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The Dolores Skirt Pattern Review

berkeley with pattern

The Berkeley Bra Pattern Review


Copy Your RTW Panties Tutorial!

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#SorryNotSorry A Beyonce-inspired Skirt

The Bee is back! The first round challenge for Pattern Review’s annual Sewing Bee is due at midnight tonight. I finished my entry this afternoon and took photos in the waning daylight. True to form, I procrastinated on this make (the challenge was posted on September 1st), but I did get my entry in before the deadline. Whew!

For the first round, we were tasked with creating a pencil skirt inspired by music or a musician. I’ve been listening to Lemonade on repeat for months now, so this was a no-brainer. Queen Bey was going to be my inspiration.

As I was mulling over what sort of pencil skirt to create, I remembered a photo of Beyonce in a wrap-style skirt posted to her IG account a while ago. I liked the skirt so much, I’d saved a copy of the image on my phone. I decided to create my own version of her skirt.

Beyonce in the amazing skirt I wanted to copy.

Copying Beyonce’s skirt might not be the best way to stay in the competition. The creation of a straight-up copy would be the kiss of death on Project Runway. I can hear Tim Gunn saying, “It’s too literal a translation of the challenge.” I decided to go with it anyway and proceeded with my shameless copy. I figure I win no matter the outcomes of the competition. I have a skirt I adore regardless what happens with the judging!

To create this skirt, I added two fabric panels to a traditional pencil skirt at the side seams. The panels are not even. One is substantially wider than the other and is sewn almost all the way down the side of the skirt. The wider panel is cut on a curve at the bottom to create the gather across the front without adding too much volume to the bow.


The other panel is thinner and doesn’t wrap as far across the front of the skirt before tying in a bow. The asymmetrical bow gives the skirt a fun and casual feel.


The pencil skirt is based on a skirt sloper I created as part of the Craftsy course, Patternmaking Basics: The Skirt Sloper with Suzy Furrer. I haven’t finished working through the entire course yet, but so far, it’s great. The pencil skirt I created from my sloper fits worlds better than any other pencil skirt I’ve attempted to make. I have a khaki pencil skirt already in the cue based on this same self-drafted pattern.


Below is the review I submitted on Pattern Review for the competition.

Pattern Description: Beyonce-inspired Skirt

I’m a huge fan of Beyonce. She’s smart, strong, and sexy. Her last album is based largely on the work of a poet which, as a former literature major and lifelong literacy nut, I think is AMAZING.

A while back, she shared images of herself in a hot pink skirt on IG and her website. It was playful and fun. I shamelessly copied it for this challenge. #sorrynotsorry

This is a self-drafted pencil skirt. I used the Craftsy Course, Patternmaking Basics: The Skirt Sloper with Suzy Furrer, to create the sloper on which this pencil skirt is based.

Pattern Sizing: This pattern was created based on my personalized skirt sloper.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? It does look a lot like Queen Bey’s skirt.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Suzy’s instructions in the course are great and I followed them in order to create this pencil skirt.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The bow is pretty heavy and pulls the front of the skirt down a bit. This may be annoying if I’m wearing it for long periods of time.

Fabric Used: I used a cotton sateen from Joann Fabrics. This yardage was purchased 4, maybe 5, years ago. It sewed up well and has the body the bow required to stand up on its own.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I made a traditional pencil skirt and added fabric panels to the side seams to create ties for the bow in the front of the skirt. I played around with pleating various parts of the fabric panels to ensure the panels would tie up and across my front without pulling weirdly.

I left out the back slit on this skirt. I am able to walk comfortably without it and felt adding one was just too much stuff for one skirt.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I think one pencil skirt with a huge bow is enough for my closet! I will definitely make the pencil skirt without the bow again.

Conclusion: While posing for blog photos in this skirt, I asked my husband, “Do I look like Beyonce?”
His response: “Is this a trick question?”
Well, at least I feel some Beyonce-awesomeness while wearing it.

The Queen B’s!

Happy Sewing!


Gingham: A Contemporary Take on a Summer Staple

Of all the fabric choices we have as sewists, gingham screams “Summer!” the loudest. This year, gingham is particularly popular. Stores are full of gingham garments and just this week the Today Show did a fashion bit featuring gingham as a hot summer fashion trend. The segment is sort of a train wreck, but, if you want to kill a few minutes, it’s mildly entertaining.

I’m a big fan of sewing with gingham, but am always wary of looking like I’m wearing a picnic blanket. To avoid this and give my gingham a contemporary edge, I like sewing with gingham in colors other than red and blue.

Purple Gingham

I used to hate the color purple, but, as I’ve gotten older, I find myself liking it, especially on me. I think it’s a good color for us brunettes. I chose a small purple gingham for this McCalls wrap top. This make was one of my first successful blouse projects and I still wear it a lot during the summer months. Unfortunately, the pattern I used, M6564, is out of print (OOP). McCalls does have a current pattern that looks very similar. M7358, view B, appears to have nearly the same structure.

Nope, I haven’t chopped my hair. This is an older photo!

Black Gingham

Black gingham is easy to find this season. I’ve seen black gingham sewn into a range of garments. Two examples are below.

Rag and Bone offers this simple t-shirt. It will set you back $115.

Black gingham t-shirt

Maje Paris sells this simple sheath dress with XXL press studs down the front for $198 (on sale now from $495).


I decided to make a skirt with my black gingham. I purchased the fabric from Fabric.com for no more than $15/yard. A bargain compared to RTW! The pattern is Sewaholic’s Hollyburn Skirt. I’ve paired this skirt with lightweight sweaters, tank tops, and blouses. For a vintage feel, I wore it here with a red knit Pavlova top from Cake Patterns.


Orange Gingham

While I’ve spotted a lot of gingham this summer, orange gingham is hard to find. To date, I haven’t seen any orange gingham in the stores. This is one of the perks of sewing- wearing colors hard to find in RTW!

Navy and orange are a classic combination and representative of my alma mater (Go Gators!). It’s a combo I love to wear. My orange skirt here is Simplicity New Look 0119 with added pockets. I think this one is also OOP. Any woven straight skirt pattern can work for this look. New Look 6492, view A, looks like the same thing. I’m wearing it here with a RTW t-shirt.


I have at least one gingham project planned before summer ends, so my collection is still growing. Keep watching the blog for a gingham update!

Do you sew with gingham? Have you used non-traditional gingham colors? Tell me all about it in the comments!

May Burda Pattern Review: Skirt #108 


I’ve been a Burda Style subscriber for over a year now and I really enjoy the publication. While I don’t love every pattern, there are usually a few patterns each month that I really like and want to sew up.

May 2017 Burda Style magazine

If you haven’t yet used the patterns from a Burda magazine, a word of warning- they are intimidating the first time or two. You have to trace them off and add seam allowances. Even though I’ve made quite a few patterns from various issues, it can still freak me out. That said, I highly recommend giving it a go.

This month, my Burda pattern crush is a skirt on page 15:

I can’t resist bright and sexy. The pocket details are easier to see on page 34:

I reviewed my fabric stash and settled on a rickrack cotton print. The fabric was part of a Craftsy supply sale a while back and I bought a two-yard cut. I didn’t have enough to cut the entire skirt from this fabric, so the back center panels are a plain white cotton.


Burda pattern directions are sparse. They assume at least a basic knowledge of sewing from readers. As a result, there is usually something about the pattern that I find tricky. For this pattern, it was the pockets. To attach them to the skirt, you sew them down to the front piece using provided pattern markings. Then, you sew them along with the back side panels to the center back panels. Not tough at all once I figured it out!

Close-up of the pockets sewn down the front panel and attached at the back panel seam

The rest of construction was very straightforward, especially if you have made a skirt or two before. I installed an invisible zipper and I shortened it by about an inch. I’m short (5’3″) so it hangs at a midi length on me even with an inch off of the length,  I debated making it shorter, but I like how it looks with heels. I didn’t make any other changes to the pattern.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am really pleased with the final product and am wearing it on the last day of Me Made May 2017!


Do you subscribe to Burda Style? What was your pattern crush this month?