Sunday, 17 March 2013

Picnic Blanket Skirt Problems

Although I've been itching to get on with garment sewing, and have quite a few projects planned, wedding prep is taking priority for the next few weeks, so I haven't got much time for selfish sewing. I did, however, manage to finish a picnic blanket skirt. I don't have any photos of me wearing it just yet, just this one, badly taken, shot of it hanging up.

As much as I love the style of this skirt, and was eager to finish and wear it, I have to admit, I'm not in love with it. I chose a dark checked cotton from Ditto fabrics simply because I prefer dark colours on my lower half. It's beautifully light and soft enough to be comfortable in spring and summer, but paired with my trusty Pretty Polly thermals and boots, it can do double duty as a wool look skirt in winter. So far, so good.

But it's not perfect. First, the fit is a bit off. I used the ever fabulous Tilly's guidelines for self drafting the very easy pattern for the skirt. And while I carefully cut everything so as the lines of the checks would be even all the way around (therefore making it a snap to hem, in theory) in reality, as is so often the case with me, there was a mishap, and the fabric slipped while I cut it when it was folded. So no nice symmetry. I can live with that though. The waistband is a bit loose too. I think I placed the waistband button incorrectly. It's too far to the left (as we look at it in the photo) and it's causing some unpleasant gaping between the next button down. I'm hoping moving the button will fix it, and also make it feel more snug on.

I've worn this skirt out, though on that particular day we were running rather late and I ended up shoving my bare legs into black ankle boots on my way out the door. Not my best look. Maybe that contributes to me not quite feeling the skirt. The other thing is, that while this type of skirt, with a fitted waist and loose around the hips, is my go to style, there's something about this skirt (and, for that matter, Sewaholic's crescent skirt) that just isn't working for me. The Hollyburn skirt works so well though, and is similarly fit only in the waist. I think the difference is the gathers, which do nothing for my Kardashian proportioned rear and make me look as though I'm wearing a bustle. The guidelines for making the skirt actually allow you to increase or decrease the amount of volume, but I went with what worked for Tilly, and effectively, the skirt is twice my hip measurement, which I'm learning is too much for my build. I think the combinations of nipped in waist and generous gathers exaggerates my hips and bum more than I'd like

I'll hopefully get a few photos of me in the skirt soon, and you can give me your opinion. I hope fixing the waist and styling it more carefully will help allay my misgivings, because I do love the fabric and the style. I was planning to make it again, in black broderie anglaise with red buttons. Next time though, I may only make it 1.5 times my waist, if not less.

I'm reluctant to talk about the cost of this skirt, since it may end up not working. I suppose though, if I'm still not feeling it, it would be simple enough to remove some of the volume.

Pattern: free!
Fabric: £15 in total.
Buttons: £1.60
Thread & interfacing: stash
Total: £16.60

I'm hapy with the cost here, as it could be a very wearable skirt. And if nothing else, it has taught me once and for all that waist gathers are not my friend!


  1. Waist gathers are not my friend either! I'm Ok with a very drapey fabric without much volume, but your fabric has a lot more body to it and so would stick out a lot. Your fabric and button choice make it such a wearable piece though, so do perservere - style with longer jackets and jumpers that will give you the waist and gentle hip slope!
    But it does sound like you've learnt a lot from this make - and that is always a good thing!

    1. Good idea about the longer jackets! I'm hoping to knit a long boyfriend style cardi soon which might be just the thing!

  2. I had gaping between top and second button too so I ended up putting a little metal popper there to keep things together.

    1. I was thinking of using a hook and eye to solve the problem, but a popper sounds like a better idea. Glad to know I'm not the only one who had this problem!

  3. I used to love skirts with buttons down the front will be interesting seeing it on . xx

    1. Steve likes it on, but then he doesn't mind the cartoonish exaggeration between waist and hips. Maybe I'll get some photos today.