Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Gabriola in Chambray

I love a maxi skirt.  They go in and out of fashion but they are a permanent fixture in my wardrobe.   I have more maxi skirts than any other style.  I hate wearing tights and stockings and I love the length and romanticism of a long skirt, it brings out my inner Edwardian and Prairie girl. I l bought the Garbiola pattern as soon as I could and I already had 3 metres of chambray.  I love chambray too, by the end of the summer, I think I will have a wardrobe of chambray.  When I like something I tend to hit the repeat button...

I went through some ups and downs with this skirt.  I found the fit a bit weird- the hips are very generous, especially the upper bit of the hip.  I am a small pear shape- my top half is usually 8-10 and bottom half 10-12 depending on the pattern company and this skirt felt like my waist was one size and hips another.  I did make a quick test of the yoke and came out at a size 6 for the hips however, the quilting cotton I used to practice with was a different beast than the drapier chambray and I ended up altering as I want along on the real version, cutting pattern pieces down and taking the side seams in again and again an again, especially over the hips.

The shaped front is flattering.  I may be slim but I have a curved belly rather than flat tummy and this skirt works with that and seems to flow and curve over the body.  I wanted the waistband to sit a little lower than my natural waistband as I find that more comfortable and more flattering so my waist area is a larger size than my hip and I have graded a little between the two.  I used flat fell seams on the diagonal yoke pieces and the panel seams as a feature, to add stability to the diagonals and to make a smooth skirt inside and out- no serger threads to run- I have very sensitive skin.  I posted a tutorial on Instagram for this ( I am @verykerryberry)  but I'll post here soon too.  Flat fell seams are usually found on men's shirts and on the side seams of jeans as they are strong and durable.  They are not hard, they just need careful top stitching, let's just say the seam ripper is kept busy getting these nice and neat.

I felt proud of all my seam alignment, the seam style would emphasis anything that was out of whack so I was extra careful to line up, even through my additional seam alterations, taking in and fitting stages.  The waistband was rather upright and gaped a bit so I ended up opening the waistband our and  making a small shaped dart on either side of the waistband to reduce the fabric at the top edge by approx ½" on each side.  It does still gape a bit and drafting a shaped waistband piece would probably be a better solution.

I ummed and ahhed over the back zip and in the end I chose a contrast white as I had one to hand and a small overlap on the waistband using a little of the orange and white fringed selvedge to trim the edge.  This tutorial with Janet Pray (you'll find it 17 mins 36 secs into the video) is a great zipper insert tutorial and the method I used.

You really get an idea of the quantity of fabric in this skirt.  With quite a hefty reduction on the length, I cut the Gabriola out of 3 metres of 60" wide fabric.  Because the panels are gently flared and the fabric is on the floaty side, the skirt flows as I walk and is a pleasure to wear. I am a strider and a fast walker and this skirt was made for that.

The next one will be so much easier as all the pattern pieces have been altered and tweaked and I have 3 metres of black chambray that would be perfect, even if a little similar to this!  I might use a light contrast thread for the next one.

Here are the stats:
  • Sewaholic Gabriola pattern (Sewalong here)
  • 3 metres 60" Robert Kaufman Chambray Union fabric
  • Cut a mix of size 2 (hips), size 4 on side seams and size 6 at the waist so it would sit low
  • Hem cut on size 0 and then reduced further by 3 ½".  I then took up a ¾" hem
  • Woven cotton light interfacing strips on the back zip seams
  • Waistband overlap closure with plastic poppers

sib blog


  1. It is lovely Kerry and suits you so well

  2. Goodness Kerry, you are a dress-making wonder! It's absolutely gorgeous on.

  3. You've done a wonderful job. I think I am going to need a smaller size at the hips too, which is odd!

  4. Well done, its very lovely xoxo

  5. gorgeous! And good to hear about the adjustments because I'm making one for a friend soon :-)

  6. i really admire your ability to roll with the punches on clothes making. and love the chambray! i just used this same fabric in a baby quilt.

  7. It looks fab, but you suite the Edwardian Prairie style :o)

  8. I love all that topstitching and the diagonals around the hips are wonderful. I'm off to look at this pattern now that I've seen it on you.

  9. This looks fabulous! I really enjoy seeing your skirts and dresses. I am a confident quilter but did not made any clothes before. Do you think this pattern is beginner friendly?


    1. Thankyou Susanne. I wouldn't recommend Gabriola for a beginner- the cutting out is long and there are a lot of bias lines to handle. I would recommend the Hollyburn skirt, also by Sewacholic. Cut out a trial waistband to see which size you would be before tracing/cutting all the pieces.
      You can see my version here

  10. I love seeing all your sewing posts and the skirt looks fantastic on you!

  11. beautiful lines on this one! i do hope you make it in black with contrast stitching, and post it here for me to see ;-). lovely!

  12. This is gorgeous! What's not to love about a maxi skirt, and this works so well in chambray. Another pattern to add to the list!

  13. Oh you look so lovely in this skirt ~ it's really flattering and your pup is so adorable!
    I'm like that too ~ if I like something I usually get more than one!

  14. That is gorgeous on you! Definitely worth making another :)

  15. This and your Ruby Star Lonsdale Skirt sang to me. I realised that you are speaking my fashion language and have helped me to find what I feel comfortable making and wearing. Thank you. I hope that you feel that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

  16. This and your Ruby Star Lonsdale skirt sang to me. You have helped me work out what I feel comfortable wearing and making, my style groove if you will. I hope you feel that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Thank you.

  17. This is a gorgeous skirt Kerry! And that fabric - beautiful!


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