Wow, my current run of projects is all boring solids. I hadn’t planned this, it was just the way the dice rolled. If you are falling asleep in the face of overwhelming navy-ness, the good news is I have been assessing my stash for summer sewing, and it is bright colours and patterns all the way. Today’s project is the Jade skirt by Paprika patterns. I clocked this pattern last autumn a while ago because of its stylish pleats. The fabric I used for this skirt is a navy ponte knit from one of my local stores. It is nice and stable with a soft finish, I’m not sure what the fibre composition is, but it’s great to sew.
Since I printed and started work on this pattern a 2.0 version has been released with slightly altered fitting and a larger size range. Since I started adjusting this pattern before this update was released I stuck with the original, and so I was slightly outside of the size range for the original pattern. Therefore, I added an extra 6cm to the centre front and back to the largest size (6). With hindsight, next time I make this pattern I will reprint the 2.0 version and use the appropriate size.
The only other alteration I made to the pattern before cutting was to add an extra 4cm to each side at the waist for a thick waist based on my measurements. I need to stop doing this, because even though my measurements say I need it, every time I do this I end up taking it off again when I fit the actual garment, which is exactly what I did this time.
Cutting the pattern pieces for this is a bit fiddely as some have to be done single layer and on the fold and there are a lot of corners and notches, but it was fairly straight forward, and I got the skirt out of 1.5m, after a small hiccup when I nearly cut the pieces out with the stretch in the wrong direction.
With the helpful paper aid to practicing the folding I found the folding easy to work out, but I made a critical error in marking the fold lines on the back of the pattern piece as is my usual practice – this caused me no end of headaches as I couldn’t see them when I was making the pleats and sewing them down. If you are making this skirt, test your marker first to check it washes/rubs off, then draw on the front of the pattern piece. Once I had everything pinned down I still found it tricky getting the folds sewn down – I ended up with some of the fabric and folds shifted off centre. Further, when I matched the skirt front and back there was a slight size discrepancy with the skirt front slightly too long. Some careful adjustments of the folds as I was sewing it down fixed this – not sure if these issues were due to small pattern flaws, issues created by my resizing, or dodgy inaccurate sewing (possibly due to not having the markings on the front of the piece). I do like the method of construction and lining which means there are no exposed seam allowances and no hemming (hemming at the end of a project always frustrates me, as I just want it done by then).
Overall, I wouldn’t describe the instructions as beginner friendly. There are only a few illustrations, so I had to read things a few times through. For example, another point where I could have used some more guidance was sewing the front and back pieces together – if done sloppily you could end up with tucks right at the bottom where they are meant to join. One way to avoid this is to sew from the bottom up – then if you get a small amount of extra fabric it just goes above the other pieces.
When finishing construction I added elastic to the waistband to give it extra strength as per the instructions on the website. The pattern is designed to sit a few centimetres under your natural waist, but mine sits just on my natural waist, and therefore is slightly shorter on my legs. I think a combination of the waist elastic and my fairly broad hips is why the skirt sits just on my waist rather than lower.
As mentioned before, as part of the fitting process I trimmed the 4cm I added to the waist off again. Having worn the skirt a few times I think next time I make it I want to lengthen it a bit – there are instructions for this on the blog. Even though I made the midi length, it is pretty much mini length on me – I have short thighs, so there isn’t much difference between mini and above knee length. I am comfortable with the current length, but I think I might be more comfortable when sitting if it was a fraction longer. I think I would also like to add a bit of length above the back waistband to give a little more space for my generous rear end – currently after sitting the skirt tends to ride down a little and needs to be hiked back up to avoid muffin top. It’s no major issue, but I think it would make a future skirt fit a tiny bit better, if the back was a little higher.
Overall, I love this skirt. It is super flattering and really works with curves, and the knit fabric makes the fitting nice and easy. The pleats on the front are great and so distinctive. I actually wish I had sewn this skirt in a lighter colour so they show up better – next time I will. My only problem with this pattern is that it lacks pockets! Given the negative ease involved I can’t see any way they could be added without stretching out when worn (but I assure you I will be thinking on it before I make another version). I definitely will be sewing this again – with a few improvements to my construction process (mark the front of the skirt front!) this would be a quick sew as I found the pleating easy to understand. Next time I will also print the new 2.0 version of the pattern to get the improvements and larger sizing.