Tag Archives: wax print fabric

Attempted: Ankara (Wax Print) Maxi Skirt

Standard
Attempted:  Ankara (Wax Print) Maxi Skirt

This week’s project was an attempt to tick several boxes:  using some of my fabric stash, making a maxi skirt, and learning another method for adding side-seam pockets to garments.  I wanted a basic design–rectangles gathered into a waistband, but a waistband with an elastic back so it would be really comfortable.  This seemed like a brilliant way to use the last three yards of ankara (also known as wax print) fabric that I had bought a few years ago, but it also preserved the fabric in nearly whole form in case things didn’t work out, since it’s just large gathered rectangles.  (In case you are curious, I also made a shirt and a pair of shorts from this fabric.)

Ankara (Wax Print) Maxi Skirt

For my starting point, I used the Elastic Back Skirt Tutorial from Cashmerette.  I got this some time ago by signing up for their newsletter.  I also used the Ankara Skirt Tutorial from the KLKC Collections blog.  These tutorials were helpful in guiding me through what math I would need to get the result that I wanted, which was a waistband that looked flat in the front and was elastic in the back, with a finished height of two inches.  I made the flat front wrap slightly to the back before incorporating the elastic.  So far, so good. This wasn’t too difficult.

Ankara (Wax Print) Maxi Skirt

But I wanted pockets.  That’s where things got tricky.

I used the directions found in “The Low Profile Pocket” by Kathleen Cheetham in Threads magazine, issue #195 (Feb./Mar. 2018), p. 36-41 (the pocket pattern piece is available on the Threads website).  This article was excellent!

Ankara (Wax Print) Maxi Skirt

l

Ankara (Wax Print) Maxi Skirt

I sewed my BEST in-seam pockets to date.

Ankara (Wax Print) Maxi Skirt

l

Ankara (Wax Print) Maxi Skirt

l

Ankara (Wax Print) Maxi Skirt

However…

The article has you sew part of the pockets and the side seams together before attaching the waistband.  My skirt tutorials have you construct the front and back separately and then sew the side seams.  So I had a quandary.

I wanted to interface the front of my waistband and then fold it over, covering the seam allowance at the top of my gathered skirt so everything would look nice and neat.  I couldn’t quite figure out how to cover those seam allowances with all the other things I had to take into consideration.

Ankara (Wax Print) Maxi Skirt

What ensued was a lot of thinking about process, and adapting.  I was going to write it all out for you, but it’s a lot.

The end result is some good sewing and some ugly sewing.  One thing I’m really glad I thought about was how to keep the back elastic stretchy.  In order to do that, I sewed with a zigzag stitch while stretching my elastic, but choosing two-inch wide elastic and gathering 53″ of fabric per panel adds up to a lot of bulk.

Ankara (Wax Print) Maxi Skirt

I got it done in the end, but I’m going to have to wear this a bit to decide if I like it.

Here are the pros and cons.

Pro:

  • nice, full, dramatic, long skirt
  • having pockets that disappear beautifully (and trying a new technique!)
  • general structure:  flat front, elastic back, pockets
  • using a bunch of stash fabric in one fell swoop
  • if I don’t like this, my fabric is still nearly whole and can be reused

Ankara (Wax Print) Maxi Skirt

Things that would have made this project easier:

  • omitting the pockets or sewing different ones
  • assembling the front and back separately (need to alter pocket directions or use a different method)

Things that could have been better:

  • place the pockets lower
  • make pocket opening wider (it’s a close fit to get my hands in and out)

Other options I could have used:

  • narrower waistband, which would have allowed for narrower elastic
  • elastic + zipper at the back and less gathered fabric to reduce bulk

Ankara (Wax Print) Maxi Skirt

l

Ankara (Wax Print) Maxi Skirt

So, I like and don’t like this skirt.

Ankara (Wax Print) Maxi Skirt

l

Ankara (Wax Print) Maxi Skirt

It’s really bulky at the waist, which I don’t love, but I love the drama of the big skirt and being able to see that much of the fabric at once.  I love the length that I can wear leggings under if necessary.  I do think that there is probably a nicer way to produce a comfortable maxi skirt with pockets (if you have pattern recommendations, please leave them in the comments!).  I feel mixed about this one.  We’ll see  how it fares over time or if I remake it.  If you have ever made a maxi skirt, feel free to share a link in the comments so I can see.  I’d like a good TNT maxi skirt and maxi dress pattern I can use over and over.

Ankara (Wax Print) Maxi Skirt

 

 

 

Advertisements

Show and Tell (Again!)

Standard

I  loved Show and Tell when I was a kid.  I still like it as a grown-up.  The nice thing about having a blog is that you can have Show and Tell whenever you want and whether or not anyone is reading your words, it feels like they are…or they could someday.

Yesterday I finished up two sewing projects.  It was a big day.  I would have said I finished them Monday, except that I messed the second one up, felt crushingly tired, and just decided to deal with it on Tuesday.  I think that was a good decision.  So here is the first one.  I’ll post the second in the near future.  Hope you like it!

Exhibit #1…

Kimono Sleeve Dress (Pattern and Branch blog)

Remember this dress?  The one above is yet another rendition of the kimono sleeve dress pattern that I copied from an existing dress, but this time using some of my African fabric.  I’ve been holding onto this fabric for years, trying to figure out something to use it for where I could showcase the giant image that reaches from selvage to selvage.  I only wanted to use one repeat for each side, so I had to come up with another fabric to finish off the sleeves.  These two fabrics kept on getting tossed on top of one another (keep your eyes open for a future project with the green fabric), and I liked them, so I put them together.

Kimono Sleeve Dress (Pattern and Branch blog)

This dress is probably the best finished garment I have ever made.  Since it involved pretty simple construction–just a front and a back with the extra sleeve fabric added on–I decided to try to do some French seams.  I think they worked out pretty well.  I tried that once on a shirt I made, but you could see the raw edges of the fabric sticking out from the seams.  (If you’ve never even heard of a French seam, Coletterie, a sewing blog I’ve just started following, has a simple tutorial.)  I also hand-sewed the hems on the bottom and sleeves of the dress.  I had been working on my slip-stitch, so this seemed like another good chance to practice it.

Kimono Sleeve Dress (Pattern and Branch blog)

The neckline was a bit trickier.  I knew that I wanted a bias edge to show, so I tried this awesome binding foot I found for my Singer Featherweight, but I couldn’t make it work in this case, so I had to rip everything out and sew it again.  That’s progress for me, by the way.  My normal method of sewing involves sort of just running over my mistakes with my machine and sewing it down like crazy people in movies run over things with cars.  Mom and Grandma, you can be proud–I actually ripped something out and redid it (and I smiled in the pictures, Grandma!).

My husband asked if I planned to sew more things with this pattern (this is dress #3 that I’ve sewn, #4 that I own of this style), and I laughed and said no…until he told me that it might look good as a floor-length maxi dress…hm….I guess there are no promises on that.