Saturday, 16 August 2014

The Phoenix Gabriola

This is a story about a skirt that rose from the ashes of disappointment to the joy of completion. A while ago I was fortunate to come third in the Winifred dress competition and I was sent some beautiful rayon crepe from Sunni. Following wise words from a colleague this fabric was destined to become a maxi skirt, specifically a Gabriola

Floral Gabriola

I have always like the maxi style but it is a style train I never jumped onto, mainly because a fear that I was too short for it (I'm 5' 6"). But yet again, Tasia at Sewaholic has lured me out of my comfort zone. I knew I would need to make a couple of alterations to the pattern to get the fit right so I made a toile. My standard grading down a couple of sizes for my hips worked but my slight sway back caused a problem. Just how do you make a sway back adjustment with those yokes pieces? Luckily Maddie had posted her solution which saved my brain a difficult puzzle. I made one other change - I decided to move the zip up and remove the button closure at the back. 

Floral Gabriola

Construction isn't too difficult, essentially you are sewing a lot of straight lines. It can be a little tedious to sew these lines when you throw in overlocking as well, however the results are totally worth it! The trickiest part is sewing the tip of the yokes at the front. Thankfully the skirt visibly comes together quickly. Until I noticed my MASSIVE mistake. 

Floral Gabriola

After adding the waistband, I wrapped the skirt around me to test the fit. It did not cover my hips. Eh? The toile fitted fine. That's because it had all four side panels and my skirt only had two... To make matters worse I didn't have enough fabric to cut the additional panels. Following many expletives the skirt was thrown into the corner. 

Sadly Sunni was out of fabric. Unsurprisingly it was very popular and sold quickly. The skirt remained in the corner until a possible solution hit me on my walk home from work quite a few weeks later. "What if I divide up the panel into several pieces and stitch them together? The print is quite busy - I might just get away with it. I have nothing to lose - I can't wear the skirt as it is and I can't create another item from it. And the fabric is too pretty to gather dust in the corner." Turns out I didn't have enough for two side panels but I could get two more back panels created from three pieces each. Suddenly I had a full skirt! As I hoped, the print covers it pretty well and if I look down the panel I have trouble finding the seam lines although it is pretty obvious when your pressing the skirt! 

Floral Gabriola

Gravity then gave me another problem. It pulled the bias panels further than I anticipated and hemming became a bigger job. I put the skirt on and sweet talked Adam into pinning it from the floor up. I whizzed it through the machine to finish. 

Floral Gabriola

Let's talk about the fabric. It is quite possibly my favourite fabric I have used to date. The navy blue background is the perfect shade to show off the flowers. It has a lovely drape, feels smooth to the touch but is actually quite weighty! I had trouble working out how to wash it and decided to throw caution to the wind and washed it at 40 degrees. It didn't shrink and has held up very well which was a massive relief. Anyone know how you should properly care for this fabric? 

Floral Gabriola

I've worn this skirt a few times since completion, including on holiday (these photos are taken in the beautiful city of Girona, Spain) and have loved it every time. I don't feel short, in fact I feel a little taller - a great illusion! I love the swish of the fabric as I walk and when it is caught in a breeze. I honestly don't know why I waited so long to make a maxi.

16 comments:

  1. Your skirt is gorgeous! What a save on piecing the panels, I can't see the seams at all. I love maxi skirts, and agree that they make me feel taller too - and I'm smaller than you. I have this pattern, but haven't made it yet. Thanks for the link on the sway back adjustment, that's an issue I'll probably have. Re washing, what about hand washing or Delicate in the washing machine?

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    1. Thanks, Lynne. I was so lucky with the print to make this work. I think I will use the delicate wash from now on - I avoid hand washing where possible!

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  2. Yay for saving your skirt! I definitely can't see any seam lines on the photos. And gorgeous setting for the photoshoot. I hope you enjoyed your holidays ;-)

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    1. Thank you! We had a lovely holiday. Hope to see you soon so I can tell you about the fabric shops you found for me.

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  3. Gorgeous skirt and brilliant save! The maxi style really suits you and I love the print on this skirt. A total win :)

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    1. Thank you! It is nice to have another style to add to the mix.

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  4. The skirt is wonderful! I adore long skirts and dresses, and I'm 5'4". I once had someone try to tell me that I was too short to wear long skirts, and I have since gleefully ignored that person and gotten tons of compliments on my clothing.

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    1. I'm now not sure the too short argument works! I'm glad you went your own way.

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  5. It looks lovely - great save on creating the extra panels. I love how my Gabriola swishes too! And I don't think you have to be especially tall to wear maxi skirts, just as long as you're not tripping over them!

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    1. The swish is amazing! Ah, yes the tripping. Only a little on steps so far but not enough to justify taking the hem up more!

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  6. Gorgeous! Glad you saved it, perfect holiday attire :)

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  7. Your Gabriola is lovely - so floaty and summery. And I am so glad that you found a way out of your fabric shortage! It would have been so annoying otherwise. It happened to me a few times as well that I had forgotten to cut out a piece, but luckily I still had enough fabric.

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    1. Thanks, Daniela. It is such a silly mistake but glad you have had a much easier time with left over fabric.

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  8. Claire I LOVE this maxi skirt style on you! And I think you've made a brilliant recovery in how you cut extra pieces - you would not know this had to be engineered slightly differently at all. A perfect skirt for such beautiful fabric- twice a winner :-)

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    1. Aww, thanks Winnie! So glad my save worked - I've worn it a lot since.

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