Monday, 28 July 2014

Silver Twist, B5650

Wahoo, don't you just love a swishy midi skirt? I've been wanting to make just this shape for such a long time!

Swishy midi skirt B5650
This skirt!  The flare feels just right, and the below the knee length hits a vintage-referencing sweet spot. Can't you imagine cutting a rug in this skirt?

Say what? Cutting a rug means dancing vigorously and extremely well. I've read that the term originated in the 1930s; when couples danced the jitterbug on carpet it looked like they were cutting it up with their feet.  Minnie who's a hep cat now did cut a rug, and it sounds like such a fun thing to do... I want to see that movie now!

I want to learn the jitterbug! B5650
A simple chambray skirt, yes, but there's a twist. A silver stripe. Chambray plus silver - utility meets disco!

Originally the skirt was going to be a pale pink stretch cotton, and the next one may be just that - but there's been so much chambray in the sewing blogosphere, so chambray jumped to the top of my queue. And then I saw a photo of a silver midi skirt in a fashion mag - too easily influenced - so the silver melded with the chambray, via a sporty stripe. 

Utility meets disco, chambray + silver B5650
This pattern, Butterick 5650, landed in my lap via the second hand shop. Fifty cents? Sold! The pattern illustrations really didn't grab me, but the line drawings had potential...  The pattern includes this skirt (view A), a gathered, looser version (view B), and a pair of gathered waist tapered pants (view C).

Imperfect hemline - B5650
My skirt isn't perfect, far from it. I was in such a rush to turn my idea into something tangible that I took a few shortcuts:

  • I didn't check the finished measurements for the skirt - should have, and it's a bit tight.
  • I hemmed the skirt according to the cutting out line - should have hung it overnight and adjusted it, as I can see in these photos that it's not straight.  
  • I cut out my double layer silver rectangle, checking grainlines just once - should have double checked as the silver fabrics are very slightly off grain.  
  • I ignored grainline recommendations for the chambray, instead placing grainline on centre back and parallel to the silver panel in the front. This made my zipper insertion and silver panel insertion easier but may have messed with the hang of the skirt. 

It's what I imagined - B5650
Checking out a fence - B5650
But despite the imperfections, I have to say the skirt pretty much looks as I imagined it.

It's a little tight across my winter layer (waist and hips), but it should fit nicely when the warm weather melts the winter layer away.

Sewing for summer - B5650

I mentioned some "shouldn't have"s above, but there were a few other changes I made to the straight size 14 pattern that I'm absolutely delighted I made:
  • I swapped out the regular zip for a dark blue invisible zip - and yes, it's invisible :).
  • I left out the pockets. Side pockets on a hip skimming skirt just add bulk! 
  • I added a little length, 'cos I'm a little taller than average. 
  • And not least of all, I added a silver panel down the centre front. Party time! 

No side pockets - B5650

This skirt has worked out well enough, but I've learnt a lesson along the way.

Just because a pattern terms itself "Fast & Easy" doesn't mean you can skip the basics. Like following grainline recommendations, for example. Like checking finished measurements, for another. Version 2 is going to be by the book, I tell you!

See you soon!

- Gabrielle xx


  1. Isn't it great when you have an idea in your head and the end result lives up to the expectations! Love this skirt.

  2. Love this skirt style on you. You swish with style.

  3. A gorgeous swirly skirt!

  4. Catherine Daze28 July 2014 at 17:07

    The length works very well on you. The silver stripe rocks!

  5. I love the cut of the skirt and the silver stripe lifts it from a plain skirt to something you would pay big money for in an expensive shop. I can't get my head around this length yet but no doubt it will come!

  6. This looks great and I love the length. You are totally rockin' it!

  7. Thank you! Yes, it's quite a rare event, so yes, it's a great feeling when it does happen!

  8. Thanks Maria! I wasn't sure it'd work - it can be hard to tell from the pattern envelope what the pattern's going to look like sewn up...

  9. Thanks Sharon!

  10. Thanks Catherine, I think I got lucky with the length, but the silver stripe was a bit of an obsession - I'm so glad it worked! Otherwise I'd have to have kept trying till it did ...

  11. I adore this length! Even on my tiny height it works so well and makes me feel swishy! Love the skirt, looks fab, hope the off grain pieces don't keep growing and mess up your hemline?

  12. The McCall Pattern Company29 July 2014 at 23:29

    Wow, your interpretation of our pattern is designer chic! Don't you just love that midi-length skirts are back in style again?!

  13. The McCall Pattern Company29 July 2014 at 23:31

    Can we pin this to our Fan Gallery board on Pinterest, please?

  14. Thank you! Yes, I do - I've fallen really hard for the midi length - I only have about 5 more in mind .

  15. Of course you can! I've been meaning to pop over there and pin a few things, but I know once I start looking at everyone else's sewing I'll get distracted and lose hours!

  16. Thanks Andrea, I like the cut too - it's quite a classic pattern, and I'm pretty sure exactly this shape gets used in many dress skirts so you've probably already sewn the shape just a bit shorter. This length seems to be popping up in several of the upmarket shops near my office, so I suspect we'll be bombarded with it by spring...

  17. Thanks Christy - I'm so pleased with it, even though it's a really easy piece of sewing.

  18. Thanks Susan, it does feel a lovely length to wear, doesn't it - swishy and yet very demure :). Oh I hope so too! Perish the thought!

  19. Love it and the style is spot on! How fun to put that silver piece in.

  20. Thanks Kirsty :)

  21. Such an original idea - loving that silver strip.


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