One of my sewing aims for 2015 is to sew more separates, especially skirts and I’d forgotten about this gem of a pattern, Butterick 5285, which was hiding in my stash. The dated illustrations really don’t do this pattern any justice and a quick Google image search revealed its full potential.
I went with version B which is pleated. I decided to make this exactly as instructed using some cheap dark blue cotton chambray from my local fabric shop; it would be a wearable muslin of sorts.
The pattern dictates you can only use 60” fabric and it doesn’t even give you options for anything smaller. I’ve read that other bloggers have used a narrow fabric and simply inserted a seam at the centre front which I may try in future. Luckily the skirt front pattern piece just fitted onto my fabric. The back didn’t quite fit so I folded about 1.5cm from the large pleat which meets the zip and I was able to cut the piece out with the fabric still folded. I think the chambray is about 55” wide.
Construction was very straightforward although I rushed and didn’t notice that I’d started sewing my pieces together in the order for the gathered version A rather than the pleated version B but that was an easy fix, it just meant sewing all my pleats at once rather that front and 2 back pieces separately. My only annoyance is that my zip position is slightly too low on the centre back which means I have a tiny gap below the waistband – something which I’ll keep an eye on next time. The pattern suggests a hook and eye closure on the waistband but I had enough space for a button hole so went that route instead (also to help keep the skirt closed over my zip fail) plus I HATE sewing hook & eyes so avoid them at all costs!
The skirt has a gorgeous shape to it, a lovely flare over the hips and I’m already planning my next one albeit with a lining attached. The chambray works really well with my Boden stripe Breton top which is a bonus as I have several different colours.
I used about 1.4 metres of fabric, from that I was able to cut the skirt front, back, one set of pockets and the waistband. I used some scrap fabric for the other set of pockets (pocket backs match the skirt and the fronts are light blue).
I cut a size 22 which has a 37" waist and the only alteration I made was to pinch out 1.5cm from the large back pleat to fit the pattern piece onto my fabric.
There's a small 2cm hem and the skirt hits just below my knee (I'm 5ft6).
I’ll leave you with a photo of my latest dress which I made a couple of weeks ago – it’s my Rainy Day Mortmain dress. I’d bought a fat quarter of this fabric at the Knitting & Stitching show 2013 and wished I’d bought more. After a mega internet search over the winter I managed to find a seller on ebay who had 3 metres in stock – meant to be! The Mortmain is fast becoming my Tried & Tested pattern of choice – I really love it!
Happy Sewing! Hannah x