Flared denim skirt – McCall’s 5431

Flared denim skirt – McCall’s 5431

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So I’ve managed to sew a wearable skirt! It’s a bit of a win, it’s been so long since I had a success. The pattern is McCall’s 5431 which I bought in a pattern sale a few years ago. It’s now out of print. This is a really flared skirt.

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I picked the pattern because I find yoked waists quite comfortable to wear and the pockets seemed quirkily cute.

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They really are giant, but secure enough for my phone.

The fabric is a mid weight, reasonably drapy non-stretch denim from my stash.

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The pattern sizing is a bit annoying. I graded the pattern up three sizes from a 20 to a 26 which should have had a 40″ waist according to the pattern sizes. I was aiming for a 43″ waist and had to take out the zipper and remove 2″ from the centre back. It’s still a bit big and I do really need to wear a belt to keep it up. And I measured the pattern pieces and everything!

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I initially made the view D in the longer length but the mid-calf length plus the volume was pretty dowdy, so I hemmed it back to knee length and used package bis binding for the hem facing.

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This is not, dare I say it, the most flattering skirt shape in the world, but it’s comfortable and practical and get the feeling that I might end up wearing this skirt quite a lot. It also looks good with the shorter length of my silky wool customfit jumper, so that’s a win too!

 

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Gathered Skirt for Althea

Gathered Skirt for Althea

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Althea recently had a day off school due to a teachers strike, which conveniently fell on Julian’s preschool day. She desperately wanted to do something fun (you know, without her pesky brother) and to sew something with me. This skirt is what I came up with, for us to make ‘together’ during Tessa’s naps.

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I might add that Althea didn’t actually sew any of the skirt (“but I might wreck it”), and contented herself with sewing some straight lines on a scrap of fabric and lying under the cutting table reading a book.

The pattern is Gathered Skirt for all ages, a free pattern on the Purl Bee blog. The best feature of this pattern is the large side pockets. I was inspired by Soulemama’s version

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The worst feature is that if I wanted to print it out it would take 27 pages (!), so I had to constantly scrawl up and down on my phone, which was pretty annoying. Weirdly, instead of letting the elasticated waistband create the gathers, the gathers are created by pulling two threads and sewing the resulting gathers onto the waistband. This skirt is actually more involved than it looks.

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My waistband casing turned out a bit narrow for the elastic and I had a hard time getting the elastic in and fabric distributed around. Next time I’d make the waistband a smidgen wider. This pattern also convinced me to buy a quilting ruler.

I made the size 10-11 years, and the elastic to fit her waist which is a bit bigger than the pattern was drafted for (usually she fits measurement charts quite well). The fabric is a printed rayon challis left over from a Gabriola maxi skirt for myself at has been sitting dejectedly around my sewing space, nearly finished, for some time.

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It’s nicely twirly, the pockets are very practical for girls that like to pick up interesting things, and very comfortable. It drapes nicely in the rayon challis – it’s less pouffy than the pattern photo. Overall, a successful project, even though I didn’t quite get it finished on our designated girls day. It should get on to finishing my maxi skirt!

Three A-line skirts

A-line skirts are a basic everyday wear garment for me. I purchased You Sew Girl! (Nicole Mallalieu)’s A-line skirt pattern when I was pregnant with Tessa, planning to make it up postpartum. This pattern has a very funky inner north Melbourne vibe to me. It’s absolutely the kind of thing you’d see people wearing walking down Sydney Rd in Brunswick, or you could pick up at the Ceres Market, or at Inspirasia in Fitzroy.

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I also find yoked skirts very comfortable to wear. I tried to fit a very similar New Look pattern back in the day, and gave up the face of massive adjustments. So desperate for clothes, I decided to fit this basic skirt and then make a few iterations.

Version 1

I had to grade up the pattern, then I made it up in this olive green cotton corduroy that I think was a short piece I purchased years ago from GJs in Brunswick. I don’t love the colour but it actually goes with more of my clothes than I expected. Fitting changes involved running in the side seams above the hip and shortening the front hem quite dramatically.

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The instructions and constructions methods advised in this pattern are really excellent. My only issues is that the way she has you trim the yoke seams make letting the side seams out at the (later) fitting stage impossible in the yoke area. The invisible zipper method gives you a beautiful clean finished result with no hand sewing, but the way you sew up and over the end of the zipper creates a 2cm seam that is bigger than the rest of the back seam and so takes all the stress of movement. Given that it’s a high stress area (you know the bit you sit on) it actually pulled a hole in  my fabric – so I wouldn’t recommend that instruction step either.

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Version 2

I had a lovely piece of Nicola Cerini fabric that I bought in the sale when she moved out of her Abbortford Convent workshop. It is a stamen design, and the fabric is upholstery weight. (I actually have a Nicola Cerini handbag that I use everyday – I love her botanically inspired designs). The pink is a bit of a departure for me but I thought I’d give it a try. The denim is a really lovely quality stretch denim that I bought at Tessuti – what I used here was a leftover piece from some pants I had made.

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I used an invisible zipper but I have a lot of trouble doing it up over the yoke seam – really the fabric is too heavy for an invisible zip.

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Version 3

I decided to make a shorter version, to be worn with leggings, and add some front pockets as somewhere to keep my phone (that is not my bra) is a bit of an issue for me. I drafted the pockets myself – they are pretty shallow and designed to be just a little bit bigger than my phone.

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The beautiful crochet scarf I’m wearing was a gift from the talented designer – Sara of Illuminate Crochet. Isn’t it gorgeous! It’s called the Fresh Air Scarf and you can buy it here. Yes, learning to crochet is on my list of things to do 😉

The fabric of the skirt is a very heavy non-stretch denim that was a gift. I imagine that it will last forever, but sadly does look better ironed, so I might just have to do that! I also put in a a simple centered zipper, plus added pockets.

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I actually had to let out the side seams of this skirt below the yoke as it turned out too tight, even though it was theoretically exactly the same size as the last version. The fabric obviously make a big difference to fit.

I’m done with A-line skirts for now but I suspect that some light cotton ones for summer might be a good idea. I would highly recommend this pattern – it would actually be a great first pattern for a beginner, and it is a lovely shape and comfortable fit.