Friday, April 19, 2013

McCalls 6654 -- Skirt Remake

Winter version -- don't be frightened by my red eyes;)
This is a skirt I made back in March.  Let me preface this by saying that I do not like sewing skirts.  I prefer to wear dresses because they are stand alone, so to speak.  Skirts mean you must also have a suitable top, and those are not very plentiful in my closet.  In addition, most of the dresses I've made hang from the shoulder, allowing me to bypass my waist.  Sewing a skirt, however, requires me to fit my waist and my hips, and on me there is not a whole lot of difference.  Hence my dilemma with skirt patterns:  do I choose the pattern based on my waist and then make the hips smaller, or do I choose it based on my hips and then make the waist wider? least two years ago my mother gave me a thrifted maxi skirt made out of tencel fabric.  I love maxi skirts and dresses, but this one was slightly too big and it was rather full.  I never wore it--even once-- because I just didn't have anything to wear with it.  I do love the feel of the fabric, though, and it's not a fabric easily found in my local fabric stores.  Rather than donating all that fabric to the thrift store, I decided to try to transform it into a short, straight skirt.  Straight skirts generally look better on me than A-lines.

I have tried the book Sew What! Skirts book several times, but unlike my friend Elizabeth at MrsThomasinaTittlemouse, I have had no luck.  The skirts have turned out too big (no matter who I was making them for) and unflattering.  I'm either having a problem with the math or the measuring (or both).

So I opted to use a conventional pattern, McCalls 6654, view B.  It is an easy pattern with several skirt variations, designed especially for knits.  The hardest part was deciding what size to use, what with my aforementioned size issues, plus the fact that each knit stretches differently.  After cutting off the waistband and cutting the skirt apart at the side seams, I wrapped the fabric around me to where it looked right, and then measured the fabric against the sizes on the pattern to see which to choose. This seemed to work, although with a different knit the size might need to be changed.

While I was at it, I thought I really need more room in the front and less in the back, so I ended up cutting a size 14 in the front and a size 12 in the back.  The front and back are both cut on the fold.  I raised the cutting line on the front fold by 1/2 inch because I read that can help to disguise a fuller tummy.  I don't know if all that really made much difference, but the skirt did at least fit.
It was impossible for me to get a good photo of the seams
I left a seam in the back center because it was in the original skirt.  The waistband was cut between a 12 and 14.  I used a 1/2 inch seam allowance instead of a 5/8 inch when attaching the waistband to the skirt because I was afraid the one-inch elastic wouldn't fit in the casing otherwise.  Once I decided on all the calculations, the actual sewing took only part of an afternoon.

This is closer to the actual color
It is just a simple plain little skirt, but I like that it transcends seasons.  I can wear it in the winter with boots, as here, but I will also be able to wear it this summer with flats.  At least now it gets worn.  And other than choosing the proper size, McCalls 6654 is a very easy pattern -- good to have in your sewing arsenal.


  1. That's a very cute skirt, and it looks good on you. You are very resourceful to re-sew a skirt like that.

  2. You've created a custom skirt that fits you beautifully. This explains why so many have completely given up on patterns (as my daughter has) working with draping only to create a garment.

  3. I have the same problem as you of having waist and hips with little difference in size. The skirt looks great and I love that splash of colour with the rest of your black outfit. Dressmaking looks so hard though!

    1. Please don't let me scare you off, Julie! I think sewing is like cooking -- there's always more to learn, but you don't have to know everything before you get to enjoy your creations (whether it's by wearing them or eating them:)

  4. I love this - colour, cut and everything! So clever of you to adapt a thrifted skirt so effectively. I am not good at this and get in a muddle with the maths! Well, I get in a muddle with maths in all circumstances! Sorry the Sew What Skirts book hasn't worked for you - not that you need it in the way I do, as you know what works and what doesn't, without it. I love the way you have adapted two sizes to make something that fits you perfectly. It looks beautifully svelte and very stylish contrasting with the black. Have been playing with the sewing machine myself recently - just need to take some pics and will post my retro-efforts! Have a lovely weekend, Angela! E x

  5. Your skirt turned out lovely and isn't it great to reuse fabric. Great colour. Looks good on you.

  6. What a great transformation! Well...since I didn't see the original, maybe I should say instead...what a great skirt! It looks fabulous. I really love the entire outfit you have put together.

    Job well done...again!

  7. Great skirt! I love the fun colour! :) I'm curious to have seen what the original skirt looked like, but I'm sure you transformed it!
    I'm with you on preferring dresses, they really are easier! I am working on my first *wearable* skirt. I like how you pulled your outfit together, very stylish! :)

  8. Great skirt Angela and a very nice color.


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