Meet my new favorite skirt! Ever since I made this dress last year (and realized I both could wear and enjoyed wearing maxi-length clothing) I’ve been wanting to try out a maxi skirt. It’s a silhouette I’ve never worn before, but I definitely love it.
I found the perfect skirt pattern, the Lauha Vent Skirt, in one of Named’s older collections. It has a gorgeous deep vent at the front and multiple small pleats at the front and back waistlines.
The fabric is a really fun parrot print rayon from Blackbird Fabrics (sadly sold out). It’s perfectly swishy for this pattern!
Demonstrating the width… they kind of look like palazzo pants in this pic!
I made my usual Named pattern size of 34 and the fit is perfect! I shortened the skirt by a few inches (I forgot to write down the exact amount – oops!) before I cut it out which allowed me to just barely squeeze it out of 1.5 meters of fabric.
Construction is super straight-forward. The most challenging bit was probably cutting out those long pattern pieces while making sure the fabric stayed on grain. After that it came together really quickly!
I’m totally in love with this skirt! It was one of those cases where the stars aligned and the fabric and pattern were just perfect for each other.
Do you have a favorite maxi skirt or dress pattern? I’d definitely like to explore this silhouette some more!
Wondering how you can watch the Great British Sewing Bee if you’re not in the UK? I’ve seen a lot of comments on Instagram from people in other countries wanting to get in on the fun. It’s totally possible (I found it in two minutes last night) as long as you’re a bit tech-savvy and don’t mind breaking the rules. I should state up front that this is murky legal territory, but the fact is that there’s no legal way to watch GBSB in the US or most other countries. As such, I’m not going to provide direct links, but I made the following tutorial in case you want to search on your own.
Step 1: INSTALL AD BLOCKER. I can’t emphasize this enough. If you don’t currently have an ad blocker installed on your browser DO NOT attempt the following steps. I firmly believe everyone should have an ad blocker installed anyway. It’s super easy to do – just google search “ad blocker [your browser (safari, chrome, etc.)]” and click on the first one that comes up. It’s free, only takes a minute, and you’ll never have to watch an ad on youtube again!
If you don’t have ad blocker installed and turned on then you’re going to see tons of ads and pop-ups, likely lewd, possibly loud, during the following steps. You’ll also probably get a virus. Be careful out there.
Step 2: Go to www.thewatchseries.to and do a search for the Great British Sewing Bee. The show page should come up, which you can then click on to see links to episodes from the past couple seasons. Episodes are usually uploaded within a few hours of airing.
Step 3: Click on the episode you want to see and you’ll see a long list of links. It’s up to you which link to click on – they’re all generally about the same, although sometimes links are broken. This is where you really need to make sure you have ad blocker on, because as soon as you click you’ll be taken to an external site that’ll likely be pretty ad-heavy. Make sure you click the real “play” or “watch” button – some sites may try to trick you with a fake one.
And that’s it! The episode should load on the page and you can play it right there – no need to download it first.
Note: there are similar sites to thewatchseries.to out there – if you do a google search for “great british sewing bee streaming” or something like that you may find a site you like better.
You can install a plug-in in your browser that makes it look like your IP address is coming from the UK. Then you’ll be able to watch the GBSB episodes on the BBC iPlayer. This won’t work, however, if you’re wanting to watch episodes from previous seasons, as they only stay up on the iPlayer for 30 days.
I’ve used expat shield and similar programs with limited success. I think TunnelBear might be a good one, but don’t quote me on that. It’s been a couple years since I’ve tried this method, so I can’t really recommend any particular course of action here – just know it’s an option if you’re interested!
YouTube. It looks like there are a few episodes from the first season up on YouTube now, but nothing more recent. There are always a lot of fake videos on YouTube – make sure not to click a link from a video description that promises to take you to the episode! I’m not really sure why the BBC takes down GBSB episodes when they allow plenty of series to stay up… I always watch QI and University Challenge on YouTube.
BitTorrent. Definitely more complicated if you’re not familiar with it, and more obviously illegal of course. I won’t explain it here but you can look it up if you’re interested.
I hope that was helpful! Please note that I’m just trying to spread the sewing love here, and I’m not advocating doing anything like this for shows you’re able to watch legally in your country. I’m not interested in hearing any moral arguments in the comment section. I’m sure it would be helpful to other readers, though, if you share which method works for you or if you know of another way to watch it which I haven’t mentioned!
This was my first time sewing with (and wearing) Liberty fabric and I’m in love. In fact, after sewing this shirt I promptly ordered a couple yards of the Hesketh print to make my birthday dress. This particular fabric is a tana lawn with a floral design by the artist Hugo Grenville.
I bought this fabric a year ago during a fabric.com sale with the intention of making a sleeveless buttondown shirt last summer. I’d used the Archer pattern for similar style shirts in the past, but I wanted this one to be more fitted. I played with drafting my own for a while, but the fit wasn’t right and the project ended up getting sidelined.
Last winter I finally decided to buy the Granville shirt pattern (again tempted by a sale). I hate making muslins but I knew it would be a necessity for this pattern, especially if I didn’t want to mess up my precious Liberty fabric.
Before I made the first muslin I started with a size 2 pattern and made the following changes:
Sleeveless adjustments (-1″ from shoulder line and -3/8″ from yokeline as detailed in this tutorial)
Slim hips by ~1.5″ total (Sewaholic drafts for a pear shape, which I’m not)
Then I made Muslin #1, assessed the fit, and made these additional alterations:
Petite adjustments – shorten by 1/2″ above bust (which fixed armhole gaping) and by 1/2″ at hip
Swayback – took out 1/2″ at both lower back princess seams
After I applied these to my pattern I made Muslin #2 and thankfully the fit was much better! At this point I forged ahead with my sewing, which was all pretty straightforward. I took my time with this make and tried to finish everything as neatly as possible. I did flat-felled seams, a twice-turned hem, and made self bias tape for the armholes.
Overall I’m really happy with the fit! The only slight problem is a dragline between the shoulder and the center front at the bust. It’s not super visible in these pictures, but it becomes more obvious if I do up another button. I think I must have over-fit something in this area. Any ideas what I should do to fix it for my next version?
I’ve already worn this shirt a ton and I’m totally in love with both the fabric and the style. I’ll definitely be making a couple more sleeveless Granvilles this summer!
And in other news, I got into grad school! I’ll be staying in Austin and attending the University of Texas to get an MS in Information Studies. I’m really excited even though I imagine it’ll cut pretty dearly into my sewing time. ; )
Ever since I saw this Madewell skirt I’ve been planning on making my own version. So when I was contacted a while back by My Fabric Designs to try out their fabric printing service I realized it would be the perfect opportunity to create the exact fabric I was after.
I recommend ordering the swatch book first – it’s a lot better than just guessing what the fabric will feel like, and it’s kind of a fun reference on its own! I made a simple gingham repeat in Illustrator at the scale I wanted (.6″ squares) and uploaded it to the website where I could see how it looked as a full repeat on the fabric. I chose the silk crepe de chine for this skirt and I’m really pleased with the quality. I was worried the fabric would be a bit see-through in the sun, but happily it’s not at all. I was also glad to see how dark the black ink is – sometimes the black on printed fabric looks kind of washed out and gray, but it seems that the silk takes the dye really well.
This was the inspiration – a flowy, gingham skirt – but I didn’t copy most of the particulars. I considered a few different patterns, but eventually I decided that I just wanted a simple gathered skirt. It’s “self-drafted” in that it’s two rectangles – one for the skirt and one for the waistband. I used approximately three times the width of my waist in fabric for fairly full gathers. Even though it’s a simple design I took my time with this make and made sure to finish everything neatly: french seams, invisible zipper, waistband finished by hand, etc. It turned out exactly as I imagined, and it’s so lovely and floaty to wear!
To go with the skirt I made a sleeveless black Nettie bodysuit. I’d forgotten how much I like this pattern – it really is perfect to wear with skirts! I thought I might have to alter the shape of the armhole when I made it sleeveless, but I actually liked it just how it was. To finish the armholes I made bindings the same width as the neckline binding (1.5″) but attached them with a 3/8″ seam allowance rather than a 1/4″ seam allowance.
I’m really happy with My Fabric Design‘s service and how my fabric turned out. It seems like they’re in direct competition with Spoonflower, but since I’ve never printed fabric there I can’t really compare the two. Their pricing seems comparable, though they each have a few unique substrates not carried by the other. It’s always good to have options, so I’m glad there are more companies like this popping up!
If you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, they currently have a coupon running for 25% off with the code “photo25” through April 30th.
The fabric for my skirt was provided by My Fabric Designs. All thoughts and opinions remain my own.
I’ve been all about basics lately. Great for my wardrobe, but not so exciting for photos – hope you don’t mind the flat lays!
I finally tried out the free Tonic Tee pattern from SBCC and I love it! It’s designed for petites, so the fit is great – I didn’t even have to shorten it. For my first one I used a cheetah print cotton jersey from Mood, and for my second I used a lightweight gray merino with mini stripes from The Fabric Store. They’re both already in heavy rotation, and I’ll definitely be checking out more SBCC patterns in the future!
I also made another pair of Ginger Jeans – this time with a mid rise, straight leg, and neutral gray topstitching. Heather recommends lowering the high-rise rather than vice versa to make the mid-rise, but I prefer the scale of the pockets etc. on the low-rise version so I used it instead. I just raised it by one inch, and now the rise is perfect for me – it’s crazy what a difference an inch makes! I used the 9 oz Cone Mills denim from Threadbare Fabrics for this pair. It’s lighter weight (perfect for spring!) but still feels substantial. These are currently my favorite jeans and I’ve been wearing them almost every day!
I’ve also been on a scrap-busting kick. I just finished some pillows for my couch made from upholstery fabric scraps, and a couple weeks ago I used up all my bamboo jersey scraps making seven pairs of Geneva panties. Geneva’s my favorite underwear pattern and in combination with bamboo jersey I think I can safely say they’re the most comfortable undies I’ve ever owned. I do hate the endless elastic zig-zagging required for construction, but it’s totally worth it in the end.
And now for some spring planning:
Last summer was definitely the Summer of the Dress for me. I made 7 different dresses between May and August and I feel like I finally got comfortable wearing dresses on a regular basis. I’m hoping the same thing will happen this year with skirts!
I have three skirts planned:
A Named Lauha maxi skirt with parrot print rayon from Blackbird Fabrics (sold out).
A Named Reese wraparound skirt. Undecided about fabric, but I’m considering this abstract printed rayon (also from Blackbird, also sold out).
A simple gathered skirt made from buffalo check silk crepe de chine (inspo from Madewell).
And some kind of shirt dress out of this gorgeous Jason Wu crinkle silk crepe de chine. Any pattern suggestions? The crinkle in the fabric gives it a bit more volume than your average CDC. I’m thinking maybe a sleeveless Bruyere with a lengthened hemline?
I also definitely need a few sleeveless buttondown shirts! My sleeveless Archers are pretty worn out. I’m planning on trying out the Sewaholic Granville shirt as a replacement – I really like the shaping of the princess seams.
Well, I’m glad to have gotten some basics and necessary items finished! Now I can sew some fun and interesting garments without any guilt. We hardly had a winter here in Austin, but I’m excited for spring nonetheless!