Tropical Summer Gabriola

Front Untucked

So, I made a maxi skirt. To be more precise, I made the Gabriola skirt by Sewaholic. I don’t know when or where I bought it, but I had the paper pattern – which is now out of stock on their website. This was quite the queue jumper, to be honest. I’d found the pattern during a reorganisation of my sewing space, and a few days later I was in Geoff’s Emporium and found this lovely, summery rayon fabric for $7 a metre. Since this skirt is a huge fabric hog (4.8 metres for version A at 115cm wide fabric), the price was right! As it turned out, I easily had 1.5m of fabric left, despite making the largest size. Slightly annoying, but I guess I’ll make a top or something out of the rest.

Side Untucked

I made a size 16. This was a mistake. My waist measurement, on a good day, hovers around 88cm. Since the size 14 finished measurement was exactly 88cm, I thought by making the 16 I’d give myself room to breathe, eat and be comfortable. Instead, I ended up having to take the waist in by 6cm, in the form of 4 1.5cm darts. It was huge. And even now, it’s looser than I would ideally like. I cut the length at the smallest size, because I am short (154cm), and I still needed to take it up by 6 inches. I was going to do this at the lengthen/shorten line, but it didn’t look quite right to me and luckily Mel and Nikki advised against it, and I took it from the bottom, to preserve the hip shaping.

Back Tucked

Making the skirt was pretty straightforward. The fabric didn’t shift too much, and it pressed nicely. I did French seams wherever possible for neat insides, and pinked the ones where I thought French seaming wouldn’t have worked very well. Well, I say it was straightforward – until I got to the zipper, that is. I had theΒ perfect colour zipper in my stash (I have a huge vintage zip collection of all colours and sizes), but inserting it was like pulling teeth. I interfaced the zipper opening, I basted it in first…and it still took me 4 tries before I was satisfied with it. And even now, I’m not sure satisfied is the right word. More like resigned. I didn’t realise until I got to that step that the zip didn’t go all the way up to the top of the waistband. I hate hooks and eyes, so that didn’t thrill me. I ended up using some small nickel snaps I had from god knows where.


I let it hang for about 4 days before I hemmed it – I didn’t plan for it to be that long, but life got in the way. I ended up cutting another 2 inches off the bottom before finally hemming it the recommended amount. Luke kindly got on his knees and helped me pin it – I didn’t enjoy any of the hemming process, it’s a huge hem and I was worried the whole time it was going to be wonky. I did use hot pink bias binding though, because why not?


Can I confess that I’m not really loving the skirt? I don’t know how to wear it! I imagined I would wear it with a tucked-in top, but it turns out I hate the way that looks (you can see what I mean at the bottom of this post). It’s so much brighter than anything I usually wear, and while I love how flowy and light it feels when I’m wearing it, I feel like I have no suitable tops to pair with it. I’m wondering if a looser fitting top, tucked in, would look okay. I’m desperate for open to suggestions.


When twirling photos go bad…


10 thoughts on “Tropical Summer Gabriola

  1. You know, since you don’t have a top to go with it, that’s a good reason to make a new top! I would go with a looser top tucked in or maybe even a crop top because you gotta show off that nice hip shaping somehow. I’m imagining something simple with buttons down the front to establish your centre line.

    • Yes, I think I’ll have to make a top πŸ˜‰ Something simple with buttons…hmm, I’ll have to see what I have. There’s always the Aster blouse again, I guess. I’ll have a think. I don’t think a crop top is going to make it into my wardrobe any time soon though!

  2. Naomi says:

    I really like it tucked in and I think it’s a crime to hide all the work you put into that yoke detail! Maybe it’s just that you’re not used to that silhouette? I always feel a bit weird in long skirts. A lighter coloured top (white?) would make for a lovely summery outfit and maybe a cropped jacket for spring/autumn? If you did a crop top it could be one of those boxy ones that just covers the waistband? Haha we are such enablers… just keep sewing stuff to go with it πŸ˜‰

    • I was wondering about a lighter coloured top…I always reach for black but maybe I should branch out. I’m going to have a look through my patterns today and see if I have anything suitable.

  3. I think tucked in probably looks better than a long top over it.. maybe a singlet top? Although do you think it’s the fabric/colour that you don’t like rather than the skirt/pattern itself? It’s not quite the same palette as you usually seem to wear/make, and I always find that if I make something slightly out of my comfort zone in a fabric I don’t love (because I don’t want to spend heaps if it’s not going to turn out well!) then I often don’t like the outcome very much

    • I tried it with a singlet top but I really hate having my arms on show (even the t-shirt in the photos makes me uncomfortable) so I can’t see me ever wearing it like that, unless I added a cardigan. I think I do like the skirt, I just feel a bit unsure in it!

  4. I love it with a tucked in top. That photo of the back shows off your waist beautifully and your swinging hips. I think the black tee is ok but I also like Robynie’s idea of a crop top, something a little bit boxy that floats above the waist band of the skirt πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Mel πŸ™‚ So many of you have mentioned the crop top now that I feel I have to at least consider the idea…I found a Lisette pattern that may work, but of course it’s nearly $20 (argh NZ).

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