Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Basics are boring (but also essential)

McCall's 7604 skirt

My posting has been out of sync with the order that I've actually finished things, but I'm sure you don't care. I made this skirt right after I finished my linen maxi skirt, in case you were wondering.

I needed a basic black skirt in my summer wardrobe. I have a black faux suede skirt that I wear in the fall/winter, but I think it looks strange for summer wear. Until very recently I still owned and occasionally wore my black Crescent skirt, but the fabric has faded over time and the waist is too big for me now. I decided that I wanted a ladylike midi skirt, or at least what I think of as a midi skirt. Because I am so short a true midi skirt tends to hit at the widest part of my calves and looks generally terrible, so I usually stick to above the knee skirts. However, sometimes a little extra length is nice with heels and looks a bit more dressed up and feminine. I made View B, which is supposed to be just above the knee, but on me I wanted it to hit just below the knee (more on that later). So I actually didn't have to shorten the pattern much at all. I think I shortened it one inch.

I debated just drafting a skirt myself and not using a pattern but in the end I chickened out and chose McCall's 7604 because A) It's a really easy pattern, just rectangles, B) It has a few different styles that I might be interested in making and C) Joann's had a pattern sale, making it only $1.99. I figured it was worth $2 to save myself some drafting headaches. While at Joann's I also bought fabric and chose the same black linen/rayon blend that I made my Crescent skirt out of all those years ago. I figured if it's not broke, why fix it? I know that the fabric will fade eventually but the reality is that I'll probably be ready for a new black skirt after a few years so I'm not worried about it.

Somewhat unusually this pattern has XS/S/M, etc sizing rather than numbers. I made the size S but should have made the XS. I did not make a muslin first because it's made of rectangles and because I hadn't broken my habit of being a lazy sewist yet. It's an elastic waist skirt but the elastic is only in the back. It looks nicer from the front but it's harder to get the fit right. I had the exact same problem that I had with my linen maxi skirt, which is that the weight of the fabric pulls the waist down when I wear it. Because of all the gathers this skirt has a lot of volume and therefore uses a lot of fabric and the linen/rayon drapes well but is heavy as hell.

It is not just a styling choice that I'm wearing a belt in the picture. If I don't wear a belt the skirt slides right down to my low waist and becomes that unattractive true midi length that I was trying to avoid. I really should go back and take the skirt in at the side seams at least another inch. I will probably do that eventually or else I won't wear it much but right now I'm feeling peevish about it and don't feel like it. For future versions I might even skip the elastic entirely and install a zipper instead so that I can get the right fit at the waist, as I'm just not sure that elastic on only half the garment is enough to keep it in place especially for the longer versions.

Oh and I added side seam pockets from a dress pattern because it doesn't come with pockets. Why do they make patterns without pockets? I feel like you should always have the option unless there are specific design reasons not to and then you can leave them off if you don't want them. At any rate they were very easy to add but do increase the weight of the skirt even more especially if you put things like keys in them.

So yeah, not my best work and kind of boring to write about. But I really needed a basic black skirt. And once i finally suck it up and fix this one I'm sure I'll wear it a considerable amount. I'm also thinking about the maxi length version in a lighter fabric, but maybe not until next year as 2 new skirts is plenty for me for this summer.

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