Thursday, May 24, 2012

Them (Barcelona) Skirts - modified construction

them skirtsThree! That's how many I finished before our vacation. It felt great to sew myself some clothes that fit. I have been putting it off for years - honestly! I bought this pattern and three of the fabrics (one still to be sewn) 3+ years ago.

The purchase of this pattern is a long story. Normally I would NOT pay $16 for a very basic pattern - famous designer or not. Long story short I was in a local quilt shop (not mine), liked a detail on the sample that was hanging up and *asked* if I could take a picture. Nope - had to buy the pattern and then still wasn't allowed to take a pic. Needless to say the detail they added was not in the pattern. Thank goodness I didn't buy my fabrics there. I haven't been back.

amybarcelonaSo back to the pattern - it's the Barcelona Skirt by Amy Butler. There are a bunch of reviews out there here, here and here. Most were done years ago when the pattern was new and I did look at them briefly just to see what people said - most raved. Yes, I bought fabric way back then. And zippers. But I was just stuck - on that picture. The one on the front of the pattern. Seriously - it looked awkward. It just didn't fit not like I was thinking it should. WHY would they put a picture like that on the front of the pattern?

Needless to say, it took me ages to bite the bullet and cut into my fabrics. But I am so glad I did. Now you should know I'm not new to garment sewing. I've made a fair share in my time. Mainly little girls dresses for my nieces and friends but also the odd grown up thing here and there. And for me it's all about the detail. And the construction. It should be finished and look nice, you know ... just in case you're skirt blows up and everyone sees how you made it.

I am also steadily loosing weight and after reading that the "waist" of this skirt sits at the mid-driff I was even more worried about keeping it on and up. Let alone feeling comfortable in it. But the advantage of below the waist on a plumpy like me is that there are fewer or no shaping (darts or tucks) needed.

So I got a tad bit creative. I wanted to be able to take my skirts in easily if when I loose more weight. AND I want to be sure they won't fall down.

Do you want to see how I did it? Or is that just boring? I'll just run through it quick and if you have questions you can ask, how's that? You can click on the pictures for a better bigger view.
  1. For starters I serged around every piece. Yes it meant fighting with my serger after many long years but it really made my skirts feel "finished."
  2. Sew up the back seam and put in the invisible zipper - google it. They are not hard. Trust me! (I also sewed up the back seam of the lining but didn't do the hand stitching around the zipper yet.
  3. Attach the front skirt to the front lining and the back skirt to the back lining. Press seam open.
  4. Add two lengths of ribbon  - one to each side. A third will be threaded through the front after the skirt is finished. 
  5. Pin the sides of the skirt together and sew the full length - from the hem of the skirt all the way through the waistline to the hem of the lining. When you get to the waistline backstitch (on the skirt fabric) a few stitches and set off again then about 1/2" into the lining backstitch again. This will allow you to open the side seam to run the ribbons through.
  6. Fold the skirt down over the lining and pin neatly at the edge of the zipper. Leave the ribbon hanging out the side. Top stitch a 1/2" away from the top edge of the skirt. You can see this best in picture ____.
  7. different construction
    step 3
    sewing ribbons
    step 4
    prep for topstitch
    step 6
  8. There is now a 1/2" casing around the top edge of the skirt. Pick open the side seam of the lining and use a safety pin to thread the ribbons from the zipper edge at the back to the side seam. Use a third (longer) ribbon and thread it through the casing along the front edge of the skirt.
  9. This is what inside will look like on each side - an easily adjustable waistline. Of the different ribbons I have tried in my 3 skirts I like the one-sided 3/8" satin ribbon best. But next time I might try some simple cotton ribbon I have - I think it will stay tied best. 
  10. The last step is to hem both the skirt and the lining. Have fun - add some detail. You never know .... I'm least happy with the rolled hem on the green skirt and *might* fix it some day but probably not. I top-stitched a tiny 1/16" ribbon along the hem of that lining. The floral skirt got a wide hem and the lining was hemmed with cotton lace and the wrong side of satin ribbon - my favorite! The turquoise skirt also got a simple hem. The obnoxious lime lining is hemmed with an orange gross-grain ribbon.
step 8
skirt hems
have fun with your hems!
So there it is - not short after all. But have you ever known me to keep anything short. Speaking of, I'm dying to try a few shorter skirts - just below the knee. I'll have to make a few more changes to the pattern but will follow the same construction so it'll be easy to take them in when I'm ready.

That's the brilliant part - I think - being able to take them in *easily*.  I'll I have to do is pic out part of that top stitching around the waist. Not all the way to the zipper, just far enough to be able to take in the seam along the side. Tapering in at the waist on both the skirt and the lining. Then re-stitch the casing ... yes, being careful to not catch the ribbon but there's no messing with the zipper or taking them apart along the top edge. Just adjust at the sides ... that is when the ribbons don't do they're job anymore. I'm thinking I can cinch them in for a while just using those. Making hmmm, have I really lost, gained or is it "that time of the month" easier to cope with.

me in my skirt

Yeh, ok ... I don't like the pic but I knew you'd ask. And most important - ignore the hair. A fly on the wall may have found me ~ the morning we left on vacation ~ in the bathroom, scissors in hand summoning my inner contortionist.

I'll try to have Axel take a better pic of the side - so you can see it really does fit. I am really loving my skirts and have been wearing them nearly every day. The cute new shoes help too!

So ... go sew! More soon, J


Via a fun coincidence I discovered 
(just 14 hours before it expired)
the Make it May 
Sew Along for Skirts! 

So I'm linking it up!

Pin It Now!


  1. You look great! I like the whole outfit...

  2. I like it a lot! And love those colors on you!


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