Stylish Skirts – a review and a skirt (or two)

Last post I mentioned the Japan Sew Along over at Tanoshii which I discovered on Instagram. I’ve got a rather healthy collection of Japanese sewing books, in fact they outnumber all my other sewing books, I haven’t blogged my collection as I like to sew from things from them first – I’m a ‘proof is in the pudding’ girl. So I decided to try Stylish Skirts: 23 Easy-to-sew Skirts to Flatter Every Figure.

Warning: I’ve included many pictures so you get a good overview of what to expect with this book.

Stylish Skirts by Sato Watanabe. Published by Tuttle

Stylish Skirts by Sato Watanabe. Published by Tuttle

I’ve seen this book reviewed a few times but there are only a few skirts floating about on the Internet that I could find. I’m sure there are more but there is only so much time I have to hunting down slightly obscure things on the Internet!

This book is interesting because unlike many sewing books there are no pattern sheets. Each skirt ‘pattern’ is a simple diagram showing you how to draft the pattern – or in some cases a cutting layout diagram with the pieces and measurements marked in inches (centimetres in brackets). I really like this aspect of the book.

Unless you are absolutely not-a-skirt-wearer, I think many people would find something to appeal or suit their style in this book. Many of the skirts are composed of panels drafted on waist and hip measurements so the sizing is up to the drafter. The simple skirts (such as gathered skirts) could be made smaller or larger quite simply – more or less fabric for the panels or waistband. There are 23 skirts in total. I’m sharing a few below.

Warning: you need to add seam and hem allowances to the measurements provided, the instructions are brief and the drafting diagrams may take some puzzling out. There are plenty of diagrams to help you along.

You probably don’t need this book to draft some of the most basic skirts… however some of the other skirts are more complex… or quirky…

The book content pictures not fabulous – taken earlier tonight while sitting on my bed using the iPhone (eating chocolate slice) – but I think you get the idea. I often find the line diagrams are very helpful, particularly as I don’t think you can see the interesting design lines for some of these skirts.

This is perhaps my favourite. I love those 'snail' panels.

This is perhaps my favourite. I love those ‘snail’ panels.

A beautiful gored lace skirt

A beautiful gored lace skirt

a draped skirt... yes my weakness!

a draped skirt… yes my weakness!

All of these skirts are quite simple yet there is attention to detail and an appealing timeless simplicity to them.

Lovely simple embroidered and pintucked skirts

Lovely simple embroidered and pintucked skirts

Some cute wrap skirts from Stylish Skirts

Some cute wrap skirts from Stylish Skirts

I think the skirt on the left is a classic... however I suspect the nautical style of the skirt on the right will appeal to many!

I think the skirt on the left is a classic… however I suspect the nautical style of the skirt on the right will appeal to many!

Personal Thoughts on Stylish Skirts: I do like this book. It’s a little different to the rest of my Japanese book collections. The skirts range from simple through to more quirky. I will be sewing more, it’s a timeless collection of skirt patterns.

I chose a simple, irregular tiered (rather than the traditional three-tiered) boho skirt, the gathered tiers are broken or staggered.

As I was working with a number of rectangles, I drew a diagram with each panel marked with the finished measurements. I also pinned a little piece of paper so I knew which rectangle belonged where to minimise confusion when sewing the pieces together.

sewing notes to keep me on track

sewing notes to keep me on track

The skirt is very simple, composed of a front and back panel and two identical side panels. Each panel is broken into a top and bottom piece. You simply gather the bottom pieces attach them to their respective top pieces to make a panel. The panels are attached to form a tube and you attach the waistband.

A line drawing of the skirt

A line drawing of the skirt

The waistband has three channels, elastic on the top and bottom channel and they central channel with a drawstring. I’ve never been a fan of thick elastic waistbands but I think the two pieces of thinner elastic and a drawstring is very comfortable to wear. I also think the waistband is quite pretty with the three gathered rows. Once you finish the waistband you hem the skirt… And you wear it for the whole weekend… at least that is what I did!


My first effort was in a simple navy broderie anglaise from Spotlight. It’s a little crisp but you can clearly see the panels and gathers.

Stylish Skirts - tiered navy front 2 beach

it was very hot and very very windy – somehow this was snapped between gusts of wind!

Stylish Skirts - tiered navy side 2 beach

Side view

Stylish Skirts - tiered navy front outside

This is after the beach – later in the afternoon, post housework and other exciting events in my daily life. My arms are always in motion it seems – either to put on/take off/adjust sunnies – a habit hard to shake if you spend a lot of time outdoors I guess.


the wind was in-escapable on Sunday. Hot and horrid!

back view: the wind was in-escapable on Sunday. Hot and horrid!


This one is quite different, a vintage rayon (I think) from a Lifeline charity shop, I paid just $3 for 4 metres. It was quite narrow, less than a metre wide. The gathers and design details are less obvious but it’s a pretty skirt and flows beautifully as I walk. Cotton lace from the stash.

Stylish Skirts - tiered floral side beach

I think I'm mid-sunglasses installation here so let's just look at the skirt :-)

I think I’m mid-sunglasses installation here so let’s just look at the skirt 🙂

Construction notes: I gathered the lower panels using two rows of stitching. I ironed the gathers flat once I had them even – I find sewing over the gathers produces a new even result this way. I overlocked all the seams together after I sewing the panels together using my sewing machine. I used lacing cord (it has some stretch) as my drawstring rather than making a self cord. This skirt is not rocket science, it’s very easy… but very comfortable and easy to wear for casual days.

I do like these skirts. They aren’t fancy or couture makes by any stretch of the imagination however I love maxi skirts… long, loose, soft skirts that I can tuck my feet under and curl up in. These will be worn a lot. Boho-style clothes and I are good wardrobe buddies. It’s one of those styles I always feel at home and relaxed in.

BOOK: Stylish Skirts: 23 Easy-To-Sew Skirts to Flatter Every Figure by Sato Watanabe
FABRIC: navy broderie anglaise from Spotlight (purchased at the recent 30% off fabric sale) and vintage floral fabric.
NECKLACE: from Mrs Peterson Pottery… love this one…
(note: all purchased by me)

Mrs Peterson's Pottery necklace

Mrs Peterson’s Pottery necklace

Sewaholic Hollyburn – nice but not ‘me’

The Sewaholic Hollyburn was of those patterns I had always been curious to see what all the fuss was about. So when I received a copy from Stitch 56 it seemed the perfect choice for a navy linen midi skirt I had in my head.

Sewaholic Hollyburn

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a red striped Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee (free pattern, unblogged) and a blue glass beads from Arthouse Industries (mine)

Then I lost the pattern in my sewing room for months… when it eventually resurfaced I made it up.

The pattern is lovely, easy to sew and you get a nice result. It’s got pockets – which some people seem to go barmy about. I’m a bit weird about a few things… and one is that I don’t put things in pockets if it distorts the line of the garment – that’s what a handbag is for. These sorts of pockets are just for hands in my life.

I decided to line the skirt as linen is notorious for creasing and lining does help alleviate that to a degree. I would share a picture of the immaculate insides… however I just can’t find the skirt. It’s as if the Hollyburn doesn’t want to be part of my life!

I cut a size 0 with the longest possible length.

It’s a well made skirt and I’m pleased with the finish.

Unfortunately I don’t think the midi length is for me. The skirt is lovely but like a few other 2014 makes just don’t feel like me. As you can see I tried a number of tops and accessories – and still struggle with how to wear it and feel like myself. I guess the upside of sewing things that don’t feel quite right is that you learn now about what you do like!

The photos were taken late in the afternoon so the light was bad – with the exception of the first one below, which was taken several weeks earlier – then I spent a while trying to figure out how I might wear it. I think most simply it’s just not me, I feel like I should be drinking cups of tea and eating scones, I’m convinced my mother would love it. It doesn’t fit into my work or casual wardrobe.

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a floral shirt

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a floral shirt

Sewaholic Hollyburn

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a red striped Tessuti Mandy Boat tee and an Arthouse Industries necklace. Probably prefer this look the most. It’s timeless.

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a white tank and a scarf

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a RTW white tank and a scarf (Just Jeans). The ill-fitting RTW tank top has been ditched. Quite like this combo – the scarf works well.

Sewaholic Hollyburn with Maria Denmark day-to-night tank

Sewaholic Hollyburn with Maria Denmark day-to-night tank

Sewaholic Holllyburn with RTW white shirt.

Sewaholic Holllyburn with RTW white shirt.

I made this months ago – all the way back in September. I just didn’t feel particularly inspired about it. So other makes overtook it in the blogging queue. My workload in the final months of the year is always excessive and ‘life’ stuff has been less than great, so the urge to write all but disappears some days. Anyway all things, good and bad, come to an end eventually.

If I seem quiet here, you can usually find me on instagram – where I’m posting WIPs, project ideas, what I’m wearing some days and other ‘stuff’.

This pattern has been very popular – you only need to google it to see just how many times it has been made. It has had rave reviews. It reminds me of my McCalls shirtdress experience. It’s a perfectly nice pattern, it’s been made over and over again, all over the internet. It’s just not my style. I think I prefer pencil skirts or long floaty maxi skirts – I also like yokes over waistbands. However just because it’s not for me – doesn’t mean it’s not for you.

I really struggle with skirts and dresses that are flared and have a centre seam. Is it just me or does that make the skirt move awkwardly when you walk? I find it’s more inclined to tangle between your legs – and I hate fiddling with my clothes when I’m wearing them.

Pattern: Sewaholic Hollyburn, provided by Stitch 56
Fabric: Metro linen shell, lawn lining from Spotlight.

I’ve made five tops recently. Four knit tshirts and one woven top. The weather has been horrid lately so there has been little or no opportunity to get outside and take some pictures. Hopefully the rain eases soon.

I got some lovely Christmas presents this year, including tickets to see Lior, an independent Australian musician… enjoy…

Manhattan in Denim – Capital Chic Patterns

BOOM. New skirt. It’s the Manhattan by Capital Chic Patterns.

Manhattan - side feature panel

ah yes… I was ridiculously proud of the top-stitched panel, you may have seen it pop up on instagram. Note the odd top accessory: I wanted to tie my singlet in a knot but it wasn’t quite long enough – so I jammed a dress ring onto it. Worked a treat.

I know pattern testing process is an issue with many so first up… yes, it’s a new pattern and I received the pattern as part of the pattern testing process (hard to test without one). All opinions here are always entirely my own.

I didn’t blog it right away when the range came out as life was hectic. I blog my makes when I’m ready. Sometimes I’m absolutely busting for something to be released because I’m stupidly excited about it and I’ve been sitting on it for weeks (hello the upcoming By Hand London Holly pattern – I’ve made one and I’m going to make another – perhaps two more because they are ‘sitting in my head’ and need to be created). I do put a lot of (obsessive) thought into my makes. It involves lots of fabric patting, draping, pattern comparisons, photos of options and endless thinking. Today I was having coffee with my lovely sewing friend Pam and we were throwing around options for an upcoming make. I think you might be surprised by my creative process to get from concept to end result! I often drive myself nuts – but it’s my ‘mental yoga’ – and always I’m happier with the end result.

I’ve ‘virtually’ hung out with Sally of the amazing Charity Shop Chic blog long before she kicked off her pattern line – we have a mutual love of single malt whisky and have an obsession for charity shops (we have exchanged charity shop packages – I’ve just got to make up mine!). So when she asked me to check out her new pattern line as she thought it would be my style, I said yes.

This is the Manhattan Skirt from Capital Chic… it’s got two variations. One with this uneven & high-low hem – ie this one. The other more ‘boardroom’ look, longer with a straight hem.

It’s taken me ages to blog as my first version was a complete experiment in dodgy stash fabric – primarily just for pattern testing purposes (do the notches match, what’s the fit like, do the instructions work). Capital Chic Patterns testing popped up during the month of May which was a log jam of work, family and community stuff. Then of course I had an idea for my ‘proper’ Version 2… and there was such a big bang in the blogsphere with her new range I figured the world could wait for mine.

Now let’s talk about Capital Chic Patterns

Manhattan Skirt by Capital Chic Patterns

I’m quite sure the men fishing on the wharf had a laugh as we photographed three outfits… there was a lot of wardrobe, accessories and shoe changing going on in my nearby car!


I like the pattern, I was immediately drawn to it. I think it’s got loads of potential. It’s visually interesting (both versions, the side panel whether straight or jagged is a nice touch), completely lined – and easy to make up. You could use the same or contrast fabric for the side panel… or embellish a fabric, set a pattern on point, use a different textured fabric – or use the same textured fabric but set at an angle so the light hits it at a different angle which can be a subtle but interesting design feature. Ahhhhh, so many ideas!

For this version of the skirt I opted to use a chalk pencil and ruler to draw a grid onto the fabric. I top stitched the panel and then sewed it into the skirt.

The skirt has no darts…. no darts at all. It sits on your natural waist and has no waistband. It appeals to me as it is different to other skirt pattern options on the market. I made a size 12.

Capital Chic is much more ‘high street’ – which does appeal to me – as I’m not really a retro chick… I don’t have the build, hair or vibe to carry it off. Probably explains why By Hand London patterns appeal to me as well. The patterns are also generally aimed at intermediate and advanced sewing market.

The skirt is completely lined (I know – pretty flash for a denim skirt – although would make it very wearable with leggings in winter). I think I over-compensated for the ‘turn of fabric’ and this created a tension on the lower hem point – making the panel want to curl under when I wore it – SewIdiotLizzy. I has a bout of SewSwearyLizzyitis, calmed down and thought hard about it. The solution was to sew down the feature panel seams (through both the shell and lining, in the seam itself), thus anchoring the lining and shell together – killing the tension between the waistline and hemline. If you find this happens – this fix worked for me.

Manhatten 8

I did find the inner ‘corner/point’ where the two jagged panels meet, really fiddly to get neat, I’ve found that with all points in all types of sewing I’ve done – the fabric choice didn’t help either. Let’s just say my iron got a workout and all’s well that ends well.

I used an invisible zip instead of the exposed zipper which is suggested for this skirt version. I did take a wedge out of the centre back, which is a common adjustment for me, as well as a slightly wider seam allowance down the centre back seam.

I’d like to try this in a different fabric… because I’m just curious about the pattern and how else I could play with it. This version uses between 70cm or 1m of fabric (depending on fabric width) and the other version uses between 70cm or 1.4m – this is a great stash buster or for those fabulous pieces you find in high-end fabric store remanent bins.


I don’t know what I was thinking giving this fabric a second chance… I’m often guilty of that with people. I complained about it with the Jamie Jeans – but I still opted to use the final piece to make up this skirt… mainly because inspiration hit, I had the topstitching thread so away I went.

Inspiration can be beguiling and terrible mistress. Too often I let her lead me into all sorts of wicked but very interesting places!

This fabric simply doesn’t soften with washing. Maybe I should let the dog sleep on it for a month or so (I’m joking). Personally I would not use this denim as a garment fabric again. I simply don’t like how it moves with the body – or rather it doesn’t. I dislike how the light hits it as it creases.

see - this skirt fits really well but the stupid fabric just does horrid stuff when you move. It's not 'very agreeable' regardless of how cool it looks.

see – this skirt fits really well but the stupid fabric just does horrid stuff when you move and how it sits over my ‘junk trunk’ and hips. The fabric is not ‘very agreeable’ regardless of how cool it looks.

You live and learn – sometimes you hit the sweet spot and that when the magic happens.


The gorgeous Sally from Capital Chic Patterns!

The gorgeous Sally from Capital Chic Patterns!

I’ve always been fascinated by Sally’s blog Charity Shop Chic. She manages to transform the most hideous charity shop finds into gorgeous and wearable clothing.  She re-engineers and re-imagines clothes. I love that talent. It’s quite compelling.

Now she’s got her very own pattern line… so who is Sally?

Who taught you to sew and how old were you?
My mum taught me how to use a sewing machine as a little girl, but it wasn’t until I went to university and wanted to make my own dresses (that were long enough for my rather tall frame) that I really took it up again as a serious hobby. After university I sewed on-and-off, but became increasingly interested in fashion and building my own unique wardrobe. That’s when I hit upon the idea of combining my love of unusual fabrics, charity shopping and sewing in the form of a blog.

Many people learn to sew, for a few of us it becomes far more than a life skill, it becomes an obsession – what got you hooked?
I have to say it was when I started the blog that I really became obsessed. The online sewing and refashioning communities are so supportive and once you start to get a following, it’s really addictive to keep making new things to show off!

How often do you sew?
As often as I can! It can be as much as three evenings a week and at weekends too. I also reserve a lot of time for charity shopping, of course! Moving forward, I’m anticipating having to spend a lot more time on drafting and product testing for the new business, but am hoping to set aside time for plenty of refashioning fun too.

Given your fame as a charity shop chick, I’ve always wondered what sort of sewing machine do you use?
I have one of the cheapest machines Argos sells – Brother XL-2620. It’s just a cheap plastic machine but I am very attached to it, it’s been an absolute workhorse over the years. I also have a Brother 3034D overlocker which I am very pleased with.

Most people have a favourite type of garment that they find irresistible to sew, whether it’s dresses, blouses, pants, skirts, jackets – what’s your sewing weakness?
Like most people, I think it’s dresses. I love to look put-together and a good dress is the basis for a whole outfit – no wondering about matching separates. My wardrobe contains a lot of RTW jackets and some trousers I have worn to death too, but I haven’t as much enthusiasm for taking on this type of sewing project, for some reason…

Your blog has always fascinated me – your ability to turn shocking charity shop garments into masterpieces is really second to none – what drives this passion? Is it the sheer challenge, life experiences, economics, ethics?
You might be surprised to learn that it’s mostly for fun! Just something I love doing, for the pleasure of being creative. There’s an aspect of “just for the sheer challenge of it”, as well… I love to challenge myself and improve my sewing and drafting in the process. Things like recycling, being thrifty and supporting charities also matter to me, but these factors are a little more in the background. My primary motive is to make great-fitting, interesting clothes that no-one else has, so I can feel great and have fun wearing them.

Pattern drafting makes my brain ache, I’ve always got a billion ideas buzzing about in my head and I’m been rather too terrified to teach myself and make them a reality. I can’t even imagine drafting multiple sizes LOL. Have you been formally trained in pattern drafting and design?
I’ve taught myself how to draft and grade and spent a lot of time practicing over the last few years. Let’s just say I have a LOT of books on the subject! My background is actually engineering, so the maths side of pattern making really appealed to me and I have loved learning all about it. I’d encourage anyone with an interest in sewing to study pattern design – once you understand the basics, it opens up so many possibilities…

With so many bloggers out there releasing patterns, how do you see Capital Chic Patterns fitting into the marketplace – what’s your point of difference?
Well, it seems at the moment like there are a lot more indie pattern companies making vintage style and vintage-inspired patterns than those designing contemporary looks that play to today’s fashion trends. I’m aiming to balance that out a little. My style is also on the ‘smart’ side, which is a little unusual – the patterns are intended for office and cocktail wear, but the collection is versatile enough to take you from a coffee date to a summer wedding or the office Christmas party. Also, the patterns are aimed at intermediate to advanced sewers, contrasting with the large variety of beginner-friendly patterns out there. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that there is a lot of choice out there for beginners. But what happens when you want to progress and start working on your skills as a sewist? If you continue making beginner-rated patterns, you’ll never improve. Personally I always aspire to sew better and take on more and more challenging projects, and I hope others feel the same way I do!


Yes it’s SewBusy Giveaway Central at the moment…

Pop over to the Capital Chic website, check out the new pattern range… and when you decide what you like best… come back here… fill in this online form (Sorry entries have now closed)… I’ve decided to let you nominate your favourites and if you win… you can decide which one you would like to win… that always takes me AGES! So you have a grace period 🙂

Giveaway closes on Friday 15 August 2014 and winner will be chosen by random number generator and notified via email.

Not sewing but…. BOOTS…

I have a massive weakness for boots. I just love, love, love them. It’s one of the best things about winter (and the awesome winter coats, scarves and other fun accessories). 

Duo Avani Boots

Duo Avani Boots – this is love… snug fit, stacked block heels, soft leather… it’s ridiculous how much I like these.

… I’m just showing off my new boots… my perfect, perfect boots… shipped from Duo in the UK, made in Portugal, these exquisite creatures (called Avani) come not just in shoe size but calf width too. Worth every penny, shipping is free to Australia… and if you are a non-VAT country it also comes off during the check-out process.

Yes, a complete indulgence (hey my oven died and for some reason the best cure I could think of was these boots – note: the oven is still broken). They are a perfect fit and we all know how impossible it can be to get long boots to fit our various shaped pins. These are my answer (and yes I paid for these – I’m just sharing because I love them).

Pattern: Manhattan Skirt, Capital Chic Patterns
Fabric: Sparkly denim from Spotlight (yukko)
Boots: Avani, Duo Boots
Top & accessories: courtesy of the Sew Busy Lizzy wardrobe department.

Don’t forget the giveaway!

Also see: Sew Amy Sew – she’s made this skirt and the White Russian top. She’s also hosting a Repurpose, Reuse, Refashion challenge this month.


Mood Sewing Network – a Mini debut

*faints* *gasps* *giggles* *runs outside in pjs to read email to husband*

That was my reaction to receiving an email from the revered fabric kingdom Mood Fabrics NYC expressing an interest in little old me, Sew Busy Lizzy in far-flung Australia joining the Mood Sewing Network.

My first outing as a Mood Sewing Network blogger

My first outing as a Mood Sewing Network blogger

So many bloggers I have followed and admired since I started blogging are part of this network – the skill, personality and individual style of this crew is quite fabulous. In fact since I started sewing I’ve become so enamoured of Mood Fabrics it was already on my travel plans for 2014! Yes I will be in NY in October – I can’t wait!

I can’t tell you how I agonised over my first Mood make. I felt I needed to be fancy, couture… then a sewing friend said that perhaps I was asked because I had a distinctive style, perhaps Mood just wanted me to be ‘me’. Suddenly it all became easy.

It’s so easy to become swallowed up by what you might imagine other people expect of you. Defined by your own expectations. Trying to be the best version of yourself – which too often is framed by what you imagine others expect.

At the end of the day?

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” (quote often attributed to Oscar Wilde)

Mood has so many fabulous fabrics… the range feels endless. Fabulous fabrics destined to be ‘fashion’ makes ­- fabulous individual creations, the very reason why we love to sew. I really wanted my first Mood make to be ‘me’… in extraordinary fabric (of course – this is Mood Fabric after all)… something I couldn’t obtain elsewhere…

So denim it was (I have suffered from a lifelong denim affliction – I strongly believe there is no such thing as too much denim in a wardrobe, jackets, jeans, vests, skirts, shorts, capris, dresses – just waiting for a medical term for this obsession. True, I don’t ‘do’ ‘double denim’… this girl has some standards).

Not just any denim but Italian denim… printed with a bronze damask design… I fell in love with this Italian Printed Denim. I love the slight grunge style of the print. It’s decadent but not quite perfect, it’s not gold but bronze.

Mood Fabrics Italian Printed Denim

Mood Fabrics: Italian Printed Denim

I’ve often read about how metallic denims lose their lustre or print in the wash… me being me decided to throw caution to the wind when preparing this fabric for sewing. I threw it in the washing machine on a ‘normal’ cycle, hung it up to dry… and guess what? The world didn’t end.

And then I sewed… a Grainline Studio Moss Mini Skirt. While some might argue that a simpler pattern might have sufficed and the construction details are hidden, I love the fact this fabric gives this simple yet classic fly-front skirt design a rockstar makeover.

Mood Sewing Network: Grainline Moss Mini Skirt in Italian Printed Denim

Mood Sewing Network: Grainline Moss Mini Skirt in Italian Printed Denim

I’ve found this pattern wants to sit low-slung on me – which delivers the look I was after and suits the grunge element of the design.

Lovely design details... front slant pockets, top stitching, fly front and more - I would even been fooled into thinking it was RTW!

Lovely design details… front slant pockets, top stitching, fly front and more – I would even been fooled into thinking it was RTW!


OK. Yes. Rather proud of this pattern matching. #sorrynotsorry

OK. Yes. Rather proud of this pattern matching – yes there is a vertical seam running down my centre back. #sorrynotsorry for showing off.

Just a few tips when sewing with this fabric… a part of the selvedge is not printed – so I decided to trace around the pattern pieces with tailor’s chalk on the right side to avoid running pieces onto the non-printed section (you can just see later on what happened when I didn’t do this with the inside waistband). I’m that girl who is guilty of squeezing every inch out of her fabric. So I traced each piece carefully. While it takes a little longer it’s easier to pattern match and you will make the most of your yardage.

Going crazy with chalk.

Going crazy with chalk.

This fabric did not bother my Bernina sewing machine at all and I used a denim needle. Likewise my Brother overlocker had no issue with the fabric. While the drape is stiff, the fabric itself is not overwhelmingly heavy.

I did quite a bit of top stitching which finishes the skirt beautifully by holding down the seam allowances and adding a professional finish. Fabric that is this fabulous deserves a good finish. I’ve rather proud of its innards too – that’s what is so nice about being a sewing blogger – I can’t wear my makes inside out but I can show you guys!

Grainline Moss Mini Skirt - insides

The insides – because I can’t wear it inside out…

I couldn’t find a bronze button that perfectly matched (I’m a little bit OCD about some details) so I finished the waistband with a heavy black trouser hook & bar from my stash. I also chose to use a metal jeans zip from my stash as it adds to the ready-to-wear finish of the garment. If sewing a fly front freaks you out completely – I strongly recommended a few things:-

  1. Use Jen of Grainline Studio’s excellent fly front tutorial
  2. Get your hands on a RTW garment with a fly front and use it as a reference (and do yourself a favour and use a women’s garment as a man’s fly does up the other way)…
  3. and if you are terrified – try making a muslin first to gain some confidence.
Grainline Moss Mini Skirt

oh and I’m also not keen on unzipping my fly while the skirt is on – so here is the non-risqué version of the fly front

Funnily enough as I was hemming this garment a blog post from Grainline Studios popped up and guess what? It’s Moss Making Month over with Stephanie at Makes the Things and Sara at An Elemental Life – how’s that for coincidence – for once I’m running ahead of schedule. Unintentionally but I’m OK with that.

We are hitting autumn in my part of the world – it never gets truly cold in my beautiful seaside Port Macquarie, Australia. I’m often barefoot on the beach in winter and we never see a frost. Seriously. However the days are getting shorter and it was a race against sunset to take these pictures after work. I love how the fading evening light really brings out the amazing metallic print of this fabric. A little bit rockstar!

If I’m not looking my usual relaxed self – I was fretting about the fading light and my deadline… but I was also taking tips from the Posing Super Coach…


I know – heaven help me when she hits her teenage years. She’s going to be a whole lot of hilarious trouble.

Thank you Mood Fabrics… I’ve got a mini skirt my non-sewing friends are lusting after!

Still figuring out how to wear these boots... but I'm getting used to them

Still figuring out how to wear these boots… but I’m getting used to them

The good news… as I originally planned to make jeans… I think I’ve got enough for a fitted dress or a high waisted skirt… watch this space…

Fabric: Mood Fabrics: Italian Printed Denim
Pattern: Grainline Studio Moss Mini Skirt, size 4 (as suggested to me via Instagram by Unique Schmuck – thanks Oanh!)

Also See: Vogue 8330 skinny jeans by Kadiddlehopper I was so tempted to make jeans initially – but it would have been hard to top these amazing jeans…

Now there is a ton of awesome makes going on all the time over at the Mood Sewing Network – so get yourself over there now and put them in your blog reader…

Sunshine Sewaholic Gabriola – a mega yellow maxi skirt

I do love maxis. They can be such a statement piece without being overdressed. I particularly love them in strong solids – they pair beautifully with tanks, vests, jackets and accessories. I had been searching for the perfect pattern…

…then along came Gabriola by the ever-clever Tasia of Sewaholic.

While I struggle to wear yellow, I do adore it… and Gabriola screamed to be yellow. I just had a picture in my head of it paired with a white tank, denim and neutral-tone beads. And here’s what happened…

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt

The chevrons hip yokes and lower skirt panels do really beg to be seen. While they create a lovely shape even concealed with a patterned fabric, they do set this particular design apart in the world of maxi skirts. So why not show them off?

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt - side view and seam details

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt – side view and seam details


As I’ve earlier confessed, I’m not as tall as I appear in my blog (apparently the camera adds 10 pounds to some but it also adds 10 centimetres vertically to me). I love a maxi skirt to be MAXI. I like to wear them with heels (it’s actually unusual to see me without heels on – except at the beach of course).. However Gabriola is quite a lengthy affair. I ended up taking at least 2 to 3 inches off the length of this skirt. It was LOOOONNNNGG.

I made a size 2. The waistband is a little big but the overall fit is great. I know. I’m small and it’s just a stroke of genetic luck. I actually reluctant usually to blog what sizes I make. There are a few bloggers out there that make narky comments about people like me – but like being green – it’s not always easy being small either. People say nasty stuff both in the virtual and real world – because apparently I’m 10kgs lighter if you remove my thick skin. Anyways, such is life.

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt

A really lovely casual skirt. I think I could wear this anywhere.

Gabriola is a most agreeable lass and is not tricky to construct. Perhaps the front seam which pivots where the front skirt joins the yoke might be difficult for newbies but it’s OK if you are patient.

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt

Seam detail – I love how the skirt falls. So pretty.

I did French seam all my seams – with the exception of the front seam where the skirt joins the yoke and the back seam (which I roll hemmed the edges of). I used French seams as I decided the fabric would clearly show all the seam allowances so I wanted them to be consistent and neat. I also managed to get all my seams to meet – which made me feel most chuffed!

I simply overlocked the hemline, turned it over twice and machine stitched it in place.

I do find the waistband sits away from my waist a little – which I suspect is caused by the fact it is drafted as a straight waistband rather than a curved one? I also found the waistband could do with being a little longer as the overlap is quite small. I’m planning to run the zipper up through the waistband next time. Most of my RTW maxis are finished this way and I think it is neater than a button or hook/eye fastener.

I used an invisible zipper. I put in a normal zipper but felt it looked messy. I couldn’t find a yellow invisible zipper so I used a white one… fortunately it actually is invisible so it doesn’t matter too much. I don’t plan to get undressed in public so my secret is safe.

Sewaholic Gabriola Skirt - back view.

Back view. I know it’s long but I like them to sweep the floor and I’m on an uneven pathway – I’m a beach bum like that.

It’s just a plain rayon, nothing fancy. I had a vision of a yellow skirt in my head for some time and this just seemed the perfect opportunity to make that a reality. The fabric is a lovely colour but it does crease with wear – which I hate – and it would be much better lined. I think it would be lovely as a lined skirt in a soft floaty solid voile. This one gets rather saucy in strong sunlight…

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt

hello – I think I’m on fire!

I’ve made this as a muslin for my next version (think silk charmeuse – did I just hear you moan in anticipation?).

Did you notice something else? I’ve got SHOES on! During the course of this week I found a word to describe me – Nelipot one who walks without shoes; one who goes barefoot“. I shall wear that description as a badge of pride!

And while it’s a little clingy – I love the movement in this picture. Experience the full swish of Gabriola…

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt

Gabriola – she likes to make a sweeping entrance!

And if you need another excuse to try this gorgeous pattern – why not enter the Sew Dramatic, Sew Gabriola” Competition at Stitch 56! You can win a $100 voucher and buy more patterns!

Pattern: Sewaholic Gabriola. Purchased from Stitch 56.
Fabric: Yellow rayon from Spotlight

Also see: Cirque Du Babe | Lilacs & Lace

And yes, I’m also not at the beach – I’m on a pathway behind my house… koalas live here…

Lots and lots of very big trees!

Lots and lots of very big trees!