Sometimes a pattern comes along that leapfrogs all your current plans and this was one of those. It’s not a terribly complicated pattern and I dare say with my pattern collection I could have achieved something similar with a few adjustments to something else, but… I don’t know. Sometimes you just see something and think – yes, that’s exactly what I want. I’m also more than happy to support small designers and after I checked out a few of the Elsie skirts on Instagram – in particular the View A sample and also View B made by @rocco.sienna, I decided that this pattern had the makings of a mid-length skirt staple for me. Did it live up to my expectations? You betcha. In fact I liked it so much I made both versions within a couple of days and it’s gone straight onto my TNT list.
The Elsie is described as “what flowy skirt dreams are made of! It is meant to be an easy skirt to carry you through the summer months when made in lightweight fabrics, and fill in your wardrobe in colder months when made in slightly heavier fabrics.” Having made one version in a lightweight crepe and another in a more medium-weight cotton and loving them both, I am currently eyeing up my stash for something more heavyweight for winter and I’m pretty confident it will indeed work just as well for that.
Both views have the same overall silhouette, which is part of the beauty of the pattern. It’s a reasonably simple slightly bell-shaped skirt with six panels for flow, but I love the way it skims the hips without too much bulk. That’s always the tricky bit for me in a skirt like this and particularly when it has an elasticated waist, as this does. It can get a bit bulky at the waist and then chunky at the hips. This one, however, is drafted perfectly for my tastes and doesn’t add heft where I don’t need it.
As you can see, View A has a fully elasticated waist and two front slits, which looked lovely in the sample photos in a light, airy cotton. View B has a button placket and a partially elasticated waistband – the small flat fronts of the View B waistband are one of my favourite features of this skirt. It looks so elegant. Both of the views have substantial slanted pockets, which are also really beautifully proportioned. All in all, this is such a well-balanced pattern and that makes all the difference!
View A and Sizing
I made View A first and used this fun 80s crepe I snapped up from Blackbird Fabrics either earlier this year or last. It’s quite a strong print so has been sitting patiently in my stash for the right pattern. I thought the airy nature of this view would work well for a fabric with more drape. I made the size 16 and found the sizing very true-to-size. The size range on the pattern isn’t the most extensive I’ve seen, with a max size 20, which corresponds to a 40.5″ waist and 51.5″ hips. However, there is a lot of leeway in this pattern – the finished measurements for this size are 50″ waist before elastic and 67″ hips, so I think it would work for sizes above 20 as well.
The fabric was of course a slippery bugger to deal with and I did end up with one verrrryyy long pocket bag, but I just trimmed it up after I sewed it. It was fine to sew though – the slight nubbiness of the crepe helped it feed nicely under the needle. I also ended up with a rather uneven hem on this one, so I trimmed it all down by around 2 inches. The pattern is drafted for a height of 5’8″ and I am 5’6″, so this version is close to the intended length, whereas I left my other skirt longer. It works quite well with my Nani Iro coat and Elio top I think.
As I mentioned before, the front slits are a great little feature and they are constructed very neatly. The waistband for this view is constructed by sewing/serging your elastic band to the waistband before folding it over to enclose it and sewing it down, rather than by creating a channel and feeding the elastic through. This is not always my favourite way to attach an elastic waistband as it can be tricky to manage the elastic evenly, but I got a pretty good result. I really do like the way the waistbands are topstitched several times. It looks good and keeps the elastic from twisting, which is always a bonus in my book. I’m sure it’s not just me who gets inexplicably annoyed when I find a twist in my waistband while I’m out and about and can’t easily flip it back. Or maybe it is just me… but this approach more than solves the issue.
For View B, I used a cotton I got from Nerida Hansen Fabrics and I notice she has more in at the moment (I knew I shouldn’t have browsed at that link – I just bought another piece! I have no willpower arrgghhh). I already used a piece of cotton sateen designed by Victoria McGrane of The Scenic Route for my Seamwork Killian dress earlier in the summer. That was slightly brighter than this more subtle piece, but I just loved this one too and think it’s perfect for a button placket skirt. This one is called the Banksia and Myrtle Ecru and is on mid-weight cotton, which is a NH substrate I haven’t tried before. I was worried it might be a bit stiff, but the opposite is true. It doesn’t have as much drape as the crepe, obviously, but it is gorgeously soft – kind of like the way your favourite cotton garments get after you wear them a lot. I really like it!
The instructions were so good throughout, but I love the finish I got on this view especially. The waistband with the flat front is so professional-looking and I think this garment really could come from a nice store. The construction for this waistband is simple and very effective – it’s similar to the Papercut Palisade pants construction if you’re familiar with that. One little thing I did notice is that the elastic measurements in the chart for View B seemed very short. I cut the largest size and it was way too short for me, so I just took my waist measurement and subtracted the 7 inches that’s taken up by the flat front to get my final elastic length. That worked out for me!
One of my favourite things on this skirt is the way the little field animals seem to be peeping out of my pocket and waistband. Can you spot the field mice? Okay, so actually they’re not mice, heh. I thought they were until I looked closely and I think, after a bit of research, they’re actually Australian pygmy possums. So cute! I love how all these prints/fabrics feature wildlife native to Australia. Other flora and fauna in this one include native bees, banksias, black throated finch, cicadas, fairy wren, wildflowers and myrtles. Turns out fabric buying can be educational as well as fun! I’m totally going to use that excuse soon. 😀
Overall, this was a very enjoyable pattern to make and I’ll be looking out for more from Anna Zoe. If you’re in the mood for a solid skirt staple with some good instructions and fun details, I can recommend the Elsie!