Thursday, 30 July 2020

Floral Viscose Crepe Frankie Wrap Skirt

I try really hard to put thought into my projects and sew practical clothing which is going to earn its place in my wardrobe. However, sometimes I just cannot resist a gloriously frivolous make which I've chosen to sew just because I WANT to. This project today is one of those. I deliberated over how much I would actually get to wear it and whether it was the best use of this beautiful piece of viscose before thinking 'sod it' and diving in. Let me tell you that was an excellent spontaneous decision. I loved every single second of making this skirt and I love the final outcome so much that it is inspiring me to get more dressed up every sunny day of this summer!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Made Label Frankie Wrap Skirt in Floral Viscose Crepe from The Fabric Store

This is the Frankie Wrap Skirt; a free pattern download from the reasonably new pattern company Made Label. When I made this a few weeks ago this was the only pattern available, but since then three more patterns have been launched. Before I start talking about the skirt itself I just wanted to mention a couple of things I spotted which really impressed me about the company. They work with the Batwa Rock & Cave Project in Uganda to support the Batwa Pygmy Tribe, something that means a lot to me personally since Ed and I visited Uganda in January this year and were able to meet some of the Batwa. The Batwa lived in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest up until 1992 when it became a National Park and World Heritage Site and they were evicted. A percentage of what you pay for your pattern goes to provide food, shelter and a sustainable future for the Batwa. I also noted that Made Label give a pattern credit for any projects that they share on their Instagram. I feel like this is a pattern company looking to do things the right way from the start.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Made Label Frankie Wrap Skirt in Floral Viscose Crepe from The Fabric Store

I'd been looking at options for wrap skirt for a while and it was the more fitted shape of this pattern which really appealed to me. I love the the slim body-skimming cut but combined with the drama and movement of that looooong ruffle! I really like the length and the proportions of the ruffle which is formed of a series of semi circular pieces without any gathering which I love. Firstly because I really dislike the process of gathering and secondly because it has a much less bulky effect. It works sort of like a circle skirt. The circular pattern pieces mean less volume at the top but a lot at the bottom.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Made Label Frankie Wrap Skirt in Floral Viscose Crepe from The Fabric Store

The pattern recommends a fabric with a good drape like viscose of rayon to make this and that is exactly what I chose. This floral print viscose crepe is from The Fabric Store. Unfortunately it must have sold out since I ordered it but they often have a great variety of modern and wearable prints on a viscose base. This one has a very similar weight and hand to their plain viscose range. The properties of viscose crepe make it perfect for a flirty little skirt like this. It has movement but a bit of substance so that the ruffle doesn't hang too limply. It is probably my go-to choice for summer dresses and skirts.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Made Label Frankie Wrap Skirt in Floral Viscose Crepe from The Fabric Store

The pattern is advertised as perfect for beginners and whilst I agree that it is fairly straightforward to put together with no fastenings or complex techniques, the suggested fabric of viscose/rayon combined with all those curved edges I think needs a bit of experience. Viscose and rayon can be quite delicate and prone to stretching out especially along bias and curved edges so you need to handle it with care.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Made Label Frankie Wrap Skirt in Floral Viscose Crepe from The Fabric Store

I added in some stay-stitching along the waistline and the front curved edges of the wrap as I was worried about this delicate crepe stretching out. I also in a way stay-stitched the hem edge of the ruffle as I find the quickest and easiest way to do a long narrow hem like this is to stitch along the raw edge at the depth you want your first turn of hem to be. The stitching provides a clear marking line to press up along so you don't have to keep measuring all the way along and also kind of keeps that edge nice and tight making it easier to ease in as you press it up. I think the only other thing I did differently to the instructions was to add some lightweight fusible interfacing to the waistband and tie. I wanted the waistband to have a bit of structure and the tie to have some body rather than hanging limp.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Made Label Frankie Wrap Skirt in Floral Viscose Crepe from The Fabric Store

Whilst straightforward to construct without much fitting to fiddle with, it does take a while to put together especially if you follow the instructions to use french seams throughout. That and the miles of narrow hem to do along the ruffle certainly eats up time. 100% worth it though and I love that the instructions suggest french seams. I really enjoyed putting the time into this beautiful and robust finish and not using my overlocker for once! The instructions in the video for french seams are really good and clear if it is you first time doing them. In fact the instruction video is really clear full stop! I did slightly wish there was a brief set of written instructions alongside the video so I didn't have to try and find the right point in the video if I had a query. This is a free pattern though, so I can't really complain! The new patterns also have sew-along videos, I don't know if they come with written instructions too. The seam allowances are included on all the pattern pieces so for a simple pattern like this you can kind of do without the video or instructions if you have a bit of sewing experience.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Made Label Frankie Wrap Skirt in Floral Viscose Crepe from The Fabric Store

I was between sizes and ended up sizing down to the 4 as I thought my fabric might stretch a little. The wrap is quite forgiving so I didn't bother with grading between sizes to get my exact size or anything. It turned out absolutely great but I am conscious that I wouldn't want the overlap of the wrap to be any less, I do flash quite a bit of leg when the wind blows in the right direction! Each size is in a separate file to print out which makes grading between sizes a little problematic but I do like that it means that if you are cutting a smaller size you save on wasting paper. The instructions are really clear about what pages you need to print for each pattern piece which is good but because there is no more than one pattern piece on each sheet it felt like there were some quite big offcuts.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Made Label Frankie Wrap Skirt in Floral Viscose Crepe from The Fabric Store

One thing I did like about the PDF if that there is a page of labels for you to print and cut out to pin to your pattern pieces. I think that's really useful for a project like this when you have a lot of similar looking pieces that you don't want to mix up.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Made Label Frankie Wrap Skirt in Floral Viscose Crepe from The Fabric Store

I highly recommend this as a bit of meditative sewing. You can get nicely lost in the rhythm of pressing and sewing all those long french seams. I think because the pattern was free I was expecting it to be quite basic and simple to whip up. But I was so impressed with the thought that has been put into both the pattern and the instructional video. This isn't a simple gathered or pleated skirt with a gathered ruffle along the bottom edge. It is cut really well and sits beautifully on the body. It is a simple and fun style done really well.

6 comments:

  1. Beautiful and swooshie delicious fabric, I’m sure you feel wonderful wearing this skirt.

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    1. Thanks Lesley, I sure do! It is as much fun to wear as it was to make!

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  2. This is so gorgeous, now I really want to make one!

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  3. Your skirt is so cute! Thank you for writing up a review. This is a new pattern company to me and I love all the styles.

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    1. Aren't they all gorgeous! Perfect summer styles. I'm really pleased I had such a good experience with this one so will now make some more!

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