Like many people I have been struggling with finding time to take photos as it gets dark so early and life has been particularly busy, so things have slowed down a bit here, but today I dodged showers of hail to get outside and take pictures of my latest make.
After a sewing the Bruyere shirt last time I thought I would make a nice straightforward skirt. Hahaha, it didn’t quite turn out like that..
This is one of those situations where I really didn’t think beyond loving a pattern to whether it would work for my body and these problems were then compounded by fabric issues.
In October I entered the Monthly Stitch Frocktober Dakota sewalong and I won! My prize was two Named patterns and after much considering and endlessly looking at their website I went for the Nascha mini skirt from their new collection and the Tyler shirt from their first collection. Since I just made a shirt, I decided to start with the Nascha skirt and I picked up some pale grey wool mix fabric from Abakhan to make it.
I really love the design of the Nascha skirt – it has a similar casual vibe (and shortness!) to the Grainline Moss but with the added detail of the crossover at the front and notch along the seamline.
This skirt as drafted is very short and looking at the pattern pieces I knew I would have to lengthen the skirt quite a bit to make it possible for me to wear it – I wouldn’t wear anything that short these days! I was hopeful that I could make it work for wearing with opaque tights.
The front of the skirt is made of two asymmetric pieces which are joined along a diagonal seam. The right front piece wraps over to the left with a single dart for shaping. I measured between the size 42 and 44, with my waist fitting the 42 and my hips fitting the 44. As the patterns are printed with two sizes to a sheet (40-42 and 44-46) I had to print pages from two different sets of sizes, overlay them and then grade between them. This bit wasn’t too difficult but when I came to add extra length it was much more complicated! I added an inch and a half between the waist and the widest point of the hip as my widest point is relatively low down. I added a further three inches above the bottom of the skirt. I then had to redraw the diagonal lines of the wrapover pieces. Initially I got completely confused and kept the angle of the diagonal edges the same and made the bottom pieces much wider. I realised this was going to make the bottom of the skirt huge and that I should just redraw the diagonal a bit steeper to keep the wrap over in the centre. Below is what I ended up with.
I made a quick muslin and found that it was too tight around the hips but a bit loose at the waist. I had similar fit issues when I made a Moss mini last year. I made the darts a little wider at back and front, added width at the hip and curved in a bit more at the waist on the side seams.
At this point I was already starting to question whether I should continue making this skirt. Although I really like the design it was apparent that it wasn’t entirely working for my shape (sparing you muslin photos here!) and I was wondering whether to just write it off. But having already spent most of the weekend on it I couldn’t bring myself to give up. So I went ahead and cut out my wool fabric – I did realise I risked making something that wouldn’t work but as I hadn’t spent much on the fabric I decided to go for it.
The pattern is kind of an amazing origami exercise – all the pieces fit together precisely and if one part doesn’t work out then everything else will be off! The instructions are quite brief and the diagrams don’t always make it clearer what you need to do. There are only a few versions of this skirt online so far – one useful post is from Lauren at Guthrie and Ghani (who found her finished skirt too tight) – and she said that you need to follow the instructions carefully even where they don’t seem to make much sense! This turned out to be the case. The first section that I struggled with was sewing the diagonal seam and the hem facings. My first attempt ended with the two sides of the front notch uneven so I had to unpick the diagonal and resew to get it all into the right position.
The next problem was the final section where you sew the lining to the waist facing – after sewing and finishing the seam I realised I couldn’t turn the skirt the right way out and I had to unpick the whole lot and match the seams exactly as the pattern said – which of course worked perfectly!
I would love to say that it all turned out beautifully in the end. Sadly the wool fabric that I used for the skirt has a bit of give to it (but no recovery) and just sewing it fairly carefully made it bag out a bit (despite interfacing on the wrap edge and waist and hem facings). Somehow despite several muslins the waist turned out too loose. I made a rather dodgy last minute adjustment along the side seams to bring it in by about two inches. I seem to have rather weirdly shaped hips as well – the widest point is quite low and you can see by the creases below that I have ended up with some excess fabric above the widest point.
I chose a lining fabric which has a cotton feel and of course it sticks to my tights. The lining doesn’t have any give and this meant that where the outer fabric had stretched out a little I ended up with sagging along the hemline. I ended up unpicking the lining from the hem facing and hemming each separately – which is a shame because the completely finished insides are one of the cool features of this skirt. My feeling now is that the lining will probably twist around and ride up when I wear it. I am considering completely remaking the lining in a satin that won’t cling, but that is probably more work than I am willing to put into a skirt that I am not entirely happy with.
So – what is the final conclusion? I could definitely stand to lose several pounds at the moment and a fairly straight, fitted mini skirt just wasn’t the best choice for my shape. I think the skirt looks fine in these pictures – this isn’t a plea for reassurance – but I know that standing still with everything sucked in isn’t going to work for a whole day and I would be endlessly pulling the skirt down and adjusting it.
I do love the design but I need to be much more pragmatic about what will work for me. I think I made this skirt as well as I could and it came together pretty well after I got my head around the pattern instructions. My fabric choice didn’t help the final outcome and I don’t know whether I will actually wear this skirt.
So – has anyone else found that something they loved in theory just wasn’t the right choice for them? And what could I have done differently about the wool fabric – was this just the wrong use for it or did I miss something that would have helped?