Sunday, 18 June 2017

Self-Drafted Mia Mini Skirt

If you follow me on Instagram, at the beginning of the year you'd have seen my little to-do list that I'd drawn up in place of making any resolutions. 99% sewing related, my stitching goals included- Draft two dresses, Make something spooky, Make something sexy, Design and draft a skirt with fitted waistband.

Its the beginning of June and I have just ticked off my final sewing goal!

My Mia skirt is quite simple in design, an A-line shape with centre front seam (!), and a zipper in the back. Instead of drafting from measurements like a pro would, I used the waistband pattern from my recent Shannon Shorts as a basis to draft from. I was really happy with the fit of these shorts so it seemed silly to draft a new waistband with the same fit.

The side seams of my first calico toile were straight out at an angle roughly based on that of another A-line skirt I own. The first try on was a good fit, but realised I could do with a little extra in my hips. I opened up the seams and put some rough little panels in to see what kind of curve was needed to accommodate my hips. I draw this curve onto my skirt, unpicked it then drew it onto my paper pattern pieces. Lovely hip curves!

My other big alteration was my very first hollow back adjustment. So pleased with how well it went! Basically it seems as though every item of clothing, whether ready to wear or made from a pattern sits perfectly at my front but ends up either miles up my back or all runkled in the small of my back. I could see my skirt was sitting a little high at the back, so basically I altered it so that the seam attaching the waistband curves downwards from my hips to centre back, then back up again. To determine how much needed taking out, I pinched the excess fabric at the back (between my bum and the waistline) and drew on a new seam line. It worked perfectly!!

Such a simple alteration made this skirt from something I might wear once or twice but not stand up in, to a total wardrobe staple! I quickly copied this adjustment onto my paper pattern and cut away the excess in the back.

** Side note, there's a really cool article on the By Hand London website for future ref on swayback adjustments**

I took out 1.5cm from either side of the centre back seam, but in my stretchier pleather fabric I took loads more out of the back (a further 1.5 on either side with a 1.5cm seam allowance).

I also cut a lining for the skirt, using the same pattern. I made the front piece a little bigger as I was worried the skirt would still be a little tight around the hips and didn't want that to take its toll on the thinner fabric. I tacked my lining to my skirt before attaching the waistband, making little tucks at the top with the extra fabric in the lining.

The lining was a nightmare to hem. Don't tell anyone, in the end I just ended up overlocking it and hoping it doesn't peek! Any tips on hemming a curved hem with a silky fabric. I absolutely despise hemming everything! I need some tips!!

Didn't insert the lining properly at the zip. I'd attached the two pieces together to the waistband, so when it came to inserting the zip, my pleather and my lining were acting as one, more like an underlining or backing. So inside there's a bit of poetic license going on in the zip area but you could never tell from the outside... and me mam couldn't tell from the inside! So can't be that bad eh?

My experience with pleather was much like my suede adventure, only slightly more predictable as pleather is much more consistent.
1- Always use a leather needle (I had no problems using the same one I used for my suede)
2- Pins will leave holes, so be careful where you're sticking them.
3- It's pretty stretchy so keep this in mind when drafting.
4- Stretchiness could potentially cause chaos when top stitching. The only top stitching I did was on my centre front seam. I could feel the foot dragging the fabric as it went along, so I would advise adding a layer of something you can tear away between the foot and the fabric, which is exactly what I did around the hem to stop it from stretching out on the way round.

So there you are! Hope you like my Mia Skirt! I'm so happy with the fit. I'm really getting my head around the frequent fitting problems that I come up against. I've got my eye on some of these crazy shiny leathers from Identity Store, Matlock, after all, you can never have to many mini skirts can you?



Location: Lilleshall Abbey, Shropshire
Currently listening to: Secondary Swan, Quilt


  1. Wow looking great! The skirt looks so well finished and v. professional! Definitely worth the effort with the adjustments to get it spot on :) xx

    1. Thanks Shauni! Really pleased with it!! Looking forward to making more with some different fabrics xox

  2. Love the skirt and photos! Nice!

    1. Thanks Susan! And thanks for taking the time to say :) xox

  3. Love the skirt - is that the first time you have worked with pleather? It certainly doesn't look like it. Good point about the leather needle, some people think a normal needle with a thicker shaft would be ok but that is not the case. Have you thought of using a glue pen instead of needles? They are not permanent but will hold well enough for you to sew (and should not leave a mark).