Monday, June 2, 2008

Simplicity 4188 Skirt Review

Well, well there truly are miracles even in this cynical age no matter what anyone thinks. And don't let anyone tell you there isn't a Santa Claus either. ;o) The sky has not fallen in although the "thunk" you may have heard was Paul (DH) passing out.

I finished a UFO (unfinished object) from about 2 years ago and posted (attempted to post) a review at PatternReview. Here's a copy of what I wrote. (actually this is a completely new write up...rant below) I'll be adding a picture of me actually wearing the skirt when my picture-taker (Paul) is home.

It appears that I won't be copying my review into this space as there is some glitch in PatternReview and my review, that I spent 1/2 the night writing disappeared into cyberspace. Annoyed...oh let me count the ways. I should make this a "I hate computers" rant. Ok, temper tantrum over, back to the review of my skirt.
Ok, no promises on this rewrite being as detailed as the one I lost, but here goes........
Pattern Description:
Simplicity 4188 - Claire's description: 8 godet skirt can be made either ankle length (if you are 5'5" like me) or knee length. Simplicity's not too helpful description: Misses' skirts with length variations and belt. Well, then tells you a lot huh?
Pattern Sizing:
8,10,12,14,16 - I sewed a 14. This is a caveat for anyone who does not sew. A 14 is not an indication that I need to lose 40 pounds, although I could stand to take off 10. ;o) Pattern sizing runs completely different from RTW (ready to wear). When I weighted 110-115 lbs I sewed a straight 12 and wore a 4-6 in RTW. Now, back to our review of the pattern.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, it did. In fact I like my skirt even better. The picture on the envelope was of a rayon skirt and although it was very pretty I think my medium weight, very drapey linen beat the rayon hands down. I already had the longer version cut out. If I were to make this today, I would cut the shorter version, but I have to say the linen really works in the longer version.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Surprisingly, they were. I didn't have any "huh?" moments. I will add that although this is a very easy skirt to sew one should not attempt it if one is a rank beginner. That is unless you are armed with a good sewing book, and a better ability to learn using only a book than I have. Also, even though the directions are good, there are places they could have been more detailed, but then the expert sewers would complain about "unnecessary wordiness". So, just like at work, you can't please everyone all of the time.
ETA: The reason a beginner should not make this a first attempt is there is a side zipper and all those godets. Again, they are not difficult, but you need some practice.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I very much liked the pattern. You will go through a lot of thread as there are more seams than I care to count. There are 8 panels, then 8 godets. You do the math since it's late and my brain has shut down. Even if you don't want to do the math, just remember you need at least 2 spools of thread.
  • I stay stitched the top of the yoke and the panels (not the godets) to keep them from stretching. I also added stay tape to the top of the yoke to create more stability around my waist and to ensure it didn't stretch out of shape.
  • I did end up hand sewing the yoke facing to the skirt as I was not tempting the gods into cooporating if I decided to stitch in the ditch. I knew what would happen and besides a bit of handsewing never hurt anyone. In fact handsewing was suprisingly relaxing, especially when compared to the alternative of ripping out a "stitch in the ditch" attempt. ;o)
  • When it came to the hem I did not turn it up twice and stitch. My fabric is fairly heavy and I didn't want the bottom of my skirt to stick out so I turned the hem up once, stitched, and trimmed close to the stitching line.
  • Something else I loved, since my fabric molds beautifully, and since my hem was only about 5/8" (give or take an 1/8") I didn't need to run an ease stitch. I cannot begin to tell you how estatic that made me. I've hemmed acres of skirt in the past and it wasn't fun.

Fabric Used:A wonderful medium weight red & offish-white linen. From what I remember this fabric was fairly stiff, but washing and drying 3 times beat it into submission and I ended up with a wonderful piece of yardage that was perfect for this skirt.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I didn't alter anything. I sewed a straight 14. I would recommend a flat pattern measurement of the pieces if you are contemplating this skirt. My linen had some "give" and I wouldn't be surprised if it grew a bit, helping me to get into the smaller size. (I should have cut a 16) Remember my lesson from above, this does not mean I now need to lose 50 lbs. ;o)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I would sew it again, and yes I'd recommend it to others. If you want a yummy, swishy, girly (but not over the top girly) skirt go for it. You will not be disappointed.


This was an easy and fun project, albeit a very time-consuming one due to the number of seams and seam finishing. Of course, it would be helpful if I would break out the serger and learn how to use it. This would speed up the construction considerably. Oh well, at least I didn't have to worry about cutting a hole in my skirt with the serger blades. Yup, I'll just keep telling myself that until I get around to firing up the serger. ;o)
I do need a red top to match this skirt. The white one I pulled out to wear with the skirt was way too white and made the skirt look dirty. I couldn't "make it work" or even pretend it worked. Then I pulled out a couple of off-white tops which weren't right either. I ended up wearing a black sweater, untucked, with a white belt. This was "OK" but not great. At least I could pretend this combo worked. ;o)
I did figure out which top I want to make, unless I find a RTW that I can wear with the skirt for now. New Look 6808, View C, which is the pink top with the bow. What!? Did you really think I'd pick a different view without a bow????? ;o) Come know me better than that. At least it won't be pink.......... ;oP


alicat said...

Wow - a sewer and a blogger, or rather, a seamstress and a writer. I am both as well, although my sewing skills have been getting rusty over the years with lack of practice on Vogue designer patterns, and used on curtains, tablecloths, easy kids clothes and doll clothes. Keep up the good work on both - you multitasker!

Adrienne said...


Gwen said...

Oh, your skirt looks beautiful! I bet it feels lovely on - do you swirl around just to enjoy it? (Yeah, I hate that sizing thing about patterns too, although I DO need to lose quite a few pounds...)

Vicki said...

Very pretty skirt. And I like the pattern you have chosen for the top. And don't you have computers when they misbehave!!

Bonnie D. said...

That is a lovely skirt! And the top will be perfect with it.

Kim said...

So pretty!!

Claire S. said...

Hi Claire, I found your blog thru your user profile on the Coat Sewalong & have just read thru from the beginning...I love the skirt and will add you to my favorites now. BTW - I just started a blog of my own - maybe it will help me sew and not procrastinate !

Isabelle said...

Beautiful skirt, Claire!
And what a detailed review. I'm sure it will be helpful to those that want to use this pattern.

paco peralta said...

Claire .- greetings from Barcelona (Spain). First I thank you for placement on its list of blogs. You have to excuse my English, I have to use the online translator to communicate with you. I hope that I understand. I will give an extensive look around your blog, I am sure it is very interesting. I congratulate her on her last job, the skirt is very nice. I am also glad to know that you participate in the "Great Coat Sew .......". Marji was also friendly with me and put me on their list as an observer. Surely this will be a great sewing event. best wishes. Paco

kbenco said...

I didn't realize that your gorgeous skirt up at stitcher's guild was from this pattern. The fabric is beautifully drapey, my version looked a lot bigger around the bottom from all that fabric! I think the not pink top will look great with this.

lorrwill said...

What a great review Claire.
(Sorry you lost the first one)
Ironically, I am in the process of self drafting an 8-gore skirt in three versions: Without godets, with cut on godets and with inset godets.

I am so glad you posted that heads-up about the thread consumption!

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