I’m back again today to show off a pattern that I had the pleasure of testing recently. This skirt is the Melinda Midi Skirt, which is the latest pattern from Sew Altered Style. (If you are reading this on the day that I publish this post September 11, 2019, the pattern is currently FREE! But just until midnight tonight so RUN over, download it, and then come back and read my post!)
The Melinda Midi Skirt is the second pattern from Katie and Mac of Sew Altered Style. I’m super impressed with these two ladies who are both wives and moms, work demanding full time jobs, and also manage to be prolific sewists who have started their own pattern company.
When I saw Katie mention that testing was starting soon on their new pattern I messaged her and said I’d love to help if they needed more testers. At that point I had no idea what the pattern was, so I was crossing my fingers that it would be something that wouldn’t require me to buy fabric.
Over the Summer I was taking part in Project Fabric Fast over on Instagram, started by my friend Heather. Since it officially ended I’ve still been trying to keep my fabric purchases to a minimum since I have lots of fabric stashed and waiting to be used.
I was excited to see that the pattern was an elastic waist midi skirt. I loooooooove midi skirts! I love having fabric swishing around my legs and they’re a great length for my mom duties. Not so long that I’m tripping over them when I’m carrying baskets of laundry up the stairs but long enough that I can bend over/sit on the floor to play without flashing anyone.
The patterns from Sew Altered Style come in size 0-30, which will accommodate waists from 25″ to 49″ and hips from 35″ to 59″. There is quite a bit of ease built into this pattern so I imagine that this one would work if you are a few inches outside of the measurements, too.
This skirt is a relatively simple design but they put some very thoughtful details into the pattern. View A is fully lined with channels sewn for three rows of narrow elastic. View B is unlined and has a separate waistband for one wider piece of elastic. View B also features panels on the skirt pieces for some visual interest. Both views have amazing, deep pockets and a gently curved hem.
I decided to make view B and settled on some lightweight rayon challis that I had in my stash. My measurements put me between a 10 and 12 at the waist and a 14 and 16 at the hips. I confirmed with Katie that I should go with the smaller sizes based on the amount of ease in the pattern. I cut a size 10, graded to a 14 at the hips and I lengthened the skirt by 1.25″ since the pattern is drafted for a height of 5’5″ and I’m 5’7.5″.
The instructions are very detailed and I really enjoyed sewing the skirt. (Well, other than the fact that my fabric was hard to deal with because it was very shifty.) The seam allowances are 5/8″ so I used french seams throughout. As you know if you read this blog regularly, I love when I can use french seams. It makes me so happy to have nice clean insides in my garments!
The initial draft of the pattern didn’t suggest adding interfacing to the diagonal edge of the pocket facing piece. I know from experience that on slash pockets those bias cut edges can stretch and pockets can gape open, but I decided to try it without interfacing. Sure enough the pocket openings sag a bit on this version. It’s not going to keep me from wearing this skirt, but it was definitely something I wanted to try to fix on my next version.
Because this green rayon was so shifty I struggled to get the hem to lay nicely on the areas where it has a gentle curve. The hem looked ok but after I washed and dried it the hem got sort of twisted and folded in some parts. Since this fabric isn’t the greatest I think I might leave it as is and just press if flat after future washings. It would definitely benefit from being unpicked and redone, though.
After I finished my first skirt I knew I wanted to try the pattern again with better quality fabric. I’d purchased this Nani Iro lyocell fabric from Imagine Gnats at the beginning of the Summer and I thought it would be just perfect for this pattern.
Lyocell (which is the non-brand name version of Tencel) has such lovely drape. This particular fabric is very lightweight and is just amazingly soft. It reminds me of a perfectly worn in bedsheet (in the best possible way.) The painterly floral is so gorgeous and I was really happy to get this fabric made into something I’ll love wearing.
I cut the same size and view as the first one, but for this second version I taped the panels together (after removing the seam allowances) so that I could cut the front and back as one piece. I didn’t want to break up that pretty print at all. I also lengthened it another inch, so it’s 2.25″ longer than the original draft.
Nani Iro fabric is so narrow that I only just barely squeaked this skirt out of the 2.5 yards of fabric that I had. In fact, part of the selvage is visible on the back panel. If you look really closely you can see that it says “made in Japan” right by one of the side seams!
I didn’t have enough fabric to cut both of the pocket linings from this lyocell. I had to sub in an off white linen/rayon fabric on one side. For this skirt I interfaced both the diagonal edge of the pocket lining and the diagonal edge of the skirt.
Weirdly, the side that has the pocket lining cut from the lyocell hangs perfectly when worn, but the side with the linen/rayon pocket lining gapes open at the bottom of the pocket opening.
I interfaced both sides the same way, but somehow the linen/rayon seems to have stretched. I haven’t done it yet, but I’m going to unpick the side seam at the base of the pocket and see if I can fix it by pulling the bottom of the pocket more into the side seam and resewing it closed. I think that should help.
On my second try I also wanted to see if I could do a better job on the hem. My suggestion in testing was to run a line of basting stitches around the hem 1/2″ from the edge to use as a pressing guide for the first fold of the hem. Then, on the second fold, the basting stitches can be tightened at the points where the hem curves slightly. The stitches help to ease the fullness of the hem at the curves.
I was happy to see that this suggestion was added to the pattern instructions. The hem on my second skirt is not perfect, but it’s much better than the first one. I still have one area that is a bit twisted but it can also be fixed by pressing it flat. This fabric is so much nicer and better to work with so I’m much more likely to unpick a few inches of the hem and try to get it straightened out. I should probably just go ahead and fix it when I am unpicking the side seam, right?
I’m thrilled with my two new Melinda Midi skirts and I’d definitely recommend the pattern if you love midi skirts as much as I do!