I love the idea of maxi skirts. The silhouette is flattering and elegant on just about anyone. But I hate that 99% of maxis hang straight down like tubes. As soon as I saw the swishy glory of the Gabriola Skirt by Sewaholic I knew I had to have it. Nevermind that the pattern was for a pear-shaped body (small waist, large hips) and I am exactly the opposite. Nevermind that it was rated as Intermediate difficulty, not suitable for beginners, by both the designer and sewing blog reviews. I.HAD.TO.HAVE.IT. 

Meanwhile, I ran across this image of an Alice + Olivia skirt, which is apparently sold out everywhere despite its mind-exploding pricetag of $698! It's super interesting and all but, I mean, really???
I wasn't a fan of the mega-gathered waist as I'm sure that only looks good on 24in waists. But could I may be get a similar effect using the Gabriola pattern? When I found this gorgeous heavy cotton with a navy leaf pattern, I knew it was a sign from the Sewing Gods that this was to be my Alice+Olivia-inspired Gabriola! 

They only had 4.5 yards left, and the pattern called for 5. Were the Sewing Gods testing my determination? I bought it anyway. After washing, it had shrunk further and I got even more worried. 

But then I got an idea! Why not make the yoke out of navy cotton? Not only would I have enough fabric then, but the dark yoke might have a slimming effect across the tummy (a sensitive area for me). Double win! Just in case, I squeezed the pieces very close together, not like the suggested layout, and at the end I had almost a full yard and a half left! I think it would make a lovely shorter A-line skirt for work. May be with this Alice + Olivia pattern I just tracked down on ebay.

The skirt was not easy for me, but only because I am such a rookie! The instructions themselves were totally clear and the sewalong was invaluable. But I still made a zillion stupid errors that had nothing to do with the pattern!

The panels of the skirt came together without much struggle, and, strangely, getting the yoke pieces to line up was probably the easiest part!
But then came the errors. First, because I'd never graded between sizes before, I apparently did not correct for the pear shape sufficiently. So I ended up having to correct the hip curve on the already sewn skirt. I think by the end I had taken in almost 1.5in on each side! It just seems that my body follows a straight line from my waist to my widest hip. No hip "curve"! Good to know! 
Next, evil gnomes messed up the waistband! Since lots of people had complained online that the original straight waistband sticks away from the body, I used a curved waistband pattern from another skirt. Which was a good idea as it does not stick away from my body. BUT, something weird happened. Once I was done interfacing, understitching etc., the finished waistband seemed too short. Did it shrink from ironing the interfacing? I attached it to the skirt carefully, using the smallest seam allowances possible and serging everything together. I tried it on 10 times during that process and all looked right. Until the thing was finished when I discover that suddenly the waist is too big! Despite wearing it full 2 inches below the natural waist (which is where the pattern is meant to hit). HOW DID THIS HAPPEN??? SORCERY! I know I should just rip it off and start over, but the thought of going back there is nauseating. So I just tell myself that sooner or later I'll gain weight and the skirt will fit fine. It's true!

Perhaps related, the CB seam allowance is uneven on both sides of the zipper; it is twice as wide the left than to the right. Thankfully, nobody sees my seam allowances! But it does make me wonder, is my left side slightly narrower than my right? Oh did I mention that I also screwed up the invisible zipper? Luckily the blue leaf pattern falls right next to it so my mishap is concealed. I am so glad I didn't make the suggested button closure, but instead just had the zipper go all the way up, because I'm sure I would have messed that up as well. 

Even if I don't re-do the waist, I still have one thing left. As you can see, the hem is terribly uneven. That's because I fell prey to the "I'll finish it later" foolishness! It's been sitting in my closet with that basted hem for over a month now. To be fair, it's been in the 100s in L.A. for ever and ever so I wouldn't have been able to wear it anyway.

Despite all my mistakes and imperfections, the final result looks great to me! I can't wait to wear it and I can't wait to make more. I have 3 fabrics lined up, and I hope next time I'll be less bad at it. My mom thinks it looks a bit formal for everyday wear (you can't really tell from the photos but she does have a point), but I don't care! I made an "intermediate" skirt and it doesn't suck at all, in fact I love it, so I'm totally showing it off to the world!

Error log:
  • Did not grade properly in the hips
  • Waist is too big
  • Invisible zipper is not so invisible
  • CB has uneven seam allowances on both sides
  • Putting the skirt in the "done" pile before doing a proper hem! (am I the only one who does that?)


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