupon for free shipping and there is a store near my office so they are easy / free return if I don’t like them. Hope that helps!

Four Skirts in Four Days Part II: Burda 9-2009 #121

Gathers, box pleats and full skirts make me happy :) They are slim through my waist and full around my lower half. It’s a little retro without being comically retro. Plus, they are awesome for border prints.

I purchased this material at PR Weekend Philly. Right in the middle of my fabric fast. I rarely post fabric purchases and their prices.

But, I’m happy to report that this was just $3 a yard! Oy. This is the only cut from last year’s haul that I’ve sewn. See why I was on a fabric fast in 2010?

The fabric is made in Japan. The polka dot cotton is appliqued onto the heavy black cotton so there is no need for lining. I do want to make a black vest out of the non-border portion.


I marked the pleats in the front with marking paper, pinned them in to place and sewed them in.

I made my full seat adjustment so that my skirt didn’t ride up in the back.

I also made a swayback adjustment. And, I have finally learned that I just have to make the waist supertight for me to like it. The skirt sits where it is supposed to do and doesn’t dip in the front because it’s not snug.

I’m totally happy with this skirt! I was worried about it being juvnenille. But, I’ve decided it’s youthful :)

Four Skirts in Four Days Part I: BWOF 4/2009 #101

Hey! How was your Fourth? Mine? I sewed like a Little Sweat Shop of Skirts. Four Skirts in Four Days my friends.

After this made Best Patterns of 2009, I knew I wanted to try this skirt out. I originally wanted to make it up in denim with loads of gold top stitching. But, denim doesn’t really work in my office. So, I decided to eek it out of the last bits of my 4/2008 safari jacket from last year. Together, they make a faux suit. I can’t say that muddy tan from head-to-toe is really my color. I am still wearing the outfit below today. I was likened to a WWII era movie star. I guess it’s the military look?

The material is a super tough denim / linen blend. It works great for work because I have nothing in the khaki neutral range. Plus, it goes well with my polka dot blouse from the 1/2008 BWOF.

I was freaked out about sizing after my first completed skirt (review to come), so I sewed this one with 1/4 inch seam allowance. Totally not needed. I ended up with almost four extra inches at the side seam! Really. I should have just made a muslin.

The skirt is unlined. The seams are all serged and top stitched. Hopefully, enough that they will not unravel.

I added a center back seam so I could make my full seat / swayback adjusment (zipper is on the side seam). Umm, I should have straightened my skirt for the photo, eh? Whoops.  For me, It’s more important so that my skirt hangs the same length front to back than to not have a center back seam. Despite adding an inch, I could still do a touch more.

Here’s the bad thing (and it’s not that my side seam is skewed. I don’t know that I care about that). It’s that I read on PR how the front band directions were confusing. So, I blindly followed someone’s tutorial. Said tutorial was not great. Or, I’m not smart. Either way, I’m too embarassed to show the hot mess that is the inside of this skirt. But, if it lasts more than three washes, I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of it.

I’ve cut a second version in denim that I hope to get to this summer. And, I’m looking for a better tutorial :)

No Jeans Allowed. Burda 2/2011 #120 Inverted Pleat Skirt (Again)

Baltimore is currently hosting the US Conference of Mayors. That means we have 100s of mayors from around the country in our city this weekend. I’m working several events. I had a series of cute dresses picked out (a new H & M opened downtown and I cleaned up on their opening day specials. I’m talking $10 and $15 lined dresses). But, learned that we had to wear sponsored t-shirts when working. Pooh. And, in the same email was told, ‘No dolling up your shirts‘. Apparently, the word had gotten out on me. Lest you think I’m paranoid, the author of the e-mail came to me and said, ‘That means you.’

Right. We’re also not allowed to wear jeans and khakis were suggested. So… I don’t own khakis. I own two solid colored skirts and they are knits. My black pants are wool and dressy. My summer pants are linen and blue– I don’t want to look like a smurf. So, I quickly (and QUICKLY) sewed up my second version of the inverted pleat skirt after work this week. Luckily, I had it cut out from the week before. The first version is here.

Now, it *is* denim. But, they said no jeans. I think that makes it safe, don’t you? This time, I added the welt pockets to the front and back in a fun seersucker.

I still piped the inside waistband facing and used pocketing for the front pockets. Because the deim is stretch, I also used interfacing along the zipper opening and twill tape along the waistband.

Oh, and of course, I added two inches in length. Still too short for the office (not that I’d wear denim there) but long enough to wear in public. BTW, I gave the first skirt to a girl at the office who is a good three to five inches shorter than me. There was quite a bit of ‘What were you thinking’ from the peanut gallery when I pulled the skirt out.

Now that I’m in version two, I actually don’t like this style for me. It’s too A-line. I think I’m not a fan of sharp A-lines.  I straightened out the side seam quite a bit and deepened the front pleat to accommodate for my full thighs. But, still — visually it widens me. Part of it is the stiffer fabric, much of it is personal preference. I’ve also figured out why I don’t love making skirts. The difference between my waist and thighs is so big (over 10 inches) , that I always have to take in and let out.

Meaning, my waist is small compared to my lower body (like a size 36 in Burda), but to grade to my lower thigh (size 42 in Burda), I have to increase the hip. Then, I find myself with way too much hip curve. So, I’m straightening that out and taking in the waist all the while hoping I made the thighs big enough so it won’t pull across the front. Not the hardest thing in the world to do, but a little more time consuming than just ‘whipping up a skirt’.

Hmm, and this could still be a smidge smaller in the waist. I can see that it’s dropping a touch in the back because it’s a little loose. I also overaccomodated a bit too much for my full seat and there’s some extra fabric back there. But, it’ll do for tonight and tomorrow. And, will be great for the summer!

** The top is Burda 2-2009-118

Burda Magazine 2-2011-120: Inverted Pleat Skirt (Showing the Good China)

Whoa. This skirt is short. Like OBGYN visit short. Like, I’m only wearing you when it’s deathly hot and with full bloomers underneath short.

Oddly enough, when deciding between blue denim or this khaki twill, I chose khaki so they would be work appropriate. Heh. Obviously, theses aren’t getting anywhere near my office!

The front kick pleat visual interest. I tend to drive myself crazy wanting the pleat to stay closed the whole time. But, I don’t think it’s really meant to do that. Or, it’s *slightly* off grain.

It was a really easy skirt.  Because time was of the essence, I left out the pockets. There is no waistband, just a facing. So, I used twill tape in the seam allowance of the waistband to stabilize this stretchy fabric.

I finished the facing with premade bias tape.

For the hem, just serging and a twin needle stitch. I did hem it by one inch. I could have also tried a facing, but seriously. Would 3/4 of an inch really have made this that much longer?

Skirt construction is less than two hours, skirt length, less than two feet.  (ETA: The blouse is from the Janaury 2008 Burda. I wrote a review of it for my China trip.)

And, baby. It’s shooooort. That trench coat is just below my knees. I am kind of a modest person when it comes to dress. I don’t like it too tight, low or short.  If I wasn’t pressed, I probably would have immediately recut and sewn this skirt.

I haven’t shown this much thigh in public since I was at the beach in August 2010. My younger friend Liz (who I am usually telling to wear longer skirts) fell out laughing when I put it on. No fear! I plan to wear compression shorts under it this weekend.

I now realize the Burda model is kind of leaning forward, making the skirt appear a bit longer. Oh, Burda!! Girl, you got me good!

Of course, I could have checked the length and measured. But, I was in a hurry. Truth be told, these are not much shorter than my shorts of two years ago. But, shorts can’t show your hoo-ha.

Needless to say, I’m not picking anything off the floor in these. Dang.

I have a second version already cut out in denim, with an additional two inches in length! But, looking at these photos, I think three to five might have been the right move :)

If you’d like to try it yourself and don’t have this issue, you can find it at BurdaStyle.

Navy Blue Bubble Skirt: BWOF 8-2007-119

I think I’ve generally settled on a few skirts to fill out my wardrobe for the cycling trip and my summer. Sunday I realized I wanted to wear some ‘regular’ clothes on my trip I immediately thought of a bubble skirt. They are cute when short, full enough to hide a multitude of sins and in a knit can wash and dry easily with no wrinkling. Best of all, I made this in about an hour.

The pattern I selected is Burda Magazine’s 8-2007-119. Don’t give up those Burda magazines! I remembe when I thought bubble skirts were juvenille. Well, maybe they still are, ha!

This skirt worked up SUPER fast. Just one pattern piece for both front and back which you cut on the fold. The same pattern piece includes the lining . The waistband is a simple rectangle you are given the dimensions for. I traced this out on Sunday and sewed it in little over an hour on Monday night (when I should have been packing for Tampa).

The material was gifted from a friend’s mom when she cleaned out her small sewing stash. I previously made this La Mia Boutique skirt from the same poly knit. If I could *find* that skirt I would have take it on the trip with me. But, I think I’ll be making it up in another fabric when I get back in town next week from Florida.

The only pattern changes I made were converting the waistline gathers to pleats and taking two inches of length out at the hip. Heh. These look a bit like bloomers, don’t they?

Because I made neither my typical full seat or swayback adjustments, the skirt does ride up in the back. I haven’t had that on me in ages!

The inside lining is just a brown poly knit I have boat loads of.

I’ll wear this next month with padded shorts underneath

The skirt is also great for layering. Oh, I also have a new pair of Tevas for the trip. I usuall wear water sport style Tevas but figured I wanted my toes protected. My roommate is also loaning me a second pair because we’ve been warned they might not dry overnight if it’s damp.

I’ve already got a second version of this skirt in black cut out!

Pattern Review: Russian La Mia Boutique Skirt 12-2009 #122

Too Hot to Model

I didn’t sew a stitch last weekend and didn’t feel like it until mid day Sunday this weekend. Then, the sewing bug hit me *hard*. I finished up a blouse, repaired a dress, shortened a skirt, redid the waistband on my linen pants and finished up this UFO from January. Why so long? Well, I didn’t have navy or black thread in the serger. What can I say? My serger is the biggest determining factor in what I’m sewing next.

It’s a navy (darker than pictured) poly double knit skirt and without central air in my house, it’s just too hot to model :) The pattern is from the 12/09 edition of ‘Patterns’. This is a Russian language magazine that carries the Italian La Mia Boutique. It was a gift from my Ukrainian colleague earlier this year. I’ve since found a subscription online that I renew quarterly.

Below, is the editorial shot and a bit of the line drawing. Again, a big shoutout to Lyl on the PR Boards for translating for me.

I love, love, love this skirt. It’s totally unique from what I usually see. In case I haven’t said so here, skirts generally bore me. I like skirts with really interesting details so I don’t sew them too often. There are about three I would like to eventually make.

I shortened the skirt by about six inches since it fell way below the knee and lenghthened the side gathers so they draped more. I like that it’s not formfitting (knits and m thighs are not a good look). I was also able to omit the elastic in the waistband. The knit was sturdy enough to stay up without it.

I’ll definitely make this up again when it’s cooled down in a wool. Ooooh, boots! I’m going to just love this skirt with boots.

This gives me hope that my next four Russian La Mia Boutiques are as good as this one was. Do you like how my dressform is posing? Like I walked in on her while she was getting dressed, lol.

Later this week (or better known as when I have a coordinating piece and wear it to work) I’ll show you my January 2008 #108 blouse. It came out all kinds of cute (tight in the biceps, but cute)! Technically, I think I’m done with my East Coast to Far East Capsule. I have three tops and three bottoms and one dress (dress and one skirt are pre-existing). If I can find some khaki linen this week, I might make another pants or a skirt. But, the pressure is off! Two more weeks to go!

Pattern Review: Bias Skirt, BWOF 4-2002-127

I’m borrowing a camera. I don’t want to harp, but I’m sorry about the low quality of the photos. I’ve taken to photographing facing my screen door for sunlight. But, it’s pretty overcast. We have 98 percent humidity and thunderstorms. Blech. I thought between humidity and the low 90s it was a good day to test out part of my China capsule (I bet you’re thinking September can’t come soon enough so I can stop talking about China, lol). At any rate, I’m thinking of raiding the coverstitch fund for a used Nikon D40 — a DSLR camera I’ve wanted for the last three years.

There is so very little to say about this bias skirt. It’s a very basic design with just one pattern piece. **Will have to update this. I’m showing the wrong pattern line drawing.** I think bias skirts can be a neat first project. There’s minimal fitting and the bias lends itself to design interest. I like this tangerine linen. It washed up incredibly soft and falls beautifully. Plus, it adds a great punch of color. I’ve really liked orange lately, but don’t like it close to my face because it sometimes, er, well — matches my hair color, LOL.

For skirts like this, I prefer the speed and ease of a narrow waistand. I use Dritzs’ Perfect Waist Maker. I bought about 10 yards of it in Portland last summer. I should have bought all of it. It’s a fusible interfacing with perforations at the fold line. I could have done a very slight swayback adjustment. But, I didn’t bother.

 

I let the dress hang for a few days so the bias portions would grow. There was easily almost a two inch difference in some part of the hem length. I shortened the pattern by three inches. at the hip.  I made a narrow hem on my machine.
 

I can’t think of anything else to say about this skirt. Except, the first time I made a bias skirt, I had to have a friend hem it for me. I just couldn’t handle it five years ago.

The top is my BWOF 1-2008-122 poet blouse