Saturday, February 5, 2022

McCalls 8055, Straight Skirt plus Fold-over Waist and Pockets

The starting point for this sewing project was a pair of pants with a folded waistband and square top-stitched pockets. The pants are by Pact, a clothing company that produces organic cotton garments of all types.
The pants look comfortable, so I thought I would try the same construction in a skirt. Using McCalls 8055, a pattern with a slim skirt and a flared skirt in several lengths, I chose View D because it most resembles a straight skirt that I purchased from The Loft. The Loft skirt is constructed of a stretch knit (french terry) and features a yoke-style waistband that sits below the waist. It is comfortable and flattering.

The pockets are from Butterick 6525, altered to fit the waist of the McCalls pattern. The fabric is from Hobby Lobby, a polyester/cotton sweatshirt knit and a polyester ribbed knit in similar colors, caramel for the sweatshirt fabric and gingerbread for the ribbed fabric. There was 1 1/3 yards of the sweatshirt fleece, 88% poly, 12% cotton, 62" wide, somewhat light in weight. The caramel color is more orange than toffee brown. It was $9 total, but the skirt front and back took only 3/4 yard, reducing the cost to less than $5 for the skirt plus $3 for the ribbed fabric for the waistband and pockets, total $8. The sweatshirt knit has only a little crosswise stretch, but the ribbed knit has at least 50% stretch. With the ribbed fabric for the pocket inset that will replace the skirt front at each hip, there is enough stretch to allow the skirt to be pulled on and off without the aid of a zipper.

Construction was simple and made easier by two factors: first, the sweatshirt fleece is a stable knit that can be sewn with a straight stitch; second, my new walking foot managed the ribbed knit fabric without stretching or puckering. Although the skirt was started with a size 16 to be on the safe side, reducing it by 1/2" on both sides made it fit. A second skirt in size 14 fit well enough. Basting most of the seams prior to sewing made the process of sewing, fitting, and re-sewing easier. Once the skirt was constructed, however, the waistband construction was simple. It is just a tube, folded over and sewed to the skirt with a zig-zag stitch for stretch. That seam is covered by the waistband being folded up toward the waist, so the uneven line of the zig-zagged seam is not visible. Next, a casing was sewn in the middle of the waistband for a drawstring. The waistband folds over the drawstring. Since I do not wear tucked-in shirts or crop tops, most of the waistband will never be visible.
The rest of the skirt that is visible is near perfect--it fits well; it is quite comfortable; it doesn't ride up; and the pockets work. Below is a photo of the non-visible portion. It looks quite neat. The only two things that were improved in the second version were the holes for the drawstring. Two zig zag stitched rectangles, each a half inch to either side of the center of the front layer were sewn in before the waistband was attached to avoid hand-sewing after the attachment; and the slit on the side--it started a few inches higher up.
The skirt is a good match for the sweater I knitted last year from the Graphic Elements pattern by Tamy Gore. It was mentioned in my end-of-year sweater post. The second version was made from some peachy-pink sweatshirt fleece and ribbed knit fabric. It looks ok with the mauve sweater also featured in that post, although it's a lot of pink.

I have since made a third version of this skirt, using Robert Kaufman cotton/lycra sweatshirt fleece in a deep green, Cedar.  This one is my favorite--cotton beats polyester in this case.  Also, it doesn't shed as much as the first two do.  The excessive shedding of the fleece fluff from those skirts forces me to wash them separately.

Another addendum here is a post about the other skirt in this pattern, the flared version, now merged with the post about the slim skirt version. This one was sewn in May, 2021 after I had finished a bleached denim dress from the New Look 6458 pattern. Since the fabric was exceptionally heavy and comfortable (a rayon blend) for a jersey knit fabric, I bought a skirt pattern for it on Hobby Lobby's $2 pattern sale, McCalls 8055. There was enough fabric left over for the slim skirt but I had my heart set on the flared one.  There was just enough for the shortest version of the flared skirt, barely, a 19" length, in a size 18, reversing the nap for the back.  There is a little shading in this knit, but the variation in the print hides it.

Apparently, I cut the wrong length for the front, the 23" length, and then cut the correct length in the back.  The next morning, although the difference in lengths was obvious, I decided to re-cut the pieces to allow a longer length.   With a yoke across the top of the back, trimming the size 18 down to a 10, and piecing the waistband, it became a wearable skirt in spite of the error. The pattern itself is simple and the visible hem on my S3 looks great.  Otherwise, I used a knit stitch for the seams and a knit zig zag for the edgings.  I used the edge stitch that comes after the standard over edge stitch for top stitching the yoke seam in the back.  Not perfect for that purpose, but ok.  This is where a serger or coverstitch machine would come in handy, but if I cut patterns correctly, I won't need one for this pattern.  I just need a nice medium weight knit, 1 1/2 yards of 60" would be more than enough.
This is the front

This is the back, with yoke
There are just small scraps left of this fabric, so I am allotting the rest of the purchase price to the skirt, $6. I have actually worn this skirt quite often during the summer.

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