Oh-so Comfortable!

I’ve been sewing for myself a lot this spring, which has been both fun and energizing.  One of the things I love when I’m in a phase like this is that the more I sew, the more I want to be sewing. Certainly it is nice to have new clothes, but it’s like a faucet has been turned on and the ideas just keep coming.  I want to share with you how my process has been unfolding with one of my skirt projects. Here’s how it turned out:


This particular project started because I wanted to make two different skirts to wear with a French-style jacket that I’ve been working on – a straight skirt out of self-fabric, and a fuller style skirt. So I pulled out an old pattern, Butterick 3589.

Butterick 3589

When I made it years ago, I’d altered the pattern so that it had an extended or Hollywood waist.

skirt pattern pieces

Definitely time to make a clean copy of the pattern!

When it comes to comfort, almost all of us have pet peeves, and mine is having something tight around my waist.  With an extended waist, I find that the skirt just floats over the waist.  Plus, there’s quite a bit of leeway in the fit with the fluctuation of my stomach being rounder and softer one day compared to another.

Before cutting into the silk satin-faced georgette to go with the French-style jacket, I made a wearable mock-up from an embroidered silk doupioni fabric. The fabric had been pre-washed – perfect for Baltimore’s hot and humid summer weather since the skirt can be laundered, and the pre-washing made the doupioni softened quite a bit.



I feel a sense of freedom when I make a wearable mock-up because I don’t feel like so much is at stake if it doesn’t turn out perfectly.  This one is a winner, and I’ve already worn it several times.  The waist is oh-so comfortable, and I’m glad I thought to make the waist facing from cotton batiste so there’s no embroidery against my skin.  I find that it’s small details like that that really help me to feel at ease.

skirt facing

When I wear the skirt, I feel both “breezy” and “put together.”  The washed doupioni is perfect: there’s enough structure so that the fullness of the skirt doesn’t collapse altogether, yet the skirt isn’t too stiff.

wearing skirt 2

I wouldn’t want the skirt any shorter, so I lengthened the pattern, shown above.

This skirt pattern is definitely a keeper.  In addition to a companion for my French-style jacket, I already have plans to make the skirt from a linen print.

linen and georgette

Linen print and silk satin-faced georgette.

37 thoughts on “Oh-so Comfortable!

  1. Hi Sarah,
    How exciting you have started to blog. This is a a beautiful entry. Your blog is a blessing for us who love your work.

    Thank you,

  2. Sarah – congrats on launching your blog! I’d love some more details on the extended waist you’ve added – I really dislike the way skirts feel around my waist, and need some help in making them more comfortable to wear. I assume this skirt has a zipper – how far above the natural waist do you extend it?

    • Hi Janee,
      Thanks so much! I extended the waist about 2″. I’d encourage you to think about where you think the top of an extended waist skirt would be comfortable on your body, which will partly be determined by how long your torso is. Part of what I really like is that even though the waist of the skirt (at the smallest part of my torso) isn’t tight, that’s the place where the skirt “rests” — within a small leeway, the waist of the skirt can’t go any higher or lower. So the very top of the skirt doesn’t have to be tight. When you do a mock-up, be sure to sit down in the skirt and relax, because your rib cage will expand, and you want the top edge of the skirt comfortable when sitting.

      I put in a center back zipper. The way I like to put in my invisible zippers, the soft part of the zipper coil and the zipper slide go all the way to the top of the skirt (I cut off the hard plastic zipper stop). So I don’t have to have any hook and eye. And I like a long zipper opening, so it’s easy to step into and out of the skirt.

      Let me know if you have other questions. And thanks for reading my blog post!

    • Doesn’t individual body structure dictate the best place for the waist to be on skirts & slacks. My body always curls down waist bands & facings feel best to me.

      • Hi Linda,

        Absolutely every individual body is different. I have some waist definition, but I have more of a straight figure than a curvy one. And since I don’t like any of my waistbands tight, an extended waist is a good option for me. I’ve worked with plenty of gals who find that any waistband curls down, as you describe, and like you they find a facing — or a contour waistband — works better. Just takes some experimenting to find what you like the best!

  3. Lovely!
    The tip about cotton batiste at the waist is timely. I was wondering what I could use as a facing for my pleat inset skirt waistband.

    • Thanks, Wendy! And I’m so glad that my use of cotton batiste helped you out on your project. Can’t wait to see this next one of yours finished!

  4. Great blog. I love it. And thank you for showing your pattern adjustments. That’s usually where I get hung up. Looking forward to future posts.

    • Hi SNewton — I’m so glad that you enjoyed my blog. And that showing the pattern adjustments was helpful. I’ve already started working on my next blog, and it will have some more pattern work photos in it. Thanks so much for following my blog!

    • Thanks vicki — I’m already working on my next blog post and hope to have it ready sometime next week. Thanks for following my blog!

  5. Great blog post Sarah,

    Love the skirt, lovely cut and fit, I like the idea of using the cotton batiste for the waistband.

    Looking forward to reading and sharing.

    • Coral — Thanks so much! The cotton batiste waist facing (I think you typed waistband by mistake) is very comfortable. I’m glad I thought of it, too, and I’m especially glad that I had a pretty lavender color!

  6. Sarah love your skirt! I’m so busy sewing for others and it seems I haven’t had time to really sew for myself. I’ve decided to put me sewing time in my schedule and skirts are first up. I will tey your waistband/facing idea. I was also wondering If you sometimes draft your own patterns or do you normally use a commercial pattern for your garments? (I have your book and I must say it is My go to book for fitting. It is such a fantastic book)

    • Ann — I used to start with commercial pattern a lot. However, for the last number of years what I’ve done is to get a number of different basic styles of garments to fit really beautifully — straight skirt, darted blouse, shoulder princess blouse — and then I design from these patterns. I’ve found that it’s a great way to work, because I have the fit I want and the amount of wearing ease I like, so that then anything I make from that master pattern has the same fit imbedded in it. (This is what my new videos with Taunton are all about.) It’s pretty easy to learn to change necklines and develop stylistic elements such as collars. Then, if I see a detail in any garment (RTW, photograph, commercial pattern), it’s fun to figure out how I want to incorporate into a garment in a way that really flatters my figure or the person’s figure I’m sewing for. And thanks for your kind words about my fitting book!

    • Diane — I really like the amount of flare the pattern has built into the skirt. I didn’t change it much. Maybe you’ll make it up!

  7. Sarah, a very pretty skirt – and I agree, the mock up sewing is always less stressful than the ‘real thing’ – although I try and remind myself that the fear of the ‘real thing’ is only a perception and self imposed. Looking forward to enjoying your blog in the future 🙂

  8. I love your new blog. It is very welcoming and has an easy, comfortable feel about it. Can’t wait to read more of your posts. Are you going to have a place where readers can follow or sign up to be notified of new posts?. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • Sherrill — My webmaster and I are working on being connected to Bloglovin. I’ll let my readers know when I get that in place. And thanks for your kinds words about my first post. I’m just getting started on my next one.

  9. If this is a wearable muslin, I can’t wait to see the “real” garment! I never thought of extending the waist as a solution to not wanting something around your waist. I’m teaching some beginning sewing classes and I had a registrant who kept telling me she wanted a skirt “without a waistband.” Finally I realized she meant she didn’t want to wear a skirt at her waistline. If I ever have her in another of my classes I will mention this solution to her and see if she’s willing to try it. One question: With what did you interface the cotton batiste?

    • Hi Roseana — I’m so happy to hear that you’re doing some teaching. I used Fusible Tricot on the waist facing of the skirt. I carry it in my webstore (Bosal product). Other vendors carry it under slightly different names (FusiKnit is one). Nice to hear from you!

    • Linda – I will always make a post on my Sarah Veblen Clothing Originals Facebook page when I have a new blog post. And you can also now follow me via Bloglovin. Thanks for your interest!

  10. I am so excited that you have started a blog!! You are such a wonderful teacher – I have your book, and have taken all of your courses on patternreview.com! This is a very timely post for me. I love your suggestion about the cotton batiste for the waistband facing. I also have sensitive skin, and have been wondering what to do for a skirt with 2 pieces of fabrics that are too “nubby” for to be comfortable on my skin in the body as well as the waistband. Both are prewashed bottomweight fabrics, a linen and a cotton. I thought about lining or underlining them with cotton batiste? I would greatly appreciate your thoughts, and my skin thanks you! Beth

    • Beth — I’m so glad to hear that my blog was helpful to you. And thanks for your kind words about my teaching and book. For your skirts, you could underline the fabrics with cotton batiste, but I’d think through that the seam allowances of the fashion fabric will then be against your skin. For my skin, sometimes this doesn’t bother me, but sometimes it does. If you think it would, then a lining of cotton batiste will protect your skin completely. I hope your projects turn out wonderfully comfortable!

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