Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Rucci Skirt


When you’ve had enough of doing one thing only, ie marking exam papers, it’s always best to go and do something completely different… I’ve been missing sewing. The trouble really is that I’ve been internet shopping for patterns and fabric as a way of compensating my lack of sewing and the parcels are delivered almost daily and it’s hard to put them aside until my ‘work’ is completed.  So late one night last week, after another 50 were marked, I dug out some gorgeous satin cotton that had recently arrived and searched for a pattern. Oh just to feel the fabric in my hands was pleasure enough! It’s a smooth cotton with a slight sheen; grey/black tiny stripes with giant dinner plate medallions reminiscent of Versace; with just a brush stroke of gold.

I was looking for something relatively easy, not too many pieces or complicated techniques- zip avoidance was preferable and something that didn’t require a million notions that I don’t have as I just don’t have the time to go proper shopping right now-  just something that I could do quite easily and still feel a sense of achievement. After all I still have another 100+ papers to mark and need the sewing table as a work space.

I couldn’t resist this pattern in one of Vogue’s recent $3.99 sales. Chado ralph rucci V1310:

Skirt (loose-fitting through hips) has front extending into tie ends, no side seams and shaped hemline. Both the top and skirt are bias, self-lined and narrow hemmed.
FABRICS: Lightweight Silk Crepe, Charmeuse, Matte Jersey. And a whopping 4.3 metres needed at 60″ wide

 Looking through others’ blogs everyone thinks this is a fabulous skirt but there seems to be some reticence about actually making it. Why buy it and make it when you have nowhere to wear it to? It seems to be a skirt of distance appreciation.  Emmm…….I’m the one who bought it and made it. There was only one review on PR but Chenille adapted her version to lose the knot.  Here goes….

I wasn’t after an evening outfit, which the envelope picture implies, I wanted a skirt – everyday wearable and slightly different. There are no zips, buttons or snaps, just one pattern piece and a bit of interfacing needed. The skirt has a small fish tail on the full length version and is fully lined in the shell fabric. My desire for a day skirt automatically meant a shorter length. Well that’s easy isn’t it? You just fold the paper pattern up and cut out a reduced amount of fabric.


This is the pattern piece, once the 4 sections had been cut out and taped together. I couldn’t even tell where the top, sides or hem where! This was a pin and cut out on the floor job because of that one giant piece. See the curve with the number 6 on it? That’s the centre back and the end of the curve is the start of the spiral seam from the left hand hip.

 I had no idea what I was actually doing at this stage of proceedings, I was just ‘doing’ it. You can see that my folding of the pattern to shorten the skirt is a bit hit and miss and in actual fact it was a miss and I ended up patching up the hem to make it even.  It was much later that same night when the inspiration came and then everything became clear after that! I realised – this skirt is a toilet roll tube, you know the cardboard roll? Unravel that and you have the pattern for this skirt. OK Mr Rucci, that’s probably a bit simplistic but you all get the idea. So I’m saving you the trouble of getting a headache: when you make this skirt, start with a toilet roll tube, unravel it and then you will understand clearly the principles of constructions. To make the skirt shorter, measure from the end of the back curve to required length and match this length on the opposite edge and then sort of join these two marks up with a curve and cut.

The skirt is fastened by tying two front sections together. This is where the idea of self lining comes in as the inside of the skirt will show when knotted. Now Ralph, my man, silk crepe does not grow on trees and a skirt that requires a full ‘self-lining’ needing over 4 meters of expensive fabric is not really attractive to the home sewer. My self-lining is more like a facing. Partly because I didn’t have enough fabric for a full length lining and partly because I wanted to make a matching top of the left overs and partly because I don’t think my version of the skirt needs a full length lining. If I was doing the evening gown look, maybe I would indulge in the self lining version.

To make the facing rather than a full lining measure the length you want – I opted for just below hips, about 20″. Mark this on one edge of the pattern and measure 20″ on the other edge and cut out in a rough curve between these two points. You can always even up the hem later.

I was very concerned that the knot and the subsequent gathers would be bulky and fattening but looking as these photos it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. However, it is not a skirt that you would want to wear if feeling a little bloated – excellent foundation garments may be required for those days when you’re not feeling thin.
Worn with Rhonda’s Wrap Your Arms Around Me top; made with four rectangles of stretch jersey. Yes, I need a few tacks along the fronts – Rhonda did mention that.

The back of skirt has a beautiful drape, even without the fish tail in the original design. So the pattern does have some shaping and is not as straight up and down as a toilet roll holder.

 It actually turns out that this skirt is extremely versatile too……

Tie around the bust for a strapless, loose fitting dress

Or into a halter neck…
Or over one shoulder for an asymmetrical look….

And you can vary the location of the knot too.. at the side
 …….or at the back

 I do this skirt an injustice by comparing it to a toilet roll tube – it is secure and comfortable and most definitely unique. Rather like a sarong in some ways but with shaping and flare.

It is not difficult to make either. The skirt, including the lining or facing, is just one piece, albeit large, cut twice. Sew the spiral side seams on both, sew in a bit of interfacing and tape to stay the waist and stitch the two together. Trim, turn and understitch the lining. Press, hem and wear. No darts, zips, buttons, or even fitting required. It is a bit daunting the first time, figuring out the construction principles but next time it will be a breeze.

I’ve also decided to plan my time better. A few hours of dedicated marking to be rewarded with a few of something else – invariably sewing.

Thanks for reading. Ruth


15 thoughts on “Rucci Skirt

  1. Your skirt is so pretty and quite intriguing! I don't have this pattern but your analogy to the toilet paper roll was quite helpful in understanding the construction. Did you come up with all of the variations – so clever!

  2. It looks great! Perfect for your fabric choice. I like to imagine someone wearing this skirt in the evening at an outdoor restaurant somewhere balmy.

  3. Wow, I have to admit I wouldn't have looked twice at this pattern before, but I really love your version and could see making it out of a nice light voile and using it as a sarong or beach cover up. It looks great on you and that fabric is gorgeous!

  4. This turned out lovely and I laughed at the toilet roll analogy – but it makes it easy to understand. You have created quite a versatile piece.

  5. Great skirt and it looks wonderful with the top. So glad that you gave it a try. Love your choice of fabric for the skirt.

  6. This is just ……damned skippy wonderful! I think that fabric is perfect for it and you demystifying the pattern makes me want to practice sucking in and try it. Lovely, Ruth!

  7. Really cute! What a nice thing to come out of a down time from mentally exhausting work! Enjoy.

  8. Yes, it's great, and I'm tempted to give it a go after seeing the "strapless dress version". Roughly how long did it take you?

  9. What a versatile skirt/dress! I took one look at the pattern and thought "a big knot right where I don't need any extra fluff"! Dismissed. I really like it tied to the side or the back and your dress versions are just genius. Way to go!

  10. Times a ticking so one answer to all – thank you so much for all the lovely comments I've missed these too.Let's see, Marianna, once I'd figured out the hemline, really only about 2hrs. I did do a shirt seam on the spiral to save an untidy raw edge on the inside and this added a bit of time. But it's mostly machine sewn and straightforward.The dress variations came about as I was trying the skirt on and had to hold it under my chin while I sorted out the bunched up lining – viola, a dress.Karin, I long for balmy summer evenings.Anne, the super pattern arrived today – thank you so much – just perfect. Oh shame I'll have to buy new fabric now!!!!Lynda, mind, body & soul – trying to keep them all in balance.Just to let you know, I had 3m of 150cm wide and used just shy of 2m for my version with facing, instead of the 4.3m for the full length.Thank again everyone. Lovely to hear from you.

  11. I like the skirt, but not the knot — until I saw your various places to tie the knot! Really cool!

  12. I love all the different options you've shown us. Partial facing is brilliant. And what beautiful fabric! You make this pattern very tempting!

  13. This is just beautiful! Thanks for posting such an interesting, detailed and fun review. I wonder if Mr. Rucci knew the skirt would be so versatile?

  14. Wow, Ruth, what a great skirt/dress you made! I too was admiring that pattern from afar, but your explanations and especially all the variations you've shown make me really, really want to try it myself. Thanks!!

  15. Pingback: Quiet Trend (Mock-)Knot Style? | Lin3arossa

Let's talk.....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s