Monday, February 2, 2009

Asymmetrical Folds Skirt: Pattern Review

Well, would you look at me? I FINALLY finished sewing another garment. This one was, for the most part, a piece of cake. I started the project over Christmas break when I had two weeks off from work, and I completed almost all of it on my own. However, the button holes proved tricky on my vintage machines and I had to wait and call in the assistance of the Alamo Stitchin' Post to put the finishing touches on it last weekend. But now this beauty is finished and ready for wearing. My parents are coming at the end of the month and I think I will take them out for a night on the town in this little green lovely. Don't forget to peak at the lining in the photos below.

Asymmetrical Folds Skirt: Pattern Review

Pattern Description:

The pattern comes from the inaugural issue of Stitch magazine, a new publication from Quilting Arts that is "A special issue devoted to the creative possibilities of sewing wearables, home d├ęcor, accessories, and gifts." The skirt is featured on the cover, and from page 39 in the magazine "Add a modern twist to the classic wrap skirt by working all the angles. Asymmetrical folds that button down the side, the shaped hem, and contrast lining guarantee you'll be a standout in any crowd."

In more descriptive words, the skirt is a take on the basic wrap with more decorative closure, including a four-buttons detail securing the outer wrap to the base of the skirt along the thigh. Each buttonhole is made near the edge of the skirt, through folds of doubled over fabric. Part of the lining thus shows with each fold, and the hem is raised asymmetrically into a gentle arc as a result of the doubling-up of layers on the edge. Think of the asymmetrical folds and buttons as large scale ruching, as they achieve a flattering gather and drape of fabric across the midsection.

Pattern Sizing:
The skirt comes in five sizes XS (26 3/4 inch waist) to XL (38 1/2 inch waist). I found the sizing to run very large, which almost never happens. I made a muslin and added several extra inches on each pattern piece to accommodate my wide waist (My own waist measurement is significantly greater than the pattern's XL). However I ended up taking off almost all of the additional inches to keep the seams in line with my hips and the wrap closure where it should on the outer thigh. I think the pattern runs very big. I recommend at least doing a rough guess tissue fitting to measure your size before you cut fabric.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing it?
Absolutely. Down to the last stitch.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
The skirt is simple, as were the instructions. The most difficult part of the instructions is tracing the skirt pattern from the enclosed multi-pattern insert. This was my first time tracing a pattern from a magazine insert, and holy moly, finding the appropriate markings on the insert felt like brain surgery.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Likes: I just love the drape and style of the skirt. The pretty Grecian-style drapes along the mid section camouflage a poochy, and the asymmetry creates a nice visual line down to the calf. The cut is flattering for all shapes and sizes. I like that the pattern was a piece of cake to cut and sew, with only three major elements plus facings. I lined my entire skirt in a rose print, rather than only adding facings, so I also love having the secret pleasure of a pretty lining peaking through. What fun!

I hated tracing the pattern from the magazine foldout, but luckily a simple A-line wrap uses very few pieces and is a simple shape. Even with the pain of tracing, I adore the fact that the pattern came with the magazine at such a responsible price, so I can't complain too much.

Fabric Used:
I strayed into synthetics for this project, something I almost never do, but I loved the color, pattern, and texture of my materials. The outside of the skirt is a deep green polyester velvet. The inside is a synthetic "silky" bold rose print that is less slippery than rayon or silk, but still very soft for a lining.

This was my first time working with either material, and the velvet proved challenging 1) because it slipped everywhere as I sewed, so I had to pin baste the heck out of it to keep a 1/2 seam allowance from slipping to a 1/16 seam allowance, 2) because it also made a very thick base for buttonholes when doubled over in the folds (see closeup photo). I actually had to take my skirt to a local shop to have the buttonholes made on a brand new Husqvarna Viking machine. Even then it took several hours of practice to find a machine that could stitch through the thick, slippery folds. Nonetheless, I have been craving a velvet skirt and I am pleased with the final product.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
An important heads up – the pattern pieces for the skirt facing and interfacing are shorter than the actual skirt, but they should be the same. Make sure you measure and make adjustments before cutting out the facing pieces. A formal correction is available on the Stitch website at

With that said, I lined the entire skirt rather than only lining the facing area. I liked the rose print silky fabric so much, and wanted to keep the entire skirt very formal. Velvet and synthetic "silk" have so much drape that I feared the lining would flop about if not anchored to the entire skirt, so I opted for full lining. Plus, it is just so lavish and fun to have a skirt with an inside that looks as beautiful as the outside. Now I don't mind if my wrap flies up a bit or slides apart a bit as I walk or sit, in fact I welcome a bit of the lining to show more!

As mentioned in the sizing section, I also attempted to size up the skirt to meet my measurements by adding a few inches to each piece, but found it too big, so I sized back down to the XL as designed. The XL ended up fitting perfectly.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, and I had better sew it again. I spent at least five hours tracing the pattern from the magazine insert, resizing, adjusting, sewing the muslin, and retracing the final pattern. The actual skirt only took about an hour and a half to sew, including hemming (not including the button holes, but that a whole other story). In order to make my efforts worth the time, I BETTER sew it again!

I actually look forward to sewing this in a crisper cotton with a solid facing or lining. The cover of Stitch magazine features a grey cotton/silk blend skirt with bright yellow facing, and the color just pops. It is beautiful. This skirt needs a bold lining to highlight the design details. I am wondering if a pattern would also be fun. I have some Alexander Henry yellow and green bird fabric I have been itching to use, so it might become my new summer wrap.

This is a fun and simple skirt with more personality than your average wrap. I think it works for work, dress up, and play depending on fabric. Best yet, it is a great project for beginners that offers more style than the average beginner project.

Photos courtesy of my wonderful husband. He knows how to make me look good. :) Thanks Sam!


Jen said...

Oh that is an intriguing and beautiful skirt. I hadn't seen that magazine, so I will have to check it out!

Your skirt really looks lovely. Thanks for the in-depth description of what you had to do to deal with the pattern.

And yes, your husband takes great photos of you!

Anonymous said...

Sam makes you look good?? Honey, you look gorgeous! Congratulations on a fantastic job.

ohmypuddin said...

cute! and i love the shoes!

Anonymous said...

Damn,Girl!! You look so good! I love your skirt and the whole ensemble. I can;t wait to see it in person!!

Kate said...

Thanks for the nice comment "Anonymous" ... can you tell me who you are so that I know if I should expect to meet a crazy sewing stalker while wearing my skirt, or if we are friends and I should plan on wearing the skirt to the next event we plan together. :)

Anonymous said...

I never meant to be anonymous; I am just technically inept. It is me, your momma! See you on 2/26. xoxo

Kate said...

Hehe Mom, you said "Damn"!?!?!? No wonder you posted anonymously. :) Any no wonder I couldn't guess who you were. You are just so hip and sassy these days! Can't wait to see you too. xoxo

Marie said...

I am in love with this skirt! More than that, I am so excited to have found your blog. We have very similarly proportioned bodies. I sew for my children all the time but always avoid sewing for myself because I thought busty apple shapes would never look all that fantastic in anything. I was so wrong! Your clothes are very flattering and you detailed explanation of fitting adjustments really helps me. You don't know how good it feels to finally see clothes that look good on my body type. (Well, I guess you do) Now I am off to search for that pattern.......

Marie said...

I Love that skirt! You and I share a very similar body type. I sew for my kids but rarely for myself because I think everything looks weird on me. Your clothes look amazing! I appreciate all of the detail you share about your fitting adjustments. I can see how I can apply the techniques to my own patterns. You don't know how great it is to see busty apple shape clothes look great...well, I guess you do. I am so inspired! Now I gotta hunt down that skirt pattern.......

Marie said...

I think I have serial commented. Sorry, I'm a technically inept blogger. Just pick the one you liked the best to post on your comments :)

Kate said...

I loved you duel posts. It reminds me of my mom, who sometimes forgets to log in and leaves anonymous comments with an intimacy that makes me worry I have a stalker. :) Glad my pattern reviews can be helpful. I am always on the lookout for other busty apples to collaborate with on clothing and sewing, so please share what you find too! Good luck.

lsaspacey said...

Your skirt fits so much differently that others I've seen. It must be the choice of a silky draping fabric. I love it, the others seemed so stiff in linen and the skirts then set out so far at the sides. I was kind of scared of it but I might try it now after seeing your take on it. Great job.