Month: July 2014

How to Make a Maxi Miette Skirt.

I love maxi skirts, especially in the summer. They’re flattering, comfortable and most importantly, easy to make!

Last year I lengthened the Miette skirt pattern by Tilly and the Buttons to make this maxi.

2013 Maxi Miette skirt by Tilly and the Buttons in lightweight linen.
2013 Maxi Miette skirt by Tilly and the Buttons in lightweight linen.

I’ve heard that people have had problems making this maxi pattern though. The main sticking points seem to have been fabric choice and drafting the new maxi pattern. I hope this tutorial clarifies the process and helps you make a problem-free maxi Miette skirt. This is a fun skirt to wear and it’s also fun to make!

Please note: You can maxify the Miette skirt by lengthening the pattern at the lengthen line on the pattern but I’m showing you how to lengthen it at the hem. This method results in a more flared hem.

This is my 2014 version. I added buttons to the waistband instead of the tie.

2014 Maxi Miette skirt by Tilly and the Buttons in silk/cotton mix without waist tie.
2014 Maxi Miette skirt by Tilly and the Buttons in silk/cotton mix without a waist-tie.
  • What You’ll Need to Make Your Maxi Miette

What you'll need to make a maxi Miette skirt by Tilly and the Buttons.
What you’ll need to make a maxi Miette skirt by Tilly and the Buttons.
  1. Miette skirt pattern by Tilly and the Buttons (www.tillyandthebuttons.com)
  2. Appoximately 2.5 to 3 metres of fabric, depending on your fabric width and pattern size. I needed just over two metres of 140cm wide fabric for my skirt in size 3. I suggest you make your pattern first and then guess-timate how much fabric you’ll need.
  3. Sewing thread to match your fabric
  4. An appropriately-sized sewing machine needle for your fabric – I used a new 60 needle for my fine silk mix fabric.
  5. Piece of string/wool/shoe lace or similar
  6. Pencil
  7. Pattern paper – I used plain white wrapping paper that is slightly transparent.
  8. Tape measure
  9. Ruler
  10. Pins
  11. Fabric scissors
  12. Paper scissors
  13. 2 Buttons or snap fasteners
  14. Interfacing (for the waistband pieces)
  • Fabric Suggestions 

Light weight woven fabrics with drape such as shirt-weight cottons and linen, silk and silk mixes, viscose, etc would work best for the maxi skirt.

These fabrics will give you a fluid and gently flared silhouette compared with the original midi Miette which in heavier fabrics such as denim, has a more pronounced ‘A’ line shape.

For my first maxi Miette I used a lightweight linen and for my second, a cotton/silk mix shirt-weight fabric.

  • Finding Your Maxi Miette Skirt Length

Using your tape measure, measure the length from the narrowest part of your middle, this is your natural waist, or wherever you’d like your waistband to sit, to the length you’d like your finished skirt to be.

Measure from your natural waist to the length you want your finished hem to end.
Measure from your natural waist to the length you want your finished hem to end.

I’m 162cm tall and for me this measurement is 98cm. My original Miette skirt pattern pieces are 60.5cm long along the side seams – including seam allowances, 57.5cm without seam allowances. The waistband is 7cm wide and has finished width of 4cm.

Therefore 57.5cm length of front and back skirt pieces + 4cm wide waistband = 61.5cm total skirt finished length of the side seams of the original Miette skirt pattern in size 3.

I want my maxi to be 98cm long (excluding seam allowances) so 98 – 61.5cm = 36.5cm. 36.5cm is how much I’m going to extend my front and back skirt pattern pieces by.

  • Drafting the Maxi Skirt Pattern

First you’ll need the Miette skirt pattern printed out, taped together and the front, back and waistband pattern pieces cut out in your size. Seam allowances are already included.

Miette skirt pattern - front, back and waistband pieces.
Miette skirt pattern – front, back and waistband pieces.

Next using easily removable adhesive tape such as masking tape, tape the front and back skirt pattern pieces (keeping the centre lines of the pattern pieces vertical) to your pattern paper preferably on a large flat surface – I used the floor!

Tape pattern to pattern paper.
Tape front and back skirt pattern pieces to pattern paper.

Trace around the front and back skirt pattern pieces.

Then measure down from the skirt hemline and mark your desired maxi skirt length onto your pattern paper on both sides of the front and back skirt pattern pieces. I extended mine by 36.5cm from the original skirt pattern length – see the ‘Finding your maxi Miette skirt length’ formula to find out what this is for you.

Measure and mark your desired maxi length onto the pattern paper.
Measure and mark your desired maxi length onto the pattern paper.

Do this for both sides of the front and back pieces, following the angles of the pattern pieces.

Mark on desired skirt length on both sides of pattern.
Mark on desired skirt length onto both sides of the skirt front and back pattern pieces.

I’m extending my front and back pattern pieces at the hemline by 36.5cm.

36

Next use a willing helper/weight/chair leg, etc to secure one end of yarn at the top of your pattern paper and tie a pencil to the other end. Then pull the yarn and carefully swing between your two markings and connect the two points with your pencil and mark on your new maxi hemline.

I recommend using a yarn with some elasticity to it to compensate for the side seam and centre seam slight length differential. The more ‘give’ your yarn has, the easier it’ll be to create a nicely curved hem.

tracing hemline

This’ll produce a curved hemline similar to the shape of the original Miette hemline.

New curved maxi Miette hemline.
New curved maxi Miette hemline.

Repeat this process for both front and back skirt pattern pieces.

Now transfer the pattern construction marks – notches, grainlines, etc onto the new pattern pieces and label the front and back pieces, by laying your new pattern over the old and tracing.

New front and back maxi Miette pattern pieces.
New front and back maxi Miette pattern pieces.

After you’ve cut out your new pattern pieces, lay them out and match up the side seams for the front and back pattern pieces and check they’re the same length. If the side seams match up then you should have no problems sewing up your new maxi skirt!

Don’t be alarmed when you notice that the centre seams are about one centimetre shorter than the side seams on the front and back pattern pieces – this is the original Miette design!

  • Pattern Layout on Fabric

Now we’re ready to lay our pattern pieces on the fabric ready to cut out.

Cutting out the fabric pattern layout.
Cutting out the fabric, pattern layout.

My fabric was 140cm wide and I cut my fabric out using the entire width of the fabric rather than on the fold.

  • Line Up Grainlines

Line up your grain lines with the selvage edge of the fabric
Line up the grain lines on the pattern pieces with the selvage edges of your fabric

Line up the grain line of the pattern pieces with the selvage edges of the fabric.

  • Fabrics With Directional Designs or Nap

 

If your fabric has a directional design on it, make sure you place your pattern pieces the right way up on the fabric so that your fabric design is going in the right direction and isn’t going to be upside down when you sew your skirt pieces together.

  • Cut Out 2 Pattern Pieces

Cut the front and back pieces out and then flip the pattern pieces over to the opposite side and cut them out again.

  • Reverse Pattern Pieces, Repeat and Cut 2 More

You should then have two mirror-image front pieces and two mirror-image back pieces.

  • Cut Out Waistband Pieces

Then cut out your waistband pieces and interfacing.

Your skirt pieces should now look like this.

Cut out skirt front and back pieces and waistband and interfacing.
Cut out skirt front and back pieces, waistband pieces and interfacing.

Once you’ve ironed on the interfacing to the waistband pieces, you’re ready to start sewing your skirt – the easiest bit!

  • Sewing Up Your Maxi Skirt

Follow Tilly’s sewing instructions from the Miette pattern.

  • Changes to the Waistband

If you’re omitting the waist tie like I did, trim the waist band to be the same length as the width of the skirt (plus 1.5cm for seam allowance at either end!) – the original waistband pattern pieces are longer than the sides of the skirt slightly. Then sew the ends of the waistband closed on the reverse, trim the seam and turn the waistband end the right way out and continue to sew in the ditch or hand sew your waistband to the inside of your skirt..

  • Hemming

I would recommend using a narrow hem with lightweight fabrics instead of the 2.5cm hem of the original Miette skirt pattern. You could also do a rolled hem or hand sew the hem.

I did a narrow hem of 1.5cm on my 2014 skirt and hand sewed my 2013 hem.

  • Button Closures

Buttons and buttonholes on waistband to fasten the skirt closed.
Buttons and buttonholes on waistband to fasten the skirt closed.

Finally I put two buttonholes and buttons in the waistband on the overlap section of the skirt, (which I wear at the front) to close my skirt. If you’re not comfortable sewing buttonholes, you could hand-sew snap closures on the waistband instead.

Finished maxi Miette skirt with buttons on waistband.
Finished maxi Miette skirt with buttons on waistband.

Yay, we’re all done!

I wish you luck making your own maxi Miette skirt and please let me know if you have problems or if you find any of this tutorial unclear and I’ll do my best to help you out.

I’d also love to see your skirt so if you make one using this tutorial, let me know in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this tutorial and would like more tips and info, please sign up for the YoSaMi newsletter (it’s free!) – go to the top of the sidebar to sign up!

Happy sewing,

Christine

 

 

 

Are Marfy Patterns Worth The Money?

marfy dress
Marfy 3107 in cotton voile.

Yes, they probably are, but let me tell you about what’s highjacked my life and why I’m late posting this pattern review!

No, not the World Cup, although that hasn’t helped!

Nightingales! Little birds with beautiful voices and cute, fluffy, stubby-tailed babies. They’ve been nesting under the carport roof in our garden and they’ve driven me to distraction!

Last year a neighbour’s cat got the baby birds before they’d had a chance to stretch their fledgling wings and it broke my heart, so this year I’ve been on a mission to save them!

Call me a crazy over-protective mother but I can’t sit back and watch these tireless birdy parents fight for their young’s lives and not join in. It takes a village to raise a child as they say! As soon as the birds start chirping the predator alarm (you get to recognise this pretty quickly!), I’m out there, shooing attackers away.

After using the garden as a photo studio and now running out at all times of the day, chasing away their cats – sometimes in my nightclothes! – I’m sure my elderly neighbours think I’ve lost the plot completely!

It’s been full-on and it’s completely derailed my blog posting schedule, but there you have it. Apparently, I’ve had more important things to do! A higher calling of nature you could say. A struggle for survival I couldn’t ignore!

Marfy 3107 dress back view.
Marfy 3107 dress back view.

Anyway, on with the pattern review. This Marfy 3107 dress was made soon after the nightingales hatched! It’s one of the free patterns:-

Marfy 3107 and 3108 free patterns in the 2013/14 catalogue.
Marfy 3107 and 3108 free patterns in the 2013/14 catalogue.

– from the Marfy 2013/14 pattern catalogue.

Marfy 2013/14 pattern catalogue.
Marfy 2013/14 pattern catalogue.

Marfy is a high fashion Italian pattern company. Their patterns don’t come with sewing explanations or photos apart from some scant sewing notes on the pattern itself in Italian, English, French and Spanish. You piece the patterns together by matching the letters marked on each pattern piece (ie. A to A, B to B, etc..).

Marfy 3107 poolside at our local Freibad.
Marfy 3107 poolside at the Freibad.

I bought the catalogue in Italy last year for 18 euros. It includes a pattern sheet with eight patterns in five sizes. You can also buy it online from www.marfy.it but with the cheapest postage option, it’d be thirty three euros to send to Germany.

Expensive? Yes but the catalogue comes with eight free patterns and this year’s catalogue has 20 free patterns, which makes the price per pattern reasonable I think.

Marfy 3107 - just 2 squares or is it?
Marfy 3107 – just 2 fabric squares or is it?

This Marfy 3107 dress pattern is my first foray into the world of Marfy and I have to admit so far, I’m impressed! Under bust casing for tie-front rushing.

The quality of the pattern is good. Essentially this dress is two squares sewn together but the devil is in the details and I was pleasantly surprised at how nicely it fits.

The shaping comes from the line of stitching running down the middle of the two main pattern pieces and the under the bust tie.

Subtle back shaping seam.
Subtle back shaping seam.

There are only two seams to sew in this dress – the front seam and the back shaping seam. I sewed these and then hemmed all around and then did the under-bust casing for the tie front and then the straps. I would suggest leaving the back seam to the end or maybe temporarily sewing it and then sew it up when you’ve tried the dress on and checked the fit because this seam gives the dress its shape, together with the bust darts and affects the whole look of the dress.

marfy 8
#Oonapalooza

This was a relatively fast make although I chose to finish my seams with French seams because my cotton is so fine and hemming the narrow hem was time-consuming.

My one criticism of this dress on my body, is that it’s very low at the front and obviously designed for a more voluptuous figure than mine! I can just about get away from it with a vest underneath but I probably won’t make this style again. It has peaked my interest to try the other free patterns in the Marfy catalogue though. I’ve got my sights set on the cape 3210 – maybe for autumn.

Also I’m claiming an Oona-twist to this dress so I’m putting it forward for the Oonapalooza challenge! See www.oonaballoona.com for more details.

Have you tried Marfy patterns? How’d you find them? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Enjoy the weekend,

Christine

 

 

%d bloggers like this: