Amnesty Day: 4th birthday skirt

I hope you will all forgive me for posting an Amnesty Day garment a day late. I made this skirt in August for the Monthly Stitch’s fourth birthday challenge. It meets the requirement in that it is comprised of only four pieces (if you don’t count the pocket bags): a front piece, two back pieces, & the waistband.

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This skirt was self-drafted from the high summer 2017 issue of the Japanese sewing magazine “Mrs. Stylebook”. I have actually been on the hunt for an interesting, full, asymmetrical skirt pattern for a long time. Like, ever since I first learned how to sew. A former roommate of mine from back when I lived in Boston had a really full gray skirt with lots of swish & an asymmetrical hem (not a handkerchief hem! I actually kind of hate handkerchief hems), made from either wool or flannel (this was back before I knew anything about substrates), with blue trim. I was obsessed with it. When I saw this skirt in the magazine, it ticked all the boxes.

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Unfortunately, I do not read Japanese. & “Mrs. Stylebook” is completely in Japanese. So I really set a challenge for myself. Each issue of the magazine features dozens of different garments to make, but only a handful of them are included as paper patterns (which are overlapped & require tracing–think “Burda”). The lion’s share of the looks are self-drafted, mostly from slopers. (Instructions for making the slopers are included in every issue…also in Japanese.) But a person who does not know Japanese can more or less figure out how to draft & construct the garments based on the diagrams. Don’t get me wrong–they are by no means detailed. But if you have a pretty good grasp on how garments are constructed & a little bit of pattern-drafting experience under your belt, you can probably muddle through.

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This pattern was an extra challenge though. It’s one of the only garments in the magazine that isn’t based on a sloper. It’s drafted completely from scratch & it took me a long, long time to figure out what the eff I was doing. I can easily whip up a simple zippered skirt with a waistband in a couple of hours, but this guy took me almost an entire month! So there’s another four for you: making this skirt took me like four weeks.

Part of the problem is that I couldn’t figure out what kind of fabric I was supposed to use. I couldn’t tell what the substrate was just from the black & white photo, & despite many hours with various Japanese-English sewing gloassries, I couldn’t figure out the fabric suggestions. I couldn’t see an obvious closure on the photo or diagram, nor did I find anything matching terms like “zipper” or “button” while consulting my glossaries. That leads me to suspect that it was made from some kind of knit. But I decided to go rogue & use a pretty stiff striped woven I picked up at Ikea. I just couldn’t resist the bright, sunny yellow.

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I put an invisible zip in the side seam along the pocket (only one pocket in this skirt) & hand-sewed heavyweight skirt hooks to the waistband. My skirt did turn out shorter in the back than the version in the magazine. That could be due to fabric choice. Obviously fabric from Ikea is going to have a lot less drape than pretty much any knit. But it’s okay, because it gave me a chance to whip up a really simple white underskirt. It’s just two yards of fabric hemmed with a beribboned ruffle, gathered at the waistband with elastic. It looks great under this skirt, & a lot of my other skirts & dresses. It’s also cute on its own for just hanging around the house, & very comfy for hot weather.

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I haven’t managed to complete September or October’s challenges yet, despite having some really good ideas for them, & it will be a miracle if I manage anything for the rest of the year. I broke my foot last week–my sewing machine foot! I’m off to the orthopedic specialist in a few minutes to sort out the treatment plan. I can kind of sew still, but it’s really difficult & exhausting. Time will tell!

Feel free to stop by my blog!

4 thoughts on “Amnesty Day: 4th birthday skirt

    • !!! It doesn’t happen often, but I always love when there is some overlap between my zine (former) life & my sewing life! Did you ever write zines? Lisa from Ireland isn’t ringing any bells for me, but it’s also been a solid seven years since I’ve really been involved with the zine world.

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