I had been fascinated by this pattern for some time. The “deceptively simple” design means that you cannot see the one seam or the zip fastening in the skirt as the folded over wrap covers both. It is apparently based on a Chanel skirt. As someone who is interested in clever cutting and really enjoys wearing skirts this pattern was on my radar for a while.
My friend Ruth gave it to me after she had made a couple of versions for herself. The first one is in jersey with no zip, and the second is a much more tailored one. I love this version, worn with a cute blouse.
This pattern comes in a range of sizes but doesn’t indicate what size is which. Whatever. I measured my hips which are close to the size 12 in this skirt so that is what I cut out. There is one large piece, cut on the fold, and two long bias cut ties. The skirt joins at the front, where the zip is inserted, and the skirt folds over to cover the zip and seam. The skirt is then tied round the waist with the long ties. Ruth altered her own version in a very clever way. The waist bands become a sort of high waisted corset.
I wasn’t sure how the skirt would fit so decided to make a “wearable toile”. When I last visited Woolcrest in Hackney I got a few fabrics for £3 p/m that I thought might be good for toiling jackets and skirts. One of them was a nice, pinky red tartan, made of polyester or viscose, with a soft feel. I decided to use this. As there are no seams to be seen I thought tartan would be ideal for this project. Having lines that help ensure the fabric is on grain and evenly matched is a real boon. And I enjoy wearing tartan – it has more edge than floral but also goes with lots of colours.
Unlike Ruth I kept to the brief, especially with my first version. So my ties are regulation length and shape, and I kept the skirt long, as designed. I actually think it would look even better as a short skirt. It was fairly quick to make. The underfold can be tucked into the waistband tie, and this is what I did. I didn’t use the back facing, but finished the seams and edges, including the hem, with a piece of vintage pink bias binding. It took about 3 hours to make this skirt, just in time to wear for work last week.
The pattern is badged as an “educational” pattern, assuming you know what you are doing. I was OK with that. But I was annoyed that the tie on the front cover is shown as having a wide base, whereas the actual one tapers to quite a sharp point. And the pieces could have been trimmed a tiny bit so that they fit onto the average width of cloth. I minimised the seam allowances at the tip of the tie, without any problem, and saved quite a lot of fabric as a result. Overall the skirt is frugal on fabric but as the ties are cut on the bias it uses up at least as much again. But a nice skirt and certainly a fun project.
If I was doing SWAP (for me) I think I might have wanted to include it. In fact if it “belongs” anywhere it is probably in last-years-SWAP-that-never-happened – my inspired by Vivienne Westwood collection.
Wearing the finished skirt really reminded me of a kilt-like skirt I got in the Margaret Howell sale a few years ago. It’s been put away for a while but I will get it out soon. I had my portrait painted in this skirt. Polly Nuttall, the artist, did a series on “senior women”. We invited her to be the artist in residence at Notting Hill Housing. It was a great initiative, where she shared her work, skills and techniques with our staff and contributed to a very special project involving Housing Officers and their tenants. Anyway the Margaret Howell skirt I is glorious and I love it. It has red, navy and dark green in, against a natural white background. I am wearing it with a navy cashmere sweater in the painting. The belt is worn over the high waist and the skirt is basically made in the same way as the CC Fold Skirt.