Making Mabel: Burgundy knit skirt using Colette Patterns

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I bought the Mabel pattern as part of the patterns-and-book package offered by Colette Patterns recently. I really like this style of short, fitted skirt, but didn’t have much luck with the few I’d tried on in shops – they always seemed too tight across my hips and too loose on the waist. The burgundy ponte is left over from my Coco #5 dress.

Despite the simplicity of the pattern and its instructions, I did manage to make a heap of silly mistakes. (This may be why sewing at 2am is a bad idea…) Somehow, I mixed the front and back pieces up and didn’t realise until it was all pretty much together, so I suspect the side seams sit a tad differently on my skirt than they might have otherwise. I also completely forgot to make the waistband lining until I was attaching the waistband, so that was jettisoned. Instead, I used a double needle on the top edge of the waistband to smooth it down. 

When I finished putting all the pieces together and tried it on the first time, I really wasn’t sure about this. But, funnily, once I sewed the shiny metallic buttons on, I loved it! I’m not sure why they made such a difference to me, but I much prefer it now.

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It’s a lot shorter and tighter than the skirts I usually wear, so I’m not sure how brave I’ll be about wearing it when warmer weather arrives and it’s time to discard tights. I think I have enough of this fabric left to make the pencil skirt version, though, which might be a good summer solution!

Skills learned: Working with a double needle

Recommend pattern?: Colette Patterns have a strong reputation for releasing well-drafted patterns with clear instructions and this definitely fits the bill. I’ll be making Mabel again soon in the longer version and would definitely recommend it as an easy pattern for sewing simple knit skirts.

I haven’t been able to get any good shots of Mabel while away from home this week, but I did take one shot of me wearing it with my Sorbetto top and leggings after doing a 5k charity walk with my family over the first weekend of Me-Made-May ’14:

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Finally finished: my first Beignet skirt

Beignet front other

I finished a few sewing projects recently but have had difficulty finding the time (and the lighting!) to photograph them for blogging – until now! So here’s my first Beignet. I guess this is what is referred to as a ‘wearable muslin’ – I used a navy polycotton to try out the pattern first time around and check the fit. I’m not sure it’s the ideal fabric for this project as it wrinkles like mad, but I’m actually really happy with it and can see myself getting a lot of wear out of it (especially like this, with a collared shirt and sweater).

I had a bit of a panic attack about three-quarters of the way through making this (basically when it was too late to go back and make any adjustments without an awful lot of hassle) because I somehow suddenly thought I had cut out the wrong size. Turns out that it’s actually a perfect fit. This is the ‘2’ and I like that it’s not skin-tight, so I have room to a) sit down and b) eat.

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The process

I still consider myself a beginner sewer and I was a bit daunted that this pattern is graded ‘intermediate’ by the designers, but the instructions were brilliantly comprehensive. It’s the most technical project I’ve taken on so far and I learned a lot of new techniques and skills while doing it, including making pockets, buttonholes and belt loops. The lining was definitely much more complicated than anything I’ve done before, but even in saying that, the directions guided me through the whole process.

I lined it with some grey anti-static lining and found these lovely buttons at The Cloth Shop. At Eur0.50 each, I think they add up to being more expensive than the rest of the skirt put together, but they really finish it nicely and I like that they’re each a little bit different to each other.

Overall, I’m really, really pleased with this one and will definitely make it again (preferably in a more skirt-appropriate fabric!).

Beignet buttons