Pattern drafting is something I have enjoyed playing around with since I was a teenager. Many, many months ago – right when we first got to California – I was sent a review copy of Nicole Smith’s delightful pattern drafting book, Skirt a Day (This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.) I read through the book and decided to try drafting a wrap skirt. I took measurements and cut out pattern pieces. Then the pattern pieces sat on my bedroom floor/sewing table (they were supposed to be on the table, but somehow they would drift down to the floor every few days. Little hands helping maybe? Then I took an old sheet and cut out all the pieces, which also sat on my sewing table for weeks. I would sew one seam, them it would be days before I would get the next seam done. But, finally, the skirt is finished – and, miraculously, it no longer makes Anna cry (see the instagram story here). Hooray!!!
I am incapable of following a pattern – or even pattern drafting instructions – perfectly. I like to cut corners, and that’s what I did here. Sometimes I regret the corner cutting, but for this project it worked fine. I serged the edges of all the pieces and then stitched them together – no hemming required. I also added a horizontal half pleat on one end of the skirt (left in the photo above), just because I liked the look better. My ruffles are less angled than those in the pattern, just because it’s easier to not angle ruffles and it’s a small miracle to sew a skirt with ruffles at all when you have small children “helping”. I also made the front panels a little wider to prevent the skirt blowing open or being ripped open by small hands, but I think I would like it more if I had added even more width to these front panels so that there was even more overlap. I want to make some way to “catch” the skirt if it starts to blow open – any suggestions? This makes a nice, cool skirt, perfect for the hot weather we are already seeing in California!
I really liked this book, and definitely recommend it if you want to give pattern drafting a try. The techniques are pretty basic, and you could get a better fit by following a more detail-oriented tutorial, but the simplicity of these patterns and designs makes the book approachable even if you have never tried pattern drafting before, and you will come out of the book understanding a lot more about how skirts are designed and made.
Have you ever tried pattern drafting?
MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.
22 thoughts on “Make a Skirt a Day: Book Review”
I didnÄt even recognize you at first! When did you get your hair cut (and dyed?!)? I have been thinking about your family lately as, in the extended family, discussions have come up about the pros and cons and moving often vs. growing up in one place.
Btw, how do you keep so slender? I look slender from the back and front but if you see me from the side I have a bulging belly! :) I am working on it. :) Sigh.
The slenderness is all optical illusion – angles, grey top, plus the photo being taken from above :)
My hair has been getting shorter and shorter. We don’t have a very good shower in our condo, and I don’t have a lot of patience. Plus, this works better with bike helmets, which I wear a lot here. BIG change from high school, I know!!! The dye was a concession to Mike, who misses my hair :)
I’ve never heard of pattern drafting. The book sounds great! Love your skirt!
I think you would really enjoy this book, Jen!
I love you! Your one talented momma! I love this picture…your truly gorgeous!
Thank you, Sherri!
it looks great on you! and yay! that it doesn’t make Anna cry anymore… that was just the oddest thing, lol
It was very strange. I’m just glad she likes the skirt now!
Your skirt turned out beautifully!
Thank you, Jody!
I haven’t sewn in a very long time but I enjoyed the creativity of making my own clothes. Your skirt came out great!
Thank you! It took a while to get it made, but I am happy with how it turned out in the end – and, like you, I enjoy the creative process.
Hmmmm….. My thoughts: hook and eye if you don’t want it to be seen. Buttons if you want to add it as a fun detail to the skirt.
I like your button idea! I could even put them under the ruffles if I decide to keep them hidden. Thanks!
Very cool skirt! I like the color contrast of the dark thread on the serged eges. So funny that Anna disliked it at first.
Thanks, Catherine! I was relieved when she finally came round. She definitely did NOT like it for several days!
You look great!! :) Well done!!!
If I ever was ambitious enough to sew my own clothes I think I would have to draft most/all of them to some extent since I’m taller than average. The issues you mentioned with wrap skirts are the same ones I have had in the past. I have a wrap maternity dress I found at an op shop that I’ll wear at Easter and have been wondering how to make sure it stays closed… safety pins?
Thank you, Elisa!
I was thinking safety pins or maybe even velcro? Velcro feels so inelegant, though – and safety pins are unsophisticated (but so useful!)
Looks fantastic MaryAnne – I’ve only ever made 2 things for me a empire line prom dress which I wore to my 2nd year summer ball at University (made with a lot of help from my mum) and a summer dress but I never followed the pattern and it turned out a disaster. I would love some simple patterns for me and that looks great will keep an eye out for the book
Thank you, Cerys! I made an empire line prom dress as well – with a lot of help from my mum! This book is a great starting point if you want to give making your own patterns a go.
Wow – that’s so pretty! Clever thing :)
Thank you, Ali! I was happy with how it turned out!
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