The Maxi Skirt – a sob story

So I’ve been thinking about making a maxi skirt for a while now but faced a few dilemmas. To start with, for a relatively simple skirt I can’t quite bear to spend money on a pattern and there are lots of free tutorials out there. But  I’ve felt, how shall I say, ill at ease with just charging ahead as most of these tutorials seem to do. So I’ve been reading blogs, watching you tube videos, humming and hawing, and esentially NOT SEWING MY OWN DAMN SKIRT.

Well all that changed today. I’ve read enough and seen enough pictures to know what I like and don’t like – I like A line, but nothing that suctions onto the bum and thighs, I like a bit of flair but am not wanting too much. Something that fit somewhere in between a bin bag and a condom would be perfect – see I’m not fussy.

One of the most straightforward tutorials that also produced something near what I am after was on Mad Mim’s blog. Although without such a high waist, and while using the A-line approach I’m going to add a touch of gathering to ensure no suction cupping.

Fabric is prewashed and laid out. It’s a gorgeous bamboo stretch knit (93% bamboo, 7% viscose) in a kinda slate blue (my attempts to photograph the fabric just didn’t do it justice so you’ll have to just imagine from the photos below of the final thing!)  I got this a few weeks back when in London and I had the opportunity to use my birthday gift certificate to Ray-Stitch. I bought a meter.

Anyway it’s all laid out and I fumbling around with my measurements etc and looking at my laid out fabric thinking it looks short… So I measure it… 33”… hmm… How many inches in a meter I ask Google? 39”. I measure all my other prewashed jerseys. They all measure 39” or close enough. So note to self – bamboo knit, shrinks. A LOT.

So I spend a ridiculous amount of time debating whether to have shorter skirt or waist band made from different fabric. Problem is all my other jerseys are patterned and then they might clash with my shirts and then the world might end. SIGH. I decide to go for a compromise, narrow (hight wise) waistband, shorter skirt.

So in the end my plan looked like this:

19-08-13 (2)

Essentially I decided to slightly gather the skirt to match the waist band – thereby avoiding suction bum effect. This is easier said than done. While I’ve made quite a few knit tops, I don’t recall ever making anything that required gathering knit, and then sewing one gather edge and one non gathered edge, while trying to stretch the fabric (so as not to later break my seam) proved tricky to say the least. In fact it led to a far amount of cursing. And to be honest I am not happy with the final result but unpicking knit it horrific and I generally find it is more detrimental than beneficial so opted to keep it as it is. Although you can see from the pictures below there wont be any close ups of this one cause I’m too ashamed of it!

Things I’d do differently next time:

  • I’d make the final waistband  at least 5” from top to bottom.
  • I’d make the waistband smaller – although I took in the sides quite a bit, the bamboo fabric is heavier than cotton and seems to really pull the waistband down.
  • I’d be very very careful when making my gathers on the skirt bottom.
  • When attaching the skirt bottom to waistband, I’d sew so the gathers where on top – allowing me to correct any deviations as I sewed (versus the mess I ended up in).
  • Buy more fabric! As the bamboo fabric shrank so much, it really  required my to make some sacrifices right at the beginning with the size and shape I wanted.

Oh well I guess as I’ll be wearing long shirts over it and no one will be looking that closely at my waistband I should hope. But still it’s really upsetting when you know that it’s not the best you could have done. It somehow feels sacriligious to have dont a poor job on such wonderful fabric.


8 thoughts on “The Maxi Skirt – a sob story

Add yours

  1. Can’t really tell as there are no close ups (grin) but I think you accomplished what you set out to – the skirt hangs nicely and doesn’t cut in anywhere. In fact, I think it looks nice, just not as long as you might have wanted. I agree, that changing it to a shorter skirt will make you happier in the long run. And now you know how to make the maxi skirt you wanted, so you can do another one, with a bit more fabric.


    1. Hahha yep no close ups cause I couln’t bear for anyone to see just how terrible those seams were. However I’ve redone it now with some new fabric for the waistb and its not only nicer looking its much more comfortable (and safe).


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