Thursday, March 25, 2010

Khaki A-Line Skirt

A neutral a-line skirt is something I really need in my wardrobe so I decided to give repro Simplicity 4044 a try. This skirt pattern intimidates me a little bit because of the interesting waistband detail. But then again, that's exactly what makes it such a neat design. I could make the SAME OLD skirt again, but this way I'll get to try a new technique.

I have found that when I make one of these repro patterns, it almost always comes out gigantically huge in the end and I have to re-do the whole thing. This time I measured all of the pattern peices while flat and after a bunch of (dubious) math, I decided to make a size 12 instead of my usual 14. The tissue fit for the size 12 seemed to be just about right.

The khaki kona cotton I got from is a lovely weight, just slightly stiff, although it may relax a bit after its washed. Unfortunately, It's a little lighter than I expected, color-wise, and it wrinkles like mad so it will have to be lined. Lining is really not my best thing. I kind of suck at it and I usually mess it up somehow.

This time I looked online and found a great tutorial for lining a-line skirts. I think I may have this in a book somewhere too, but for some reason, once a book page has been scanned into pixels, it makes much more sense to me. I blame you, blogosphere.

Essentially, you make the lining the same as the skirt except you don't put in the darts. Once you've completed the main skirt body and are pinning in the lining, you just put in little gathers in the lining along the waistline. That way it ends up the same width as the skirt, but you don't have to match the darts. The lining instructions worked a treat and I will be using this technique from now on. (I'm sure that makes no sense, but follow the link and you'll see what I mean.)

After the lining was in, I attached the waistline facing and was really surprised at how easy it was to get the front detail right. The center point was a bit fiddly as I'd stitched it a little off center, but I took out a few stitches and top stitched the V and it seems all right now. The facing wants to flip out a little in the back so I may topstitch the entire edge in order to make it more secure.

Hemming is always a problem for me because I absolutely hate doing it. Frenquently I just run things through the rolled hem foot, but they never seem quite finished to me. This time I used Gertie's teensy hem technique and I like it so much! The topstitching is neat and even and looks quite professional. Its as nice as a picked hem without all the pain and suffering of easing in the rounded edges or bending over a skirt bottom for ages making those tiny little picks.

It fits well and the length is good but I'm wondering if I did something wrong. It hangs rather strangely and the sides stick out like wings. I'm not sure what happened. I double checked the cutting guidelines and I definitely cut it out properly...but looks weird to me.

Still, it looks no worse than some RTW skirts I have bought in the past. Although I suppose that defeats the purpose of sewing ones own clothes...


  1. Hmmm. I disagree that it hangs strangely. What don't you like about the hang? I think once it is washed the wings issue (which I also don't really see) will be gone. But if you truly don't like it, try stitching some horsehair braid or something a little heavier into the hem. Smooches. and I miss you.

  2. I agree with TeeBee, looks like it hangs fine to me! :) very nice job. I find "stiffer" fabric that hasn't been washed or ironed much can stick out a bit on the side where the seams are, but the washing and the ironing generally decreases that as the seams "wear in".

  3. Closer inspection of the pattern illustration (the drawing, not the photo) makes me think that it's my eye that is the problem, not the skirt. It's possible that I've made so darn many pencil skirts, that a-line looks weird to me. But it does look like the illustration, doesn't it? Smooches back to you, m'dear!

  4. Wow, it looks great! I don't see that it hangs strangly at all, it hangs perfectly! Thank you for the great links, I always struggle with lining skirts.

  5. Great job! I like the skirt and don't think it looks bad, I guess you normally don't wear "A" shaped skirts.
    I like it!! Your know, I have this pattern also in my "wish list" but I want to sew the pants.

  6. I can't see the hanging problem either. It looks great and the fit around the hips and waist looks perfect.

  7. Looks great Gaby! And I like the little waistline detail...

  8. Great job and it looks perfect to me.

  9. Great blog! I have an award for you!


  10. I think it looks wonderful, and I love the flare.