Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Milkmaid Skirts and Pattern Matching!

For Christmas my middle niece requested a skirt - she sent me this photograph for inspiration (I am not sure where she found it). I set about searching for fabric but found this a really difficult task. There was quite a few tribal print designs in clothes shops but not a lot of fabric around. I consulted my oldest niece A LOT as to which fabric would be the best to get. After much searching and many conversations I was convinced that tribal/Aztec neon was the way forward and ordered some very bright jersey fabric. I felt the stretch would help it sit well. I was by no means a fan of the fabric but then I had to admit I am no longer a teenager!

One of the things that frustrates me when looking for shop bought skirts is that quite often the pattern on the fabric is not matched at the side seam. It is one of those things that as soon as you start to notice it then it is all you can see. Obviously there are exceptions to this rule, I saw a beautifully matched Harris Tweed skirt last week that was a perfect example. I was determined to get a good pattern match at the side seam. I wanted to minimise the number of pattern pieces to make the matching more straightforward. I did a lot of reading about matching seams and the advice was to take your time and plan each piece. Making sure that each piece starts on the same row and lining up the pattern pieces is important, Thinking about where the centre of your skirt is and making sure that section of the pattern lines up is also crucial. I used greaseproof paper for the pattern so I could see through it to make sure that the fabric was straight and put the pins in the same sections of the fabric. I used a lot of pins while sewing the seams together and I made sure to pin through the same "line" of fabric pattern.

Milkmaid skirt - Design by Adrianna of Crafterhours

The pattern I used was for a "milkmaid skirt". There were a lot of features that I liked about the skirt, I liked the simplicity of having two main pieces, and I loved the pockets. The waistband is elasticated so it would not be "too fitted" to do without the recipient in front of me to fit it. I liked the attention to detail with the trimmed pockets and changing the fabric direction inside the pockets to give a contrast, The thing I liked even more than the design was the tutorial. It makes pattern drafting incredibly easy and straightforward to follow. You take your measurements and apply the formula. The measurements are then applied to colour coded diagrams. I love colour coding as I find it helps me get my head around how something goes together. I love all of the photos in the tutorial and the honesty with which she writes. I worry about waistbands on my fat too and it is nice to know I am not alone! I also love her advice on choosing fabric and leaving the cupcake fabrics for children.

Spot the seam - My first attempt at seam matching.
The cutting took a lot of time and trimming the pockets was fiddly but the rest came together really quickly. I used my double needle to hem the skirt and it gave a really good finish like the circle skirt. As bold as the neon fabric was my niece seemed pleased and it fitted well.

A few months after making it I came across a beautiful blue textured bobble fabric with an embroidered trim. I fell in love with it and was given some so I decided to make a milkmaid skirt out of it. It was a lot more subtle than the first one and slightly straighter on the hem due to the embroidery. I also had to line the skirt. It worked well and is very comfortable. I centred the embroidery on the front and back panel and matched the embroidery on the side seam. This was only possible with the horizontal pattern but kept it neat. It is a really comfortable skirt although I feel I should have pressed it more before taking photos.

 Milkmaid Skirt - Design by Adrianna of Crafterhours
The embroidery on my amazing fabric


  1. These are so great, thank you so much for sharing!

  2. I loved the tutorial - it was so easy to follow :)