Here is something I actually made IN September (yesterday). A casual skirt.
Even, I would say, part of a slouchy weekend outfit. Here I am slouching. Okay, not super-casual, I realise, but to me it’s a good effort! Mike laughs at me because casual is not something I do very well.
But wait! You may correctly see that this fabric and style are closely reminiscent of this skirt featured here before. That’s because yes, it is the same fabric and pattern – I just made nearly the same skirt a second time. After making the first version of this pattern, I had enough of the fabric fabric left over for a shorter skirt. Now, I didn’t initially plan to use the same pattern! I had simply noticed that I kept really liking the sweater plus short skirt and boots combination that you often see these days, for example some of the outfits here, such as the one below.
I then started noticing little gathered denim/chambray skirts in places like J. Crew, and took note because my fabric was denim. That type of gathered skirt is very easy to make, and so appealed to me for that reason, but honestly, I’m quite doubtful whether it is ever easy to make it look good on the average person because of the gathers over the waist and hips.
So I thought – what I really wanted was a style that fit slimly at the waist (to avoid icky bulk) but flared at the hem. And I thought – the pattern I already made had just all those features. Why reinvent the wheel? So I used the same pattern.
This time, I shortened it, which was a necessity anyway because of limited fabric, but also I think makes a skirt of this shape easier to wear with a more bulky sweater without looking frumpy. It may not look extreme, but for me this is a short skirt! I.e. it completely clears my knee. I also added some elastic to the back waistband, which really doesn’t show in the wearing, but gives just a little comfy room. And, finally, I moved and redesigned the pockets. They are curved, like the pockets on jeans, and sit lower.
Would you like a look into how I plan a sewing design?
First of all, I’ve already said that I look around to see what’s available in stores. I actually went to TK Maxx this time and tried on a few skirts in this sort of length. I also Googled for images of styles that were similar, to see how they looked on others, what design features they had, and how they typically went into outfits. Some of this research was what ultimately made me decide against a gathered skirt. I really enjoy this part of planning – it’s like shopping without spending money!
One thing I often do is take a garment I already own and try it on in the way I hope to wear the new piece, styling it with the shoes and other clothes I envision going with it, and using pins to adjust style and length to get an idea how the future garment might look. That’s what I did this time, too.
So you can see here how I’ve taken the denim skirt I already made, pinned it up shorter, worn it with boots and sweater, and used pins to outline where the pockets should go. I then used my pinned mock-up to help get the measurements right for the new pattern.
Funnily, in drafting a pattern it can be the style features that are hardest to place – i.e. the features not related to the fit, but things like the placement of pockets. That’s why I find the mock-up, using an existing piece of clothing, so helpful. This time, I decided the location of the pockets in relation to where my pullover jumpers tend to hit – I wanted the pockets to be low enough to be visible when wearing an average sweater. And I think it came out just right.
Now, I have just made two skirts from the same pattern and the same fabric. I don’t know – but I really think that the simple change in length and different pocket placement makes them rather different.