Tag Archives: skirt

Kelly with green buttons


When I set out to sew something (which isn’t often, since I don’t have a dedicated space) I plan out how long I think it will take, hit play on whatever Audiobook I’m listening to (this weekend I finished Middlemarch and got back to The Goldfinch) and put my head down. I have been known to forget meals and/or not realize it has gotten dark when sewing, despite all the up-and-down from machine to iron (so much ironing). All of which means the finished garment tends to be accompanied by a stiff neck and a sore back (again, something I don’t notice until I’m finished.)


This weekend, though, I was pleasantly surprised by how well this skirt — the Kelly Skirt by Meghan Nielsen came together. For starters, to mitigate the back/neck pain and also make time to leave the house, I spread the process out. I don’t know where I got the idea that sewing had to be a one-day affair, but realizing I don’t need to finish something in one sitting has been really liberating. I traced the pattern and cut my fabric on Friday, did the sewing on Saturday (several hours spread out over the whole day), and sewed on the buttons yesterday. Not only did spread the process out mean I didn’t end up stiff and sore, but I’m pretty sure it led directly to a nicer looking (and better constructed and finished) skirt.


I made the straight size medium, with my only deviation from the pattern being that I only had six of the vintage green buttons, so on the waistband, in place of the second button, I used a hook and eye. I don’t see myself wearing this without a belt, so I don’t think it’s a big deal. This fits really well with just a t-shirt tucked in, and is definitely easy to wear — I think it will even suit tights as the weather gets cooler.


I’m not 100% sure about the shape on me, but I think that’s something I could fix by shortening the waistband and adding maybe a half-inch of ease to the skirt. I might also add a couple of inches to the hem, to bring the skirt to just above the knee. I’m thinking about making a second version using the grey-blue cotton/linen fabric I bought in California. What do you think? Is the Kelly skirt worth a round 2?

I'm including this hilarious photos because even though who knows what I'm doing with my arms (mid-stretch? Too much Top Model in my undergrad days?) it's a decent angle on the skirt.

I’m including this hilarious photos because even though who knows what I’m doing with my arms (mid-stretch? Too much Top Model in my undergrad days?) it’s a decent angle on the skirt.

(If you’re curious, I managed to get a fair amount of knitting time this weekend too. I’m an inch from finishing the body increases on Stasis, which puts me very, very close to joining the arms.)

Fine feathered Madeleine




I don’t know why, but I always forget how much I like wearing skirts. When I was a kid, I absolutely refused to wear skirts or dresses and really only came around to wearing them on a casual basis in the last six or seven years. This all probably explains why it didn’t occur to me to try sewing a skirt until Sara and Andrea suggested it last weekend. I am so, so glad that they did.


This is the Victory Patterns Madeleine skirt and it represents what I spent most of the weekend doing (that and knit the button bands and collar of Grace). I have a very small stash of fabric, but this is one of the first pieces that made up that little stash. It’s Anna Maria Horner Field Study Linen (a linen-cotton blend) in the “Deep” colourway of Parenthetical Flight. I ordered 2 yards of it a few months ago, before I was really doing any sewing or knew how much yardage to buy. As it turned out, I was very lucky to get this skirt out of two yards, and actually had to sew pieces together for the waistband. Thank goodness I had decided in advance to forgo the straps.


The fun thing about sewing, besides the speed, is how much there is to learn. It reminds me of when I started knitting and everything was new and exciting and each project represented new skills. This skirt represents a bunch of firsts: using interfacing, making a buttonhole, sewing in a zipper, etc.


To choose a size I decided to measure a high-waisted skirt I already have, which put me between sizes 10 and 12. As it turns out, I could certainly have gone down a size: after walking out to take the pictures I realized the waist was too loose and, after getting home, moved the button out by nearly and inch and then added a hook-and-bar to the inside of the waistband. This pulls the zipper off its clean line a bit, but it’s not too noticeable and is a definite improvement fit-wise.


All in all, I am very pleased. I love the huge pockets and the length, and that I don’t need a belt, but could wear one if I wanted. I wore this all day today, and I am please to report that it’s suitable for bicycling, sitting on café patios, and wandering around city parks. In short, it’s a perfect summer skirt, and I still can’t quite believe I made it.

New Girl!


I am so, so happy with this skirt.

If it works with a t-shirt and a cardigan, it is basically a lock in my wardrobe.

If it works with a t-shirt and a cardigan, it is basically a lock in my wardrobe.

I’ll admit that I was a little worried. Not that it wouldn’t fit, but that I would finish it and put it on and just feel meh. There is nothing worse that working really hard on something with an image of how it will look when you’re done, only to discover that it looks great on the hangar, but maybe isn’t quite your style. I have been admiring this skirt since it was first published, but I was never quite sure if I could pull it off.

I’m getting better at listening to that little voice in my head that points out things about a pattern that might be a problem, or cause regrets, and this time I listened. I didn’t want quite such a full skirt, so I did some math and decided I could get away with half as many increases as the pattern calls for. I also added 1.5 inches to the length (after the pockets) and left off the pocket cuffs. I also thought a lot about colour. Cassy and I talked a lot about colour before we cast-on, and although I was draw to both a dark, forest green and cranberry as possible main colours, I went with blue because that’s a colour I’m used to wearing. I’m not always good at integrating new styles into my wardrobe — especially if they’re different from what I usually wear — so I wanted to make this something I wouldn’t overthink.

I added stripes to the insides of the pockets, just for fun.

I added stripes to the insides of the pockets, just for fun. (L suggests I not make a habit of posing like this in public.)

At risk of repeating myself, I am thrilled with how this turned out. I put it on yesterday for our little photo shoot (we got double-digit temperature yesterday! It was incredible) and it was the first time I’d really worn it apart from fitting the waistband. L thought it looked great, so when we went out last night to trivia night with friends, I didn’t change, and I got compliments right off the bat. One of our friends actually said she thought it was vintage (high praise indeed).

Way back when I was casting on, Audry asked about my yarn choice. I went with Zitron Unisono, which I’ve previously used for socks, and so far I’m really happy with it. Unisono is 100% merino, but infused with aloe and jojoba, which sounds weird but feels amazing. It has five plies, so it’s very round and very springy, so it keeps its shape well but also stretches, which is necessary for this pattern because of the elastic waist. It also made doing the daisy stitch edge much easier. Based on the socks I’ve knit, this is a yarn that wears really, really well. Those are knit at a much tighter gauge, though, so I’ll have to see how this skirt holds up — I foresee it seeing a lot of action this spring.


Pattern: New Girl by Allyson Dykhuizen
Yarn: Zitron Unisono in #1155 (blue) and #1163 (grey)
Needles: 4.5 mm
Notes: My gauge was slightly tighter than called for in the pattern (25 instead of 24 stitches per four inches) but since there’s a lot of positive ease it was fine. As I said above, I did half as many increases for the skirt (k1, kfb, all the way around) which worked out really well, as did adding the extra length (1.5 inches, below the pockets). I also left off the pocket cuffs, though I considered knitting them but leaving out the daisy stitch. If I knit this again, I think I’ll use a smaller needle for the waistband. This one is fine, but I ended up needing to use a black elastic band because I was worried a white one might show through the stitches. I think I’d also make the waist band just a little bit taller — 1.25 inches or so. Ravelled here.

I actually finished something else this weekend, so our sunny photo shoot was a double-whammy. I’m saving that for another post, but here’s a preview. (I cannot believe I was outside in a t-shirt! There was still snow across the park, but in the sun and out of the wind, it really felt warm.)


There will be pockets


As planned, I cast on for New Girl last Friday. Cassy and I have been updating each other on Ravelry about our progress, but I realized I hadn’t blogged about it yet. I think I got into those weird loops where I felt like I didn’t have enough done to take blog photos, and then when I did get into it, I just wanted to keep going.

The way the top edge is rolling (it will be seamed down) is making me think I should probably add a hem to the bottom.

The way the top edge is rolling (it will be seamed down) is making me think I should probably add a hem to the bottom.

I’ve never knit a skirt before, so I’m not sure how much this construction differs from what’s normal, but basically you knit in the round for a while and then split the stitches and work back and forth for a while, leaving space for where you’ll insert the pockets. After you’ve got the pockets to the depth you want, you rejoin everything in the round and carry on. While this does interrupt the autopilot of straight stockinette in the round, it does give each section clear boundaries, which means you’re always working towards something besides just finishing.

Pocket split. The red is there to give me a clear place to measure from (for some reason, I'm terrible at counting rows as I go.)

Pocket split. The red is there to give me a clear place to measure from (for some reason, I’m terrible at counting rows as I go.)

I had a decent amount of knitting time on the weekend (though L and I spend most of Saturday curling, which was so, so much fun), but as usual, that time dropped right off on Monday. I’m a little over half way through the front panel, and if I can get that finished during the week I should be able to get a fair bit of the bottom part finished next weekend. We’ve had a few days of spring-ish weather, but it’s supposed to snow tomorrow and Saturday, so if this takes me another week it’s hardly a disaster. Up until now it’s really been too cold for me to think about wearing a skirt or dress, and since I usually end up wearing tights with dresses and skirts right into May most years, I’ll have lots of wearing time left. (This also means there’s probably time to catch up if you were on the fence about joining us!)