Earlier this month, after a long summer of reduced stitching time, I was in need of a quick make to ease me back into autumn sewing. Alice from Backstitch contacted me at about the same time to see if I'd like to review a pattern from her shop. It seemed the perfect time to try out the Colette Patterns Mabel Skirt - a simple pull on skirt designed specifically for knit fabrics. Plus, Rachel from House of Pinheiro had described wearing the Mabel skirt as being like wearing pyjamas - how could I possibly resist?!
The Mabel pattern offers three design options: a mini skirt, a variation of the mini with a button placket and a pencil skirt with vent. I went for version one, the mini skirt, but lengthened it by 1.5 inches. As it turns out, it's still less of a skirt and more of a pelmet - it's very short on me and I'm titchy. So I'll be lengthening it considerably for my next attempt - probably to the same length as the pencil skirt version. There's a broad range of sizes from XS to 3XL - for reference I made a size M (US 8-10) and apart from adding a tiny bit of length, I made no changes to the pattern.
I used leftover red double knit from my Victoria Blazer for the main skirt fabric and a few scraps of thinner red jersey from my easy elastic waist skirt for the waistband lining. And before you ask, yes I did try the skirt and blazer on together - sadly I looked like some kind of Butlins red coat nightmare…. not a good look! Medium to heavy weight stable knits are recommended for this pattern and I think double knit is a great choice. I've had trouble with hems on knit dresses going a bit wavy in the past, but there's none of that nonsense with double knit as it's so sturdy.
The pattern envelope claims that the Mabel skirt can be made in just an hour. This would have been an accurate description if I hadn't sewn the waistband on upside down. Grrr! Easily sorted though. The instructions are well written and easy to follow and the pattern was a very good choice for me to cut my teeth onto after my sewing-deprived summer. There are no fastenings, it's quite a forgiving fit (it's designed with negative ease so stretches into position if you've eaten too many pies) and even with the waistband debacle, I managed to whip it up in no time. Apart from a tiny bit of top stitching to secure the waistband and a hem sewn with a double needle, I sewed the whole skirt on my overlocker. As it's a knit pattern, a smaller ⅜" seam allowance is used throughout, which is helpful if you're using an overlocker and worth making a note of if you're not! I also liked one particular tip in the instructions telling you to trim ⅛" from the top edge of the waistband pieces to allow for "turn of cloth". This helps the shell fabric roll to the inside - it worked splendidly on my Mabel which is always satisfying!
This first attempt was always meant to be a practice version but it's turned out so well I'm going to wear it until it falls apart. I have some navy blue double knit waiting in the wings for my next version. I'm well aware that almost everything I make is navy and red, but I want these Mabel skirts to be everyday basics to wear with tights in the colder months (I just got away with no tights today on this fine September day but I think that was a fluke). The way I see it, a red version and a navy version will match up with about 99% of my wardrobe. Hoorah!
And Rachel was so right, wearing a Mabel skirt is exactly like wearing your PJ's! x
The Mabel pattern was given to me free of charge for review. All views my own.