In April I bought two pieces of fabric from Fabric Mart Fabrics and I actually had a plan in advance – make a skirt and top for Spring.
The first piece of fabric was a stretch woven bottom weight with navy background and coral, poppy and blue flowers. It screamed Talbots straight skirt.
Do you know how hard it is to find something as specific as a pattern for a straight skirt for a stretch woven? I did my best to sort through patterns online and finally remembered that Fabric Mart recommended a pattern … Pamela’s Patterns Magic Pencil Skirt.
I don’t know how much easier a skirt can be. Two pieces, both the same. A piece of elastic. Oh, and a bit of thread. Big, bang, boom.
The pattern instructions are very good, and there is even a YouTube video demonstrating fitting. Pamela suggests basting the sides and darts (front and back) first then checking the fit. I wound up removing the front darts and taking about 3/4″ off of the side seams. Did I mention that I cut a medium? Clearly vanity sizing, but I’ll take it! The elastic is stitched to the edge of the skirt then turned, and again the instructions were good. I wound up stretching the elastic a bit, but that only makes the skirt more comfortable 😉
So this isn’t a fancy or complicated skirt, but the fit is good and it was fast to put together. And it only used a yard of fabric. Why would I spent $90 on a skirt when I can make one for about $10?
The fabric purchased for the top is a cotton jersey in a poppy colour, and it matches the skirt perfectly. My plan was to use a Vogue tunic pattern but while looking for the skirt I found Pamela’s Patterns Pleated Back Flowy Tee. I liked the shaping in the back and thought it would coordinate well with the skirt. Surprisingly there aren’t many reviews of this top. It’s just right for a bit of middle-aged spread so I don’t know why more people haven’t tried it.
As with the skirt, the instructions were really good, including more good tips for improving the fit.
The pattern instructions recommend applying fusible knit stay tape around the edge of the neckline and what a huge difference that made! I’ll definitely use that tip again. (Yeah, you likely know that but it was a revelation to me!)
The top didn’t go together quite as quickly but that wasn’t the fault of the pattern. My overlocker was in the shop for its first-ever tune-up (in 15 years) so I stitched everything on my regular machine and that’s just slower. (May I put in a plug for my Bernina 800DL overlocker? It was a once in a decade splurge but has just been so reliable.)
The top pattern gets a thumbs up! I loved not having to alter anything to obtain a good fit. My fabric wasn’t the best choice for this particular pattern. It’s a beefy jersey and tends to get caught on the back of the skirt and ride up. A jersey with more drape or an ITY would have done better. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll absolutely wear this top (and a lot) but it isn’t quite the outfit I imagined. The fabric is also very warm for our early summer temperatures so it’ll likely get more wear in the fall and winter.
Both of these patterns are winners. Lately I’ve struggled with fitting and feeling like every sewing project is a big deal, however, these were easy and fun to sew!
I also made up my ninth version of the Deer & Doe Plantain in “pucker knit poly-cotton-spandex” from JoAnn and it works perfectly with this skirt. Perfect for summer!
August 2019 Update:
When I was home in Calgary for Mother’s Day I stopped into Fabricland and found a beautiful viscose spandex blend for a second version of the top. I sewed it up in July and am even more pleased than I was with the jersey version. The fabric is soft, drapes well and is really flowy so perfect for this top. On the back pleat I used a box pleat instead of an inverted pleat. Although this top does have sleeves, the fabric is light enough to be comfortable on the hottest of days. And the sleeves give cover from over enthusiastic air conditioning.
And as I write this, I bought another piece for version three!