It's about exploring and sharing my creative adventures (mostly sewing these days) ~
~those activities that sometimes obsess, usually inspire, occasionally frustrate
~and always provide a delightful maze to wander through.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

I'm Wearing Skirts! And Liking it! Style Arc Bobbie Bask

Sometimes even a die-hard pants person has to admit that skirts can be...well....kind of fabulous.   Especially on a hot summer day.   And cooler weather too, worn with boots.   And as I sew more, and age more, and become a bit more body and fashion conscious, I'm finding that skirts are starting to have more of an appeal.

One of my all-time favorite articles of clothing just happens to be a skirt, in fact.  This one:
This is a cotton batik that is SO soft, and SO comfy to wear.
It's missing a button, and has a few small stains, but it's true love,
and imperfections can be glossed over, right?
I don't really wear it all that often any more, but it once was my go-to travel skirt, beach skirt, knock-around-the-yard skirt, so it has stayed in my closet for a very long time.   Last year I bought Style Arc's Bobbie Bask skirt pattern:
because it reminded me of this beloved skirt, and finally...finally!...I made it up.
Seeing it on the hanger gives an idea of the drape and construction,
which definitely looks different on the body.

And now I want more!

It's a bit shorter than I usually like (short leg syndrome = needs longer skirts, + aging legs syndrome = vanity, + knees that have never ever been an attractive feature on me = more vanity), but I thought it might make a good biking skirt:
And it does!  Here I am with Matilda Joplin, a bit windblown after a jaunt to the pet food store :)
The knit actually clings to the knees in the wind, and it's a good length,
not long enough to get caught up in anything.  
Not only that, if I ever DO want to dress it up with heels (not likely, but still....), I can:
I know, the shoes are not the best choice,
but it's what I have.
Truth be told, this is playing dress-up games for me.
It was fun for the 10 minutes it took to put this look together & snap a few pics ;-D
Close up of the bask.
The pattern suggests that you can take a few hand stitches
to hold the folds where you want.
Side view showing the gathered seam
I would have made the skirt longer, but I used every cm of length I could squeeze out of what fabric I had left.  And now I'm fine with the length, since I discovered it's so good for biking!  I left it unhemmed, again, to keep every mm of length, but I may hem it now.  Because I have this "thing" about unfinished edges, and it'll drive me batty sooner or later.

Pattern and Construction Notes:

  • This is not quite a circle skirt, and made up in a drapey knit it has wonderful movement and a lovely soft fall.   The gathered midriff hugs the body, but in a much more flattering way than a single layer of knit.   Well, flattering to those of us who no longer have youthful, fit and firm tummies.....
  • As is the case with most Style Arc patterns, instructions are minimal.   Even the pattern pieces gave me a pause - instead of saying "cut 2", they say "1 Pair", and my feeble brain needed to take a good look at all of the pieces to make sure "cut 2" was what was meant.  The basic information is all there in the instructions, (thank the sewing goddesses for drawings - I would truly be lost without them!) and it's a fairly simple pattern, so you can figure out the details even if the instructions don't quite make sense.
  • There is an inside and outside "bask" (the gathered midriff section).   The outer one is gathered at the side seams, then you match the seams to the seams on the inner bask.   I gathered the seams by sewing a long stitch, pulled and gathered the stitches to length, and tied the ends to hold the gathers in place.  Next time I'll do the classic 2 rows of stitching, and backstitch at one end so that I don't have any slippage while I'm gathering, then pull the threads to create the gathering.   Then stitch down the center to secure it, using a smaller stitch.
  • There is elastic at the waist - you sew this on to the inner bask, at the waistline seam.  I meant to take a picture of this, but I conveniently forgot; it's not my proudest moment in the neat sewing category....  In my defense, I made a teeny tiny seam here (trying to eek every mm of length from the fabric), & trying to keep that seam folded under the elastic was not an easy task!  
  • The only tricky part of the skirt (for me, anyway) (well, other than the aforementioned elastic...), is matching the seams of the outside and inside bask pieces and sewing them together along the gathered seam.  I think that if I do my gathers as mentioned above, and WAIT to pull out the 2 rows of gathering stitches until after I've sewed up this seam, it will be easier, and have a neater finish.
Slow Sewing Required Here
This pattern really has a lot going for it - there is virtually no fitting required; just start with the right size & it pretty much stretches to fit.  It's fairly quick & easy to sew up, & even forgives some sloppy mistakes because of all the gathering.  There is a lot of hemming - I guess I have to admit to myself that I am now a confirmed Lover of Knit Sewing, so one of these days I'll justify a coverstitch machine....maybe.   And a felting machine.  And a straight stitch industrial.......


Did you ever convert from skirts to pants or vice versa?  Are you an equally bi-pantskirt wearer?  What do you love or hate about either one?

For me, it's really all about comfort.  I cannot imagine that I would ever be comfy in a tight pencil skirt, nor would I want to go anywhere in a big poofy conflagration that would brush both sides of any doorway I passed through.   Just let me breathe deeply, and walk freely.  What's different for me now that I've started sewing again is that I want to feel that I look my best while doing it :)


RhondaBuss said...

Oh Jilly, for me you are preaching to the choir. I LOVE wearing skirts. You look absolutely adorable (your best) in that little skirt.

Karen said...

Very nice -- it hangs beautifully. I think yours is the first one I've seen made up.

shams said...

That is definitely the first time I've seen this skirt made up. It does look adorable on you!!

Andrea said...

Oh Jillian, I'm seeing a Style Arc order in my future. You look great in a skirt! I am loving how the bask area lies, very nice, and I can see that hiding a couple of my 'imperfections', if you will.

Skirts vs. Pants? Love 'em both, shorts too, but I probably favor skirts. I have a couple old knit skirts that I wear around the house, and sometimes even to bed with a tank top. I love the unrestricted and more feminine feeling of skirts. As far as pants go, my favorite pants are Zella brand yoga/workout pants. I dress them up for travel, even. I wish I could source their sumptuous fabric. The one thing I don't like about any lower body garment is if it feels restrictive, or tight at a certain spot on my lower back. Weird, I know.

Recently I turned a friend on to skirts - she was a pants only kind of gal. She was staying with us, and came out of her room dressed all in black for a beach wedding. I dragged her up to my room and selected a light flax colored, bias cut, yoked linen skirt, and a brown sleeveless top with crocheted and beaded straps. Her daughter could not believe her eyes when she descended the stairs! She felt so pretty in the outfit that she wore it again later that week. Next thing I knew, she went shopping and bought a dress. Now how's that for a conversion?

I hope we will be seeing you in more skirts. I love that fabric on your old skirt. It's a great color for you.

Mary said...

That skirt looks marvelous on you and I am having skirt envy. Is it jersey? Love the color and the drape. The midriff area (bask?) is genius...New Look 6648 also uses this on a top.

I wear pants more often than not, but I am definitely bi-I love to wear dresses and skirts. I don't like really tight clothing but do like to wear sheath dresses.

Karin said...

I like the rushing detail at the waist/tummy area. Very flattering on just about everyone!

Jilly Be said...

If you haven't made a Style Arc order yet, it's definitely time!

It's interesting how it so often will take a little push from someone else to get us to stretch our fashion comfort zone. Mine is definitely getting stretched simply by taking pictures of my creations and [gasp] posting them for the world to see! Never did I think I'd be willing to do that a mere couple of years ago....

Jilly Be said...

It is a jersey - perfect for this skirt!

gwensews said...

Cute skirt and it does look nice on you. Biking skirt is an English fashion isn't it?

j.kaori said...

Cool skirt that looks fantastic on you! I'm more of a skirt person so I really love this style -- may need to try it!

Barbara said...

Very useful review and beautiful skirt on you, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Yes, thanks for the great review. I also love to make and wear skirts. If you ever do want a pencil skirt, I recommend the Magic Pencil Skirt from Pamela's Patterns.......Janice

Louisa said...

Such a cute look on you! And practical too. I tend to wear pants more than skirts - but I'm working on at least a partial conversion.

The Style Arc people are trained as industry patternmakers (not home sewing) so "a pair" means a left and a right piece. Whereas "cut 2" would mean 2 pieces the exact same, i.e. not mirrored. Make sense?

Jilly Be said...

I've seen a lot more skirts on bikes all over Europe than I ever see in the U.S.!

Jilly Be said...

Thanks Louisa - that does make sense. In this case, the pieces are identical, front & back. Notches identical on each side of each piece, etc. I'll have to pay attention to where they use this term on their other patterns. I just don't remember seeing it before.

Anonymous said...

Jilly, you look great in your Bask skirt. I love the length, flow of the material, but especially the double bask on your slim tummy profile. Wow, you look great.


Anonymous said...

Jilly Bee, I am a recent convert to skirts as well. I always hated them in the summer because of sticky legs. A sewing classmate of mine who never wears pants suggested I invest in a pair or two of what we used to call pettie pants in the late 60s. I did one better and made a pair out of muslin and that's all it took. Love your bike skirt.

Theresa in Tucson

Jilly Be said...

Ooooh I remember pettie pants! I need something like that to wear under the skirt while biking...thanks for the memory jog ;-D

Sassy T said...

Love it, and glad you can wear it to bike ride.

Anonymous said...

Yes skirts are fabulous and even maxi's are soooo much cooler than shorts or capri's or slacks. Your 'bicycle skirt' is adorable!!!
Your 'old' skirt is beautiful...I love batiks! In fact yesterday after seeing Carolyn's new fabric...did you see it?...I went to low price fabric and bought some of the Van Gogh rayon for skirts...couldn't resist when she said it was just $6 a yard. Yes!!! Also couldn't resist the Hoffman batik for a top. :)

Jilly Be said...

I love batiks too :) I did see Carolyn's gorgeous fabrics, and followed the link.....and resisted *whew*

Dixie said...

Love, love this skirt on you. But not on me. I don't enjoy wearing skirts. At all. Well, maybe to a wedding. With Spanx hosiery. But that's it. My heavy figure needs the split effect of two legs that pants give. Otherwise I look like I'm wearing a barn.
Back to your skirt. The skirt just perfectly fits your flat tummy. And I really like the length. I think too many women hide their legs unnecessarily. I disagree that short legs need long skirts. The length of this one looks great proportionally with your torso. Mid- or lower-calf length skirts tend to look frumpy and dumpy. Maxis are ok, but I really like the just-below-the-knee length. This skirt is just perfect for you!
The beloved batik is just beautiful. I can see why you've kept it all these years!

Cation Designs said...

I love skirts, but not pencil skirts! My favorite is having all the drapey fabric swish around my legs, and I can also plop on the floor and still look somewhat graceful because the skirts just float down and cover my legs as I sprawl in an unladylike position :)

But seriously, that skirt looks like a (pretty) workhorse, the kind you can do everything in and still look put together! I've never tried a Style Arc pattern, so your review was very informative.