Saturday 23 September 2017

Completed: Denim Pleated (Faux) Wrap Skirt

I bought this fabric at the Edinburgh Knitting and Stitching show a while back to make Ginger jeans. I recently bought the pattern, cut it out and even made a pre-emptive flat pattern adjustment for my humungous calves,when I realised the fabric just wasn't right. It didn't have enough stretch, and I just wasn't convinced at all. Heather Lou does say on her sewalong that you can use lower stretch fabric but might need to size up, but I didn't want to waste the fabric and I have enough pairs of not-great fitting jeans already!

Luckily, I had a plan B. I just had to figure out how to execute it...

So, last year, I think, I found this image on Pinterest and it was love at first sight!
Isn't this just fab?
I think I pulled it off!

Obviously a fair bit of hacking was going to need to be done, but I figured that most of it would be relatively straightforward. First though, I had to find a base pattern. I considered a few options: Seamwork Osaka, which I actually own or Sew DIY Nita wrap skirt, but I don't generally like wrap skirts and I wasn't overly taken with either of those options. Eventually I found a pattern on ebay for £2 (incl postage), which is actually from Prima magazine of all places. 
I thought view 2 had potential (second from left), but I think I actually ended up making the one to the far left. It's actually a fixed wrap skirt, i.e. a pencil skirt with a wrap over the top, which I actually liked. Edinburgh is a windy place! :)

First step was to muslin. I cut the second smallest size based on my measurements but ended taking it in considerably, particularly around the hips because I don't really have any. That done, I moved on to the hacking. I did one step at a time, checking each worked before I moved onto the next. And can I say, I loved the process? It was good fun trying to work out how to make things work, particularly on the pockets and the waistband. I'm not going to do a step by step on this, but if anyone is interested in any particular aspect, please let me know. I will caveat that by saying that I have no idea if I did things the "right" way. I just went with what seemed instinctive and practical at the time. So, what did I do?

Firstly, I added the pleats to the wrap overlay. I used this tutorial, which is for trousers but it's exactly the same principal. I find it hard to visualise the change from 2D to 3D, so I used a spare bit of fabric and manipulated it to what I wanted visually, and from that I worked out how large to make the pleats and where to place them. I made 3 pleats which slightly overlap each other. The plan was to have the first pleat slightly overlapping the pocket opening, but that never really happened. The pleats were each approx 2cm wide. I love how the pleats look at the top, but as always with pleats, I have a bit too much volume at the bottom. You can see it in the photo below. I suspect here it's because the fabric has zero drape.

That done, I turned my attention to the pockets. I used the Kelly Skirt pattern for the pockets as I really like the shape. What was tricky was that the wrap overlay also has a pocket, but since there are 2 layers of fabric on that side, I couldn't work out how best to make it work without adding lots of bulk. In the end, I did away with the pocket lining and instead sewed the pocket facing directly onto the underlayer of the skirt. I probably overthought this, TBH, but it works OK and I kind of like the idea of having the wrap overlay cut away to expose the layer underneath, albeit that they are made of the same fabric, so you can't really tell...

Finally, we have the waistband. The original pattern doesn't have a waistband, but I love the detail on the inspiration post where the wrap appears to wrap over the top of the waistband at the front. Can you see it?
I really wanted to replicate that, and I spent quite a bit of time thinking about how best to execute it. In the end, I figured I'd do a faced waistband, would extend the wrap overlay at the top and then would sandwich the overlay in between the waistband and the facing. It seems simple, but I couldn't figure out in my head how to actually sew that. Oh, and I had to draft a waistband first. I remember reading somewhere (no idea where, sorry) that someone had flipped a facing up to make a curved waistband, so I gave that a try. It took a bit of finangling, but I was able to make it work well enough. I wasn't sure how to go about drafting a curved waistband from scratch, so this seemed like a reasonable compromise.

There was a bit of a struggle top stitching the waistband, given the overlay, so I just stitched as far as I could from either side. This has left a bit of a gap, which I still need to handstitch, which you can see below.

Other amendments were to reduce the hem allowance from 2.5cm to a far narrower 1cm, which mirrors the inspiration photo and feels right on denim, and to add the side split, which I wasn't going to bother with, but I kind of need due to the pencil skirt and you know, mobility.

The skirt fastens with an invisible zip at the back. I hadn't done one for a while, but this went in perfectly.

I'm really pleased with the final skirt. It's not quite perfect. I wasn't too sure why, but Paul nailed it when he said it was like new jeans. I think the denim just needs broken in a bit. Hopefully a couple of washes will rough it up a bit, but I might take a bit of sandpaper to the hems and pocket edges too. I don't really like my denim too clean, if you know what I mean?

Baby Boy's verdict? "I like it better" "Better than what?" I asked. "Than a cow" he responded. On that note, I'll leave you with a few more photos.



  1. Wow, this is amazing. I love your new faux-wrap pleated skirt. It looks brilliant and fits you so well. I'm super impressed with the concealed zip - it's invisible!
    It will be even nicer when the denim has softened up too.

  2. I'm with baby boy, MUCH better than a cow! lolz. Very cool. And it will soften a bit with washing. If you do attack it with sandpaper will you post about the after, I'd love to see how it looks. I love denim but shie away from it and mostly because I also like that worn in look.

  3. I really enjoyed your post - from inspiration to finished garment! So satisfying to see how you accomplished what you set out to do SO brilliantly!

  4. How clever you are! It’s terrific! And those kitchen cupboards look pretty swish too :)

  5. It's cool! I wish I had written down some of the things my three said growing up...they are priceless! x

  6. Wow - that's gorgeous. So clever. Much better than a cow. Also, that kitchen is looking pretty fab! x

  7. It looks so good Helen!! And it must be so satisfying to have worked it out from an inspiration photo. And like Shivani, I’m very impressed with your new kitchen too!

  8. This is gorgeous! I love it. It’s such a clever design and looks amazing in denim.


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