Thursday, June 14, 2012

Zen and the Art of Wrap-Skirt Making

mandy made

This may appear to be just a denim wrap skirt, but this skirt has become much more than that.  I realized as I was making this skirt, and as it kept transforming, that it was really a metaphor for me. Okay, okay, so maybe I'm a little crazy, but I can learn a lot about myself from sewing.

So, let me back up and start at the beginning.  It all started when I went to the local fabric store and purchased Burda pattern 8176, medium weight denim, and a zipper.  I've been wanting a denim skirt for awhile now.  And for some reason they are surprisingly hard to come by in any shape but straight.

mandy made

mandy made
Anywhoo, I told myself that I was going to be patient with this project.  You may have noticed that I tend to run through projects at lightning speed.  It's like a super speedy energy flows through me and I just can't rest until the project is complete.  This time, I was determined to slow it down.  I also wanted to give myself extra time because I don't typically like to use patterns.  Let's just say I'm not a 'follow the rules' kind of girl.

So, I cut out most of the pieces the other night and then went to bed at a decent hour like a good girl.  I carefully folded my cut pieces and even labeled them so that I would be able to tell them from one another.

The next day I came back to the skirt.  That's when I realized that in typical Mandy fashion, I already found a way to mess things up.  Instead of following the nice little pictures telling me how to cut the fabric, I had just cut away.  So when I tried to cut the yoke pieces, I did not have enough denim to cut all four pieces.

That's when I got the idea to use a different fabric for the inside of the yoke.  I had some leftover Amy Butler fabric in a thicker home decor weight that I thought would look really nice with the denim.  Problem solved.

As it turns out, I really liked the way that the contrasting fabric looked with the denim. Remembering that I was determined to be patient, I sewed a couple of seams and then put the project down.  I kept thinking that perhaps I should somehow incorporate the Amy Butler fabric some more.  After all, nobody was going to see the inside of the yoke except myself.  I had pictures of applique dancing around in my head.  I ruminated about it all day.  But nothing felt right.

So, I came back and sewed some more seams. That's when I realized my next big mistake.  I must have measured myself incorrectly.  Even with the 5/8" seam allowance, it was obvious that this skirt was going to be way too large for me. And (as I think I have mentioned before), me and zippers are not good friends.  Plus I had been considering making a wrap skirt for a while now.  So I added all the variables up and I figured that this must be the universe's way of telling me that this skirt was destined to be a wrap skirt.  

This gave me a great way to incorporate more of the Amy Butler fabric; I used it to make the ties.  I also used a couple of D-rings to fasten the skirt ties like a belt, instead of tying it in a bow. Last but not least, I decided to throw on a pocket as a finishing touch and - voila - a wrap skirt was born.


Years ago I was told that Navajo rugs are always woven with an imperfection; a nod to the beauty of mistakes and imperfections that make up life.  I have no idea if this is actually true or not.  But, I have often thought about this when in the midst of chaos, or when I find myself making mistakes.  Such is life.  I find that if I let go of my resistance to mistakes that I open myself up to something greater.


  1. What a pretty skirt,who wouldn't love it!

  2. Great save! I have used your contasting fabric myself. The fit turned out really nice and much more original than using that old BURDA idea would have been.

  3. Made some nice "lemonade!" lol Creative minds will find a way out of any tough situation or mistake!
    Great job, so cute!

    1. Thanks Katherine. I agree about the creativity. That's half the fun... and maybe why I don't care for patterns as much ;)

  4. oooh. I like your skirt a lot, especially the way you have used the contrasting fabric to perk the denim up. i'd wear that skirt! and i am pretty hesitant about skirt wearing. good job :) keri

  5. Wow, what a great compliment. Thanks Keri :)


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