Sunday, April 5, 2015

Michelle vs the StyleArc Brooke Skirt

I made the StyleArc Brooke Skirt because I wanted to make a skirt that wasn't my usual a-line skirt pattern.

StyleArc Brooke Skirt

I was so proud of myself. After adding a second dart to the back for the swayback issue, and taking in the sides a little at the waist, I had myself a really lovely skirt. And it was a bit different!

And then I wore it to the inaugural CBR Sewing Crew session back in February, and while sitting on my arse for 4 hours (with breaks to use the iron and raid the cheese platter), it stretched about 4 inches in the waist. It was embarrassing to say the least, especially when I had to hold my skirt up with both hands on the way to the car to stop it falling down. I blame both the fabric and the construction method equally.

The fabric is a linen print from Spotlight purchased about 5 years ago I think. It is heavier than a handkerchief linen, but lighter than the usual cotton-linen blends I use, The weave is not that big, so I was surprised it stretched so much. But the construction method used is different for the back and the front. For the front, you sew the two panels together along with twill tape, and turn them the right way round so the seam is completely hidden. I even added edge stitching on the inside for extra strength. The back section involves a fold-down facing complete with iron on interfacing.  Neither construction method was enough to temper the stretching possibilities of me sitting down in it for 4 hours.

Line drawing from the StyleArc website

I ended up washing the skirt, then taking the skirt apart from the hip up. I unpicked the waist stitching at the front, and basted the skirts together with a raw edge. I cut off the back facing completely (and the interfacing had fallen off in the wash anyway). Then I joined up the side seams, and added my usual petersham ribbon facing. So much better - and while it still stretches a little bit, it's not enough to affect the daily wear of this skirt. I love it!

StyleArc Brooke Skirt

This skirt is the classic a-line I love, but with an overlapping front panel. I made the long version of the pattern, but it is still far too short for me. I am making this again in a blue tencel for work, and to make it a little more modest I've added 2 inches to the pattern.

The hem on the front panel is constructed first and it involves a mitred hem at those pointy bits. Yes, I felt very clever when I worked it out and it looked so neat! I struggle with the StyleArc instructions a little bit (well, a lot) as they are so different to the way the Big 4 set out their pattern instructions. But I actually got this one.

StyleArc Brooke Skirt

I didn't use an invisible zip, as per instructions, because this skirt was meant to be a wearable muslin, and I couldn't find the stash of invisible zips I bought at ClearIt last year. (Probably my sewing room needs a bit of a tidy up). I also apologise for the creasing and the wonky edge to the upper zip - I took these photos after sitting at a Berry cafe for breakfast for a couple of hours

StyleArc rated this pattern as "challenging" but I would add that the construction came together quite quickly once I'd worked out the instructions. If you are going to make it and you don't have a curvy shape that stretches waists when sitting, I'd recommend using a thicker interfacing on the back section. Or do what I did and add a different waist finishing altogether.

I'm looking forward to finishing off the blue tencel version this weekend, and then I will blog it with a top, made a couple of months ago, but never worn because I had nothing to wear it with. And then, I promise, I will stop being in denial over summer being over (sob) and start sewing more seasonally appropriate clothes. As I write this, it is 10 degrees and I'm wearing flannel PJs and knitted socks ... with Birkenstock sandals because I just can't let summer go.