I badly wanted a skirt like this, so I clapped my hands — not so much in glee, but with some trepidation — when I saw Jessica’s post in her Facebook group asking for testers for the adult version of her Maple Skirt. After a couple of disastrous skirt testing experiences the previous few months, I wasn’t sure I should try again. Will I finally get lucky with testing? Or do I give it up once and for all?
[Keep reading to the end for a surprise. FYI, it might also be somewhere in the middle.]
But you know, sucker for punishment and all, I just had to give it another go. I got the pattern, and like a very good tester, I made a muslin/toile following the instructions faithfully. (Do you have any idea how hard that was?) It looked so good when I was finished that I decided to add it to my summer wardrobe — you know the one I’ve been sewing under my bed for the past 5 winters.
During the Canada Cups Tour this summer, I got to know a little about Jessica, a Canadian designer who produces her Gracious Threads patterns out in the middle of Alberta corn fields. Seriously, corn stalks at the backdoor.
To be frank, I didn’t give much thought to Jessica’s patterns because she designs for kids. All my kids are ankle height and furry, so her designs wouldn’t fit them. But Jess recently took the leap to make adult versions of a couple of her popular patterns. That included the girls’ Maple Skirt that she had released during the summer.
As I got started on my final tester version of the skirt, my true nature escaped and took over the project. What I ended up with was a similar garment but with a few minor hacks. It didn’t occur to me until I was quite close to the end that I had subconsciously eliminated most of the horizontal lines and emphasized the vertical ones. See?
Darts & Pockets
My muslin had the darts too close to the middle for my perky bottom (HA!), so I moved the darts closer to the sides for this one. Great! On to Step 24. And this is where I realized I forgot to cut out the side pockets on my front pieces. Oh well! Forget the pockets. I can always add patch pockets later if I get the urge.
After a quick fit test, I needed to bring the waist in just a tad more so in went extra darts on both sides. I did have the option of eating extra cake every night to fill it out, but I took the high road for once. I’ll build up slowly with one or two cupcakes.
At Step 25, I had a little accident. Instead of using the pattern piece, I was too lazy to cut it out so I just cut a 15 x 3 rectangle. Except that it was supposed to be 15 x 2, and what I read as 3 on my ruler was really 4, so I ended up with belt loops twice as wide as they should have been. As long as I’d already screwed that up, I might as well put some decorative stitching down the middle. Somehow late at night, I also managed to slice through one of my fancy belt loops, but we won’t go into that.
We Interrupt the Nattering…
Let’s take a short break here to have a little giveaway. Anyone want to win a copy of this fantastic pattern? It really is great!
The instructions are clear, the process is short and fast, the design is simple and very versatile. In fact, the reason I was able to play around with it so much is that it is so very versatile. Some of the other testers have made multiple versions of it already. I intend to, but you can never tell with me. The astonishing thing is that I’ve made two of these skirts, when I have trouble getting through just one of anything else.
All that to say, if you leave a comment below you’ll be entered in a drawing for a PDF copy of the pattern. I’ll use a random number generator to pick a winner on Nov 1 at 6 PM EST. Tell me how you would style or hack this pattern.
Mercifully, I made it through the next few steps without more mishap. And this hack doesn’t qualify as a booboo as much as an experiment. I inserted the zipper upside down. That’s right! That little zippy opens from bottom to top.
Why? you may ask. Well, because I don’t know any woman who unzips her skirt when using the toilet. I can’t be the only one who hikes it up around my waist when I go. If we’re not unzipping to make use of the loo, why not use that zip to create a front split that’s adjustable to our liking? So with some fighting, a few choice words, and a couple of pricks, I got that thing in — bottoms up.
Whew! I made it to the end of the pattern without straying too far again. Aside from a little fit issue with the way the back drapes over my cheeks, I’d say this is a winner. For some gorgeous styled photos, take a look on Jessica’s blog. (Because taking selfies of myself in a skirt is beyond my limit for self-deprecation.)
Before I go, may I
coerce invite you to visit Gracious Threads and pick up your copy of the pattern? It’s on sale this weekend for only $6. Yes, an introductory sale! Go on now, because you know how fast weekends can slip away.
PS. Did you miss the giveaway? Go back and check again.