What’s more perfect in the breezy summertime than a skirt? No weird shorts waistband digging in (or gapping), no tugging down a too short inseam. Just throw on an easy shirt, some jewelry, espadrilles and go. Most of the skirts in my current wardrobe are novelty pieces, and I realized lately that I own very few “basics,” the kind of thing you can really just throw on in place of your favorite jeans. So I set out to make some.
I started out with McCalls 7197, ignoring the bizarre fabrications and trims shown on the envelope and paid attention to the lines. Good semi circle shape with a few different waistband options to choose from. It’s cut cross grain, which you can certainly do if you want your folds to fall as they do in the picture (grain placement determines the hang of the folds in a shaped skirt). But I cut mine straight grain to maximize layout in cutting. I would suggest cutting your size as the size chart lists on the envelope; sometimes I cut a size or two down in a pattern, but this was spot on.
I used a suiting weight off-white linen I bought in bulk to use for several projects, it’s just so versatile. (If you want to keep score, this is it’s second appearance on the blog; the first was the yoke in the embroidered Ice Cream blouse.) I love how floaty and airy and cool linen feels in the summer, especially for pairing with a tank on playground days, or a swimsuit for boat days. I chose a stretch pongee ivory lining over a cotton, which I worried might stick to the linen. When working with whites, I always test the lining under the fabric to see how it changes the color. Sometimes using a pure white will make the outer fabric brighter and lighter, and an ivory will turn it more buttery. In this case I didn’t see much of a difference, but it’s worth taking the time to test.
I drafted a pocket pattern to go on the side seams, based on the pocket I drafted for the day dress. I added 1″ in width after I’ve been wearing the dress and wanted a bit more pocket. I didn’t realize the waistband was as tall as it is when I installed the pocket, so it’s a bit longer than I wanted (I drafted for a skirt that starts at the waist). I ended up stitching up the bottom inch and re-bar-tacking as I was just feeling a little too #lazy to go in and rip out all those seams and close it up the right way.
I made view F, which has a four pieced yoke: an upper and lower front and back. I trimmed all seam allowances to 1/4″ to accommodate the curves, pressed the center open and the skirt up into the yoke, and added decorative top stitching to all edges. The top stitching looks neat and adds interest while keeping everything flat in the wash and adding an extra stabilizing stitch for loose weave linen.
Incidentally, this is the project that made me buy my new iron. See that brown rusty water that shot out of the steam holes of my old reliable? Grrrrr. Luckily it was saved by some lemon juice, salt, and sunshine.
Confession: I hate cutting off my hems. It feels wasteful. Like I should have measured more accurately when I cut in the first place. Even though most of the time I cut long because you can always cut off extra fabric, but you can’t add if you cut too short. After going my whole life leaving my hems too long because of this, I’m starting to cut. I wouldn’t buy a skirt this long, why should I wear them this way? Don’t fear the scissors. Learn your ideal hem lengths and use that knowledge. I cut off 3ish inches and just saved it for a press cloth and samples.
I did a double roll hem on both the linen and the lining, making the lining about 3/8″ shorter than the linen. In a big flouncy skirt, if hemmed evenly, you run the risk of the lining showing a lot in the folds. I keep meaning to photograph how I do this, maybe it deserves its own circular hem post in the future.
Lining on the zipper and yoke, set back the same way as I did in the circle skirt from last summer.
While I do wish I had finished this earlier in the summer as intended, I think it will make a great transition piece as we ease into fall. The linen is so light and cool for summer days but has nice texture when I want to start wearing sweaters and boots. And speaking of fall…..
Those are NOT leaves on the grass. Nope. Not yet. *shuts eyes tight*
Love from Wisco,