Skirt-a-long: godets and pockets

My skirt started with straight vertical lines:
Hollyburn sew a long. Front panel

This doesn’t leave much room to stretch the legs. My hem needs flaring otherwise I cannot walk comfortably. I’ve found various option on Pinterest and I’ve gone for godets. One in each side seam.

I cut them first and then I thought about an even hem. The Cutting Class showed me that godets need a round bottom to hang even at the hem.

I’ve now moved the godet on the left side so it can have a round hem. I placed the lowest part on the lowest part of the front panel. Were I to sew the right godet as is it would creep up and look weird.

positioning the godet. left one is correct, right one would've too high in relation to the hem of he front panel. A drafted godet has a roundish bottom.

For the pockets I used the wrong sleeves from the Pink Kitty Blouse. One part of the pockets continues across the front panel. I like it that way: an extra layer for warmth and to reduce wrinkling.

The openings are reinforced with a piece of non-stretchy band.
skirt sewalong



sewing the Hoezee skirt

I showed my orange practise trousers to my teacher and I learned:

  • how many parts there ought to be to a zip fly
  • that indeed the side seam of the front panel can be more curved than that of the back panel but not as much as I had
  • that we had to take the waist in quite a bit
  • that I prefer loose pant legs. Even with stretchy fabrics I don’t like the restriction over my upper legs.
  • how to fold away any remaining darts at the front.

These adjustments I put into my pattern and some into my block. Then I made it into a skirt pattern, with fly zip and jeans pockets. I’m now sewing this so I have a skirt to wear (I desperately need a practical skirt, made from canvas) and to practise sewing fly zip and pockets.
With this skirt I can see if the pattern is truly ok now. If it is I can use it to sew linnen trousers, from the fabric I bought at the Stoffenspektakel. The Summer trousers I’ve been longing for.

sewing steps:

  1. trueing and walking the paper pattern: making sure all seams attach nicely to each other and have the same length. Indicating notches at convenient places such as hip line, seat line, CF, CB etc.
  2. pressing the fabric and then cutting. I’m doing 1,5 cm seam allowance. Making sure there are no big dots or spots on inconvenient places such as the crotch. Pocket insides are cut from thinner cotton. No interfacing for the bands, this is sturdy canvas, I think it will be enough on its own. Besides I’m done with fusible interfacing, I melt it all the time and I don’t feel like sewing in interfacing for this project. The waist band will get a stay band sewn into it, to prevent stretching.

These are the pieces I have now:

pattern pieces skirt with pockets and fly zip

I have the feeling there’re not enough pieces here…

Let’s see: back panel, front panel right, front panel left, yoke, waist band front left, waist band front right, waist band back twice, second waist band front left, second waist band front right, stay tape for the waist band, hook and eye closure for the band, two pocket visible parts, two zip fly parts, one zip guard, one zip, pocket inside left and right.

There needs to be two more pocket insides and perhaps another zip guard.

3. staystitching curved bits I want to keep in shape while I handle them: waist band, yoke, pocket curves. (it feels kind of ridiculous to do this, to spend the time and the thread. I’m still doing it though, because I’m too much of a beginner to know what’s important and what not.)

Wearing a skirt with pockets.

It worked! I now have a skirt with pockets.


In real life it’s more straight, I’m standing weird twice to take these pictures (and I may have cut the lower ends of the side seams a bit too flaring…)
Also: I did not press the skirt yet. I wanted to show it in all its natural behaviour.

Indeed, no extra wearing ease is needed when using the widest circumference in the method of Marina von Koening.
The darts work like magic. The fit of this dress is very good!

Look at how long those darts are in the back!
I cut the hem a bit round.
Pockets are neatly tucked away in the side seam.
Excuse the laundry in the back…

The front (and more laundry). With short darts.
Again the hem is cut a bit round. Next skirt I’ll cut the waist a bit round too.
In this one I thought I had to raise the back a bit because of the small of my back. You can see the difference between the front and the back panel.
In wearing I see this was not neccessary.


The darts did all the shaping.
They are very short in the front, just 6 cm (2,3 inch). Because I have a belly.

The darts is the back are very long! More than 20 cm. (8 inch!)
Two darts I put in before putting bias band at the top. Then I found out I needed more. I just put in two more darts without altering the bias band. I’m practical. In a next skirt I’ll do all the darts first and then finish the waist band. I’ll even do a facing!

On the left -in above picture- you see the side seam coming in.
The front panel has less width than the back panel. Because I have buttocks.
But at the waist the front panel and the back panel have equal width.

When wearing the side seam is perfectly vertical.
Or perhaps not… but look at that fit!

I thought the sideseam hung straight when I looked in the mirror. I may not stand straight in this picture. Or the seam might not be straight at all, after all it is weird to have the back panel wider than the front. Will check again.

goes to mirror

takes a picture

doesn’t alter it in any way, showing shamelessly the mess in “the wool room” and the ear muffles I wear most days and my handknit sweater.

And a straight side seam:

I’m sure this mystery will be solved in the future.

Also: see how low those pockets are. I’m on a learning curve, I am.

I still have to finish the ending of the zipper. Really, I had no idea what I was doing when I put it in without a seam. Still don’t.

Here are some other things I’ll do different next time:
– curve the waist band a bit
– no need to make the back higher
– a zipper without a seam needs a bit more planning than just slash & sew. Here are some good answers.. Ooh, here’s a good one too! With reenforcement in the back.
– make my own biasband. Found a lovely tutorial for people without a bias band maker tool.

I’ve already cut fabric for the next one. It includes a waist band facing. oooh, fancy
I found some nice tutorials how to put it in and get a nice finish at the top.
Tomorrow I’ll go to town to get a zipper (and bias band). And perhaps some more fabric for a next skirt? I dug through my stash today but there wasn’t really much fun fabric for a skirt. The good fabrics are all for dresses.
Really, I should just throw out all the fabric that will never make me happy… It would clear up at least 3 curver boxes.

Doing this skirt, I learned some new words that will help me in the future:
“exposed zipper”, I do not seem to mind them.
“in seam pocket”, I love those! I like them invisible too, with different fabric on the inside, like a little inside giggle.

One more illustration of my learning curve: the first run at the hem I thought I’d be smart, I’d stretch the fabric because it had to go round. Logic.
The result:
Not smart at all. I took out the seam and redid it, very gently and not pulling at all. Now the hem is straight. Albeit a bit flared at the side seams.

All in all a good practice skirt and I will wear it. It is in sturdy canvas and I enjoy that fabric very much when working here in the woods. Still have to fix the end of the zipper though.

Wearing a paper bag

Marina von Koenig has an excellent tutorial on her website Frabjous Couture about why regular skirts don’t fit the human form.

Hip and waist circumference do not tell where the protruding parts are. Resulting in skirt patterns that have to accommodate for people with big hips or round buttocks or a tummy. Fitting neither of those individuals very well.

Her solution is to determine the widest overall circumference and accomplish fit through darts. Individually determined darts. These virtual ladies have the same circumferences but very different body shapes:
pic by Marina von Koenig

So I went looking for a piece of carton to wrap around me:

I have no carton in the cabin but what better to use than the sturdy paper bag my fabric from Dublin came in! Murphy Sheehy, a lovely shop.

I cut open the bad and wrapped it around myself.
I’m a big wider than I thought…. I had to look for additional carton.

Sorry Sisley.

Here it is around me, a tube that indicates my widest circumference. I keep the top aligned with a piece of elastic that I tied around me. This is my natural waist and the line that any skirt will creep up to. So better make it the waist band of my skirt.

I marked the circumference with pencil on the tube. This will be the width of the pattern pieces. Marina says no positive ease is needed with this method… I wonder.

Now I am determining where my protruding parts are. With a pencil I mark areas where the carton cannot be folded inwards. My stomach, my hips and my buttocks all have these areas.
These are the areas where the skirt will not be altered in width. Above these areas there will be darts. The darts will end in the area.

I marked everything on the carton. Including CF, CB and Sideseams. Then I unrolled the tube and cut it at the sideseams.
I converted it to some pieces of fabric. I chose a slightly elastic fabric because I have to find out for myself that no wearing ease is needed with this method.

I cut the backpiece a little higher than the front piece. Because the small of my back grows really narrow, upwards, I’ll have some major darts there. Meaning the fabric has to travel further to reach my waist than it does at the front (hardly any darts needed there thanks to my tummy).

Then I cut some pockets. Because this whole idea of a skirt was started because I want a skirt with pockets.
Sew the pockets to the fabric. Then sew shut the sideseams, following the curves of the pockets. Then I’ll have a fabric tube and can start determining the darts.

Pockets are sewn to the front panel. The first run was with the good sides together. Then I flipped open the (half) pocket and run a seam along, for sturdyness and to make it lie flat inwards and not peek out.

but first I’ll have to darn…
both pockets are sewn upside down to the front panel. Even though I looked and looked and then looked once more. Upside down picture:

Wriggle Dress: 2D versus 3D

the back is much smaller than the front:

must have occurred when I had to take in the darts in the back so much. I think the sideseam was still in the middle though…
but now I am sitting here, with the front pinned to the back, and I’m not so sure anymore.

I’m sitting in my halfmade dress because, as I was pinning the seam allowance for the side seams, I felt the desire for pockets well up inside. I hunger for pockets!
So here I am, surfing instead of sewing. Sewaholic has a nice tutorial: sew the pockets close as you sew the side seam. One seam. With a nice roll over to hide the inside of the pocket.

But what fabric to chose for my pockets? My cotton lining fabric is mighty flimsy. Won’t hold more than a hankie and I don’t plan on doing any crying in this dress.

The interliningfacing fabric a.k.a. the sheet is very sturdy. It might distort the soupleness of the dress. And/or show through the fabric and the lining.

Using the fashion fabric for the pockets will surely show…

Perhaps I need to excavate the room where all my fabrics live…to search for something appropriate in weight and colour. A fun pocket, hiding.