I am a big fan of easy dressing and easy sewing with a personal twist. You can make great clothes that are simply constructed but offer a great canvas for unique details, from vintage notions and appliqué to embroidery and cool fabric mixes. This is a big reason why dresses and skirts are my favorite things to sew. You have lots of room, literally and figuratively, to experiment and play.
If you get your creative charge in choosing fabrics, you know how different fabrics can totally change the look of a pattern. I have couple of favorite go-to skirt patterns that I make over and over again in different fabrics with different details. (This is an easy way to build an inexpensive work wardrobe in a snap!) So I love seeing the same pattern done in different fabrics to help me visualize the possibilities. We have two great examples here for a little inspiration.
Check out Jil Cappuccio’s Mix + Match Dress in two different colorways and in two different sizes. Our beautiful model Nida is wearing the dress in orange and yellow. I am wearing the dress in a blue and brown colorway in my editor’s photo from the first issue of Stitch. I love the mix of prints used with a different print jersey for the sleeves in contrast with the body of the dress. A perfect example of easy dressing, this dress is super comfortable to wear and is flattering on many body types. Nida is a model size 4. I am definitely not a model size anything. But the dress works for both of us!
Another great example is Jenny Gordy’s Tulip Skirt, a great all-season skirt that also looks great on many body types. I love the subtle detailing on this simple skirt such as the contrast stitching and buttons and the high waist. Our model Aja wears the original version in a tobacco-colored heavyweight linen with red buttons and topstitching. Karyn, the talented owner of The Workroom, a hip fabric store in Toronto, made her own version in a sophisticated print and cleverly used vintage typewriter keys for the buttons. She also made the tie bigger for a more dramatic look. Making a pattern your own is what it’s all about.
The other thing I love about making simple skirts and dresses is that you really can make them in a weekend. Sometimes you need a little instant sewing gratification. My weekend sewing plan usually goes like this:
Friday night after work: cut out pattern and fabric
Saturday: sew all the major pieces together
Sunday: final fit tweaks, complete finishing, add embellishment details
Monday: wear it to work and impress my co-workers
Now that’s my idea of a fabulous weekend.
Which brings me to my favorite part of the sewing experience, which I call ” the twirl moment.” This is the moment when you finish your project, put it on, run to the mirror, admire yourself in your creation from all angles, and do a little twirl of happiness at the result. Fits me perfectly, check! Looks pretty darn fabulous, check! Doesn’t make my butt look big, check! Have the perfect shoes to go with it, check! Plan to wear it as soon as possible to show it off-definitely!
Try out one of our digital skirt and dress patterns this weekend. And if you need a little embellishment inspiration for your next skirt, see our profile in the current issue of Stitch on Alison Willoughby, aka the “skirtgirl” and author of 49 Sensational Skirts, for ideas on how to turn a simple skirt into a work of wearable art. The possibilities really are endless.