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What i Made: The Gabriola (The Perfect Maxi Skirt Pattern)

the gabriola skirt

With a sweep of over 60 inches flat, Sewaholic’s Gabriola Skirt is my kind of skirt – cake, icing and sprinkles on top. Jennifer said sewist throw the best parties. True. We bring sweets and notions, and Marce brings drinks. Cheers to that!

At the beginning of this year, I made a list of garments and intimates I wanted to sew and one of them was a maxi skirt. I had a pattern and fabric picked out, but then Tasia released Gabriola. Total game changer, people. I’m not one to ditch a plan or a schedule, in fact, it makes me nervous, but after days of thinking about this skirt, and then seeing Sophie’s version, I switched course, ordered the pattern and started stat.

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Inspired by a vintage dress, The Gabriola is a maxi skirt pattern that hits at the natural waist, hugs the hips to the widest part, and then flares out to the floor. The seaming and the grain placement on the front and back yokes make even the stoutest women look slender and sleek. I swear by this statement. For visual interest, the yokes can be made with a contrast fabric, but I kept things simple and chose one fabric for the entire garment – a cotton brocade I picked up at Mood Fabrics in New York City. Not my usual color choice, the fabric had a heavy drape and hand that I knew would be great for the hang of the skirt. Because my fabric was a loose weave, the yokes stretched out during sewing despite the fact that I stabilized it with stay tape. On my next Gabriola, I’ll block fuse the fabric and then cut panels to prevent stretching.

I cut a size 0 and the only pattern alteration I made was reducing the hips (I’m straight as a board) and a sway back adjustment. It was difficult to figure out how to eliminate the excess/pooling without disrupting the seaming. The solution was to slash and close the bottom yoke from CB to nothing at side seam and scoop out the back waistline on the top yoke. Also to note, although I’m petite on top, I have long legs, so I didn’t reduce length as many other sewers did. Construction was a breeze. I followed Tasia’s sew-along and had this complete within a week.

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Enough prattling about Gabriola; can we talk about this shirt and its pattern? Aren’t those swimming ladies the perfect combination of charming and cherubic? So saintly and elegant with each stroke. After seeing Rachel use the fabric for one of her Project Sewn garments, I gave her a holler and told her I must have it. Must, must, must. It wasn’t long before 2 yards arrived at my doorstep. When I opened it, I felt like Ralphie when he received his BB gun. I was in seventh heaven. I drafted the pattern using my block and all that was required to change that pattern to this was to carve out the neck and increase the body length and sweep. The armhole is a tad too high (1/4″) and the neckline needs a little more shaping, but hey, that’s what the next one will be for. Other than correctly placing the print so that it was centered at center front and center back, this was an easy top to sew.

Something you don’t see in the photos is an intimates set I’m wearing underneath. More on that later this week. Ooo la la…

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52 Comments

  1. Reply

    Debbie Iles

    And there is that swimming girl fabric again. Oh my, I need some! Such a lovely skirt. I love your choice of fabric, and it is indeed the most perfect fit!

  2. Reply

    Sue @ A Colourful Canvas

    Oh My! Gorgeous! Really breathtakingly beautiful! Okay, I’m gushing, but the fabric showcased the design lines of the Gabriola perfectly! And with the Tee…lovely! I’m only not quite 5’2″…May I ask if you are tall or petite? I’ve been so reticent about wearing a maxi.

    • Reply

      Maddie

      I am 5’5 and petite on top, but normal/tall on bottom. Does that make sense?

      • Reply

        Sue @ A Colourful Canvas

        Yes, thanks Maddie. This silhouette is very flattering on you. You look taller than 5’5″.

  3. Reply

    juliana calado

    amazing choice of fabric for this pattern. perfect!
    really, wow.! you look like… wow. gorgeous.!

  4. Reply

    Crab&Bee

    What a stunning outfit, Maddie! Love those two fabrics together, and your Gabriola is just pure elegance.

  5. Reply

    Kaitlyn Emmett

    That skirt is so elegant and ladylike, you look perfect in it

  6. Reply

    Sownbrooklyn

    That’s it!! Your beautiful version of this skirt has decided it! I MUST have this pattern!

    • Reply

      Maddie

      Yes! And it would go so well with The Nettie bodysuit. I didn’t know it was inspired by you!

  7. Reply

    Sownbrooklyn

    Also, Rachel is the sweetest ;o)

  8. Reply

    anto

    I looove this outfit! The swimming ladies pattern is so precious.

  9. Reply

    Kelly

    Wow, so simply beautiful!! Now I have to make this skirt!

  10. Reply

    Cirque Du Bebe

    Divine Maddie! Love it all.

  11. Reply

    Scruffybadgertime

    Love it! Your fabric choice is perfect showing off the piecing with total class! Hurrah for swimmers fabric too… 🙂

  12. Reply

    Mady

    Love this!

  13. Reply

    Frabjous

    This yoke is fantastic, and the fabric-pattern combination – brilliant! I am so looking forward for your future pattern/style picks 🙂

  14. Reply

    elle

    This is all really beautiful, and you’ve made a stunning version of that skirt!

  15. Reply

    Claire (iwanttobeaturtle)

    Your skirt is perfection! The fabric really does it justice.

  16. Reply

    Meg the Grand

    I love everything about this outfit! The top is DIVINE, and that skirt is sheer perfection.

  17. Reply

    devra

    i’m itching to get on the gabriola bandwagon, and i think your styling choice here, so loose, flowly, elegant, chic and comfy – may be just what i need to finally order it.

    • Reply

      Maddie

      Girl, you NEED to get on that bandwagon.

  18. Reply

    truebias

    so pretty. i am pretty smitten with that swimming fabric.

  19. Reply

    Ginger

    What a pretty outfit! The skirt is so glamorous! It’s not my style at all, but I’m loving it on everyone else! I have some of the lady swimmers fabric, too, but I can’t decide how to use it! It’s so pretty that I want to do it justice!

    • Reply

      Maddie

      OMG? You have extra swimmer fabric? I’ll trade you an IG selfie for a yard of it!

  20. Reply

    Lady ID

    I’m so tempted to get this pattern because everyone is raving about it. I already have a fave maxi skirt that I drafted six years ago but this might be a good addition.

  21. Reply

    Natasha Estrada

    So nineties

    • Reply

      Maddie

      “You’re from the 70s, but I’m a. 90s bitch.” Only you will know what I mean by that 😉

  22. Reply

    Helen McFadyen

    Gorgeous! I’m not a maxi wearer, but I do think this pattern is pretty. And I LOVE the top!

  23. Reply

    emily marie

    Both pieces are beautiful on their own, but work so well together! I love the versatility of separates- endless options for these two.

  24. Reply

    Lauren Taylor

    GIRL YES, I totally agree with you that this is the perfect maxi skirt pattern. Yours is beautiful! Gabriolas foreverrr!

  25. Reply

    Birgit

    It’s perfect.

  26. Reply

    Jennifer, Workroom Social

    i love this look on you!! i was originally thinking gabriola wasn’t for me, but you’ve got me rethinking this. could i wear that skirt? it looks so good on you!

    • Reply

      Maddie

      Of course you can wear it! Puh-lease! You’d probably look better than me!

  27. Reply

    oonaballoona

    this skirt is just the BEST. i want to make it in every material and now i’m adding brocade to the list!

  28. Reply

    Amy

    I agree, this is a pretty perfect maxi pattern! I think this is the first one I’ve seen in a heavier drape and it really shows off the hip shaping and flare of the skirt… good idea, Maddie! And you know we are all oogling that swim print.

  29. Reply

    Kelly

    Everything’s perfect! I really love that skirt, the drape is beautiful!

  30. Reply

    julibchickadee

    This whole outfit is so gorgeous, Maddie! It’s the perfect mix of cute and stylish. Love, love, love that swimmer print and your Gabriola is absolutely stunning, it suits you perfectly!

  31. Reply

    Amanda Russell

    I love how you make things that are utterly, supremely YOU 🙂 The outfit is gorgeous, and i love that you picked a fabric with a bit of body for your Gabriola – it’s much more dramatic, and totally suits you 🙂 You really nailed the fit, too – I’ve got a bit of skirt envy! ^__^

  32. Reply

    sallieforrer

    I don’t know how I missed this, but I LOVE it!! That Gabriola skirt is seriously dreamy stuff. And your swimmers tank is too cute!

  33. Reply

    Grace

    I adore your outfit! More still that its handmade. I am thinking of buying the Gabriola pattern too, and you just about made me click buy! Would you be able to put up a tute on the sway back adjustment you did? That was the only thing holding me back.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Yes! I’ll try to put together a tut!

  34. Reply

    Pauline alice

    I love both the skirt and the tee!!! This is beautiful and dramatic (perfect definition for a Madalynne project if yoy ask me). Now I want a maxi skirt as well…

  35. Reply

    Callie Rew

    Where is the swimmer fabric from? Its so perfect!!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      It was gifted to me from a sewing friend.

  36. Reply

    sarah

    I had too much trouble understanding what the yoke on the Gabriola looked like, so I was never convinced that I wanted to buy the pattern… You have changed that! Here I come Sewaholic – also had no idea they had sewalongs! I guess I may spend a little more as I love the Yale too

    • Reply

      maddie

      Great that I could push you to buy the Gabriola. It’s a great pattern and the sew along will surely help!

  37. Reply

    thestockholmseamstress

    This looks sooo elegant on you! I need to get sewing this pattern! I ordered it when it first came out but couldn’t find the perfect fabric.

  38. Reply

    emily

    Just wanted to ask, where can I find that swimming fabric? Is it still available for sale anywhere?

    • Reply

      maddie

      As far as I know, it is not still available. A friend picked it up for me at a market in Europe.

  39. Reply

    Colla Flynn

    Truly fantastic! Just gorgeous!

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