Completed: the skirt that took forever

jenny09I started this skirt more than two months ago. What was going to be a very simple half circle skirt turned into something that almost did not get finished. If you’ve seen the pictures of my garments on my dress form for the last couple of months, you’ve noticed a pink plaid skirt. That’s the one. I got inspired by Call the Midwife, and the yellow skirt that Jenny used to wear on some of her days off. I didn’t want a full circle skirt, and definitely not a very long one, since when garments tend to be too dramatic I’m not prone to wearing them. I wanted something simple and casual (also by nowadays standards). BTW, Andi has also made a skirt inspired on Jenny’s (great minds…), you can check it out here.

I purchased this wool blend and a pink rayon lining and decided to make this half circle skirt. I used again the By Hand London skirt calculator and squeezed this skirt and a thin waistband out of my meter and a half of fabric. I found the wool a bit of a pain to mark since I couldn’t use my favorite air erasable pen since they are the same color. I also have nowadays a yellow Clover Chaco pen that would have been perfect. It doesn’t matter how many tools you have, it’s a universal truth that you always need more.

After I inserted my (bad) hand picked zip, I tried the skirt to see the effect and I considered it needed more oomph, so I decided to try the high praised horsehair braid, and my local shop has it in many beautiful colors. It was not going to be visible, but I wanted to match the skirt, so I got this beautiful pink braid. Isn’t it gorgeous?

After sewing it to the skirt I went running to try it on in front of a mirror, and I was very disappointed. You can see how it looked here. I couldn’t put my finger on what, but it seemed totally wrong. After a long conversation with JudithMegalunostudio and a long web search, I came upon this A Fashionable Stitch article and, as many times, Sunni has often the right answer: Petersham!

I painfully unpicked the horsehair braid. The thread also matched skirt and braid, so it was difficult to see what I was unpicking, sigh! It was a total pain, and then Christmas came close, so I became busy with presents and then I went to visit my family, and I fell progressively out of love with this skirt. When I came back all I wanted to sew were blouses, so you could always witness this skirt on my dress form along with the garment I was busy at the time.

Since this is a winter skirt and will be worn with tights, I decided to line it with pink rayon, as shown in the picture. The worst parts of sewing this skirt were the horsehair braid unpicking, the hand sewn hem (it took two or three episodes of Extant) and the damn buttonhole. It was just one, but I reaffirm myself in using snaps. Unfortunately a snap was not appropriate for this skirt, otherwise I would have just place it on. I tried making the buttonhole on a piece of fabric and it went fine, then made it on the waistband and all the possible horrible things happened. Several times. My machine does 1-step buttonholes and I think it has problems moving thick pieces of fabric, so to succeed here I had to pass a couple of threads through the end of the waistband to pull and help the machine to move the fabric. Pathetic, but the buttonhole is done.

The waistband is sewn by hand on the inside. I just didn’t want to stitch in the ditch and risk my stitches showing on the outside.

The zipper is also not one of my best jobs, but it’s decent and I matched stripes on both sides of the skirt. And I love how it swirls!

Gerry seems to like my brooch. It’s from the talented Desperate Beatnik. I love her jewelry pieces, and they are very carefully made, but what I like most is how well she takes care of her customers. Seriously, I’m amazed at this girl, and this is not a sponsored post or anything like that.

And you, have you made any half or full circle skirts? What are your thoughts about buttonholes? Are they your nemesis too?


  1. It must be a great feeling to have the skirt off the dress form and completed. And, it looks great! Your posts have been inspiring me to get my sewing machine back out.

    1. It’s a total relief indeed. Now the dress form feels naked and empty 😉 I’m so glad that I’m inspiring you to use your sewing machine. I’ll be looking forward to your creations 🙂

  2. look at you! you made an awesome job Elena! the plaid matching is perfect on the side! I personally ADORE full circle skirts I made already two and planning on more!

    1. Thank you, Nicoletta! The matching was easy since the sides are completely straight, but even like that I’m proud of it. I’m sure this skirt will get a lot of wear. looking forward to your future skirts!

  3. Your skirt is gorgeous, and the pattern matching on the seams is amazing. It was definately worth all the effort on the hem; what’s not to love about a twirly skirt! I’ve made half and full circle skirts, and love them, but have also had the same problems with buttonholes. I think that sometimes thick layers of fabric are too much for the machine to work with. In these cases, I have ended up making buttonholes with the zig zag stitch.

    1. I also thought about making the buttonhole using zigzag but fortunately I found a solution just before trying that. I’m in love with this skirt!

  4. Your skirt is gorgeous! I’m really not a skirt person, but I would definitely wear (and sew!) a skirt like this. To me it’s perfect!

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