Sunday, August 5, 2012

a kouple kellys

I was a lucky tester for Megan Nielsen's newest pattern, the Kelly Skirt, and now that she's released it into the wild (see here) I thought I should share my creations. Plural. In all, I've made this skirt three times. It's that easy and fills a lot of gaps in the wardrobe. 

Button-down skirts simply don’t exist in the commercial pattern world, it seems. I would go ahead and tell you how many straight skirts with a side zipper there are between Simplicity and McCalls, but I’m not sure I could count that high. For independent designs, there’s just the Colette Beignet, the Wiksten Tulip (wait -- it's not in her shop; is it no longer available?), and now the Megan Nielsen Kelly. I think the Kelly fits in nicely with the competition. It’s high-waisted with a thick waistband, deep hem and pleats for shaping. Can’t resist the scoop pockets on the front. 

The fabric recommendations for this skirt are midweight wovens, like denim, corduroy and linen. I used cotton sateen on my tester version, a linen/cotton blend on my second version and rayon challis for my third. Yea, by the third skirt I strayed away from the rules like the reckless sewasaurus I am, but I think a light and breezy fabric works quite well with this design, if you’re looking for more drape and a less-pronounced A-line shape. 

This one was made with Robert Kaufman yarn-dyed Essex linen I found on Fabricworm. The vertical threads are dyed black and the horizontal are white, which gives an overall effect of textured heather gray. It’s 55% flax linen/45% cotton so it claimed it wouldn’t wrinkle as easily as pure linen. Ahem. Because I didn’t have a washer and dryer at the time, I hand-washed and hung this fabric to dry. Unfortunately the wrinkles from washing, rinsing and wringing seem permanently set in no matter how vigorously I iron. Life goes on, clothes wrinkle on. 

I added some piping (without the… pipe) to the pocket edges just for fun. 

This fabric is quite scratchy, so I underlined the whole skirt in Bemberg rayon. Bright red, o’ course. If you underline yours, make sure you pleat the layers separately. I tried pleating them together to save time, but that made for some large puffy pleats -- not cute.

My latest Kelly version was made in a tobacco-colored rayon challis from ye olde JoAnn. Being a semi-pro at the Kelly by the point, and not having to add an underlining, I whipped this up in what seemed like no time. This pattern is designated as "beginner" level and I stand by it.

My machine ACTUALLY cooperated, too, and allowed me to make buttonholes without provoking a wrestling match like it usually does. I think the pattern calls for seven buttons total but I used eight on both of these versions.

So, if you’re looking to make a simple and casual or semi-casual skirt with room for customization, Kelly’s your girl… er, pattern. Is it just me, or does the name Kelly always ring a "bell"... 

Do you think Kelly Kapowski would ever wear a Kelly skirt? Or is she more of a neon mini-skirt and pastel floral pants kind of girl? To each her own. 

So tell me... is the Kelly skirt in your sewing future?