V7937: The Mullet Skirt

craft supplies
Same with fabric. Thanks to Laura for sharing the image.

I keep trying to make them the same hobby. Mostly by buying something bright and shiny and cheap and then shoe-horning it into a sewing pattern for a garment that I don’t actually need but will (hopefully) wear often enough to make it worth it.

Business in the front

Anyway: Saw this–I think it’s a light boucle? Definitely it’s woven loosely from chunky yarns and ravels at a touch. It’s wool; I can tell because it’s super itchy. It’s also shiny thanks to a beautiful gold lurex thread running prominently through it. Regularly $12/m, but half price. I thought I might make a full, pleated skirt from it and bought 1 1/2 m.

Then had about a hundred second thoughts. (Thoughts two to 102.) Do I really want, will I ever wear, a neutral metallic full pleated skirt anywhere, let alone to work? Maybe not. Pencil skirt? Too plain? This is the downside of treating fabric shopping as its own separate hobby.

A friend suggested a pencil skirt with a kick pleat. I didn’t have a pencil-skirt-with-a-kick-pleat pattern but I did have this pattern in the stash, which I’d never had a chance to make up. (It was a toss up between this one and a burda straight skirt with a front pleat, but their skirts are often very boxy and hard to peg, so I went with this one.)

Party In the Back

And that 1 1/2 m was just barely enough, length-wise, thanks to having to worry about stripe-matching and the length of the flounced pieces in the back. I do have about a fat quarter left.

It’s a straight view D except for pegging it in an inch on each side of the hem. The back flounces provide lots of room for walking. It was a straightforward pattern and I didn’t even look at the instructions (so I can’t comment on them at all); even drafting a lining from my skirt sloper was easy (short form: cut them out, treat the darts as tucks, serge the bottom of the pattern’s facing pieces, baste them to the lining pieces, sew the right side together; attach to the skirt; understitch; join the left side below the zipper; attach to the zipper; serge the hem to a consistent length; done). (By the way, the lining is a chocolate brown bemberg from the stash.)

The Side Doesn’t Know What It Wants

What made the project challenging was the loose weave of the fabric and the fussiness of the stripe matching. The first two pieces I put together I matched every second stripe with a pin and sewed it with a regular foot, and it was ok but didn’t match as nicely as I would have liked. So for the rest of the seams (and to be clear, there are three pieces on the front and six on the back, then sewing the front and back together) every horizontal stripe was matched with a pin, the pins stayed in while I sewed–slowly–over top of them, and I used the walking foot. That worked a lot better and I am super proud of how nicely those stripes match up.

Stripe Matching, aka, A Damned Lot of Work

The seam allowances were serged separately after I sewed the pieces together to make sure that the seams would be a good consistent 5/8″. I hand-sewed petersham ribbon to the inside of the waist facing for extra stability–it’s such a loose weave I worried about the waist growing over time–and did a catch-stitch by hand on the hem to prevent that from stretching out under the presser foot.

There’s lots of room for more pegging. Given the stripes on this one, I didn’t want to take it in more than an inch, but if you want a good fitted skirt with a dramatic back flounce, you can certainly do it here.

Even with the stripe-matching, sewing-plus-serging, drafting a lining, and pegging-after-the-fact, this was still a one day project. And it’s very much an Andrea-netural, so I expect I’ll be wearing it to work a lot over the winter.

I’m calling it my mullet skirt because it’s business in the front, party in the back. Get it? I know, not actually that funny.

The Shirt

Just in case anyone’s wondering: it’s a Renfrew hack, with the FBA rotated into a very, very gathered neckline, squared off a bit, and a 1″ neck band for something a bit different.

Sizing Note

The centre back, middle back and centre front pieces are identical for all three sizes in the envelope; all of the extra for the larger sizes is on the side seams. This meant that I could give myself a bit of a break and just cut all of the pieces out and cut the side pieces a bit big, rather than trying to measure the pattern tissue first and choose the right size. So I cut between a 14 and a 16, sewed the fronts and backs together, and then measured the waist and hip widths on the assembled pieces to see what I’d need. As it turns out, I needed something about a 12 or maybe a bit smaller, considering I joined the sides together with a 1″ seam allowance.

Oddly, the facings ran true-er to the sizing chart than the pieces did. It’s possible that the skirt pieces stretched out a bit while sewing, I suppose; but while the size 14 facings were about 14 1/2 ” each, adding up to the actual published finished measurement, the front and back skirt pieces, once assembled, were closer to 17″ in the waist. That’s a lot of stretching.

Again, I should be a size 16/18 according to the size charts. This skirt runs a bit big, but not as big as many of their other patterns–definitely the facing is off by only about one size. If you want to sew this one up, I’d choose the envelope that contains the size one down from the one you “should” be. Then cut yourself a size up on the side pieces and adjust accordingly once the front and backs are assembled.

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