No Records

  • No Products in the Cart

What i Made: Aurora Grace

sewing a skirt

Matthew McConaughey was just a graduate student at the University of Texas when he walked into a bar, introduced himself to a producer who after a long night, cast the Don Juan in the movie Dazed and Confused. Now a box office blockbuster, McConaughey’s iconic line in the movie goes as such: “Man, it’s the same bullshit they tried to pull in my day. If it ain’t that piece of paper, there’s some other choice they’re gonna try and make for you. You gotta do what Randall Pink Floyd wants to do man. Let me tell you this, the older you do get, the more rules they’re gonna try to get you to follow. You just gotta keep livin’ man, L-I-V-I-N.” While Wooderson, McConaughey’s character in the movie, would think I was a lot cooler if I had a joint in my hand, I think I’m equally fly with rhinestones around my neck. Whether lighting a doobie or wearing a plaid maxi, do it wearing some shine. It’s a Madalynne-ism.

After several weeks of tending to Portia Blue, which involved careful cutting, meticulous hand stitching and callus-causing finger pressing, a quick sewing project was what I craved. I’m not the type of sewer to cut and sew on the same day – I did it once New Year’s Day and the result a bra unfriendly LBD – but every once in awhile, that racy side of me comes out and I get a massive surge of sewing mojo, and need to make something now.

If you haven’t noticed, many of my makes this year have been super simple silhouettes. Orla Madison was a basic pant and so was Wexler Rose. Even Portia had a simple shape. Don’t blame laziness, I have a motive. Over the past year, and as part of Sarai’s Wardrobe Architect (let’s not forget about that!), I’ve been building the core silhouettes for my me-made wardrobe – pant, skirt, blouse, dress and jacket. Unlike RTW where you can simply buy your foundation items a la Gap and J.Crew, making them takes a lot longer. But once I nail these 5 pieces, I can then move on and add more interesting shapes. I can also alter those pattern to create new ones. It’s all a part of my evolution of a seamstress and pursuit to craft an entirely me-made wardrobe. Ooo vey.

While the skirt in my basic 5’s is pretty basic – Sewaholic’s Gabriola – I needed something even more stripped down. A simple gathered number. Even though it’s the easiest skirt to make, there are variables. Waistband height? Shirring ratio? The right maxi, midi and short lengh? Aurora Grace was an experiment to figure out all these components, and through it, I found that generally, I like a 1 inch waistband with a shirring ratio in the range of 1 ½ : 1. A waistband that is 2 inches is too wide and a shirring ratio of 2:1 is too much. Also, maxi for me is 40 inches long and short for me is 18 inches long. Of course, there are many factors that could change these numbers (choice of fabric, where on the waist/hip it is worn, cut on the bias or not), but this is speaking broadly.

The fabric came from a thrift store and it has a plaid pattern printed on the right side. I scored a lot of yardage and had just enough after I finished another project. The skirt is constructed just as any shirred skirt would be-  two boxes sewn together with a waistband attached and zipper closure and the center back (please excuse the photo showing the skirt shifted to one side; if worn correctly, the zipper is at center back). The bottom hem is 3” to encourage a nice hang and the waistband is interfaced with hair canvas to add stability (I like my waistbands to act like a belt).

sabrina_grace2 sabrina_grace7sabrina_grace6 sabrina_grace3 sabrina_grace4 sabrina_grace8

44 Comments

  1. Reply

    Alice

    I like you Madalynne, I do. I like your aesthetic and think you make very pretty things, but you often times make no sense. It’s like you try to sound super intelligent or insightful, but you come off as jumbled. I must have re-read that first paragraph five times and barely understand what you are saying. Just a thought that you might want to go back to basics in terms or writing.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      How’s this – I made a skirt. Simple enough?

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      How’s this – I made a skirt. Simple enough?

      I’m as much a crafter of words as I am a crafter of fabric.

      • Reply

        zilredloh

        LOL I thought this was a fun read. The first paragraph totally reminded me of the vibe of that movie.

        • Reply

          Maddie Flanigan

          Thank you Liz!

          • Anna Streight

            Your writing style is why I like to read your blog. It’s interesting and reflective. I love that you can use a reference like in the first paragraph to illuminate your makes and your style. Don’t change 🙂

          • Maddie Flanigan

            I sure won’t, Anna!

      • Reply

        Alice

        Wow, it’s nice to see that you are able to take criticism so well. Stay classy, Maddie (which, by the way, I guess I thought Madalynne was your given name and Maddie was a nickname. It is the name of your blog after all. Sorry about that).

    • Reply

      Kelly

      I agree. I often find your writing to be unintelligible which means that I skip over your posts. I think that simplifying your writing would help a lot with the readability of your blog

      • Reply

        mlkmailart

        Wouldn’t it be so much kinder to simply stop reading something you find difficult to comprehend than to criticize the author for having expressed herself in a unique way?

        • Reply

          Cheryl

          I completely agree! This was the most heart warming endearing blog I have ever come across, & I read a lot of sewing blogs. This is actually my very favorite blog now, as, your writing style, Maddie, shows who you are, & helps teach me about sewing. I feel as if I know you now & even in some ways, your mother also. I take it personal when I see someone writing something so hurtful & negative especially to someone who has really put her heart out there & gave us a glimpse of who she is personally. Please everyone, treat others as you would want to be treated. Be kind or just unsubscribe. Simple enough.
          Maddie, please just keep being you & remember some people have their own agenda that has nothing to do with you. Maybe they have been mistreated & they are just lashing
          back out at anyone.
          It shows here by reading the majority of others comments how you & your blog is so loved. Also, your intelligence & the depth of who you are as a person, does come across & I admire that, especially in someone your age. Keep on writing just as you are. Keep being who you are. I am so glad I found your blog.
          Cheryl

          • Maddie Flanigan

            Thank you Cheryl. That means the world to me 🙂

    • Reply

      Natasha Estrada

      The first paragraph as I understood it was to create a context for the rest of the post. To set a mood. I’m prone to wax poetic so it’s not a problem for me.

    • Reply

      Tinalou

      Alice and Kelly….OMG I so know what you mean…..I often feel that way when I read the instructions for cooking frozen french fries, a boxed cake, and even more so when I try to read a sewing pattern–I cant see how “anyone” can understand such a jumbled mess. I read, re-read and re-read, to no avail. And, no matter how hard I try, sometimes my thoughts and words get so jumbled that no one can make much sense of it….especially me. My hands so often type like they are wired oppositely-and much of the time I feel like I’m trying to read, speak, type and understand another language–and, for the like of me, sometimes my spelling and grammar are beyond acceptable. BUT, some days I actually feel normal and have little problems with these things-like today :-)…but most days I feel completely out of the loop–and I know I was schooled well and made excellent grades. The problem that I have come to in life is called Multiple Sclerosis….which means that for me, all these things are “my” normal now. Hopefully, this is not your problem, but if it is, or God forbid, that it ever become yours or anyone you love’s problem–know that you are not alone. You see, I don’t often share my struggles with others because I don’t want them to treat me differently, or make fun of me, or say something that hurts my feelings–which are more sensitive due to PBA…nevertheless, I am human and hope that people would be kinder than that. Unfortunately, as I notice by you ladies’ comments, sometimes they are not. I hope that you will put things into perspective if faced with the dilemma of posting hurtful comments in the future, and realize that no matter where you are in life, others may not be in the same place. Please, please, be kind to everyone.

    • Reply

      Sip the Diva

      I am not sure what you are reading but I understood the first paragraph very well. This comment was really unnecessary.

  2. Reply

    Mady

    Love the fabric of the skirt and the styling!

  3. Reply

    sallieforrer

    Cute skirt! This is a very cool look. And such a great fabric.

  4. Reply

    Ladypink

    I think this skirt is super chic! Your asthethic is so opposite of mine, but I love seeing what you make. And Dazed and Confused is the best!!

  5. Reply

    Laura

    Really nicely done! I always enjoy good story-telling along with sewing projects.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Thank you!

  6. Reply

    Lola

    I’m glad you posted a close up shot of the fabric. I was really curious to what gave it that effect, and i like the distressed feel to it..I’d actually be slightly interested in seeing if this could be reproduced …

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Reproduced? The print or the skirt? I think I have some yardage left if you want me to send it to you. I’d be happy to!

      • Reply

        Lola

        gahhh that would be great! I’ll PM you and you can give me your return address and do a fabric swap.
        xx

  7. Reply

    zilredloh

    This is wonderful! It does look to be in perfect proportion to your size and I agree, 1″ too much in the waistband makes all the difference in the world.

    I really like how the fabric is a printed plaid instead of a woven plaid.

    I do like heavier hems like you’ve done (3″) since my city is so windy it likes to attempt to show my underwear to the world no matter my skirt length. Having some extra weight in the hem is really essential.

  8. Reply

    oonaballoona

    ah, the maxi skirt– i make one every year for thanksgiving, so i can look stylish sans shoes in NY apartments, and eat ALL OF THE FOOD. your plaid girl’s proportions are perfection!

    • Reply

      Aspen Vincent

      I gotta say, I kind of LOVE this skirt Maddie. But oona, you wear something with a waistband on Thanksgiving?? I’m impressed. I could never. 🙂

      • Reply

        oonaballoona

        luckily, my high waist camouflages the turkey belly underneath 🙂

        • Reply

          Aspen Vincent

          Clever minx.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      MUST.SEE.A.PICTURE.OF.THIS!

  9. Reply

    Bec Stitches

    Ooh I really like this fabric, and also the canvas as a stabiliser. Great idea, I also like high waisted waistbands to act as a belt 😉 So I might try this.. have been on holidays for 5 weeks and was wanting a fairly simple project to ease back into sewing 🙂

  10. Reply

    Amanda Adams

    I like the proportions you have working here- the waistband, skirt length, gather and print size. This skirt is fun but also dramatic- epic!

  11. Reply

    Jill @ Made with Moxie

    That fabric! <3

  12. Reply

    Katie

    Try to see the positive in everything, Maddie. Not everyone is going to enjoy everything you do. My high school English teacher told me I write like English is my second language. It hurt for a little and then I laughed it off, because that is her opinion of a writing style that is not her taste. My college professor who was an actual published writer for a magazine gave me nothing lower than an A and said he found my writing to be honest and entertaining. Just take a positive note from the hurtful comment and be yourself! There are people who are going to love you for who you are and those are the people you really want to read your blog.
    Be blessed, Maddie
    Your sewing friend, Katie

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Thank you Katie : )

  13. Reply

    Sip the Diva

    Wow that fabric is adorable, I was going to ask where your purchased it but I see it came from a thrift store. Good job!

  14. Reply

    Cris

    Hi there — I love this skirt! How much wearing ease would you advise adding to this waistband? Thanks!

  15. Reply

    Lisa Marie

    Oooer. I’m not a fan of maxi skirts usually but that is ca-ute! I’ve recently bought some red plaid cotton that I intend to make into a skirt, perhaps I’ll try a maxi. More likely it’ll just end up as my usual gathered poofy skirt. Dirndl or whatever they call it.

    And don’t listen to those two knobs. Neither of them have a clue. And there was nothing constructive about their criticism. This is the first post of yours I’ve read and I will be coming back for more. If these girls can’t understand your choice to put that reference in then they obviously aren’t too bright. Too many words confuse and frighten them. Keep doing what you do chook.

  16. Reply

    Linda

    Well, no problems understanding that paragraph here Maddie!! Keep on keeping on, you’re on a roll! You are young enough, thin enough and confident enough to wear a bold plaid. Go ahead and add the rhinestones, you wear it well!!!
    I’ve been following a while now- been sewing since I was four, which was waaaaaaay before gas was over 50¢ a gallon. It’s so nice to see young people getting into sewing and SHARING the process! You do a lot of good and your writings inspire us all!

  17. Reply

    Charlotte Silva

    I may not always get your references when you are writing your setting the scene type opening paragraphs, but I don’t think that matters, as I very much enjoy your writing and your whimsy! I think it goes beautifully with the overall look and feel of your blog. Your photos are always beautiful and what you make is beautiful. All of this is what makes your blog stand out to me from all the many sewing blogs I regularly read (and I read a lot of sewing blogs – I am rather obsessed!) as one of my favourites. So, basically, don’t go changing!!

  18. Reply

    Amy

    Love the tartan! L-I-V-I-N indeed! (I love that movie and it’s totally in quote rotation in our house…) I’m doing much the same as you–I came up with 6 core items I want to sew for my wardrobe this winter. Also went through that shirring ratio thing a couple of years… had to re-cut a skirt twice to get that just-right amount!

  19. Reply

    Meg

    I just found your blog. It’s absolutely wonderful!

    • Reply

      maddie

      Thank you! I hope you stick around 🙂

  20. Reply

    Marci

    Ok so this is late to the party, but the saying, ” I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.” comes to mind.
    I love your posts, and apparently, with all your success, lots of others do too. Glad you stayed true to who you are.
    Cheers to you

Leave a Reply

RELATED POSTS