I tend to gravitate toward prints. There’s something about sewing with a colorful floral, geometric print, or even an ugly-sweater knit that makes me feel happy. Plus, if I’m going to invest planning, labor, and money into an article of clothing, I want it to be more vibrant than something I can buy off the rack. The one-of-a-kind factor is part of what makes this hobby so gratifying.
Unfortunately, this obsession with bold prints means that I haven’t sewed many everyday wardrobe staples. I’m a creature of habit, and this summer the habit has been wearing the same store-bought chambray skirt roughly twice a week. It’s comfy, it goes with nearly everything in my wardrobe, and it’s weighty enough to stand up against the ridiculous Chicago wind. But I’ve put the poor thing through the ringer, so I figured it was high time to add another versatile skirt to my wardrobe.
I’ve already gone the bold-print quarter-circle skirt route, so this time I went for a half-circle in a black ponte knit from JoAnn. I used the trusty By Hand London app again for the waist radius and length measurements, but since I was working with a knit I also heeded iCandy’s tips about subtracting 2″ from the waist measurement before plugging it into the app. Keep in mind that the app adds in 5/8″ seam allowances.
I used a homemade twine compass to trace the waist radius and length, although that part was tricky since my tracing pencil kept dragging the knit fabric along with it. I ended up marking a series of dashes that I followed with my rotary cutter. Note to self: buy marking chalk! That’d probably be more friendly on a knit, right?
For the waistband, I followed iCandy’s suggested dimensions:
Length: waist measurement minus 2″ plus 1.25″ for seam allowance
Height: double your desired waistband height plus 1.25″ for seam allowance
The step-by-step construction of this skirt is amazingly easy. I don’t have a serger, so I attached my machine’s walking foot, inserted a ballpoint needle, and used a zigzag stitch for the seams. After stitching the back seam, I attached the waistband per the directions of the straightforward iCandy tutorial. After clipping the excess seam allowance and ironing the waistband, I hemmed the bottom of the skirt with a roughly 1″ hem. This isn’t technically required since it’s a knit and won’t fray, but I like a clean finish.
And that’s about it! It’s really a sewing 101 project, and an especially good one if you’re looking to break into the world of knits. I didn’t add a zipper since the material is stretchy enough to get on and off (gently) over my head, but I might try another version with a short zipper and see which is more comfortable. I’m a little afraid this material will stretch out over time, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world since that would just mean the skirt would sit a little lower.
It’s not an earth-shattering make, but it’s comfy, it fits great, and it cost under $7 total. Not too shabby for a new wardrobe staple. I’ve already paired it with my Colette Sorbetto crop top (pictured) and a tucked-in tee, and both are comfy.
What’s your most versatile piece of self-made clothing?