I have lived in Texas for almost ten years and, in that time, I’ve been completely spoiled by the gorgeous weather we have here. The summers are brutal, there’s no getting around that, but the winters, you guys. The mild, short, bearable winters with no snow or ice or bone chilling cold. It’s the perfect climate for someone like me who enjoys being outside a lot, year round. I can hop on my bike on the coldest day in December and not have to worry about icy conditions or piles of dirty, gray snow on the roads. I’m also a weakling who could cry at the mere idea of endless gray skies and snow and bundling up in half a dozen layers just to check the mail. No, just no. So, high five to those of you in colder climates who enjoys those freezing temperatures. You’re much stronger than I am!
My disdain for winter coupled with mild Texas winters and my overwhelming love for spring (flowers are blooming! the sun is shining! the grass is green again!), means that come February I am all in for the new season. This year is no different, and I’ve already finished quite a few projects and we’re just three days into March. I’m also on a deadline this month, which is the ultimate motivator to get things done. In case you missed it, see what I have planned for our Florida trip here.
I’ve always wanted a gingham or checkered dress for spring and summer. Around the time I was thinking about said dress, this new Butterick pattern was released. Then, a day later, I found the fabric. Meant to be, right?! This fabric is unique because it’s 100% linen, and I am crazy about the color. It’s fresh and happy but also classic.
To know me is to know all about my undying love for fit and flare dresses and skirts. There’s something about a ladylike skirt that I can appreciate not only because it’s pretty, but because it’s comfortable and flattering. A trifecta, if you will. There are any number of ways to create fullness in a skirt, and this tutorial will cover two of them: adding fullness while maintaining the waistline (or other original seam; it could be a sleeve, a flounce, or lots of other things), and adding an equal amount of fullness from top to bottom.
I’m covering these two methods because I’ve put both into practice for myself recently, and some of you have asked me how I did it. Last fall, I made Butterick 5030, and I added fullness to the skirt while maintaining the original waistline. Then, for Christmas, I made Vogue 9197 and added fullness to the skirt which added to the sweep of the hem and also to the amount that was gathered into the waistline.
For this project you’ll need a ruler, yard, stick, tape, pencil, paper scissors, pattern paper, and a marker. For each method, I’musing a half circle skirt pattern to demonstrate the added fullness. The changes I make can be seen in grey paper.
Side note before we begin: the big hole at the top of my pattern is the hole I punch when I hang them up. Just wanted to clear that up, in case anyone was wondering what on earth was going on there. Anyway, here we go. The first method I’m going to show you is how to add fullness while maintaining the original waist or seam line. It adds the most fullness around the hem, so be mindful of that when it comes to pattern placement and the width of your fabric. For most fuller skirts, I cut them on the cross grain.
I’ve spent the past few years ignoring a couple things that make for some pretty comfy garments: elastic and knits. Elastic was for pajamas and bathing suits, and knits, well, they just weren’t my thing. What was I thinking, you guys?! The turning point for me came one day a couple years ago when I designed a few easy, classic skirts for a collection–and they happened to have an elastic waistband. The ease in making them coupled with the ease of wearing them was a revelation for us, especially me. Remember that for a long time my aesthetic had little to do with weekend wear or elastic or knits. In my defense, there’s nothing wrong with dressier tailored pieces–which is my true love language–but there’s also room for casual stuff too. In fact, I’m finishing a dress right now that has me excited to make more knit garments this winter. They can be just as fabulous as a dress in a woven fabric. But more on that later.
Today I can finally show you another finished piece from my group of fall projects, Butterick 5878. I first made this dress over the summer in a delicious pink floral challis, and I loved it so much I included it on my list for fall. I love this pattern for a lot of reasons: it has sleeves, it has a comfortable and forgiving elastic waistband, it’s quick and easy to sew, and a suggested fabric is rayon challis–only one of the greatest, yummiest fabrics ever.