I buy fabrics for two reasons: because I have a project in mind and I’m looking for something specific, or because I am such a sucker for pretty textiles that I see something I have no project for and think to myself, “That is gorgeous! I must have it! I’ll figure out what to do with it later . . . ” The fabric I used to make this skirt falls into the second category. It’s also one of those situations where, because it was a little on the pricey side, I only had a yard and a half to work with so my options were limited. Normally I order 4- or 5-yard cuts of fabric, which gives me enough material for a couple of projects. I found this fabric at Textile Fabrics in Nashville last May, and it’s a Nanette Lepore cotton print. I’m totally smitten with this fabric, and it was just the thing to get me excited to leave winter behind and start working on spring projects.
With only a yard and a half to work with, I thought the best thing for me to do was a straight skirt. This isn’t my go-to kind of skirt (I love fit and flare so, so much), but it was nice to change things up a bit. I’ve always had a hard time finding straight skirts that fit properly, because I have substantial curves and a small waist, so most things are too snug around my hips and enormous around the waist. I haven’t invested the time into drafting a pattern for myself because fitting yourself is kind of a pain, and I was happy to work on other projects to worry about it too much. When I finally decided to do a straight skirt with this fabric, I thought I’d star by searching for a basic skirt pattern from one of the big companies and make fitting adjustments from there. I got Butterick 5466 and cut out my size based on my measurements. I don’t know how I lucked into this, but I didn’t have to make but one fitting adjustment to the pattern, and it was barely an adjustment. If memory serves me, I spent about $60 on the fabric, and I had the lining, thread, and zipper in my stash. Not bad!
This particular pattern sits about 1.5″ above the natural waist, so it’s already better for my body type than something that sits below the waist. I whipped up a quick muslin and saw that I only needed to take it in a tiny bit in the center back. So, instead of 5/8″ seam allowance, I went with 3/4″, and it worked like a charm. Because this skirt sits above the natural waist, I wanted to add to the length, which would make my legs look longer. I actually wanted it a bit longer, but my fabric wasn’t cut evenly so I had to shorten the length so that I could fit the pattern pieces on my fabric.
I like my skirts to fall at or right below the knee, and the pattern was an inch or two too short for me. To accommodate walking like a normal person, I added a back vent. I also fully lined the skirt in bemberg rayon. I went with an exposed zipper simply because I liked it, and I used the blind hem stitch on my machine to do the hem.
It’s been so long since I’ve added a back vent in a skirt that my original draft was a bit wide, so I trimmed some off when I constructed it. This is my back pattern piece after I added the vent. It’s about 9 1/2″ up from the hem.
This cotton was too bulky to leave my darts alone and pressed towards the front, so I cut them close to the dart point and pressed them open. This skirt has a facing, so leaving them alone would have been too thick in those spots. I also serged my side seams and then sewed them together so that I could press them open. Again, always thinking about bulk and keeping things nice and clean.
Here’s my darts pressed open:
I cut my dart open to about 1/2″ from the dart point:
Darts sewn, side seams serged:
Labels can be found here.
I enjoyed this project big time, and I’m happy to finally have a straight skirt that fits me properly. I’ll make this one again, for sure!
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