My 18 year old self was very pleased when velvet came back into fashion in the Autumn, and specifically burgundy velvet. I had a beautiful claret velvet maxi dress that I wore to death in my adolescence and now I get to repeat the trend all over again!
I found a great stretch velvet in a little fabric shop in Bristol called Calico. It is in the perfect wine colour and has a good amount of stretch in it, so I decided to make a little pencil skirt out of it. I only bought a metre and it was a bargainous £3.95! I didn’t have a specific pattern but figured I would just wing it and draft my own!
How I made my pattern:
- I took my waist measurement.
- I took my hip measurement.
- I measured the distance between my waist and hip – this is called the rise.
- I measured from my waist to just below my knee, which is where I wanted the skirt to end and added an inch seam allowance.
- I took a piece of tracing paper and drew a rectangle which was as wide as my hip measurement divided by four. I decided not to add a seam allowance to this to allow for the stretch in the fabric (stretch patterns tend to have negative ease, which means the finished measurements are often smaller than your actual measurements, to allow the fabric to hug the body and stretch as it is supposed to.)
- I marked my waist measurement divided by four at the top of the skirt.
- I added two inches at the top for the waistband. I wanted a waistband of an inch, so once this was folded over, that would achieve this. At this stage, I was sure I would add elastic to the waistband so was going to make a casing for it.
- I marked the waistband with a straight vertical line.
- I marked the rise point on the edge of the rectangle and draw a line connecting it to the bottom of the waistband line.
- I chose to curve the bottom of my skirt in, so I measured in two inches at the bottom of the skirt and and two inches down from the rise point and connected those two points with a gently curved line.
Once I had my finished pattern piece, I cut two pieces on the fold from my fabric.
I decided to just use my overlocker for the side seams as the fabric was a knit. This worked really well. I actually ended up taking the sides of the skirt from the hip downwards in by about half an inch, just to get the fit that I wanted, but, as all stretch fabrics are different, I would definitely recommend being conservative at first as, you can always take away more, but you can’t add it back in!
I was perfectly ready to add elastic to the waistband until I tried the skirt on and realised it really didn’t need it. The amazing thing about that is the fact that this is now my favourite skirt to eat dinner in as it stretches with me and let’s me eat as much as I want! Christmas dinner was a breeze!
I just overlocked the raw edge of the waistband, folded it over and sewed a narrow zigzag stitch an inch from the edge.
I repeated this process for the hem, with just a half inch allowance.
Overall, I am really pleased with this skirt. It was a quick and easy make and I wore it to death over the Christmas holidays. It looks great with heels or with ankle boots and is suitably festive. I’ll definitely be using this pattern to make some more stretch skirts in the coming months too.