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).