Happy 2016, friends! I hope the new year is treating you well. Let’s ignore how tardy I am with this post’s salutation and instead talk about that classic January conundrum: Should I make a New Year’s Resolution? Usually, I fall firmly in the negative camp on that. Personally, I find that setting small, regular goals works better for my “Oh, a shiny thing!” brain. Until, this year. For 2016, I decided to make not one, but two, resolutions.
Of course, my resolutions are both firmly sartorial. Instead of painful life fixes, they are fun goals I am excited to tackle. First up, I’m going to sew one Knipmode pattern per month. As a Christmas gift, my mother graciously ordered me a subscription to the fashion-forward Dutch pattern magazine. After they expanded their size range earlier this year, I became obsessed with their modern and feminine design aesthetic. However, the only way I can rationalize having a sewing magazine–written in a language I don’t speak, no less–sent across the world each month is if I make a conscientious effort to actually use those patterns. This is made all the easier by my second resolution, which is to sew a more glamorous wardrobe. 2015 found me in a rut, making the same patterns over and over and routinely choosing comfort over style. While I value comfort, I also want more drama and personality in my wardrobe. This year will be about working towards a wardrobe that is less trendy and more stylish. Why, yes, I did recently watch an Iris Apfel documentary on Netflix.
My first entry into this wardrobe experiment is an asymmetrical skirt from Knipmode’s October 2015 issue, which is now also available as a PDF download. The style is decidedly dramatic, with knife pleats marching along the skirt and a hem sweep that dips almost eight inches from right to left. This pattern is at once a classic full skirt and something more modern entirely. What fabric to use, though? There was a dilemma. It required a print, something that matched that balance of new and old, a fabric that wouldn’t date the garment, but had a similar artsy edge.
Mood Fabrics, of course, had my back. Mood has so many gorgeous prints that would work for this style, but I fell in love with this Green/Magenta Floral Stretch Cotton Sateen. Check out that print, y’all! It’s a vintage-style watercolor floral, but there’s nothing sweet about this fabric. This is an adult floral, a glamorous floral, even. When it arrived, I was so smitten that I promptly ordered another three yards of its other colorway, which is a riot of yellows and reds. Both fabrics are a heavier cotton sateen, perfect for an unlined skirt like this one, and have just enough stretch to lend a little comfort. Better yet, they drape gloriously, creating hemlines that swirl and dance with every step.
The simple lines of this skirt pattern provided an excellent canvas to show off such gorgeous fabric. They also made navigating Dutch pattern instructions for the first time much, much easier. Even without instructions, an intermediate seamstress could whip this garment out easily. Make a few knife pleats, finish the seams, then add the waistband and an invisible zipper. Voila! Instant skirt. I treated this pattern as a Knipmode trial run, however, and fully translated the directions. Google Translate actually handles Dutch to English translation really well, picking up even technical sewing terms, like “seam allowance” and “overlock.” For the few words that wouldn’t translate readily, the wonderfully helpful Marianne pointed me toward this fantastic Dutch/English sewing glossary.
Honestly, translating the directions was the most time-consuming bit of this garment’s construction. This sateen sewed up just as beautifully as you would expect. It takes pressing really well, making those pleats a cinch, and lines of stitching almost disappear into the print. Construction-wise, I made things a little more elaborate to suit my preferences. The waistband is lined with coordinating royal purple, which was understitched to turn the facing, then sewn to the bottom waist seam by hand. Though I serged the seam allowances to finish them, I did sew the hem up by hand and eased it into the skirt. Originally, this pattern was meant to have a hem facing, but I prefer a fairly deep hem on such a full skirt. It gives the hem more body than a faced or narrow hem would. To that end, I lengthened the hem by three inches and turned it up twice, catch-stitching it to the inside fabric. Finally, the invisible zipper was also put in by hand, but that’s simply because I can’t find my invisible zipper foot! It has been lost to the clutter of my sewing room. Until it appears again, everything at Chez Danielson-Perry is getting a hand picked zip.
And, just like that, I’ve held a resolution for one whole month! There may be something to this only making wardrobe resolutions, friends. I’m really looking forward to what gorgeous pattern Knipmode brings into my life next. Perhaps this riding jacket from the November issue? For now, I absolutely adore this first skirt. It’s fun, modern, and pairs with half the sweaters and blouses in my wardrobe. If I ever get tired of the asymmetrical hem, it’s easy enough to even the hem out, but…I don’t see that happening anytime soon. This is exactly the drama I wanted in my closet!
Did you make any sewing-related resolutions, this year, friends? How are they working out so far?