Saturday, February 17, 2007

TNT Skirt: Butterick 3133

This pattern has been hanging around the Butterick catalog for quite a while; 3133 is actually the reissue number of a previous pattern. I've only made View B, which is the longer skirt at far left, but I've made it several times. It's a simple, classic style that makes up quickly to coordinate with my collection of twin sets and sweaters.

View A (pink skirt) is the same skirt in a shorter length, a no-brainer change. View C (purple skirt) is a 4 gore skirt that might be a good basic too. The skirts don't include pockets, but View E (black pants) includes a pocket piece, so this is an easy modification for the skirts. Hmm, I may need to explore this pattern a bit more.

Back to View B. Very often, the patterns that work with short yardage are only suitable for firmer fabrics like gabardine. And the patterns that work well for softer fabrics like challis take a lot of yardage. This one works great with soft fabrics, but only takes about 2 yards of 45" width and only 1 1/4 yards of 60" width. The fit skims the body. The flat front is slimming on me, avoiding the dreaded "dirndl" elastic waist look. The skirt to the left is the last one I made. I had a raspberry twin set that needed a coordinate and this fabric came to the rescue.

I always make a few modifications not specified by Butterick. They recommend 2 rows of 1/2" elastic at the waist. Umm, no. Too fussy. I just use one row of wider elastic. I think I used 3/4" width here. This change saves time and results in a firmer waistband. I think it looks better too. It's easy to change the width of the elastic to 1" or 1 1/4" width if that's all that's available at midnight. You all know what I mean.

Also, the pattern does not specify interfacing . Let me tell you, that little front panel doesn't look so great in a soft fabric without something to beef it up. I also like some interfacing at the back slit to give a crisper look and provide some reinforcement. Usually the iron-on knit interfacing provides just enough support.

This pattern is easy to line if your fabric is a bit sheer. Then you don't have to worry about finding a slip when you're running late for work in the morning. I didn't line this skirt, but I probably should have.

It's also simple to change the layout for border print fabrics. Or it can be "one seamed" to eliminate the side seams when working with plaids, stripes, or a complex border pattern.

And it's an easy skirt pattern to size up or down when measurements fluctuate a bit. I confess, this is an 8-10-12 pattern, and I'm currently a 16.

It's not high fashion, but Butterick 3133 is a wardrobe basic that lets the fabric do the talking. Excellent for a working wardrobe.

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