Developing a Handmade Wardrobe: Part I The Miranda Skirt


How is your new season sewing coming along? I've got quite a few pieces all made up and I can't wait to show you.

If you watched the most recent video series on How to Plan a Handmade Wardrobe that Works, you'll already know that the Debra Zebra Knit Top and the Miranda Skirt from Style Arc Patterns were on my make list. This week I'm going to show you how those turned out and focus in on the Miranda Skirt to give some details on how I made that pattern work for me.

Here's a look at the finished garments.

I'm very happy with the results, but rather than just show you the finished garments, I do want to share some details of how I approached the making of the Miranda Skirt. I definitely have some things to share about the Debra Knit Top, but I'll do that in a separate video.

The Miranda skirt went together quickly and easily after making a few key decisions about the fabric, the fullness and the length.

For fabric I chose a beautiful print chiffon from Gala Fabrics. The fabric is 90% silk, 10% nylon. After pre-shrinking this fabric in warm water and hanging it to dry, I discovered that it had a crinkle texture that wasn't readily apparent before washing. 

I originally thought I would cut the skirt on the cross grain in order to place the print vertically on my body, but after seeing the crinkle, which aligns to the lengthwise grain, it made more sense to cut it following the lengthwise grain.

The print also has a large repeat , so I had to think about print placement on the body. I played with the fabric on my mannequin to make sure the placement of the dark and light areas of the print were in the most appropriate positions. The wrong print placement can really ruin a garment so I was glad I spent some extra time here.

I'm 5'4 so I knew I would be changing the length of the skirt which is designed to be mid-calf. I chose a length of 33 1/2" including the waistband, which ended up landing just above my ankle. I chose this length based on the amount of fabric I had and what I thought would be a good length for me.

Since the chiffon is obviously very sheer, I chose a bemberg lining for the underskirt. I also pre-shrunk the lining in warm water and hung it to dry and gave it a steam press to remove any additional shrinkage. There is nothing worse than having a lining shrink differently than the self fabric.

I chose a size 12 to match my hip girth and the only pattern adjustment I made to the outer skirt was to shorten it to match the finished length I wanted. 

The lining uses the same pattern for the front and back which is completely fine in a style like this, but as a pattern maker, I couldn't help but make a separate pattern piece for the back so that the hem of the lining would hang level when worn, and the side seam would sit in the correct position for me. This is a completely unnecessary step for this elastic waist, gathered style, but I can't resist perfecting my pattern work.

The waistband is also a rectangle which is drawn in by the elastic length you use. My tip here is to make sure that the flat waistband girth is long enough and the elastic stretches enough to fit over your hip girth because there is no waist closure on this style. 

On the size 12 pattern I chose, the full finished girth of the waistband, when stretched, is 38 ½" which worked well for my 40" hip and the waist elastic length of 31", but if you have a smaller waist in relation to your hip you may need to make some pattern adjustments here.

Since the outer skirt pattern is a rectangle, I simply cut two lengths of the full fabric width, one for the front outer skirt and one for the back outer skirt. This proved to be exactly the right amount of gathering for me. The gathered amount ended up being approximately 2 ½ times my hip girth.

I used the selvedge edges for the side seams which required no seam finishing and made them practically invisible on the garment. I also made a tiny rolled hem at the bottom edge of the outer skirt for a really neat and tidy finish.

For the waistband I cut 1 in chiffon and 1 in lining and serged them together so I could treat it as one during the assembly process. This turned out really well and looks great. If there is a next time for this skirt I think I would choose a narrower elastic and waistband width but this still looks great.

As most of you know, Style Arc does not include detailed assembly instructions with the pattern, but I had no issues putting this skirt together. I find that as I measure and alter the pattern for myself, I determine my own construction techniques, so this is never a problem for me.

I did notice that the pattern measurements given in the instruction sheets did not always match the ones I came up with on my own, but this is likely due to measuring the pattern differently than the original pattern maker. This is why I always suggest you measure the pattern yourself so you know what you are working with.

If you're interested in following my progress as I work through the development phase of the rest of my handmade wardrobe, sign up for the Perfect Fit Guide to add your name to my email list, subscribe to my YouTube channel or follow me on instagram @inhousepatterns, to stay in the loop. I'll be sharing my progress as I work through more of the garments in my handmade wardrobe plan.

Thanks for watching, I'll chat with you soon!