Sunday, February 22, 2015

Paprika Jade Skirt in Ponte

A while back, Paprika Patterns put out an open call for pattern testers and I signed up, having admired their Jade skirt pattern for months. Sadly for me, at that time, the pattern did not come in my size. But lo and behold, since then Paprika Patterns has expanded their sizes! Woo woo! They wanted reviewers* of the new expanded size range for Jade, so here I am!

*They sent me the pattern for free in exchange for my review.

I love the beautiful folds on this skirt... they really elevate a simple knit pencil skirt to be something special.  I think it looks very origami-esque. I am really happy with my Jade skirt- snug, but not tight, interesting details. I think it has potential to work as casual-wear with a t-shirt, sweatshirt or sweater, but also for the office with a blouse.

Bonus: the Jade skirt pattern and Paprika's newest pattern, Jasper, are currently on sale through February 24. Based on my good experience with Jade, I went ahead and bought myself Jasper (plus that hood!). Treat yo self, right?!

My Jade construction notes:

Those folds do require a bit of thinking. After reading the clear pattern instructions and tips and watching this helpful video, I was pretty confident I had done the folds correctly. However, when I went to sew them down (which requires basically unfolding each fold, one at a time, and, for lack of a better term, understitching them), things got a bit dodgy. I think perhaps I didn't unfold them systematically enough. I kind of lost track of which fold went where and where I was supposed to sew. But in the end I think I got them pretty much ok. I didn't quiiiiiite get them to match up with the back, lengthwise, but not the end of the world.

The skirt is fully lined, which is great, so all of the seams are enclosed. Pretty on the inside! I used the same fabric for the inner and outer layers. I was close to running out, so my front lining is pieced together.

I made the longer skirt length, described as "mid-thigh to knee length." I was slightly worried about the skirt being too short for my taste, which is firmly in the knee-length category, so I decided to make all of the vertical seams 1/4" using my serger, rather than 5/8" with my sewing machine, just to eek out a little bit of extra length. I kept the side seams at 5/8". Worked out perfectly; the length is just how I like it!

I added 2" wide elastic inside the waistband because I find that waistbands tend to get stretched out in my knit skirts and then they sag down. I like the extra bit of security the elastic adds.

After taking these photos, I realized I forgot to take a photo of the back! It doesn't have the folds like the front, but is double-layered and has two waist darts to help with the shaping. Looks pretty good!

My fabric: 

Rachael from Imagine Gnats asked for some help quality testing (read: washing, playing around with, sewing, roughing up) some of the new knits she is offering in her shop, so I volunteered to try out this pretty wine-colored ponte de roma (full disclosure: she generously gave me this fabric for free to test out and the links above are affiliate links, meaning I earn a percentage of any sales made though them).

I was quite happy with this ponte: it came out of the washer looking perfect- no ironing required. I machine washed it, but hung it dry because I don't have a dryer. Texture-wise it's soft with a hint of a sheen and nice drape, but has enough structure to not be clingy. Easy to cut and sew. Great recovery, which is key for a skirt with negative ease, like Jade!

My only critiques of the ponte de roma fabric is it doesn't press crisply or hold a press. For some patterns I imagine this wouldn't matter at all, but for others it might. I feel like this is pretty common for ponte, though, not unique to this particular fabric. But I will definitely use this ponte again!