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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Monday, February 10, 2014

Two skirt reviews and evidence of why I am ditching the black

I have continued with my comfortable skirt sewing experiments and in the process, using up my drab stash.

I have just decided the black and grey I worked in for decades isn't me.

When I see photos of myself dressed like this, as you will too here, I wonder what I was thinking - except from following every bit of fashion advice I ever read which was to have a good classic wardrobe of basics in classic colours.

I mean really.

I may be basic but I sure am not classic and that should have been my first clue.

Now moving on to what you are really interested in and that would be two pattern reviews.

The theme of this one is cut counts.

Here are the two patterns:

The Susan skirt from Stylearc:

This is basically a knit circle skirt sort of but with a back yoke and a shaped front panel to distribute the fullness at the hem but keep it closer to the body at the hips and waist. 

The cut of the front panel means that the side panels fall along the "straight grain," although knit doesn't have a grain you know what I mean, the lengthwise direction. This cut keeps the sides hanging straight down with a flare a the bottom and prevents the pointy look you get when an A line or wide bottomed skirt is cut like an A.

Does any of this make sense? Or only to me?

My point is that the cut is clever and the extra seams make a difference.

Here is that skirt on me in some sombre straight from the Gulag colours you are only going to see on me when I am doing the wearable muslin thing.

Imagine this skirt in coral like the picture and we would both be happier:

Probably I should have tucked the top in and worn a belt, and probably not the shoes I bought on the Golan Heights (for real) but at the time these pictures were taken I was nursing a finger that had been sliced open washing the slicing attachment from the Cusinart which just goes to show that a person is safer, not to mention happier, spending her time sewing rather than doing dishes.

I have my hand up to prevent blood loss, although do you know peroxide is wonderful for removing blood stains?

Next skirt.

This one is the julep skirt from SkinnyBitchCurvyChick:

The fabric is a knit with sort of a fake leather thing going on, bought when Carolyn and I were on a rampage in the garment district last year.

Now this pattern is simple with a front and back basically cut like large A shapes with the back part sloped down to one of those draggy hems I don't really like.

In fairness to the pattern maker I did take a lot of this back stuff off - just didn't do it for me as a work skirt for the winter and besides the inside of the fabric would have shown - and as a result it is uneven and looks more like a incompetently sewn skirt than a skirt that is supposed to be uneven at the bottom - operator error.

What you will notice, and I did as the hem circumferences are similar, is how the flare in this skirt is so centralized and less well-distributed. Basically down the front with the sides sort of pointing out.

I really am happier with the first skirt.

The lesson here, and one I knew but keep forgetting, is that the more pattern pieces often the better the fit and the design.

Now that's that. Onto something brighter.


Tammy said...

The first skirt is really lovely. Go for the coral!

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

I like the first skirt on you too! Yes, you should make it up in a brighter color!

BeccaA said...

Your first skirt is lovely and I will rush over to stylearc to order one now that you have explained the virtues of this type of cut. The shape is realyl flattering. I think it would make you happier with a colorful top--you are, after all, the color-girl.

Digs said...

I like the first skirt very much, and I like its neutral non-colour scheme very much too. But, Golan Heights shoes?! what a surprise. The wine up there is very nice, but I've never experienced,nor would have expected to, Golan shoemaking.

Ann said...

I like the first skirt and yes go for the coral. It will look great on you.

Taivahalla said...

You have great legs, and i think the length of the front of the second skirt, maybe plus an inch, is very flattering. I agree with Tammy, the shape of the Susan skirt is good. Can't wait to see some color!

Bunny said...

Skirt number one is the one! I like it on you but fear on moi it would make my wide hips even more so. On you, though, it's great. When will we see the coral version?

Gail said...

I prefer the first skirt too. I agree with ditching the black idea, having moved towards more colour (and prints)in my wardrobe in recent years. Black (especially all black) can make women over 50 look a bit jaded.

twotoast said...

Hilarious post! I love the first skirt - and with a bright top, it will be even more lovlier!! I have yet to dip my toes into the Style Arc waters, but having seen results like this, I think I may be trying them out pretty soon!

SewTypical said...

Your post ia a Hoot! The skirts both look good, but the first one does look Really Good. Hope to see them in colors. I just recently set up a color palette for myself in hopes of having a colorful, yet co-ordinated wardrobe. it's kinda fun!
:-) Chris

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reviews. I think the second skirt would look quite nice if the hemline were straight (I'm also not a fan of the high-low hem). I like the shorter length on you.

KathyS said...

The first skirt is lovely and will look even better with a coloured top. Personally, I don't like those uneven type hems, not tidy enough for me, so the second skirt wouldn't tempt me at all.

Anonymous said...

The first skirt is really nice; it hangs wonderfully. Maybe with a silvery top and cardigan, light nylons, and non-heavy shoes that balance the ease and flow of the skirt.

Anonymous said...

Love that Susan style arc skirt. The flare is perfect and the cut beautiful!