Rainy Day Skirt

Yay, I finished my polka dot red skirt made especially to brighten up a rainy grey January day. What do you think? Image

  • Inspiration I thought was my own when impulse buying fabric in Ikea, but later I realised it was a blatant copy of Jennifer’s polka dot ikea fabric version of her moss skirt pattern
  • Fabric polka dot cotton (?) that I presume is supposed to be for cushion covers and things but it came up quite soft once washed (I was good and prewashed and ironed this time). I bought a metre (it’s 54″ wide, sorry about the mixed measurements) which looked loads but I only just squeezed all the pieces out. Oh and I cut up a ripped pair of hubby’s pajama’s to make the pocket lining.
  • Ease of pattern matching Come back checks/plaids all is forgiven! I think the giant polka dots would be so obvious if badly matched, but unlike the stripes of a check fabric they’re not always visible at the edge of the pattern piece. Cutting each piece on a single layer really helped rather than cutting 2 pieces at a time on the fold. I’ll give myself 7/10 as there aren’t any glaring errors but I know where I could’ve done better…
  • Pattern Moss Skirt Pattern from Grainline
  • Customer service Excellent. Jennifer forwarded the pattern after I ordered it to be sent to an old email address that I’m locked out of and answered a question about how to lengthen it.
  • Pattern instructions These were very clear, with diagrams (I find these clearer to follow than photo’s, especially when printed out) and written instructions that covered everything. They felt quite grown up too. “Finish seam as desired” caused a momentary panic. What do I desire? What are my options? Then I calmed down and realised that with fabric that was clearly going to fray, the seam already sewn and no access to pinking shears or an overlocker (serger) and no urge to learn how to make and use bias binding to finish seams (and then make some bias binding), the only viable optionI knew about was my trusty overlocker foot on my sewing maching. And breathe. Hey, I can do this grown up sewing instruction thingy.
  • new sewing vocabulary learntGrade Seam – which via internet search and the diagram I worked out meant trim in half the seam allowance of one layer of fabric. And Understitch which I found a good tutorial for here.
  • Alterations As I was a little scared of the shortness of the skirt I lengthened my skirt pieces by the width of the band that is on view B, which was very straightforward as there is a lengthen/shorten here line marked on the pattern. I didn’t want to add a band, as I thought that would look weird with the polka dots. In the end I turned up 2 1/2″ when hemming though to avoid having part of a row of a polka dots on the hem (obviously hadn’t thought that through properly when cutting out) and I may shorten it further. I also added belt loops, as per the Coletterie belt loop tutorial.
  • Ease of make pretty straight forward actually. Even the zipper. I carefully followed the tutorial, even though I wasn’t sure why I was doing some of the steps, and it turned out really nicely. The only hairy moment was the waistband. Which was at least an inch shorter than it needed to be. No idea why, it was midnight at this stage and I was pressing on so I didn’t investigate. I got an extra half inch out of repining it, took half and inch out of the top of the centre back yoke seam (graded down to meet the rest of the seam), had tiny seam allowance on the end, crossed my fingers and winged it.
  • Finish I used some gold thread I had lying around to topstitch the fly, the pocket openings, the hem, the belt loops and I topstitched the yoke to skirt back seams down too. I found a funky gold star button for the waistband.
  • Fit It’s a bit baggy. I measured myself to be between 16 and 18 and more the latter than the former so I made an 18, which is larger than my usual size of 16 in trousers and 14 in skirts. But on reflection I’m not sure how well I measured myself, or if I did it at the best possible time of the month. Or maybe my seam allowances were on the small side, which might explain the small waistband.
  • Cost £5 for fabric, £5.30 for pattern, £1.95 for zip (the one in my stash was a jeans zip that couldn’t be cut to size as needed), £1 to replenish my red thread supplies (loads left now), about 80p for button (was being helped by a small girl, can’t quite remember that one), lining fabric and scraps of interfacing from my stash.
  • Most unexpected comment “That’s a nice skirt. You look like a dalek.”
  • Make again? Possibly. I’m not much of a skirt wearer so I’ll see how this much use this one gets. If I do I might be brave and make it View A length, plus I’ll remeasure myself and make a smaller size. I think patch pockets at the back would look good, if they didn’t interfere with the yoke. I might make the waistband half an inch wider and if I added belt loops again I’d baste them to the skirt to make sure they were in the right place rather than to the waistband, before sewing the waistband on (and then baste the other end of the loops to the waistband before sewing it to the facing).
  • pockets and belt loops

    pockets and belt loops

    fly and button (slightly crumpled after a days wearing)

    fly and button (slightly crumpled after a days wearing)

    painlessly inserted zipper (and secret pyjama recycle)

    painlessly inserted zipper (and secret pyjama recycle)

    and the back view

    and the back view

    18 thoughts on “Rainy Day Skirt

    1. very cute!!! Just what January needs.

    2. You’ve got to be happy in a skirt like that. Great finishing, esp impressed with fly – haven’t done one of those yet!

      • I can really recommend the tutorial on Jennifers Grainline Blog when you do need get round to it. I quite liked this project as the fly was the only complicated bit so it’s kind of training for making myself some jeans.

    3. I have now made four of these and each time I take it in a little from the previous make, and it’s still big. I, too, started large, at the 16, based on my measurements and now think I might just go down to the 12… Something about the sizing for the larger sizes perhaps…?

      • Thanks Samantha, it’s reassuring to know it might not just be my measuring/seaming skills. (I’ve only recently ventured into clothes making having avoided it for ages as getting things to fit scared me. And this is one of the first things I’ve made for me not just the kids (who are easier to fit for being straight up and down!).)
        I also wonder if it might be that as the design is meant to sit “slightly below the natural waist” maybe that is intended lower than I thought – I know shop bought trousers seem to have huge waists at the moment as they’re designed to be worn more on the hips. Plus my waist seems to be small in comparison to my waist, when I do find trousers that reach somewhere near my waist they often have several inches of spare fabric at my lower back.
        I’d like to work out what went wrong as I’ve offered to make a polka dot moss mini as a present for an old friend, and as she lives abroad I’ll have to go off measurements alone. Maybe I’ll see if the finished garment measurements are available, that might be safer to go off.

        • It is meant to sit slightly lower than your waist, it’s true, and that is how I end up wearing it. But perhaps that’s why I’m not getting the fit right… Huh, never really thought that through before. Thank you!
          I have a bit(!?!?) of a pooch belly, which is always a challenge to fit and I end up cutting patterns arguer than they need to be in order to fit around it. I love this style of skirt and would wear it every other day if I could just figure the fit issues out…. Will keep at it. Let me know how you make out!

    4. I think I could go down a couple of inches at least in the waist but not much in the hips. Maybe I need to grade between sizes, eek. Still, I’m wearing it loads. Glad I added the belt loops though otherwise I wouldn’t be able to.

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