Tuesday 13 January 2015

Stripy Mabel Skirt

I ran out of time to blog my final creation of 2014, so here she is paired with a black Dolores batwing top and The Mustard Cardigan That Will Not Die (despite near-continuous use for the last four years). 

Well, I'm not going to lie, I can be a lazy cow when it comes to sewing and pattern cutting. I could have drafted a simple knit skirt pattern myself if I had been arsed, but I couldn't so I bought the Mabel pattern by Colette patterns. I enjoy how neat and lady like I feel when wearing skirts and dresses, but rarely do so because I just don't find them as comfortable as jeans or trousers. So I thought a knit skirt might bridge the gap somehow, and I might trick myself into wearing more skirts if they are as comfy as wearing a t-shirt round my thighs!  


I'm not sure if I've written this 'out loud' before, but generally I'm not a massive fan of Colette patterns. I think they are beautifully designed and the packaging, website etc. is very pretty, but whenever I've actually made one I've found elements of the drafting that have annoyed me so I have steered clear of them for a long while. But a pattern as simple as this? What is there to annoy me?!  

Not much! Hurrah! I really like this pattern and its options. I basically made Version 1 but lengthened considerably. I could have blended Versions 1 and 3, but I didn't feel it was necessary and I wanted to avoid that stupid back vent detail on the longer version. That is the one sticking point for me with this particularly pattern, why make a back vent for a skirt made from stretchy knit?! The vent is unlikely to ever sit flat (in fact I saw a version that was made in double knit that was display on a dress form and the vent had to be pinned down because it wouldn't sit right), and surely the stretchiness would negate the need anyhow?

Anywayyyyy... I cut the medium size and it's almost perfect. However, in this fabric I think I'd have been better off adding an each 1 cm to each side seam around the thigh to give me an extra 4 cms in total. Plus I think I may have made it too long. I was aiming for knee length but I didn't bank on it sitting as low as it does so it's it feels kind of grannyish (no offence, grannies).  


This weird synthetic double knit has been in my stash for years and is from an unremembered source, perhaps from when I worked at TRAID. I think it may be the same stuff, or very similar, to the fabric I used for the top part of this dress I made three years ago. Actually, remind me to dig out that dress and cut it down to make a top. 

This fabric is very solid and a joy to cut and sew. There's a good stretch content, but equally good recovery, hence I'm feeling the lack of those 4 cms round the thighs where a 'looser', more forgiving knit might not highlight it so much!


Hmm, this was always going to be a wearable toile, but how wearable is it in its current state? I need to wear it again for a full day to decide if it's comfortable enough to bother re-hemming it about 4 cms or so shorter, or if the fabric should be transformed into baby/toddler leggings. If I choose the latter, I actually have enough of this fabric left to squeeze out one more attempt. 

Does anyone else feel the same as me about wearing skirts and dresses? Do you have a way of tricking yourself into wearing them? I think one of the problems I have is that I rarely find tights that I like the fit of and I can wear all day. Maybe I'll try making my own tights this year to spec and alleviate one of the main discomforts of skirts and dresses when worn not at the height of summer. 


LaDulsaTina said...

I have the same problem with skirts in winter because I don't like to wear tights...I generally prefer to wear jeans or leggings. Instead I really like to wear skirts and dresses in spring/summer...it's a completely different thing than in winter in my opinion. Anyway I'm trying to change and wear more skirts even in winter. And yours is very cute! I really like stripes and I love your outfit!

Knitlass said...

Nice - I love a stripe!

Apparently you can wear leggings under skirts - that might help with the tights problem... I don't have any leggings so I cant vouch for this approach.

My main trick for skirts in winter is - lovely boots. I have some nice smart knee-length boots just right for work but I need to wear them with skirts. Boot love means wearing skirts! Yay!

Anonymous said...

I hadn't even thought about the 'need' for the back split before you mentioned it, but you're absolutely right :-) I love how quick this skirt is to run up, you've just made it even quicker!

Helen said...

I generally only wear skirts to work (and am currently on mat leave), as I find they just get in the way when you are down on the floor playing with kids. I do, however, wear my Grainline Moss Mini a lot, as with thick tights, I find they give nearly as much freedom as jeans do. I am kinda hoping a short Mabel might also work in a similar way. So far I've made a Mabel much like yours - view A lengthened to below knee length, and pegged in quite a bit - but that was for Xmas nights out, not chasing kids round a park!!

Love your version - I would suggest either losing some length, or maybe pegging it in a bit at the bottom, so it's more of a wiggle skirt - but then again you might. It get much wear out if that!!!

the craftytraveller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alessa said...

Cute skirt, yay for stripes! I'm actually the opposite, I almost always prefer skirts and especially dresses over jeans/trousers. Mostly knit dresses (worn with a slip so they don't stick to my leggings/tights). Although I also sometimes don't like the restrictiveness of tights around my toes. I've found some really nice leggings made out of the same material as wooly tights (some even with a cable pattern) at C&A, though, which are perfect!

the craftytraveller said...

Whoops... loads of typos, so let's try again!

Looks great from here! I quite like the look of long + tight: bit unexpected but it works. I'm the exact opposite - love skirts/dresses but find trews uncomfy... takes all sorts huh? :-)

Kathryn said...

This looks brilliant! Though I'm with you on thigh comfort, I've about to cut out another Jersey skirt & you've reminded be I need to add extra round the thighs!

tialys said...

In my head I wear dresses and skirts a lot but, in real life, I have to take the dogs for a walk every morning so I get up and put jeans on and then tend to stay in them. However, as somebody else commented, wearing a dress with boots in winter is great because it stops you looking too 'dressed up' when you don't need to.
I like your skirt, I think you should shorten it a tad but, if it means more pics of the delightful Dolores, by all means make them into leggings!

joy said...

Great skirt.

As for the pattern for tights, can I suggest you have a look at the Handmade by Caoline blog and read her comments on this design?

Christals Creations said...

I love wearing skirts but do find the whole leg thing a dilemma. I used to never wear dresses/skirts except at work but have found I wear them more now and don't work currently. :)

Anonymous said...

you look pretty! I love stripe too!

Laura said...

Well, I think this looks ace just as it is, especially with that outfit. I really like the length, and it's the nicest Mabel I've seen.

I've really been struggling to force myself into anything other than jeans lately - I think it's easier when you have more energy, but also when it's warmer. If I could find some flat, smart, comfy knee high boots which didn't cost a fortune, I might be more likely to pop a skirt on.

Oh, and on the tights front, I like M&S Body Sensor ones, which are much less icky and clammy than normal ones. I also bought a pair of their thermal ones on a granny-like whim the other day and they are amazing (but, like, £10 for one pair or something ridiculous).

Anonymous said...

For tights, I really like to find some which have a cotton content - M&S has some. For me this cuts down the itchy factor and makes them less clammy feeling. Leggings are an option as well, if you're wearing boots.

One bit of advice is to buy a size up, especially if you're at the cusp between sizes. I find that helps keep them from feeling too short and tugging downwards!

I know what you mean about jeans vs skirts. Actually I love skirts, especially in the summer, but in cooler weather it can be easier to reach for jeans. For me the best strategy for comfort is to wear a fuller style so you can move, sit on the floor, etc. In the winter I really love a skater style skirt with sweaters, and it really is very comfortable. Fabric choice can affect that too - aiming for casual fabrics, like denim or twill, that have the versatility of jeans to pair with lots of different tops, helps a skirt feel comfortable and casual to me!

Unknown said...

I always wear over trousers, I love a layered look. I like the length of the skirt it's quite retro.

vintagerockchick said...

I love to wear skirts and dresses in winter but that's because I have an overly large collection of boots, some that go back over 25 years, so my winter uniform is dress or skirt with thick tights and boots. I actually think they are warmer than jeans.
I was looking at the Mabel pattern earlier today, but I thought I was being lazy as I could draft my own. Then I read this post and I figure if you used the Mabel pattern - that's good enough for me, I'm all for the easy option!

Unknown said...

Love the whole combo and agree with you on A) Colette patterns and b)skirts. I'm pondering skirts for summer. I like them, but feel weird in them. You look great in this style though. Px

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