Sew What! Skirt

I got the book Sew What! Skirts a few months ago and finally got a chance to try it out.  The concept is really appealling:  draw your own pattern to match your unique body.  I read through the instructions and picked a skirt and started creating. 

While the idea really appeals to me, this method of skirt making did not work as well for me as I thought it would.  I measured carefully.  I drew carefully.  I’m not an artist so it’s possible my curves weren’t drawn as well as they should have been.  What I ended up with was a skirt that was WAY too big in the waist with pokey hips.  😦

I’m a clothes-sewing novice so I’m not sure what the problem is, but it seems to me that one of the problems is this:  the measurement for the front piece and the back piece are the same, even though *most* of us have bottoms in the back.  So I looked through the book again and it says that if you are particularly curvy, you might need to add darts to the back and there are instructions to add inches for the darts before cutting.  Well, okay.  While I hadn’t added any inches in the original measurements, darts were really necessary.  Hubby had to help me pin them after I poked myself a few times in the bottom – ouch!


So this is the Polka Dotty skirt.  I learned to do slits which it turns out are SUPER easy.  I don’t think I picked a good fabric for this skirt, so it may turn into a purse or mini patchfolio.  Has anyone else sewn a skirt from this book?  Should I try another one or give up?  I’m interested to know your thoughts.

A few people have asked about the mini patchfolio pattern.  Estimated time until completion: 2 weeks.

And the kite?  It hasn’t flown.  Yet.  I really think it’s too heavy to fly – double layers of fabric and binding plus wood dowels need a pretty strong wind.  If I were to do it again I’d use one layer of fabric, leave the edges raw, and use some lightweight plastic for the cross bars.  Sounds like a good homeschool activity that the boys can make themselves when they’re older.  🙂

And school has started at CraftApple homeschool.  Our Chinese school changed their class days to Sunday so we had to drop out and guess who has taken over the kid’s Chinese instruction?  That’s right.  Me.  Thankfully the internet is here to remind me of how to say obscure words that the kids keep coming up with.  “Mom, how do you say winter wonderland in Chinese?” 

36 thoughts on “Sew What! Skirt

  1. No I’ve not used that book. Every fitted skirt pattern I have made did have front and larger back darts in though. Have you tried using a paper pattern -something like Simplicity? I think they do a range for beginners and tell you how many hours it will take from start to finish.

  2. Ohhhh, try it again! I’ve made several skirts from the book, and have been super pleased with all them, and I have an BUBBLE butt 😉 LOL….I found the book so much more gratifying than a preprinted pattern, which I *always* have to alter for my hip/butt/waist issues (my waist is small, my hips/butt…notta’somuch ;P. Give it another chance! please!? LOLOLOL.

    I love the look of the skirt you made, the slit, the print, the length, all of it looks great to me 😀

  3. I have made one skirt from that book. I LOVED the book and the skirt I made from it. You can see a picture on my blog. I would suggest making another. Trial and error will get you a perfect fit and what an accomplishment when you have a pattern for the perfect fitting skirt!

  4. I think the skirt looks cute!

    I have made 2 skirts from that book so far (one last week and one today). I made the “Breezy Beach Wrap.” I love it. It is extra comfy and I don’t want to take it off! Try that one. It’s a wrap. You can’t go wrong. (Well, you can go very wrong stitching in the ditch, but that’s a sewing issue, not a pattern/sizing issue.)

  5. I think the skirt looks great! I have not drafted a pattern yet but it’s on my ever-growing list of things to sew. I actually have a few I’d like to make, including the wrap skirt. I bought some muslin so I can test before cutting into my stash, because I’m notorious for messing things up.

  6. Linda,
    Try again. The skirt doesn’t look bad. I like the print also. You sure are brave for doing the Chinese language.
    I’m impressed. We did Spanish which I had in school so that was helpful. Then my kids did it again in High School and they did great with it. Now they are both in college I don’t know if they will have to take it again.
    But back to the skirt, try it again, I bet you will do great. You always seem to work thru challenges when you do crafts, it is not different, really.

  7. I think it looks really nice, Linda! I actually love the fabric, and love it in a skirt. I haven’t made anything from that book. But if it’s all “take your measurements and draft a pattern”, I don’t think I will buy it. I want someone else to do the math and hard stuff for me, so I can just cut it out and sew it.

  8. I’m with the others – love that fabric in the skirt. And I think it looks cute on you. Haven’t used the book, so can’t comment on it. I love the Barcelona Skirts pattern from Amy Butler so much, I don’t think I’ll ever need another!

  9. I actually like the print you used for your skirt. I made the Tourist Trap skirt (minus the pockets) a couple of times, and loved it. I did have to add a little dart to the front pattern piece, but that’s due to my odd proportions. I’m less optimistic about the straight skirts than the A-line due to the whole curving issue. That’s going to take more practice.

    So at what age did you start your kids in Chinese language school? I love that you’re going to brave it yourself now. Go, Super Teacher!

  10. I’ve got the book, as a matter of fact I just posted a pic of a skirt I made for my 6y/o. I like the book alot, although I do a lot of clothes sewing. Btw, I love the fabric for your skirt.

  11. I like the skirt. I like the fabric too, but it’s hard to see on a photo how the fabric feels when you wear it :-). I love reading about everyone’s adventures with this book. Maybe by the time I make one, I’ll know exactly what to do/not to do!

  12. I LOVE this book. It’s a long story but two months ago I decided to copy an existing skirt that I love but that is falling apart. So I knew in advance that I was going to draw a pattern but I had no experience doing that and only light sewing experience in general. Then, like a miracle, I found this book the same week I decided to tackle this project. I had some help creating the pattern from a very helpful woman at the sewing shop (she recommended drawing on freezer paper and that worked out great) but the book’s directions turned out to be easier to follow. I have made about 6 or 7 skirts so far. My original skirt had darts front (short & narrow) and back (longer & wider) so I spent some *quality* time with a ruler, math, fabric pencil, and the ironing board trying to figure it out. The book was helpful with the darts but I really had to figure them out for myself. Since I knew the dimensions that already worked (the top of the dart is about 3.5 inches from the side seam; btm part about 4 inches or so from the seam; about .5 or .75 inches on each side of the dart when pinched; the dart seam itself about 3 inches), I made dart-templates out of an index card (a triangle, then folded in half to plot the seam line) and I am using them over and over. Each skirt gets easier. I intend to never use a commercial skirt pattern ever again.

  13. I have used that book to make a skirt and actually a started a flickr group with one other lady awhile back for that book.


    A few other people (including me) had problems with different skirts in that book being too large. I just took mine in on the sides, but some of the others added darts too to make their skirts fit better. I think there is a thread or two on the flickr group about it.

  14. I’ve been wanting to get that book! Your skirt is really cute- love that fabric too. I have the same problem too! I usually end up spending more time taking in and fixing than anything else! Even after measuring a million times! I don’t know how it happens and I’m not particularly fond of darts. hmph!!

  15. Your skirt is great. I’m more of a sarong girl myself though. You know one large piece of fabric hemmed all around like a table cloth, then wrapped around me and a safety pin to hold it together !

  16. I like that skirt. You know you could make the kites out of rip stop fabric or flag fabric. It’s super lightweight. I wish you could teach my children how to speak Chinese! That sounds so cool. Love ya!

  17. I just received my copy of this book today and I am super excited to try it. I made a skirt out of a thrifted sheet a couple weeks ago and it turned out pretty good for not having any instructions, so I think the book will only help!

  18. I’ve almost purchased that book several times, but I’ve been unsure about it. I think your skirt looks really cute, and I love the fabric!!!

    Those kites would look so cute hanging on a wall as decorations!!!!

  19. Very good skirt. Like the pattern of the fabric. I read the reviews of the book on Amazon and I will order the book. Keep trying and make another skirt.

  20. Tag! I’ve just been tagged and asked to find 7 people to do the same to. NAME GAME:
    You need to list one fact that is relevant to your life for each letter of your name, then tag that many people to continue the game. I’ve just done mine. It was harder than I expected.

  21. I had the same problem with my first skirt from this book. A huge gaping waist. I took it in over and over again. And now the hem looks all wonky. I just wear it around the house. Based on all the comments here, I’ll give the book another try. Maybe a wrap skirt.

  22. I have also had the way too big problem. I’ve revised my pattern three times, and they are all still too big. I guess I’m paranoid of making a skirt thats too small. I think maybe the recommended 2-4 inches of ease may be too much. I’m sure I will try again, but for know I’ve lost my excitement to try again.

  23. Hi Linda,
    I tried a skirt pattern online that worked perfectly for me. I think it was from this book. If they have a pattern for a 6 gore skirt then try that b/c you won’t have to worry about a front measurement vs. a back one. If not, then let me know and I’ll send you the website that I got my pattern from. I think you will be so pleased w/the fit. And I LOVE the skirt fabric you chose and hope it didn’t get remade into a purse

  24. hello.

    Ive got that book – Ive never sewn anything before and thought the book looked simple as a guide on how to get started. Ive so far only made the simple elasticated waist A-line skirt, and added a frill on the bottom – its gone well, and fits perfectly using their measurement calculations, but I have to confess i’m not particularly curvy, and i think you can get away with fudging it a bit with an elasticated waist. i will definitely be trying more skirts from the book, mixing and matching bits from the examples.

    I think you should defo have another go, once you get the basic measuremetns right, and know where you want the darts and how big etc, i think you’ll generate some fabulous pieces.

    good luck x

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