Guys. I love maxi skirts. Love love loveeee. I’ve always been told that short gals aren’t supposed to wear them, as it’s supposed to make us look shorter… but you know what? I’m short. The length of my skirt is not going to change the fact that plenty of people can use the top of my head as an armrest. I’m ok with being short, so I proudly wear my maxis.
Apart from the silk crepe de chine Anna maxi I made last year, though, there haven’t been a lot of maxis in my handmade radar these days. Which is a damn shame, considering how FUN they are to wear (speaking of that Anna maxi… I wore it to prom this year. Yes, you read that right.). There are a few sewing patterns lurking around, but most are either designed for knits or in the shape of a damn tube. So you can imagine that I was pretty excited when Sewaholic came out with a maxi skirt pattern. PRAISE JESUS, the maxi of my dreams!
I know I can always count on Tasia to dream up some classic pattern with a twist – and this one is no exception. Gabriola is designed with angled panels that sit closely at the waist and hip, flaring out to a dramatic skirt that hits the floor. No straight tube here! The pattern is pretty simple to construct, assuming you are using a stable woven fabric.
My particular rendition was not so simple. It took me a good two weeks to get this completed, and I considered punching a lot of things in the process. It was TOTALLY worth it, though – look at that floaty drape! Yeeeeahh!!!
I based this skirt off another maxi I owned and wore the shit out of for a good two years. The maxi in question was a vintage skirt I found at the thrift store (or, rather, Lauren found and generously let me have it before I ripped it out of her hands). I LOVED that skirt. It was silk georgette, lined in sheer polyester – it was so floaty and fun to wear, and it went with practically everything in my closet. Unfortunately, it doesn’t fit me anymore – and I had no intentions on trying to resize it to fit. I’d rather just give the skirt a new home and make another one! So that’s exactly what I did (and the skirt is quite happy in it’s new home, thanks for asking ;)).
I found this fabric while I was in NY… it’s one of the few pieces that I *didn’t* buy from Mood Fabrics, ha! It was from Fabrics For Less, and I paid $5 a yard for it. It’s polyester georgette, and quite sheer, so I also grabbed some navy china silk lining from my good pal Sam at Chic Fabrics.
Like I said, sewing this skirt up was a BEAST. I technically had to sew two, since it needed a lining. The polyester georgette was not difficult to sew – the crepe texture gave it some good grip, so it didn’t slide around much. It did fray like crazy, though, and it resisted pressing. I had to use high heat (my iron has a shoe, so poly can totally handle that shit) and hold the seams open with a clapper while they cooled. Even then, it doesn’t look completely pressed. Wah.
The china silk was the real hardass of this project. I’ve said before that sewing china silk handles about as well as sewing butterfly wings (or… so I’d imagine) and I 100% stand by that statement. That shit is sooo difficult! It’s thin, it’s lightweight, and it wants to go flying everywhere except under the presser foot at the seam allowance. On the flip side, it does press quite well 🙂 So, sewing the lining was rough. Not rough enough for me to swear off china silk forever – it is a great lightweight lining and it feels AMAZING – but hey, don’t make your first Gabriola out of china silk. Just don’t.
I also french-seamed every single one of those long skirt panels. Again – this is the skirt that took forever. Again – totally worth it.
As far as the rest of the construction – nothing groundbreaking here. I sewed the size 0 and cut about 5″ off the finished length. I did not french seam the yoke pieces; just pinked the edges and pressed them open – since the skirt is fully lined, you don’t see any raw edges. I guess I could have done that with the panel seams too, instead of essentially sewing them twice, but whatever. I finally got to bust out my sheer fusible interfacing for the waistband (I used black), and I love how it adds stability without a bunch of bulk. I swapped out the standard zipper for an invisible zip, and I closed the top with a hook and eye. It’s far from being my best make – the fabric shiftiness, combined with the polyester’s inability to press, makes for some wonky seaming on my part – but it’s pretty lovely nonetheless and I am totally happy with how it turned out.
I hemmed it a little on the short side, just so I can walk up stairs without tripping.
So… do you want to see the swish? YES YES YOU DO.
GOD, I love it!
Here you can better see the yoke detailing. Unfortunately, I can’t get rid of that weird wrinkle at the point – it’s not a pucker, the fabric is completely flat. It’s just wrinkled. No amount of steaming/clapping would get it out. You don’t notice it so much when I’m wearing the skirt, so that’s good!
The invisible zip went in flawlessly.
The instructions for this skirt do not include adding a lining. Here’s what I did for my lining:
– Sewed the lining the same as the skirt, minus the waistband
– After inserting the invisible zip into the skirt, I sewed the right side of the lining to the zipper tape (remember sewing down the facing in my invisible zip tutorial? Same thing, except no need to worry about turning the corner at the top since the waistband hasn’t been attached yet).
– Flip the whole thing right side out and baste the top of the lining to the top of the skirt
– Attach the waistband as usual
And voila! Fully lined with a clean finish and no hand sewing! Yay!
Here she is in all her glory 🙂
I’m so glad I was able to replace my beloved navy/white polka dot maxi skirt with something that actually fits now! Y’all will be seeing a LOT of this during Me-Made-May! Also, I am totally digging this pattern. Thinking about making a super trendy version with some silk georgette and a shorter lining. We’ll see!
Oh! One more thing before I forget-
Workroom Social is hosting a Pop-up studio in Manhattan May 2-4! There are 3 sewing workshops that will be running (hosted by some of my favorite NY ladies – Sonja, Oona and Fleur!), plus a sit-and-sew with Jennifer, plus a big ol’ sewing swap/meet and greet party (with proceeds going to Rational Animal).
It is my understanding that y’all in Manhattan don’t like to trek out to Brooklyn (and vice versa), so now you have no excuses – Brooklyn is coming to you! 😀 If you are in the area, you should definitely GO – because I’m already totally jealous and butthurt that I can’t be there too 🙂 You can get all the info and RSVP here!