For people who sew, no trip away from home is a complete success unless you manage to bring home fabric! Agreed? This is our version of the holiday souvenir.
In Scotland, I visited the Harris Tweed shop but they had so much choice that I couldn’t decide on the day. Added to which £40 for half width/ £80 for double width per metre means a simple straight skirt would cost in the region of £100 including lining and zip etc. It was also quite difficult to choose a winter weight tweed in temperatures of 24 with clear blue skies and practically 20 hours of sunshine. A skirt well made in Harris tweed would last at least 30 years and I don’t know if I have 30 years left…..
In Mexico, fabric shops were sadly obscure and the pickings meagre. Thankfully, I was staying with a sewing friend who had boxes and boxes full of stash and I went gleaning. There were also patterns galore with which to pair the fabrics.
I came home with a Japanese print cotton (subject of this post), autumnal coloured silk chiffon and dark brown gabardine. I had selected others but weight restrictions and space in my luggage prevented me from bringing any more home. More about the other fabrics as I sew through them……..
Patterns included:Vogue 2625 – Michael Kors dresses (2002), Vogue 1467 – Lauren Sara suit (1994) and Vogue 8499 – Marcy Tilton skirt and trousers (2008).
I bought a “designer” linen skirt in Mexico, which is not really a skirt. I don’t know if this item of clothing even has a name, so I’m calling it a step-in-skirt. The linen isn’t the finest nor the best, even for the price I paid but it creases beautifully and looks like linen.
As soon as I came home, I copied it or at least made a similar version – let’s call mine a cousin.
To cut a long construction story short – make a skirt and sew in between the legs at the hem. Here’s a crappy sketch No 1:
The RTW one has has a wrap front and tie.
But I didn’t have enough fabric for a wrap so my version is just sort of a skirt shape with side pockets as pleats at each side and the waistband split and attached one to the front and one to the back.
With only about 1m of fabric to play with I laid the RTW skirt flat on top of the Japanese print and drew around it with some chalk – yeah I know, the technicality and precision is astounding you! Cut out two pieces exactly the same. Here’s another crappy sketch No 2:
NB: slice through the fold – it is not necessary to the pattern. I cut my fabric in two first because there is a directional design, so just treated it like a nap. The only critical measurement is the top (waist) of the skirt; it must be your waist measurement + ease + seam allowance: err on the side of way too big. The waistband must be longer than the waist measurement by at least 2″ .
Practically a no-waste pattern, the two pockets and waistband can fit around the pattern of the main skirt pieces on what would otherwise be left-over or dumped.
Flip the pocket pieces and sew to the front and back skirt pieces with the narrowest part close to the waist. Stitch the pocket bags together and sew up the side seams. these will form not only pockets but pleats.
Attach one waistband piece to the front (both front and back are exactly the same) and attach the other to the back. Check for fit and mark buttonholes. I made two button holes on either side of the front section and sewed buttons on the back section which makes a very suitable in and out system. It’s absolutely fine if there’s a bit of overlap – you’re just adding to the design feature pleated sides.
Mark how wide you want the leg holes to be at the sides, obviously, they need to big enough so that you can get your legs through: leave this open and sew the hem in between together like a normal seam and finish the hem edges around the legs bits. See crappy sketch No 1 above.
There are however, a few experienced disadvantages:
- It’s difficult to cross your legs as this not a pair of trousers nor a skirt.
- Bodily functions require perfect timing and clean floors – the whole thing has to drop down like a jumpsuit, or whatever the modern day name for they are.
- Climbing up step ladders could be problematic so don’t wear this while doing DIY.
Otherwise, it’s easy to sew, uses the most of limited fabric, relaxed, wee bit weird and the Step-in-Skirt is truly comfortable to wear.
I also added a little fabric stay inside to hold the pockets together, pulls them towards the front and adds to the pleated sides (see, there was a wee bit of posh sewing knowledge used).
The Step-in-Skirt could also be classified as a pair of trousers with the lowest crotch seam ever!
Thanks to you all for your ever encouraging and supportive comments and messages.
And a very warm welcome to all new readers and sewers.