I took the challenge seriously! I got a serger back in December as my Christmas gift. It was a super deal on a Brother 1034D – but unfortunately too good of a deal – it was broken! Luckily Brother had a good warranty and I got it fixed – and picked it up from the shop two days before the baby was born.
Fast forward 3.5 months and I was very excited to finally get to use my serger – which for those who don’t know, is a special sewing machine that is particularly good for sewing stretchy fabrics. They are intimidating! But actually super easy to use and made sewing these skirts a dream. I find the Brother 1034D to be kinda clunky and buggy and very noisy but I don’t know if that’s because mine’s still kinda broken, or they are always like that.
After much debate and staring at patterns during nursing sessions, I chose to make the Syrah Skirt by independent pattern designer Selvage Designs. I’ve heard that independent pattern designers are easier to follow for new sewists, and this pattern was definitely full of little helpful hints. I have been quilting for over a decade, but stretchy materials as basically terrifying to me.
In preparation to use my super special Charley Harper fabric, I decided to get some practice fabric with some 60% off fabrics at Joann.
I made two versions of the Syrah skirt using the maxi length. I added two inches to the length because I’m 5’11” – and the pattern states it was made for the standard 5’6″ American woman. I am guessing it would be VERY long on the “standard” woman because adding only two inches it was pretty long on me! I’ve been tripping over the black version I made and think I need to turn the hem up again.
The real question is, how does it look with a baby carrier?
The Syrah pattern calls for you to make a lining using swim suit material, and also to line the waistband with swimsuit material to make the skirt stay up better – especially considering the weight of all the fabric in a maxi length skirt. I love this idea! The built-in slip was a great option for the two Joann’s fabrics I chose, which were super thin. However, the slip layer plus the extra thick Charley Harper knit all together in the waistband was a lot of layers for my serger to handle, and I had some issues with skipped stitches. More on that in my next post.
They are very comfortable and flow really nicely. The waistband is flattering and comfortable and most importantly keeps the skirt up. I’m very active in mine and was mowing the lawn and wrestling the baby and hiking and everything stayed in place. And we had some freak 98 degree May weather last week, and I can tell you they are nice and cool, which is great because I hate wearing shorts.
I made mine in a size smaller than my measurements, which was recommended if you like to wear the skirts higher up. Also since I hope to lose the rest of my baby weight (a girl can hope anyway) I thought a size down would allow me to continue to wear the skirt either way.
I could share some learnings I had, but they are all probably pretty laughably obvious for anyone whose ever sewn with knits! Having the right needle makes it easier! Sergers are even easier!
I am having problems finishing the hems nicely. I use a straight stitch only machine for most of my quilty sewing which is not great for knits. I have a regular sewing machine that I should be able to use a double needle on, but it was just eating the fabric into the double needle even after I added some interfacing tape to stabilize the hem. So, my hems are not so great.
I was pretty proud of myself for matching up my stripes on this skirt, but I do wish I had angles the pattern pieces a bit more so they were at more of an angle. It looks ok as is.
And I made the leftovers from this skirt into some baby pants using this great free pattern – with an extra big butt panel for babies who wear cloth diapers. I call them her strongman circus pants.
Over all I am thrilled with the Syrah skirt and will probably make a few more as I am pretty sure I’ll be wearing these all summer long.