Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The making of. Betty Jackson Style paper bag skirt. Vol 01

I have been good in keeping with my list ( at the moment) since one item of it would be a perfect challenge for Pattern Review RTW(Ready to wear) contest.
The idea of the contest is to create a garment inspired by one from the runway, or the high street.
Sounds exciting ! Anyone with their Pinterest board full of them?

On the list, I have a paper bag style skirt because of this awesome skirt from Betty Jackson A/W 2009.

The challenge was then to figure out how I would make this out of a standard pattern.

The choice was Simplicity 5259, Skirt D. I'm also contemplating using the trousers version 'A' for Karen's PJ Party later in the month. To make my 1st muslin I am using this lovely quilt cotton, medium weight fabric.

The original is in wool and I think a linen version would look stunning. Linen is one of my favourite fabrics. Reminder my linen stealth  McCall’s 6028?

The secret of a paper bag style is the extra volume at the waist, so I could:

 A. Cut some sizes bigger
 B. Add volume to a  size.

I decided for the adding volume, so 1st I traced my chosen base pattern on my size. ( UK12/ US 10)

And decided I was going to add to panels from 8 to 10 cm (3 to 4 inches) tolerance, running  parallel to the front dart where I created vertical lines using the centre of the dart as reference. 

 Here is the front pattern with 10 cm (4 inches) each panel.

Then was the crazy idea on how to make the front extensions.

I drawn a parallel line from the middle of the front dart down to the hem. Than I cut the pattern in half on that line.Adding a new sheet bellow.

From the middle point of the dart I drawn a straight horizontal line measuring 15 cm (6 inches). Front the middle of the dart (1cm) outwards I lowered 1 cm and created a slight curvature down.

5 cm (2 inches) after the dart end, I started to create a curvature up where the end of the dart creating a square of 15cm by 15 cm. (6 by 6 inches) I called: Front Panel A

Front A
 From the other piece of the original front from the middle of the original dart I have mirrored the square above with 15 cm by 15 cm. Note that is identical. Called: Front Panel B
Front B
Then was the initial trial. I pin both front panels together to create a half of the front.

To give the slight inner shape I tapered front panel A. Note the seam is included. 

For the back panel I divided the dart on the middled and slashed the pattern, adding extra 4 cm (1,5 in) in total.  Half each side. I ignored the dart position and redrafted and repositioned the dart making it smaller.

After deciding the hem height was time to try out in fabric.


  1. Rachel...what a smart girl!!!! Can't wait to see this made... Happy sewing.

    1. I love a bit of a challenge and its quite fun show up my thought process because I will have a little online sewing diary

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. did you delete by mistake.. you had a lovely comment

  3. You've been busy! Very impressed with all your pattern making, have to confess it melts my head a little :) Look forward to seeing your garment.

    1. I had to do it all on easter holiday , now its coming to assignment writing deadlines...

  4. good changes to the pattern - look forward to seeing the finished item

    1. thanks Pauline... your jacket is coming out fantastic. Ps I voted for you on the vintage contest

  5. Oh wow! This is going to look so fab once it's down. You have skills Rachel.

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  7. Hmm, competition is getting stronger LOL! Great skirt, and Great idea. So the squared are drafted separately and sewn into side seams? Or are they the part of fron or back skirt panel? Also what does the back look like?

  8. no, I created a front panel A and front panel B where the squares meet and created a full quarter of the pattern

    the back looks like a few sizes up...

  9. You clever, clever lady you! This is looking very cool, I can't wait to see the finished thing on you!

  10. paper bag are really useful and i see how good and how fashionable if you use paper bag.Pretty creative article.


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