Completed: Two Colette Mabels

8 Oct

I totally skipped all the hullabaloo that came out when the Colette Patterns Mabel skirt was released – but that’s ok! I’m here now, reporting for duty!

Colette Mabel & Sewaholic Renfrew

I actually made two – just to be safe!

Colette Mabel & Grainline Archer

Let’s start with a basic Mabel lowdown. I made the grey version first, out of some leftover ponte knit that I used to make a pair of Ooh La Leggings (not pictured – because neither photographed nor blogged, but they are basically the same thing as these black ponte leggings except, you know, grey). I actually have no idea why I bothered saving that little piece of fabric, because it was about half a yard and thus not enough to do anything with – and the ponte is pretty thick, which means it wouldn’t work for something like, say, colorblocking a tshirt (which can be a good use of leftover knit scraps, if you tend to get hoardy like I do). Anyway, it’s a good thing I did, because I had exactly enough to make a little Mabel mini! Yay! I love it when these things work out!

Colette Mabel & Grainline Archer

Colette Mabel & Grainline Archer

Mabel Mini 1 is view A, size XS. I sewed the pattern exactly as per the directions, except I opted to understitch the waistband lining (I used my machine’s lightning bolt stitch – kind of like a very short zig zag stitch), to keep it from sticking out. The seams of the skirt were sewn on my serger, and the hem is done with a twin needle. From cutting, to sewing, to hemming – this entire thing took… I dunno, maybe 30 minutes? It was VERY fast.

I didn’t really use the instructions – I mean, it’s a knit skirt, it doesn’t need much introduction – but they looked to be pretty good, based on my glance over. Like the Moneta pattern, they include lots of tips and info on how to sew knits with a regular machine, which is always nice. The only thing I did not like about this pattern was taping it together (I have the PDF). Holy shit, talk about too many pages! My disdain for PDFs is no secret (I get why other people like/need them… no defense necessary 🙂 But for me? Nope, no way! Can’t do it!), so maybe I’m biased – but this one seemed to be unnecessarily large & unwieldy. My advice: get the paper pattern. Ha!

Colette Mabel & Sewaholic Renfrew

Anyway, speedy instaskirt is the reason why I obviously needed to jump right into Mabel Mini 2 immediately after 😛

Colette Mabel & Sewaholic Renfrew

I made a couple very minor changes for this one – I took in the center back and side seams by about 3/8″ (in retrospect, I should have taken in more, because it’s still a little loose around the waist and thus rides down farther than I want the rise to sit), as well as the waistband by the same amount. I used the last of my black striped ponte from Mood Fabrics NYC store. Again – 30 minute skirt. Talk about fast fashion, amirite.

Colette Mabel
Colette Mabel
Colette Mabel

For both skirts, I used a lightweight black rayon jersey (the same jersey that my black tshirt is made out of, incidentally. That tshirt is a Renfrew, by the way!) to line the waistband. I considered using a self-lining – but decided the fabric was a smidge too bulky, so I went with a lighter weight lining, which ended up being a Good Decision.

Oh yeah! I made that plaid flannel button down too! SUP!

Grainline Archer

This was made using the Archer pattern. I actually finished it waaaay back in… March. Yep. I got it in my head that I needed to make a new plaid Archer to wear when I went to NY, so I nearly killed myself trying to finish the shirt in something crazy like 2 days. I did end up finishing it – and bringing it to NY to wear – and I learned two things about the experience:
1. My life did not suddenly become more fabulous because I had a new shirt to wear while on vacation; and
2. Pushing myself to the point of exhaustion to finish something for a self-imposed deadline is not fun at all. Seriously – it’s shitty, it makes me anxious for no reason, and I didn’t enjoy any part of sewing that shirt. Which is sad, because button downs are one of my favorite things to sew! I love how precise the stitching is, and all the little details that make it special. I unfortunately didn’t get to enjoy any of that because I was too rushed trying to hurry up and finish (when, realistically, I should have either started earlier, or accepted that I just wouldn’t finish before I left), and yeah, that’s just lame.

So, with that being said – no more unnecessary last-minute vacation sews with shitty deadlines! If I need clothing that quickly, I will buy it (lol jk I’LL NEVER BUY CLOTHES AGAIN)(ok, seriously, kidding with that last part… mostly.). So far, I’ve done a decent enough job of putting this into practice, so that’s good!

Grainline Archer

And, for what it’s worth – I do like the shirt. I could have done a better job with it – the topstitching is not my best, and the grain is all wonky because the plaid fabric was hideously off grain (like, to the point where I actually cut the entire shirt twice. Yes. I did that. And it’s still pretty bad) – but it is what it is. It’s snuggly, it’s warm, and I also just realized that I made it to match the leggings that I made with the rest of that grey ponte fabric hahaha omg my life is fabulous.

Grainline Archer

Anyway, I hope you liked my Archer story. Have some pearl snaps.

Grainline Archer

And a sleeve placket while we’re at it!

Ok, so here’s my dilemma – and I’m hoping y’all can help me. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO WEAR WITH THESE SKIRTS. I feel like everything I put on just gives me weird proportions! The tops I’m wearing here are ok, I guess, but that’s about the extent of what my closet can offer. Most of my other tops just look… weird? I think the biggest problem is the waist line- it kind of hits at a strange place:

Colette Mabel & Grainline Archer

See what I mean? It’s about right at my belly button – which isn’t quite high waisted, and not quite low waisted. I can’t tuck anything in – partially because it’s very lumpy under the ponte, and partially because the waistline hits at a sort of wide point on my body. Untucked, most stuff just looks sloppy or gives me that weird long-abdomen proportion that we just loved soo much in the early 00s (y’all know what I’m talking about!). So yeah, can’t figure that one out. Any suggestions? Should I stick with more fitted, cropped sweaters (such as what the model is wearing on the website)? HELP ME I CAN’T ADULT.

Colette Mabel & Sewaholic Renfrew

Anyway, let’s talk! Answer one or more of the following:
– What shirts should I be wearing with these skirts?
– Have you ever made yourself sick by rushing to complete a garment before going somewhere?
– What happened when you finished it? Did a unicorn grant you 3 wishes or did you just realize that life was still doing life things and dammit is it Monday already?
– Seriously, though, what should I wear with these skirts?

** Necessary disclaimer: I received the Colette Mabel skirt from Sarai of Colette patterns, gratis. No review was requested – but as always, all opinions are my own. All fabrics in this post were purchased by me 🙂 I do get a monthly Mood allowance, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t also spend plenty of my own money there! Just wanted to clear that up 🙂


90 Responses to “Completed: Two Colette Mabels”

  1. Chloe October 9, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

    The plaid + grey combo works well for me. I wear tube mini skirts like this with loose tops a lot (with converse), though I guess my style is more slouchy than girly. Knot front t-shirts, big batwing tops or boxy ones in loose drapey material would all be a goer in my mind. I literally only learnt to thread a sewing machine this week though, have no theoretical knowledge and have never used a pattern, but I made a (snakeskin jersey) skirt like this earlier in the week pretty much winging it by tracing round a similar one I own, plus a quite rough-round-the-edges black georgette long boxy tshirt. Works for me!

  2. jumliana October 9, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

    you see, every one of my thoughts is already expressed by so many other people, so I’ll just say this: I have been trying to learn to determine real and possible deadlines, and as much as I can, I try to draw a plan with a flexible deadline.
    I also made a mabel, I also have trouble wearing it, but I always prefer with a looser top. but my impression is we see it in ourselves and we feel weird, while others wear it so well.
    maybe it’s just a mis-understandment?
    honestly, I think you could wear anything anyhow, and still look fuckin cool. 🙂

  3. Kelly October 9, 2014 at 11:08 pm #

    I made a couple of Mabels and realized I don’t have a lot that goes with them either! When the Grainline sweatshirt pattern comes out I will make some slouchy sweatshirts and probably pair those with my Mabels, tights and boots. And I would love to do a t-shirt, Archer and big cardigan all layered with Mabel too. I always end up with a list of things I have to sew before a trip- I did an Archer once that way too, and it was miserable. I’m trying to stop, it’s a little crazy and always gets a good eye roll from the hubs 🙂

  4. Laura October 10, 2014 at 5:47 am #

    I just blogged about this! Rushing projects before holidays. Yours looks nice at least – mine ended up going to the charity shop.

    As for the skirts (I love the stripey one especially) I always wear them with baggy jumpers. Or sweaters or whatever you call them 😉

  5. JP October 11, 2014 at 9:16 am #

    Love the skirts and the shirt! I have a question about the shirt though. I’m about to try my first Archer and I love the way the pearl snaps look, but I’m a little scared to try them. Are they something that’s difficult to put in or are they pretty simple? Any helpful tips would be wonderful!

    • LLADYBIRD October 12, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

      Oh, they’re soooo easy! You just mark where you want them to go, and use a hammer to pound them in (there is also a tool that you can use, but I like using the hammer because I like being destructive hahah). A few things to keep in mind:
      – Buy enough so you have extras to practice – you dont’ want to hammer so hard that you shatter the pearl, so practice a couple before you make the real deal
      – Be mindful of very thick layers (such as at the collar stand), and try to trim as much as you can. The snaps won’t set if the layers are too thick.
      – Be aware of what side they go on – it’s opposite of buttons and button holes, since they snap. I made this mistake with my first pearl snap shirt – they’re on the “dude side.” Whoops! Not a big deal (it’s obviously still quite wearable), but just something to keep in mind 🙂

      • JP October 13, 2014 at 8:28 am #

        Thank you! That doesn’t sound to scary, lol! Can’t wait to try them 🙂

  6. Renee October 11, 2014 at 10:28 am #

    Great skirs. I used to have a grey RTW ponte skirt very similar to this and tended to wear it with a button up shirt and a cropped cardigan. I think the awwardness is the bumps you get from tucking anything in. I’m thinking that a nettie bodysuit would solve the bumps problem if you wanted the look of something tucked in.
    As for rushed vacation sewing, yes I have been there. I tried to make a swimsuit the night before a trip and ended up angry, wet and deflated standing on my porch at midnight. Not a good scene. I don’t think I’ve learned my lesson yet though as I tend to put things off to the last minute. Something to keep in mind though.

  7. missjoiedevivre November 6, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

    The skirts are really cute on you! But I have no idea what up style them with, in part because I never wear minis, even skirts above the knee I avoid. But I also know that imho you can pretty much wear anything and look a million bucks, and there’s heaps of good ideas in the comments, so I’m pretty confident that you’ll figure it out.

    Deadline sewing is the pits and I try to avoid it at all costs, but end up doing it at least once a year for my annual dance studio ball dress. Next year I’ll try to be more organised…


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