After finishing my Design Your Wardrobe project, one of my looks was a midi-length gathered/pleated skirt and a long-sleeved tee. This is not exactly going to shake up the world sartorially, but it fits perfectly into my “comfy mum clothes with a twist” theme for my little capsule wardrobe. I was initially planning to make the Colette Zinnia skirt, but then I noticed a class for the Made by Rae Cleo skirt appeared on Creativebug, which I subscribe to and have been meaning to utilise more . You download the pattern with the class and it was along the lines of the skirt I was looking for, so that decided it – the Cleo it was!
I downloaded the pdf and it went together easily. I’ve made a couple of Made by Rae patterns before and she seems to be a very fastidious pattern-maker: plenty of detail and instruction, so there was lots to check out. As I mentioned, I followed the Creativebug video tutorial, which made life very easy, but there’s also an in-depth sewalong posted on the Made by Rae website. All in all, this is a particularly great pattern for a beginner to learn some new skills in a well-guided manner.
The pattern itself is fairly simple: two views of a gathered skirt with a flat fronted waistband, which is elasticated at the back – so comfy! One is knee-length with a contrast band, the other midi-length – and there are two different pocket styles. I went for the midi-length with the cutout pocket and had intended to add 2 inches to the length, since I tend to suit either above the knee or much longer skirts, but then I started cutting while chatting to my husband and – oops! – before I knew it, I’d cut it out at the pattern length. In the end though, I have to say I quite like the length, so perhaps it worked out for the best. I’m 5’6″ for reference and I made a size Large. The pattern runs from XXS (26.5″ waist) to Plus size 3 (45″ waist).
The fabric is a blue sueded modal fabric that I bought from Style Maker Fabrics at Sew Expo here in Washington. It has a lovely soft peachskin feel to it and fantastic drape, which was perfect as I wanted a slightly slimmer silhouette for this particular version of the skirt. I think you can just about see the sueded effect in the photos and, believe me, it is soooo nice to wear.
If you’re wondering what modal is, it’s a type of rayon, made from beechwood and is allegedly much more environmentally friendly than rayon in terms of production, but I’m no scientist, so don’t take my word for it! One thing I can tell you is that you should use a pressing cloth when pressing, as well as a low to medium iron heat, because it leaves a white mark if the iron is too hot. Don’t ask me how I know.
Anyway, construction was nice and simple, with the only slight hiccup being the gathered front waistline. Rae gathers it using elastic thread in the bobbin, which looks so nice and easssyyy when she does it. Unfortunately my Brother CS6000i does not like the stuff. I tried it again just in case, but, nope, it really just won’t sew with it. So then I tried to gather the “normal” way – with two lines of gathering stitches. However, you actually gather across the pockets for this skirt and the thread wasn’t really strong enough to gather effectively across the bulk there. Bummer.
Next I resorted to using FOE elastic, which worked well, but I cut the elastic too long, so I ended up gathering between the pockets using normal gathering threads again. Whew! Anyway, you probably have a preferred method already, so just use that! 🙂 I did think the back waistband was a bit too bulky and ruched when I finished it, but actually seeing the photos, it’s not as pronounced when worn on the body, so I probably won’t adjust it next time either.
I hemmed using a narrow 1/4″ +1/4″ hem to keep as much length as possible. The modal sewed up like a dream I have to say. I guess the sueded effect stops it from being slippery like some rayon can be.
And that was it! For the “full” outfit I planned, I still need to make a long-sleeved tee, but this Plantain top I made already is very close to the look I was going for, so you get the idea. It’s unusual that a garment turns out almost exactly as you had it in your head, but this one actually did, so I’m pretty chuffed with it – not least because it’s a SOLID colour and it goes with LOTS of other things in my wardrobe. Wahey – wonders will never cease! Now onto the other outfits!