I love digital patterns! They’re immediately accessible and easy to use. I can dream up a new project, click ‘buy’ and have the pattern cut out and ready to go in the time it takes my home printer to churn out the pattern pages. Fantastic!
However, a word to the wise.
In your haste, don’t make the same needless mistakes I did!
These are the Maritime shorts by Grainline Studio – but a super-sized version of the pattern!
I’d bought several patterns at the same time and printed them out on my home printer. However in my excitement and haste, I neglected to do two very basic and important things that you should never overlook when you’re using digital patterns.
Select and click ‘print to actual size’ instead of leaving the printer to default to ‘fit to page’.
Print out the first pattern piece, pause the printer and measure the ‘correct size’ box on the first pattern page to check that the pattern is printing at the correct size.
The moral of this tale.
PDF patterns are convenient, easy to download, print out and tape together. Just don’t get lax and neglect to do those basic steps –
or you may end up making a big ass of yourself like I did!
Have you had any PDF pattern printing mishaps? Did it ruin your project? Let me know in the comments below.
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I’ve just added the Gabriola by Sewaholic Patterns to my growing collection of hand-made summer maxi skirts! I love making and wearing maxi skirts and now that I’ve tried a few different patterns, I thought it’d be useful to do a roundup of three of my favourites.
The Pros Of All 3
Each has a fitted yoke or waistband – a key feature of a flattering maxi skirt for many body shapes. A fitted waistband or yoke minimises the width of your middle, a gathered waistband adds to it.
Burdastyle pattern description: ‘In the summer of love a romantic, tiered skirt was essential. In the summer of 2013 it’s sewn from different batiste fabrics and does without a waistband. It’s so airy and light that you won’t want to wear anything else…’
Easy to make.
Has side pockets.
Has fitted yoke.
Endless customisation/design possibilities. Could use different fabrics/prints/colours for each of the four tiers of the skirt.
Could use smaller pieces of different fabrics rather than needing a large quantity of only one fabric.
Has a flattering, flared silhouette with plenty of ‘twirl-ability’!
Available as digital download pattern for home printing from Burdastyle.
Reasonably priced pattern ($5.90).
Can shorten to midi or mini length by omitting tiers.
Burdastyle patterns are ‘open source patterns‘ so if you want to sell your ‘folk skirt’ creations, you’re free to do this.
Very boring to make! The bottom tier was about 4.5 metres long and connecting it to the other tiers, was the most boring, cramp-inducing sewing I’ve ever done. I needed to baste, gather, French seam and topstitch it and it seemed to take FOREVER! Unless I find a sewing machine with an auto-pilot function, it’s unlikely I’ll make this pattern again! (It wasn’t necessary to use French seams, I chose to use them to finish the inside of my Liberty fabric skirt nicely. You could go with a less labour-intensive seam finish such as overlocking or a zig-zag stitch).
A fabric eater! I needed 3 metres of Liberty Art Fabrics tana lawn cotton (140cm wide) to make this – that wasn’t cheap! (Obviously it’s not necessary to use a designer cotton like Liberty – any lightweight woven material would be suitable).
Needed to shorten skirt by about 15cm. I’m 162cm tall and I made the skirt floor length.
Has a side seam invisible zipper.
Sewing instructions only in written form, no visual sewing guide available.
Need to tape pattern pieces together after you’ve downloaded the digital pattern. Although you only need to tape and trace the front and back yoke pieces and pockets and the tiers of the skirt are rectangles that you have to measure yourself and cut out of your fabric.
Sewaholic pattern description: ‘Flared, unlined maxi skirt sits at the natural waistline, with flattering seam lines and centre back zipper closure. Your choice of a single button or hook and bar closure on the waistband. Full length.’
Easy to fit. I made a muslin of the yoke to check the fit before I cut into my ‘good’ fabric. I decided it wasn’t necessary to muslin the whole skirt because the rest of it is so flared, the main issue for me was the yoke.
Endless customisation/design possibilities. With so many pieces and a wide range of suitable fabrics, there’s lots of scope to make your own unique design with this skirt pattern.
No pattern alterations needed.
Flattering, flared shape with plenty of twirl-ability.
Beginner-sewer friendly with online sewing instructions with photos.
Need to order paper pattern from Sewaholic Patterns online or one of their distributors and it’s the most expensive pattern ($15.98) of the three skirts.
Relatively easy to make but with so many pattern pieces involved, this isn’t the quickest skirt to make.
Need to sew a zip and button-hole (although I switched the button for a hand-sewn snap closure) – not the most beginner-friendly pattern of the three.
Fabric eater. Needs about 2.5m of 140cm wide fabric.
Maxi Miette Skirt by Tilly and the Buttons
Miette pattern description:– ‘A gently flared wraparound skirt that ties at the front in a bow. The skirt has a wide overlap at the back and optional patch pockets. The perfect first dressmaking project for new stitchers – simple to sew, Miette has no fiddly zips or buttonholes and is easy to fit.’
The skirt in the above photo was made by lengthening the Miette at the hem and omitting the waist ties using (check my ‘How to Make a Maxi Miette’ tutorial for how to do this).
Simple to make the pattern.
Super quick to sew.
Wraparound style is easy to fit.
Has customisation/design possibilities although with fewer pattern pieces, the opportunities to play with the design aren’t as extensive as with the other two skirts.
Good value for money because you have two length options – midi and maxi.
Beginner friendly pattern with online sewing instructions with photos of each sewing step.
Fabric eater – although I made mine out of about 2m of 140cm wide fabric – the least fabric consumption of the three patterns.
Need to draft your own maxi pattern before you make this.
Need to tape pattern together after you download the digital pattern and print it out.
I’m happy with all three of my skirts and recommend all three patterns. I can’t pick a favourite because I think all of the patterns have their merits.
If I’m pushed for time, I’ll probably make another Miette because this is the simplest and quickest to sew up.
If I’m in the mood for experimentation, I’ll have a play around with the Gabriola pattern, I think this offers exciting customisation possibilities.
And when I need to tighten the purse strings, I’ll grit my teeth and go for the Folk skirt by Burdastyle – it was the cheapest of the three patterns and is a sound economical option (even if making it does age you a bit!).
Have you tried any of these patterns? Let me know, I’d love to see your skirts.
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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.
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.
Sewing thread to match your fabric
An appropriately-sized sewing machine needle for your fabric – I used a new 60 needle for my fine silk mix fabric.
Piece of string/wool/shoe lace or similar
Pattern paper – I used plain white wrapping paper that is slightly transparent.
2 Buttons or snap fasteners
Interfacing (for the waistband pieces)
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.
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.
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!
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.
Do this for both sides of the front and back pieces, following the angles of the pattern pieces.
I’m extending my front and back pattern pieces at the hemline by 36.5cm.
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.
This’ll produce a curved hemline similar to the shape of the original 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.
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.
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 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.
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..
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.
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.
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.
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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!
Anyway, on with the pattern review. This Marfy 3107 dress was made soon after the nightingales hatched! It’s one of the free patterns:-
– from the 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..).
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.
This Marfy 3107 dress pattern is my first foray into the world of Marfy and I have to admit so far, I’m impressed!
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.
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.
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.
It’s sizzling hot here in southern Germany and I’ve little time for sewing. I’d much rather be cooling off in my local Freibad!
Fortunately, I was given a pattern multi-pack with all I needed to quickly give my self-made summer wardrobe a hefty boost. In one week, using half of the pack’s quick and easy patterns, I’ve managed to create all the garments below and still had time to hang out with my family.
How did I do it, you’re wondering?
With Pattern Parcel #3, a collection of six indie-designer sewing patterns with enough variety to keep me sewing all summer.
I chose to make the Parcel’s simplest patterns –
April Rhodes The Staple Dress.
Made with Moxie Prefontaine Shorts (Pattern Parcel #3’s Bonus Pattern).
Jenna Brand Jorna Dress.
Patterns that I could churn out as quickly as possible and which worked with fabrics I had in my stash.
With so little free time these days, my sewing philosophy is, make simple shapes with deluxe fabrics!
The Staple Dress – The April Rhodes Staple dress pattern is exactly what it says on the packet. A beginner-friendly, basic dress pattern that’s quick to sew and a useful wardrobe-filler.
Standard Version. I first made the dress following the original pattern.
Sewing notes – I made size XS, skipped the elastic waist shirring and French seamed everything, including the side-seam pockets. I understitched the neck and arm bindings.
The Maxi. To make the maxi dress, I extended the Staple dress pattern pieces at the side seams to my desired maxi-length and added side splits at the bottom of the side seams (next time I’ll make these longer).
Sewing notes – To stop the silk clinging, I cut out a replica of the dress (midi length) in viscose and made a lining.
I sewed the side and shoulder seams of the dress and lining separately.
Then joined the dress and lining by placing the lining inside the dress, wrong sides facing and sewed the neck and armhole bias bindings to both layers, as if they were one.
I did French seams on both dress and lining and omitted the pockets and waist-shirring. I understiched the neck and arm bindings.
To cinch in the waist, I added a tie casing and tie with beaded ends.
Top Version – Using the Staple dress pattern pieces cut at about pocket length, I made a top using left-over fabric from the midi-dress.
Sewing notes – To get the most out of my border print fabric, I used the printed end of the fabric for the front of the top and the upper plain part for the back, neck and arm facings and hem bands.
I added hem bands by folding two fabric rectangles the same length as the bottom edge of the top lengthways and attaching them to the hem. It couldn’t have been simpler!
Summer Shorts – The Made with Moxie Prefontaine Shorts, (Pattern Parcel #3‘s bonus pattern) are another straightforward and versatile make. These would be very on-trend in silk and the pattern could easily be extended to make full length pants.
Sewing notes – The pattern was easy to follow and clearly explained including detailed instructions for making welt, side and patch pockets. I made mine in size 4 and found sewing the waist elastic tricky, although I’m sure with practice this would get easier.
The Jersey Dress – Finally I made the Jenna Brand Jorna dress, a simple dress with only four pattern pieces.
Sewing notes – I made mine in size XS which is a snug fit on me! This was a straightforward make although I suggest tacking the neck facing to the inside side seams to stop the facing rolling out.
I was given these patterns to promote Pattern Parcel #3 and the children’s educational charity they donate to. However I was under no obligation to make these garments, I genuinely like these patterns.
Pattern Parcel #3 is only available for another two days so don’t miss out, choose your price and get it now!
Now I’m off for a swim!
I wish you sunny days and happy sewing.
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It’s day twelve of Me-Made-May 2014 and so far I’ve upheld my pledge to wear at least one me-made garment every day this month. I’ve been posting my pics daily in the #MMMay14 page under ‘Makes’ in my header menu bar and also on the #MMMay14 Pinterest page.
I’m glad I’m doing this. I love to see other people’s makes on Pinterest and it’s a good way for me to find out what I need to make more of and looking at the photos forces me to see what suits me and what doesn’t.
After a really warm April, it’s turned chilly again and it’s been a challenge to find trans-seasonal pieces in my me-made wardrobe. I usually layer up tees and blouses with cardigans or jumpers and jeans. I can see I need to make more layering pieces such as light jackets and cardigans.
May 1st was a national holiday in Germany and we were invited for a bbq with friends so I wore my latest Ralph Pink jumpsuit in Liberty tana lawn cotton. I’ll blog about the making of this soon.
May 2nd was still warm enough for short sleeves so I wore my latest Make It Perfect Waterfall blouse in Missoni cotton with jeans.
May 3rd was cooler and I layered up this (un-blogged) tie-front blouse in Liberty tana lawn cotton with a cardigan and jeans to do grocery shopping at the farmer’s market in town.
May 4th was warm and we had a family day out in a park zoo so I wore an un-blogged Grainline Studio Scout tee in Liberty tana lawn cotton layered with a cardigan and jeans.
Monday May 5th is sports day for my young children so I wore an un-blogged self-drafted tank top in organic cotton jersey and self-drafted yoga pants in Liberty cotton jersey.
May 6th was my birthday so I marked the occasion by wearing my latest dress (un-blogged) in Italian cotton and cotton/silk. It was a bit cool so I wore it tunic style over jeans. The design is by Ely Kishimoto and the pattern was in Cut Magazine. I love this dress and will blog my review of it soon.
Are you joining in Me-Made-May 2014? How are you getting on? Are you discovering gaps in your me-made-wardrobe?
1. When invited to join Selfish Sewing Week and sew for yourself, you jump in without a moment’s hesitation. 2. You immediately clear your schedule – ignore messy house, overgrown garden and hungry children – and get stuck into sewing!
3. You choose a quick and easy pattern so you can double your selfishness and crank out two new tops at once!
4. You don’t skimp on fabric. You dive straight in with good designer stuff you’ve been coveting – because you’re worth it!
5. You take time to sew with RTW (ready-to-wear) details like French seams because your self-made clothes are investment pieces.
6. Finally you gloat about your achievements and boast about them to everyone (see Kollabora.com for more selfishness).
What are you selfishly stitching? Let me know in the comments below.