Toot toot! Would all passengers aboard for the Curvy Colette Plus Size Blog Tour please alight at the stone steps for your first peek at my incarnation of the cheeky minx Mabel skirt. That Mabel’s quite a hottie, with figure hugging seams for all your curves (and yes, I mean all of them) and truth be told she’s a little fast … you can easily run one up in a little over an hour (yep, you read that right, an hour!)
For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about let me introduce you to one of newest sewing pattern releases from independent pattern company Colette. With their two new releases Mabel (this foxy skirt) and Moneta (a super cute and easy wear dress) Colette are not only introducing knit patterns into their range for the first time, but each of the new patterns now runs from XS to 3XL. Hurrah! Excited pom pom waving for Sarai Mitnick (Colette genius) and Alyson Clare (knitwear goddess) for teaming up on this brilliant project.
I received my patterns a couple of weeks ago and have to admit, like Laurence, I blanched a little at the technical drawing for this skirt when I first saw it. It was going to reveal ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING, and as someone who would fight to the death over a fit and flare dress, let’s just say it was a loooooooong way from my comfort zone. I knew the key to making something I liked would be fabric choice so I set about a grand search for a knit that was a bit different. This is not as straightforward as you may think. It turns out quality knits in interesting prints with lovely colours are as rare as rocking horse pooh here in the UK. I had to don my fabric explorer rucksack and venture further afield.
Eventually, after perusing almost every fabric shop within 30 miles of my house, and spending hours trawling the internet, I stumbled upon this gorgeous knit online, and was immediately smitten. A vibrant watercolour sploosh of cobalt blue and egg yolk yellow it was the perfect springtime print and I ordered it immediately. Two days later it arrived and the colours did not disappoint. The fabric was a little thinner that I would have liked (a ponte knit or knit with similar definition is recommended for the skirt) but I decided to press ahead and see what I could do with it.
So as not to disrupt this gorgeous print too much, I opted for the skirt version with the single front panel, but adapted the length so I could use it with the longer back pieces (with a little kickpleat). I don’t have many boundaries clotheswise, but my bare legs in a super-fitted super-short miniskirt were always going to be a no go for me. I can imagine a shorter version with thick tights and a chunky sweater in winter though. Anyhow, brace yourself for the amazing bit … this pattern fit straight from the packet! *silence* Shock and awe. I cut the 2XL because I wanted to have some drape for my thinner weight fabric and it worked a treat. The only other alteration I made was to grade at the waistband down to the XL.
Ahh, a short interlude for a gratuitous shoe shot. Custard yellow suede sandals from last year’s collection at Clarks. Yellow shoes will make you smile on even the dullest of days!
The construction of the skirt was a delight and I loved the method of trimming your facings to make sure everything lies perfectly when turned. It’s inspired and something I will use on other garments. I had a few problems with my machine for the hem of the skirt. I just couldn’t get the twin needle stitching to lay right on this fabric, despite much twiddling of tension knobs I still ended up with a mini mountain range at the bottom of my tester fabric strip. In the end I went for a much safer overlocked edge which I then folded and did a single line stretch hem on my sewing machine, which I’m delighted with. The extra depth on the hem really helps the weight at the bottom of the skirt so that it hangs nicely.
You should also know that once on this skirt is so comfortable it feels like you’re not wearing one. Because you have a lovely wide waistband with shaping, it sits perfectly and you don’t have to worry about it twisting or moving or rucking up. I was amazed at how good it was just to walk around in all day. My next task was to find something to wear with my new skirt. Other than jeans and denim shorts I don’t wear many separates so my tops choice is pretty limited. When digging in my stash I stumbled upon this gorgeous cobalt jersey T Shirt fabric and pulled a Simplicity pattern out of the stash that I thought would be lovely with my new skirt. I opted for Simplicity 1463, a simple little v-neck top with some nice details (gathering at the back neck, fluted sleeves and an interesting pointed hem). Wow, this pattern was a disaster. What is it with the Big 4 that if you are over a size 14 they add in an extra 8 inches of ease? When I first made this I could have rented it out as a habitable dwelling … in fact, if I had pegged out the bottom it would have been a yurt. There was some serious chopping and overlocking to get it back on track. I lost around three and a half inches of width on each side just to make it vaguely wearable. (This pattern now lives in the bin.)
See how real my printed flowers look and how entrancing the colour combo … that’s a wee ladybird who decided that I looked like a lovely flower.
Despite my reservation with the top pattern, the cobalt blue looks great with the print skirt, and for shoot day I opted for two looks, a more formal one with a tucked in top, accent belt and heels, and a more relaxed untucked vibe with sneakers and a casual jacket.
This second look is probably how I will wear the skirt most often. It’s the perfect thing to pull on if you are out and about and want to look dressed but casual.