I was on a roll making basics for my wardrobe over the last few weeks, including a few bodysuits after Gertie released her Skipper pattern on Patreon last month. Skipper is both a bodysuit (check out my post on the history of the bodysuit here) and dress pattern and while I’ve made three top versions I had yet to make the dress; the dress variation of the pattern has a straight skirt – Bettie Page definitely must have been an influence – but I knew if I made it, I wouldn’t get a lot of wear out of it as I prefer fuller skirts for my figure.
Then I had the lightbulb moment (it was so ridiculously obvious) to change it up a little. Just because the pattern cut of dress didn’t work for me didn’t mean that the Skipper couldn’t be a cute little summer dress. The feature I love most about Skipper is the puff sleeves – in fact, puff sleeves in general are hard for me to resist (I also wrote a blog about the puff sleeve recently, too). I have been getting so much wear out of my Skipper bodysuits I knew a dress version would be a well utilised item in my wardrobe. To make it more ‘me’ the answer was simple – add a gathered skirt (although a circle skirt would also give that skater dress style which I may well do in the future).
Technically, it isn’t difficult to change any top pattern into skirt. All I did was find my natural waist mark on the top pattern pieces, add a seam allowance and then attach a gathered skirt. You really only need a couple of triangular pieces but, out of convenience, and because I love the slight shaping that is built into the pattern pieces, I used the skirt pattern pieces from the Colette Moneta dress, and used the technique I used from the pattern instructions to gather the skirt (using elastic). If you haven’t used the technique before, check it out. It’s wonderful. Shirring with clear elastic is an easy way to add comfort and stretch to your garment. Because you have to stretch it quite a bit, though, make sure you use a good quality elastic. Viseline Framilastic T6 is the best one (in my opinion, at least) and it’s always a part of my haberdashery and notions orders. I also added the pockets because that’s one of the best parts of sewing, isn’t it? Adding pockets to all our skirts and dresses.
This cotton jersey knit fabric is amazing quality and was gifted to me as part of the Minerva ambassador programme. It has an almost brushed texture – it really is delightfully soft, and it has two way stretch. I did for a moment consider making pyjamas from it just because it feels so comfortable but it’s totally the wrong season for me to be making pyjamas. I decided in the end to make something I would get a lot of everyday wear out of. Perfect for those road trips (comfortable for sitting in the car), walking the dogs and working from home. The colours are such a lovely palette, too, and the print has a really romantic feel.
I have a tiny little remnant leftover which (fingers crossed) I can turn into a little vest top or even some undies – my Me Made May pledge was to start using up scraps at the time of using the fabric instead of letting the scraps build up in a little box that never gets looked at. I’ll have to write a blog about my scrap busting projects soon.