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

Mid Weekend Skirt Making

It’s the close of Day Two in NYC. Trena’s just heading back to DC and I’m still in Brooklyn until Monday morning.

The Garment District was OURS on Friday. We hit Parons, Metro Textile, Pacific Trim, Greenberg & Hammer and Spandex House to name a few. Seriously, Trena and I shopped from morning to night. But, I stayed on budget! 

The NYC Garment District is mecca for the sewist. One of the great silk jerseys we picked up was turned into a skirt for my favorite Aunt Judy who put Trena and I up for the weekend.

We drafted a pattern from the Simplicity website and used my Granny’s ‘Stitch-O-Matic’ to pull it together. Granny was a seamstress back in Carriacou and made most of her 10 kids clothing growing up. But, she didn’t sew much after coming to the States in the mid 70s.  She handed me a can of oil and it ran just as smooth as the day it was made.

Luckily, Aunt Judy had a few different tops to go with it. Our skirt was a slight aline with a foldover waistband. We reinforced the waistband with elastic in the seam line.  The fabric is an absolute joy to sew with. Silky and soft with an amazing sheen.

Clearly, we are kind of proud of ourselves🙂

Tomorrow is the wedding and I’m back home on Monday with fabric photos and new project ideas.

Just Skirting Around

“Every now and then your wardrobe needs an injection of something, new, trendy and fun.  That was the thought when we spied the pencil skirts shown in the large graphic prints and florals in the June 2009 issue of Lucky Magazine.  These skirts provide a great way to update a classic…so with that photo spread and a little conversation…we were ready to create our own versions.  Following are our individual interpretations of an updated yet classic pencil skirt.”

Inspiration:  A feature in Lucky Magazine highlighting the pencil skirt done in large scale prints/graphic prints.

The ChallengeCreate a pencil skirt that works on our own body and use a bold print.

Participants are Carolyn, Diary of a Sewing Fanatic;  Me, LindsayT, Lindsay T Sews (Again); and Marji Fiber Arts Afloat. (Marji proposed the challenge after reading Carolyn’s post of May 9 and asked a few fellow sewists she emails and talks to regularly if they wanted to participate.)

For me, the challenge is in just making a skirt. I never really made them and seemed to skip to far more complicated garments years ago. So I am generally uncomfortable with my skirt fitting and construction issues (discussed below) for skirts.

The skirt:


Pattern used: ‘vintage’ BWOF from June 2002, #104 (6-2002-104)

Fabric / Fabric source:
White waffle weave pique from the Carol Collection with graphic red and black flowers. It’s bold and graphic, but not necessarily a LARGE scale print.

Construction details:

I have loved this skirt since it first ran seven years ago. I’ve said before that I don’t make a lot of skirts. Mainly because I don’t have tops to go with them and the vicious cycle of no separates continues. I also don’t make a lot of skirts ‘cuz I think a lot of what I see is b-o-r-i-n-g. So, when I make a skirt, I do it for the details.

On this one, it was the side button placket. First, it provides visual interest and second, it prevents me from having to work with a slit which I still have not mastered.  It also appears that I need to learn the ‘my skirt hikes up in the back’ adjustment due to my swayback and my Jamaican caboose. A syndrome I see all over the streets of Baltimore.

I will be looking for some different buttons though. These blend in a bit too much. If I were making this same skirt again, I would have worked the buttonholes in a different  color than  white.

Because the skirt is white, I chose to underline with white cotton batiste and line it with a tan Bemberg Rayon — rendering it Princess Diana proof. And, I’ve finally got a handle on the blind hem function of my Kenmore!

Here’s the back (All my RTW tops look like this H&M one with pooling at my waist). My version has a CB seam so I could take a horizontal tuck for my swayback.

Skirts also sit higher on my front than on my back (another swayback issue) — which causes some not pretty pulling across the front.

** In the photo above, there are two less buttons. I took photos Monday morning,  wore the skirt to work and decided to add two more buttons after I got home. I wore the skirt to work on Monday and have compliments from the first three women I saw. A success I say! But, I really need to master some basic skills for skirts. I never like making them because of lining and fit. I want to be like my girl Trena with her 50+.

** Pay no attention to the junkyard grass in the background. I was going to mow this weekend, but cut my hand slicing that  baguette I just *had* to have on Sunday and I was too cheap to submit to the THIRTY DOLLAR extortion the kid across the street  wanted to mow my 20 sq ft of grass. That, and I hate yardwork.

I’ve moved (and a new skirt)

I kind of gave up on Blogger in 2008. Too often, it made photos ginormous during import, gave me coding error message when I hit ‘publish’ and would delete photos if I tried to move them by copy and paste vs. dragging and dropping. So, I found out I could import my blog in its entirety to WordPress and I’ve done it.

Plus, I can get that cool ‘possibly related posts’ thing going.

Comments from Halsoscan and JS-Kit didn’t come with me, but this JS-Kit conversion was a colossal PITA anyway and I still have access to them on the Haloscan site. If you want a little avatar by your comments, just register at It works with WordPress and with folks on Haloscan.

I was told recently by a good friend that I dress like I work at an advertising agency. I took it as a total compliment and this skirt will not do anything to take away from that impression!

I LOVE this skirt. It’s been a while since I have been head over heels for a project design. Truly. Normally I love something because of the fit and fabric. Not often is it the design that makes me giddy. But, this skirt is the coolest thing since sliced bread.

The fit took a lot of tweaking, Knip Mode seems to have more ease that BWOF. And I put just about every piece on backwards, upside down or before behind during construction, so there was a lot of stretching at the seams since much of this is bias cut. So, they are not as straight as they could be.

KP Line Drawing

KM Editorial

I first saw this skirt on Sigrid’s blog and fell in love. Thanks to her, I have about a year’s worth of KMs (most of which are with Trena at the moment).

Unbuttoned, you can see that this is a basic wrap skirt. The wrap over piece is cut on the bias with loads of drape and curve to create the pleats when buttoned. The skirt design is unlined, but I chose to fully line it.

I wanted that peak of color you can see below, a firmer drape and stabilisation behind the buttonholes (I did samples. The buttonholes were all wonky without the lining).

I also conquered my fear of the blind hem attachment last night! I could not see myself doing all this hand hemming. What a little miracle that stitch pattern and foot are. The skirt is shortened by about 3 – 5 inches.

I know this is similar to the ‘Stitch’ skirt, but on the KM version you don’t see the buttons, the pleats are symmetrical and there is waistband. I think all that makes it more professional.



I’d like to work on a simple black knit top to wear with it. But, the fabric I want has gone missing in the house. I’ve done a hard search four times today and am giving up.

And HA! Here’s how far I’ve gotten in a week on my scarf.  Remember, a week ago I ripped it out and started over. I’m back to where I was! Don’t be surprised if this becomes a cowl. A scarf is a lifetime of knitting!

Don’t make this skirt

** Blogger and I are fighting today. First time I posted the photos were ginormous. Now, they are small on screen but will open up big. We regret the trouble.

Ugh. Alright. Here’s the thing. I tried making this skirt about seven years ago when it first came out. The pleat was wonky and I pitched the whole project.

Same issue in 2008. But, the wool was from the Carol Collection and I was not going to let it go to waste! I had to decrease the pleat in the skirt by half to get it to lay right and not splay open. I must have cut it off grain because the left side (your right) keeps bulging out and then charmingly dipping in. Or maybe decreasing the pleat screwed it up. I don’t know but I spent hours yesterday futzing with it before giving up and wearing it to work today AS IS.

Maybe next winter I’ll take out all the stitching on the sides, reinforce it with interfacing and put it back together. This skirt shouldn’t take more than two hours to make. I spent about five on it piddling around. I could REALLY like this skirt if that side wasn’t acting a fool.

Also, trust me, it only works on my body with a cropped sweater. Hence the American Eagle henley (I think I’m too old to shop in there now). Can you believe this shirt is an XL? Crikey.

The one thing I like, I did a great swayback adjustment using the BWOF method. Just slice through the tip of the dart and overlap how much you need. I have to say I like how perky my, er, assests are in this.

Thank you ALL for the help on the knitting. I started a simple scarf with just a lot of purling and some stripes. I decided my knitting should be limited to socks and scarves. Those are manageable projects, right? It’s slow going and I need to order circular needles. My wrist is killing me.

You guys rock! Thank you for the generous comments on the white tuxedo blouse. I am very pleased with it. It’s one separate I’m glad to add and I’m sure I’ll be making one of these on a regular basis.

This writing thing

So, I’ve had a bit of writer’s block the past month. Not that I don’t have anything to write about, I just don’t like the way it reads (snarky, bitter, tired). Most writers seem to solve this with copious amounts of alcohol and a torrid love affair. Well, hard alcohol every night won’t help me get back down to my dating weight and a torrid affair will not sit well with the the boyfriend I currently have. Damn my early 30s and addiction to all things fried!!

Carolyn and my mom both gave me a needed kick in the arse about my sewing and blogging. So, I’m recommitting to work it like Tany and sew an hour every night.

Last night I started pre-treating fabric for a new dress. Yes, I know I need separates, but dresses are my friend. So, I’m making the BWOF Sherlock Holmes dress again from the September 2007 edition (above). This time the upper will be in solid gray and the bottom in this A-mazing red and black plaid from Carol.

Trena and I had to bargain with each other for this piece. I’m grateful that I am six inches taller and outweigh her by half. Otherwise, I’m not sure I would have been the victor. Speaking of Trena, after I left several messages on her answering machine and multiple comments on her blog, she made me the lovely tag cloud on the right —->>. I have a lot of tags.

And finally, some more UFO busting.

Here’s a secret. I don’t own a white blouse. Not a long sleeve one. Not a short sleeve one. I got nothing I can wear that even passes as a white blouse. I, in fact, don’t even own a white tee shirt. I think the last time I owned a white blouse it was still the Clinton presidency. Not that I have anything against white blouses. I just never find ones I like for less than $60 and I never had good white shirting (well, I do now). Why do I bring this up?
(the bias waistband got stretched out in the construction despite my use of interfacing. I’ll fix that over the winter so it’s picture perfect this summer)

I let this seersucker Patrones skirt languish all summer because I wasn’t going to have anything to wear with it once it was finished. In that vein, please excuse the pink wife beater. It’s the only thing I could dig up that I thought would work for photos. And I don’t normally wear pearls (30th birthday gift from my mom) with wife beaters. But, I was getting ready for work this a.m. and forgot to take them off.

If you are a long-time reader, you might remember this foray into Patrones back in May. It’s been a long time so my recollection on the details are dim. I do know that Lisette helped me out with the instructions, yay! As noted above, be careful with the bias waistband. Mine is all kinds of stretched out. But the fit in general over my swayback is pretty good. And, I will likely never wear this with something tucked in. I’m thinking a white wrap blouse or a white blazer this summer.

I left off the ribbon trim on the bottom because I thought the seersucker didn’t need any jazzing up. It’s totally too late in the season to wear this skirt. But, I might be in a hot climate next month for work and I’m happy to take this with me.

I have one more UFO that I will hopefully finish this weekend. By then, perhaps I’ll get my writing groove back too!

One skirt down, two to go

Last night I hemmed my Roberto Musso Patrones skirt from issue # 252 (January 2007). I rather like this skirt. It’s fun to wear and has a throwback vibe. I wasn’t sure how to wear it at first without looking like a ball of fabric, but Carolyn reminded me that the full skirts from the 50s and 60s were always worn with form-fitting tops. I think it works if you have either no hips (ha!) or a well-defined waist.

Construction is simple, as long as you clearly transfer all the alphabet markings for matching up seams. I also suggest you lay out the pattern pieces first before you begin sewing. It kind of goes together like a puzzle with one pleated section and one banded section on each side of the skirt.
It’s basically a circle skirt with pleated insets and contrast bands. The challenging portion for new sewists would be sewing the corners of the insets in. There is also a TON of finishing inside the garment.

Because it’s a circle skirt it’s very full. If you choose to make this skirt or something similar, be sure to stabilise the waistband. You’ll also need to let it hang a day or so for the bias to fall.

I made a straight 40 (the equivalent of a BWOF 38) and found it large. I ended up taking about two inches out of the side before inserting my invisible zip. I think that’s the nature of the skirt not Patrones sizing. And mine is a little bulkier than the model’s.

Also, I think the skirt is a hair long. On the model it’s around the knee. If you want it shorter, you’ll need to do so on the pattern rather than after construction. Oh, mine is made from leftover black seersucker and shirting from other projects. I’m absolutely making this skirt again. I can picture many versions including a wool plaid this winter.

Fun skirt!