The Johanna Skirt

Hello friends! My goodness, I have been absent. What with the move from Northland to the Wairarapa, not having internet for 3+ weeks, and starting work back at the hospital, I haven’t been doing any blogging. In fact, when we (finally) got the internet hooked up yesterday I had 320 blog posts to read on feedly, so I’ve been down on all fronts. . Suffice to say despite trying, I couldn’t handle it so just emptied my feed and started fresh.

I also have to admit that I just stopped documenting Me Made May – having to leave for work before the sun rises and only getting home after it sets plus being too embarrassed to take selfies at work (particularly in the tiny bathrooms) meant the few photos we got were dark/grainy. So while I did wear almost completely me-made for all of May, I don’t have much to show for it – and I’m really sorry to those who were looking forward to seeing more. I feel like this: somewhat over committed.

But most sad of all, is how little sewing I’ve been doing – my sewjo has almost completely disappeared. I knew my Northland Bubble had to collapse at some point, but really – even though I’ve largely got my sewing room up and running (with a new toy – an Elna Press, which is amazing), all I do is walk in there and unpack some fabric, only to stare at it and put it away again, thinking “I’ll only ruin it”. I think it’s largely a dissatisfaction with my fitting rather than construction, and is probably largely to do with the lack of storage in the sewing room meaning everything is piled on top of itself. Plus, in my mind my fabric is separated into two catagories “I totally don’t want to sew with that maybe I should give it away” and “I don’t want to make a failed garment from that” (bonus third catagory: “I need to pre-wash that”).

In the last few weeks, I’ve made a total of four things. Which is still pretty good, except I don’t like two of them (the other two are worn constantly) and I had plans for so many more – especially considering it’s Indie Pattern Month!

But enough of all that – may I present my Johanna Skirt.

I call it my Johanna Skirt because the fabric was bought on my behalf from Jo from Making It Well, and because I chose this pattern after admiring her version for months. In case you didn’t recognise it, it’s the La Sylphide Skirt from Papercut Patterns, making it the fourth item I’ve made from the pattern (dress, top and top).

And yes, this is one of the garments I dislike. The fact that I don’t want to keep it has NOTHING to do with Jo, and in fact I’m trying to channel her a bit more to improve my satisfaction with my sewing. The fabric (the same as my last pencil skirt) didn’t pose as much of a problem this time around (although there is some weird pulling on the waistband facing) and so it’s made relatively well – it just don’t look good on me! I guess I’ve discovered that circle skirts and almost-circle skirts don’t look good on me, even though I always thought they would – they just widen me out everywhere. It’s also a bit shorter than I would like, which doesn’t help. YAY FOR LEARNING, RIGHT?

My body confidence has actually been a bit low recently, and this kind of skirt (and choice of cardi, I guess) just widens me out everywhere. I need to show off my WAIST, and can’t walk around like this all day:

The skirt itself is a ~3/4 circle skirt with button up front and fold-over button placket, and an awesome shaped waistband – I stitched up the waistband as is and it fits me perfectly (high on my waist compared to Jo’s version which sat low), and is cleverly designed to be longer at the back than the front, so your skirt hem is more likely to be even all around, even after covering your behind. I finished the skirt with a narrow hem and some sweet golden anchor buttons (no close-up, sorry) that I bought for 10c each at my First Ever Visit To An Emporium (in Whangarei, if anyone’s wondering).

I actually love the skirt and so wish it looked good, but it doesn’t. And that’s a Mum-Confirmed fact rather than me just being hard on myself. The skirt is currently hanging in my wardrobe feeling sad, until I can give her a new home (friend or op shop) – it feels hard giving away something that cost so much to make but hey, at least it’ll make someone else happy.


Pattern: La Sylphide from Papercut Patterns

Fabric: Wool/Lycra from The Fabric Store, ~$50 and waistband facing from stash

Notions: Thread and interfacing, stash; buttons 10c each = 80c

Total: $50.80

In other news, in case you didn’t know, Craftsy is having a sale until 9th June with “up to 50% off all classes”. If you click on the following link then buy a class, I get a small commission (it doesn’t cost you anything extra).

Craftsy Gallery

Also, do you follow The Monthly Stitch? It’s the annual Indie Pattern Month and Mel, Kat and Juliet have organised a crazy month with competitions and heaps of prizes – this weeks competition is “Dresses” so nice and easy to start off with! Next week is “New To Me” – sewing a pattern from an Indie company you’ve never used before – I’m thinking of making the new skirt from Blue Ginger Doll. Week 3 is “Frankenindie” (considering my options) and Week 4 is “Indie Fan Girl” for which I have an outfit planned. So hopefully all goes to plan and I have some successful garments to show for the month!



Curves like the back of a bus: a spotty wiggle dress

Kia Ora everyone! Welcome to a scorching Thursday morning in the Hokianga. The cicadas are going crazy, and it’s hard to believe that elsewhere there are crazy snow and water storms (yes, water storms. Sorry Christchurch). I’ve tried not to be too squinty in the photos (which were only taken at 8am but look at that sun/view!)


Life is the same up here: the work is enjoyable and I’m able to fit in HEAPS of sewing time. That might change if I keep staying up late to finish dresses off, as I’ll become too tired to sew!

This dress – well. I love it, but I’m not sure if I can quite get away with how tight the skirt is!


Jessie-dog won’t NOT be in the photos with me. She looks like a grazing cow in all these photos.

I bought this fabric at the same time as I bought the spotted rayon, with this exact kind of dress in mind. It’s cotton-spandex (97/3% I think) which makes it really comfortable to wear, but has enough stretch to show all of your lumps and bumps (of which I have a few).


I made it using a trusty combination of my bodice sloper (for the front), the La Sylphide back piece (with center seam) and Gertie’s skirt pattern, which I narrowed at the hem to make more-pencil like. Initially I thought that was the cause of the super-tightness (srsly, if this fabric wasn’t so stretchy I probably wouldn’t be able to wear this very comfortably), but I worked out that actually it’s because the main part of the skirt usually sits lower on my waist (because of the waistband) – so because it’s lifted, I had to take it in at the seams above my hips, and the fabric that would usually sit at my thighs has to stretch around my hips (if that makes sense). Next time I try this I’ll have to either add a waistband, or extend the top of the skirt before attaching it to the bodice.


I am very proud with the construction of this dress – the darts/princess seams, side seams and center back seam match up PERFECTLY. The darts are in the right place and not puckery. The invisible zip is invisible. Almost all the internal seams are enclosed – I did flat felled seams on the skirt – not because the stretchy fabric needed them, but because why not? I did have to unpick these TWICE, once because I accidentally caught too much fabric in them (causing a fold in the seam on the outside), and secondly because I had to take in the seams between by waist and hips. I almost gave up on them and overlocked them, but decided I should stick to my guns – and that would have involved MORE unpicking. Flat felled seams aren’t as hard as I thought (even over a hip curve) but they look rather nice, and lets just say I’m practicing for menswear.


The bodice is lined with self-fabric, and even the waist seam is enclosed (by folding up the seam allowance and stitching in the ditch from the outside). The only exposed overlocked seams are the center back seam below the invisible zip, and the sleeve seam (which I wish I had enclosed too, but only realised too late). You’ll notice that the overlocking threads totally don’t match – I would have used white but, you guessed it, my overlocking threads got packed away by accident.


Flat felled seams on the right, nice and tidy seams thank you very much!

I do have an issue with neckline gaping quite badly. I staystitched one of the bodice necklines but forgot to do the other (duh). I’m going to buy some twill tape to try and prevent this happening because it’s quite common on me, even if I staystich properly.


I have fabric for a plain black version (that will be work appropriate!) so should be able to make it fit a bit better! Plus, its a sturdy cotton twill so you hopefully wont be able to see my belly button!!



Pattern: Should we just say “my own design”? Combination of bodice sloper + La Sylphide + Gerties skirt, heavily modified.

Fabric: 97% cotton 3% spandex, $20/m from The Sewing Shop (Kerikeri): 2m for $40

Notions: Zip and Thread, $8

Total: $48


To show off how stretchy and comfortable it is. Maybe I should just always stand like this when I’m wearing it?

So now I have to decide whether I can get away with this as is; if I should make one of those sucky-in slip tube things; buy more fabric and re-do the skirt; or buy more fabric and redo the WHOLE thing, perhaps selling this version. Mr. Guy thought it was relatively unflattering and Mum said it looks fabulous but a bit tight over the bum. Any thoughts from y’all?