Another A-line skirt – and a small style epiphany

Another A-line skirt. So far, so meh.

I haven’t worn it yet, but I did learn something. So grab a cuppa, and make yourself comfortable…

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The pattern

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This is a plain vanilla darted A-line skirt pattern with a straight waistband that came with Love Sewing magazine a year or so ago. There’s an invisible zip at the back. If you want to make something similar, you could try Delphine by Tilly and the Buttons, or New Look 6843. The version I made isn’t lined, but you could easily do a lining, or armed with a copy of Winifred Aldrich’s book, some paper, a ruler and a set square you could draft your own skirt in about 15 minutes.

I took a little of the flare out of the skirt and added one or two inches to the length but otherwise it’s as written. This pattern wasn’t great to use – there aren’t enough notches/balance markers and the directions on stitching the waistband are quite brief. Still, it was ‘free’, so I can’t complain, can I?

Yes, I totally can! The magazine cover price is £8.99. We buy sewing magazines for the patterns, and we expect them to be user-friendly, especially for such a simple garment as this one. I’ve had similar issues with a ‘free’ pattern from another magazine. Up your game please, sewing magazines!

Note: this was an unbranded pattern and the instructions don’t state who designed it – it’s not one of the McCalls group patterns that have been included with the magazine.

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The fabric

An impulse purchase, this one because I wanted to try making a garment out of the same substrate as the one on the pattern image, which was triple crepe. I picked up some dark blue triple crepe in the Guthrie and Ghani sale, with reservations as it’s 100% polyester.

I love the colour – these pictures make it look almost black but it’s actually a lovely shade of light navy/royal blue. Triple crepe has an almost spongy feel to it – it springs back when you squish it between your fingers, and there’s quite a bit of stretch on the bias. Otherwise, it behaves just as you’d expect a polyester fabric to – it washes and wears beautifully but it’s tricky to press into place and prone to static.

The revelation

I finished this skirt back in March or April, tried it on excitedly… and felt disappointed. It’s a bit stiffer than I’d hoped, a bit tight around the waistband (excess ice cream) and it does less for me than I wanted it to.

How so, given that I’ve chosen supposedly the ideal skirt shape for my pear/skittle/heavy-thighs figure, tailored it to my own measurements and used the recommended fabric on the pattern?

Later that week, I came across a group of ‘Sew your Kibbe’ posts from bloggers including one of my faves, Gillian from Crafting a Rainbow, and an in-depth series from new-to-me Doctor T Designs. If the name Kibbe means nothing to you, but you love a body typing system, then dive in – you’ll love it.

I’m playing catch-up but as far as I can make out, David Kibbe (Is that pronounced kibbee, kibb-eh or something else entirely?) was an 1980s stylist who classified people as dramatics, romantics, naturals, gamines and classics – plus some subtle variations – and recommended certain styles of clothing for each. The original text has hilariously dated pictures and goes on about yin and yang elements, so it’s suitably bonkers, but there are some grains of truth at the heart of it.

And looking through the types, I could see why the skirt and I weren’t getting along. The A-line skirt, with a fairly stiff fabric and a straight waistband like I’d used is pure gamine. Exhibit one: Tilly Walnes’ pictures of herself in her Delphine skirt. 100% gamine, or possibly even more if you team it with a Breton top.

I, on the other hand, fall into Kibbe’s natural category – the complete opposite of the gamine in his system. Ideal skirts for naturals would be more fluid with a longer, straighter line to them. It also explains why I’ve never liked 1950s, vintage, Gertie-type full skirts on me – they’re ‘romantic’ in Kibbe’s system, and completely not me either.

I then disappeared down a total Kibbe rabbit-hole, as Gillian puts it, and devoured all the sewing-related posts on it I could find, plus a few others on the side. Hence the lateness of this post. Ahem. I especially loved Doctor T Designs’ gigantic list of sewing pattern suggestions for soft naturals and naturals and I’ve added a ton of Burda patterns to my to-sew list as a result.

I don’t think Kibbe’s system is perfect, and I have reservations about the whole idea of body typing systems but it solved my conundrum and revived my sew-jo so I’m happy with that for now. Which still leaves me with the problem of the skirt…

So my question to you is – how would you style this skirt to make it less gamine and more, well… me?

And please jump in with any thoughts you have on the Kibbe system – I’m curious to know what you think.

4 comments

  1. Personally, I hate A-line skirts. I don’t think they flatter anyone. Give me a well-proportioned pencil skirt any day and I could make it work for anyone. Toss it.

    Like

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