the plan-B skirt, also known as the skirt that broke all the rules

Remember that floral cotton I bought a while ago? Remember that I wanted to use it for one pattern but couldn’t, because of the grain?

When I bought the cotton, I bought it to use for this skirt. I wanted to make the gathered version with the placket down the front. I even had all the buttons for it. I had dreams of wearing this skirt during the summer, where I’d feel pretty, feminine, and blessedly cool. But the fabric would have none of it. So I raided my pattern stash and settled for this one, Plan B:

IMG_6739{McCalls 5431}

I liked the big patch pockets and the belt carriers, though when I got to down to the business of cutting it out, I ran into the same problem–the floral pattern (which in this case is directional) is going the wrong way! So I broke the rules and maneuvered the pattern pieces so that the print would go the right way. Please note that this is against the sewing rules! One of the first things you learn when you embark on sewing is that grain matters. And I cut out that skirt in rule-breaking abandon. And no sewing police came by to take me away to textiles prison. So, the lesson is you can break the rules sometimes. Just don’t tell your mom. Except that my mom is the one who gave me permission to break the rules in the first place. So.


Only as I’m posting these photos am I realizing that they are a bit overexposed, but you get the gist, right? And frankly, I can’t bear the thought of pulling out the tripod and the self-timer to do them over. (And I also don’t want to make sure that none of my neighbors is out to witness me taking pictures of myself. I just feel funny about it. It feels both narcissistic and necessary.)


I did have a helper with these pictures this morning, who helped by mostly staying away from the camera and tripod. He was too caught up in the delight of wearing his hood to care about making mischief.


This skirt was easy to assemble and didn’t have any quirks lurking in the shadows. Instead of subjecting myself to turning a tiny tube of fabric right side out for the belt carriers, I pawed in my notion stash for this bright pink bias tape and used that instead. Also, none of my pink thread options really went with this shade of pink, so I stuck with my white thread for all the top-stitching, even on the bias tape.


I also used the bias tape for the hem, instead of the narrow hem instructed by the pattern. I like how this feature turned out.


I like the angled pockets, though they are a bit big for the overall length of the skirt. (And you’ll notice that the print on the pockets is going the wrong way. Or the right way, if you’re a fabric grain purist. But for this rule-breaker, it’s the wrong way.) The skirt hits just above my knee, which is almost too short for my comfort, but I wore this getup to Costco today and didn’t feel funny it at all.



When it comes down to it I like Plan B. Though I can’t say that I like it better than Plan A. The skirt is just a tad too short for how full it is, though I stick by my liking of the bias tape carriers and hem. If I want to feel flirty and feminine, this skirt will hit the spot. And at lunchtime today, my little sidekick pointed to my skirt, and said with his winning smile, “Pit-ty!” So, it must be a win, am I right?

Specs: I used McCalls 5431, version C. The only aspects of the pattern I changed were using bias tape for the belt carriers and hem. Not pictured in this post is the lapped zipper in the back. If I ever make this pattern again, I’d lengthen it by a few inches and probably shorten the pockets. And so far, breaking the rules of fabric grain haven’t earned me a spot on any sewing blacklists!

Linking up to Simple Simon and Co!

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  1. Jerusha
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    If that is how you break the rules, then break away. This skirt is fabulous! Thanks for pointing out the details. I’m an overall person who gets bogged down in details, so seeing each one and liking each by itself and not just in general, makes me appreciate your skill and artistry even more. I, too, prefer longer skirts; but as a shorter skirt, the fullness compensates for it, and you and the skirt look great together. Sidekick got it right: Pit-ty!

  2. Sonia
    Posted June 26, 2014 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    So wish you could help me with my skirt. It didn’t turn out as good or as cute as I was picturing it. And all it had were two side seams, a waist and a hem. The waist I screwed up (I tried to make it “pit-ty”). I should know better.

    • Charlotte
      Posted June 27, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      I’m so sorry to hear that! It’s so disappointing when projects don’t turn out, especially when you start out with such a vision of fabulous. I could definitely take a look at it and see if it’s salvageable!

  3. Sonia
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    I would love for you to do that. It will have to wait until after my trip because there is way too much stitching to take out before we can do anything else. (I was stupid and kept trying to fix it instead of waiting for help. So there is a lot of stitching – a lot.)

  4. Posted June 29, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Pretty! We have a thing for skirts though…and lots of ours are plan B, C, D, E, Z! I would have stuck it out until I found a skirt to make that fabric from too, love th bias tape trim.

  5. Helena A.
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    I just found your Blog…
    I have been doing refashions and I am going to sew some new pieces too.
    And I must say that you have inpired me to open one Blog myself!
    I’m like you: i’m more a creative than a domestic! 😀
    So, I’m going to open my Blog and then I will tell you about it! Let’s sew togheter! (I’m a begginer!)
    I love this skirt and I think the skirt is not too short… You are young, so it loooks great on you!
    Oh those pockets… They make me remember of my childhood, because these where on!
    kisses from Portugal

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