Sewing: The Mabel Skirt

Mabel skirt

I have to admit, when I first saw the Mabel skirt pattern from Colette Patterns, I wasn’t that into it. It looked like it would be really tight and really short (at least the first two versions). But, I convinced myself to get it anyway, thinking I would make the pencil skirt and that it would be good to play around with making a skirt using a proper pattern. Usually, I just sew a rectangle, add a piece of elastic and end up with something I don’t want to wear.

Mabel skirt

Fabric: Depending on the size and version you make, Mabel needs less than one yard of fabric. Since the pattern calls for a heavier weight knit, I used a navy blue ponte de Roma from Girl Charlee to make version 1. It’s not terribly heavy (12 oz), has a nice drape to it and feels very soft. It’s stretchy enough to pull the skirt on without any fasteners or closures. I pre-washed and dried it, so I’d say it washes well.

Cutting: Seriously, cutting is my least favorite part of any sewing project. I’m a left-handed person forced to use right-handed scissors my entire life, so that might be part of the problem. Mabel was pretty simple to cut out. Version 1 has seven pieces total: 2 back, 1 front, 2 waistband and 2 waistband lining pieces. I think it took me about 30 to 45 minutes to cut the pattern pieces, lay them out and then cut them. I used a pair of dressmaker shears, though I suppose I could have used a rotary cutter, too.

Construction: Part of the appeal of Mabel is that the skirt comes together quickly. I think it took less than an hour to sew together.  You have the option of using a zigzag stitch on a regular machine or your serger. I didn’t feel like buying four spools of navy blue thread, so I just used my regular machine and a jersey/ballpoint needle. The instructions also say to use a twin needle to sew the hem, but I used a single needle and all was fine.

My construction isn’t perfect. The seams on the waistband and the skirt body are supposed to line up and mine just don’t. Something to be more careful about next time I make the skirt.

Fit: I wavered between making a size small and a size medium. According to the measurements chart, a small would have fit, but this skirt has negative ease, meaning it ends up being smaller than your body size when finished, since it’s supposed to stretch. I’m pretty self conscious about my hips and thighs, I went up to the medium. The skirt still fits well. It has a body-conscious fit, but isn’t inappropriate looking.

Consensus: Mabel was definitely worth making as it was quick and simple. The mini skirt version isn’t my usual style, but I wore it with a longer, untucked shirt and thought that worked. As far as the actual wearing of the skirt went, while it was comfortable, I felt very self-conscious about the length. It was never scandalously short, but was shorter and tighter than I’m used to wearing, which meant I kept tugging at the hemline all day long. I’ll try the pencil skirt next time.

Have you made a Mabel? How’d it work for you?