Completed: The Gabriola Maxi Skirt

28 Apr

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!

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

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!!!

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

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.

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

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.

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

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 πŸ™‚ 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.

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

I also french-seamed every single one of those long skirt panels. Again – this is the skirt that took forever. Again – totally worth it.

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

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.

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

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.

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

GOD, I love it!

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

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!

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

The invisible zip went in flawlessly.

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

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!

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

Here she is in all her glory πŸ™‚

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

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! πŸ˜€ 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 πŸ™‚ You can get all the info and RSVP here!


60 Responses to “Completed: The Gabriola Maxi Skirt”

  1. Leslie April 28, 2014 at 8:12 am #

    I like that skirt! I do, I do, I do!!

  2. Suzanne Beaubien April 28, 2014 at 8:36 am #

    I’m short too and I am *almost* convinced I should make this maxi now after seeing yours. So lovely with the dotted fabric.

    • LLADYBIRD April 29, 2014 at 6:16 am #

      You should do it! Maxi skirts for everyone! πŸ˜€

  3. Jenny Rushmore April 28, 2014 at 8:36 am #

    Looking gorgeous! The Gabriola is totally in my sewing queue and whispering softly to me at night….

    If you love maxis, you should also try making the new Colette Moneta into a maxi – I did it last week and it’s the perfect pattern hack!

    • LLADYBIRD April 29, 2014 at 6:17 am #

      So pretty! I LOVE that fabric!!

  4. Paige @ Lux Per Diem April 28, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    I like the print and the styling you’re doing much more than on sewaholic. When I saw the pattern when it first came out I was kind of “meh” about it, but I’m digging it here.

  5. ksgentry April 28, 2014 at 9:00 am #

    Both of my daughters are short and they swear they can’t wear maxi anything but I am going to show them your post! It looks great on you. Love it!

  6. oonaballoona April 28, 2014 at 9:09 am #

    YUM YUM YUM!!! yay for shorties in maxis!

    girl my gabriola is in pieces on my ironing board and i can’t WAIT to put her back together. i say “back” because i sewed every single yoke piece on wrong. twice. that’s what you get for sewing on benadryl.

  7. jessica April 28, 2014 at 9:10 am #

    Your skirt is so lovely! And I totally disagree with the entire premise of “long skirts make you look shorter.” Long skirts actually make me feel quite elegant, not short. I hope yours makes you feel as lovely and elegant as it looks. πŸ™‚

  8. nycbookwriter April 28, 2014 at 9:19 am #

    Love. Mine . . . my parents came to town, so mine is one que for this week. πŸ˜‰ I’m dying to make it, as maxis are like pajamas for the day.

    • LLADYBIRD April 29, 2014 at 6:19 am #

      Pajamas is a good way of putting it. They are soo comfy, love maxis!

  9. annekecaramin April 28, 2014 at 9:20 am #

    Lovely! I’m not exactly tall either, and in my opinion maxi skirts or dresses can make me look taller instead of shorter… But maybe that’s just because of how grand and majestic they make me feel.

    • Roisin Muldoon May 2, 2014 at 8:17 am #

      I totally agree that maxi dresses/skirts can make us shortarses appear taller, more regal and generally just more awesome. Lauren, this skirt is really beautiful and you look an absolute treat in it.

  10. Kasi April 28, 2014 at 9:25 am #

    I love maxi skirts and yours looks incredible!

  11. Zoe May April 28, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    Ahh it’s wonderful and I want one!
    I may be in denial, but maxi skirts actually make me feel taller.
    Either way, who cares, it looks amazing on you! πŸ˜€

  12. Suzanne April 28, 2014 at 10:09 am #

    I want one too! But I wonder if it would be useful to draft a lining piece that doesn’t have all that piecing in it since its not going to show. So if you plan to keep making the pattern it might be a time saver.

    • LLADYBIRD April 29, 2014 at 6:21 am #

      Possibly, but I worry that a one-piece lining might be too bulky under all the piecing (it’s pretty close-fitting with all that bias). I actually don’t mind putting the pieces together; it’s like a little sewing puzzle πŸ™‚

  13. The HooDoo Honey April 28, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Short girls UNITE!!!!!

    • LLADYBIRD April 29, 2014 at 6:21 am #


    • scrubz1969 April 30, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

      Raises hand! I’m 5 ft 1 and wondered if a maxi dress would look good on me. Yours looks like it fits the bill. πŸ˜€

  14. Michelle April 28, 2014 at 10:23 am #

    As a fellow shorty, I think we can rock the maxi skirt just as well as anybody else. Actually, I have a couple maxi dresses that make me feel really tall. Great work on the skirt!

  15. M. Powers April 28, 2014 at 10:26 am #

    Omg it’s the perfect maxi skirt! I too hate the jersey tubes. Thanks for mentioning the work room social! I don’t like venturing into Manhattan on weekends either (haha, sheer laziness) but I don’t mind going as far as 2nd ave — sounds like fun!

    • LLADYBIRD April 29, 2014 at 6:22 am #

      You should totally go! And then report back to me on how it was, so I can live vicariously/jealously through you πŸ˜‰

  16. Carla Fiedler April 28, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    Nice job! Looks great on you, and I agree with your choice of French seams on the silky fabric. You’ll be happy you did them that way!

  17. Danica April 28, 2014 at 10:59 am #

    Yes, short girls unite, indeed. It looks so good on you. The lining is so nicely done.

  18. zilredloh April 28, 2014 at 11:13 am #

    Oh yes! I saw a sneak peek on instagram and have been waiting to read all about your maxi skirt. I think I may need one of these too now. Can I just be the wierd one to say… I love maxi’s in the summer since it means I can get by one more day without shaving. heh The polkadots are the best – so fun and versatile.

    • LLADYBIRD April 29, 2014 at 6:23 am #

      Hahahahaha I was the same way… until I realized I dgaf and will leave the house with unshaved legs, maxi or mini! So who’s the weird one now? πŸ˜‰ lol

  19. B & the Moon April 28, 2014 at 11:16 am #

    Yay for swishy polka dots!

  20. maddie April 28, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    Ah! I just finished mine as well and photographed it yesterday. I chose a cotton brocade and even though some of the panel pieces are cut on the straight, I will block fuse them on my next make. I just felt that this portion needed some stabilization.

  21. Amy April 28, 2014 at 11:59 am #

    Disgustingly gorgeous :-p Well done on wrangling that silk!

  22. Anne April 28, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

    I feel your pain about trying to sew China silk! I have heard that gelatin helps a lot and it washes out easier than starch.

    • LLADYBIRD April 29, 2014 at 6:26 am #

      I’ve heard about tips like that, and while I’m interested to try them, I also would just really like to get better at handling slippery fabrics in general (without the use of a third party to help). Kinda weird, ha πŸ™‚

  23. gingermakes April 28, 2014 at 12:26 pm #

    This is soooooo you! Fantastic! Wish you could come to the Workroom Social festivities. 😦

    • LLADYBIRD April 29, 2014 at 6:26 am #

      Me toooooooo 😦 Maybe next time??

  24. weefrills April 28, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    Looks great! Love the dots.

  25. Suzie April 28, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

    It looks great! I had the pattern in the mail yesterday πŸ™‚ When I have fabrics like this, I always pin them together with a strip of tissue paper. After stitching you can just rip the paper off and have a perfekt seam without the fabric trying to get away from the machine!

  26. tworandomwords April 28, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

    Damn for horrible-to-sew fabrics that wear beautifully. And stuff the “rules”, I agree that I don’t think a midi- or mini- skirt is going to make someone obviously taller. This looks great – I made a trial in a grotty fabric that got balled up in the trash, I need to find some fabric (that isn’t $20/m) that will work well for this dress

    • LLADYBIRD April 29, 2014 at 6:28 am #

      Yeah, the yardage requirements are the painful part about this pattern. Totally worth it – but woof at getting sticker shock at the register ahaha

  27. Lady Stitcher April 28, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

    Gorgeous Gabriola!! All the fabric struggles were definitely worth it πŸ™‚ I have only one maxi skirt in my life and I love it – I wear it in all seasons with different tops or wooly jumpers. Must try this pattern!

  28. countrycouponlady April 28, 2014 at 10:07 pm #

    Really darling! I am very short myself 5′ and have never worn a maxi, but have wanted to badly. I agree that most of the maxi’s are unflattering tubes, so I looked seeing the yoke detailing. Great job!

  29. thesimpleseamstress April 28, 2014 at 11:53 pm #

    As someone who is seriously 5 ft tall and also loves maxi skirts I applaud this make! Absolutely STUNNING! This is the most beautiful Maxi I ever did see! No joke!

  30. Kim Haber April 29, 2014 at 10:15 am #

    Lauren, I have been lurking on your site for over a year. I have to just tell you that you are my favorite sewing blogger that I follow. Keep them coming.

  31. symondezyn April 29, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    I support the wearing of maxi skirts/dresses by EVERYONE!!! I think they’re totally the shiz, and can be classy and casual all at once – who doesn’t love that??

    Ach, don’t you HATE trying to press poly?? It’s hair-rippingly maddening – I’ll take a shifty silk that presses well over that any day! haha!

  32. Tasia April 29, 2014 at 11:08 am #

    Gorgeous! The swish photos are the best. Yes, who made up the rule that only tall people should wear long skirts? How limiting. You look fantastic!

  33. Lorna April 29, 2014 at 12:26 pm #

    You look great. I love this pattern, but being a chubby-waisted apple I think I’d look terrible in it, so I’ll settle for vicarious wearing. I think the old rule that shorties shouldn’t wear maxis is total crapola – you’ve def disproved it, your Gabriola is lovely.

  34. sewsleepy April 29, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

    I’m 5’2 so wasn’t going to make this. but i have always loved floor skimming maxis – after seeing yours I will be definitely making this one

  35. thenerdyseamstress April 30, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    I love this. It looks really nice on you! I love your fabric as I’m a big polka dot fan. I’m short too, and I’ve been wanting to make a maxi skirt. I have this pattern and the reason why I haven’t made it is because it uses a lot of fabric!

  36. Birgit May 4, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

    I love it! Great fabric choice!

  37. missjoiedevivre May 4, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

    Ooh, so beautiful! I have a couple of swirly wrap skirts and there’s something about fabric swishing around your ankles that is just so perfectly summer. Enjoy the skirt and warmth!

  38. Laura August 28, 2015 at 8:42 am #

    Your skirt is gorgeous! I am aspiring to make a Gabriola that is equally swishy and your tips on the lining construction have been really helpful. Did you stabilize you zipper at all? Thanks!

    • LLADYBIRD August 28, 2015 at 8:45 am #

      I just had to recheck the skirt because I honestly could not remember (it’s been a long time since I made it!) but it looks like I did not stabilize the zipper, just sewed it in the fabric as-is.

      • Laura August 28, 2015 at 9:26 am #

        Awesome, thank you! Ha, ya it is a bit of a throwback.


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