Sinbad & Sailor O’Keeffe Skirt – A Sweet Folly


This is one of those makes could surprise you…

Sinbad & Sailor O'Keeffe Skirt, front view

Sinbad & Sailor O’Keeffe Skirt, front view. I’m standing in a typical coastal afternoon breeze, so it’s not sitting as hanging as straight as it would in the office (where onshore breezes are not such an issue).

This is the O’Keeffe Skirt by Sinbad & Sailor.

It wasn’t that I didn’t expect to like this skirt – but I was wary of the asymmetric pleats…

I think most of us are symmetrical people, we seek balance, proportion and order. I am a very visual person. I can procrastinate over a make, taking off trims, draping differently, trying another colour and so on (I’m guilty of this at the moment!). Things can annoy me when they are not ‘just so’. It’s the No.1 time waster in my sewing life.

Sinbad & Sailor O'Keefe Skirt

Sinbad & Sailor O’Keefe Skirt. Front view, hand in pocket.

Turns out I actually love this skirt, it’s quirky, edgy but so incredibly wearable… oh and it has an enormous pocket under those pleats…

Sometimes we should let our little symmetrical mindset go… (note to self: this is very sensible advice and you should listen to yourself more often). Let yourself be surprised. Trust me it’s not that scary… (hang-gliding, rappel abseiling, caving, diving are all a little scary at the start I can tell you from experience… but so worth it) so walk on the wild side… clothing or sewing should not get you into a lather of asymmetric sweat and stop you trying something new…

So, let’s hold hands, sing kumbayah and get through this scary asymmetric stuff together… deep breath…

Sinbad & Sailor O'Keeffe Skirt, pleats detail

Sinbad & Sailor O’Keeffe Skirt, pleats detail – nice huh?

OK now we have smashed through that barrier, let’s just chat about the skirt.

I met Hannah of Sinbad & Sailor in London at a dinner (with rather a lot of alcohol I recall) organised by the gorgeous Clare of Sew Dixie Lou – (check out the pictures here). Hannah is just lovely and was wearing this skirt at the dinner (well not this one, that would have been impossible as the fabric was sitting in my stash at the time). She was still working on the pattern at that point. She did send me the pattern to proofread but I was having some explosion of work/life at the time post London trip and just could not get to it (my life in 2013 it seems). So it’s been sitting in my ‘MUST MAKE THIS NOW’ pile for quite a few months.

I worried about what fabric would work well with the pleats (more procrastinating). In the end I chose this heavy soft crepe from my stash. It’s perfect for this. I think the pleats need something with some drape but also some structure to sit nicely and not collapse or crease. I also think the solid colour compliments the pleats.

It’s super easy to put together, it is beautifully drafted and fits me perfectly. I made this in a couple of nights. No unpicking, no swearing, no long shifts at the machine – one of those nice little makes when you sing la la la and finish with a little mirror twirl.

The only thing I did slightly differently was run a row of basting stitches on the seamline of the waistband facing so I could turn it under exactly when I handstitched the waistband facing down – I suck at eyeballing allowances. Not rocket science but a simple trick to use when you have fabric that just does not hold a crease.

I used lining for the pocket lining – in black – simply because it was at the cutting table and I wanted to sew this NOW. You know that feeling!

The fabric is quite bulky (although a dream to sew, hello crepe where have you been all my life) and I wish I had of drafted a lining piece for the pocket bag as well so the pocket was a little lighter. You live and learn (and have an excuse to sew more – a blessing in disguise). And I should have lined it… *sigh* *smacks self* thanks heavens for slips…

The contrast pocket

The contrast pocket, my sewing machine tension is being naughty…

It’s got an invisible zip on the other side to the pocket… I love this feature because the skirt is lovely and smooth across my backside… after my last two shorts posts (1 & 2) I think we have had enough of my junk trunk for a while, yes?

Sinbad & Sailor O'Keeffe Skirt - side view

Sinbad & Sailor O’Keeffe Skirt – side view. I’m rather impressed with myself on how neatly this zipper went in.

Now you may be in shock (not from the asymmetric business – we got over that ages ago) but there is no beach in my pictures! Shock, horror!

I’m standing beside a public artwork known as Folly by Rick Reynolds. I love public art, it’s often quirky and makes you stop & think. I particularly love public art that invites people to walk around them, touch them… and even play. It’s not just to be looked at – you engage with it.

Folly by Rick Reynolds, Port Macquarie NSW

My lovely home town is has some quite significant colonial history. It’s one of the oldest towns on mainland Australia – they used to send the really naughty convicts here. I know, steal a loaf of bread and get sent to Port Macquarie – hello?? has there ever been a better advert for crime??

This artwork reflects on some of our early colonial history. It’s by Rick Reynolds and is called Folly (ie garden feature). It’s name is a clever play on the original name of the area, Gillman’s Folly (an early lookout built by Major Gillman to spot approaching ships). Folly is the wooden shaft and stone grinding wheels of the mill which once stood on the site, built by Major AC Innes to grind wheat and corn.

It located by one of Port Macquarie’s most lovely lookouts called Windmill Hill… however the onshore breeze was just not playing nice so I retreated to the public art area which was more protected.

Onshore breeze and suddenly I'm Cousin It.

Onshore breeze and suddenly I’m Cousin It.

Would have loved to have hang around and taken some more shots, not our best pictures… but we were running out of afternoon and we had to take the dog for a surf… so we rushed home to get changed…

Sunday afternoon at Nobbys Beach, Port Macquarie

Sunday afternoon at Nobbys Beach, Port Macquarie

So go rock your world with a little bit of asymmetric pleating… freak out those sensible office people in their regular RTW clothing. You know you want to…

Pattern: O’Keeffe Skirt by Sinbad & Sailor, also available from this Australian online store www.stitch56.com
Top: some Victorian-style lacy number I’ve had for years. Love it, a bit old-worlde, a bit goth, a bit girly.
Stockings: Leona Edmiston (love her Pins line, I have a lot of stockings…)
Shoes: Diana Ferrari (this season)

If you live in the UK – try this triple crepe from Minerva Crafts with this pattern. I think it would be perfect and comes in a range of colours.

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54 thoughts on “Sinbad & Sailor O’Keeffe Skirt – A Sweet Folly

  1. Oh my, that is gorgeous! I’m a bit wary too of asymmetrical things but I may have to take your advice and give this one a go. I’ve got a tiny houndstooth that I nabbed from the swap in London that is destined to be some sort of work skirt and I was umming and ahhing between this pattern and BHL Charlotte.
    I love the art work too, looks really tactile and interesting. I bet it casts some fabulous shadows at sunset!

    • That’s a tough choice… I’ve made both… I like them both. This one is a more relaxed fit which is nice on a day when you feel ‘meh’. However Charlotte looks killer… good luck with your decision!

          • Know what you mean! I don’t think I ever really shook my bad haircut off! The only difference now is that I’m self conscious about growing in other unwanted outwards directions! Anyway you have great hair! I’m jealous, I always wanted curls!

  2. I’ll have you know that I am most definitely an asymmetrical person. Perfect symmetry makes me nervous. I’m always encouraging the kids at school to make their artwork a little off balance. My husband, however, needs symmetry to function. I figure we make a good match 🙂 Love the skirt, especially the pleats. And I always love checking out the scenery in your photos.

    • It’s a bit of fun this skirt and I really love the fact it doesn’t have pleats on both sides. Since blogging I’ve rediscovered my own town, I look at places and think… why is this interesting? is this pretty? which has been nice!

  3. It’s a beautiful skirt! The pleats are so elegant, and though it’s asymmetric it’s perfectly balanced. I finally got around to learning out invisible zips work (more easily than my normal tortured zippers!) and definitely admired yours!

    • Colette have a great online video tutorial about how to put in zipper. They kind of bend your mind the first few times but then they are easy. You must have an invisible zipper foot – really. They make them invisible!

    • I’d wish I’d made the blouse too – but alas no. The blouse would not be so hard to make, it’s quite simple and the cami underneath creates the feminine shape, the lacy top is shapeless. I love projects like these – easy and quick which allows you to spend time doing the things that make it well finished, ie invisible zipper lining up etc.

    • Oh, great news – have fun. I printed it at the copy shop and cut the pieces out rather than tracing it. I also measured one of my pencil skirts again the back pieces to make sure the fit was going to be right.

        • My copy shop charges about $4 for a A0 sheet – I figure the time & sticky tape I save is worth it. Just make sure they print ‘as is’ ie no resizing. Since the paper is heavier, I trace around the pieces onto the fabric. So much easier than pinning.

    • Thanks Amy. I do that little trick of doing up the zipper and putting a pin where the waistband seam is on the unsewn side. Then I shift the pin the tiniest little bit the other side of the seam – depending on the direction I am going to sew the zipper. I think there is always a tiny shift as your sew – or at least it works for me!

  4. Love this skirt. I also had never heard of this pattern company! I really want to make a skirt for myself, but I’m not sure I should sew such a stylish one as my first go 🙂

    • This one is quite a simple make. It’s unlined and I found the pieces went together very easily. If you haven’t sewn an unvisible zipper & a waistband that might be a slight challenge but I think it’s very easy. The other easy skirt is the Maria Denmark Yasmin Yoke Skirt. Have fun!

  5. The color is amazing! Absolutely a beautiful shade… great job on the zip… I have to say I did not think I would like something that was not symmetrical but I actually really DO like it! ~Laurie

    • I think it works because it’s not super fitted – if it’s too fitted I think the pleats would pull & look odd. I wore it to work today & loved it. Super comfy & lots of compliments 🙂

    • Thanks so much – that’s put a smile on my face tonight.
      It’s truly lovely to sew, such a lovely surprise. I’ve got some precious emerald green wool crepe that might end up an O’Keeffe as well I’m starting to think…

  6. This is lovely! You look fabulous! And that red– yum! I’m with Liza Jane– I’m always asymmetrical. I hate having pairs of things in the house, so I always buy one or three, and I’ve had more asymmetrical haircuts than I can count. I like feeling sort of unexpected or off-balance, for some reason. 🙂

  7. Your skirt is gorgeous! Seriously, I want to reach into the screen… 😉 I’ve been loving this pattern since it came out, I think it was the asymmetric-ness that sold it to me. But I have so many other things I want to make, so I’m not buying it – yet.

  8. I love this skirt! I’m totally with you on the asymmetrical thing. I’m a massive symmetry person. I need things to be perfect. This skirt would be awesome for work. Maybe it’s just what I need for my symmetry obsessed brain to relax a little.

  9. This looks fabulous on you, I love it! I do like a bit of asymmetry. I actually won a copy of this pattern in the Sinbad and Sailor birthday giveaway, which was brilliant as it was already on my ‘to buy’ list. I was planning to make it in a print but after seeing yours I think I’m going to need one in a solid colour too.

  10. Great skirt and Port looks fabulous in your photos. I have a similar Burda pattern and agree that the tulip shape, pockets and pleats make for a very wearable design. PS I dream of breaking into Leona Edmonston’s fabric stash!

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