Inspired by: Maison Martin Margiela
Posted on January 15, 2013
In the first of an ongoing series, Joanna Donnelly shows us the best way to get high-end looks at low-end prices – make your own! First up is Maison Martin Margiela’s Tuxedo Stripe Skirt, as seen on Victoria Beckham.
I’m doing step-by- step, fool-proof instructions that will suit someone who has used a sewing machine for very basic stitching but has only minimum experience of dressmaking.
To start out, you can only make nice clothes if you use nice fabric. I found this gorgeous stretch jersey in The Cloth Shop on South King Street in Dublin. It’s not cheap at €18 a metre but it’s a very good weight and quality and has a lovely sheen to it. It’s a heavy fabric and sews beautifully. It also washes perfectly and will last and last. So considering you only need one metre to make the skirt, it works out at great value (I bet VB’s was a tad more costly).
It’s very simple to make the skirt. If you have a sewing machine or access to one, practice your stitching on a piece of old cloth to get you started. All you need to be able to do it sew a straight line. A tip for perfect sewing, use good thread! Gutterman Sew-All polyester thread is the best I think. Don’t use cotton! It will gather and puck and drive you crazy. Your bobbin thread has to match your top thread.
To make the skirt:
Measure your waist, measure your hips, measure your length from hip to ankle.
The shape of your pattern is a rectangle, width is your hip measurement plus 3 or 4 cm. You need one cm for the seam and the rest for movement, you don’t want a skirt that is very tight but not too loose either, this is a form fitting skirt. The length is what ever length you want it to be! Add a cm for the hem and a cm for the waistband seam.
You will also need a waistband. The waistband on Victoria’s skirt is wide, about 8 cm. So you’ll need to cut your waistband 18 cm wide (doubled over and 2cm added for seams) and the length will be your waist measurement plus 2 cm for seams. Victoria’s also has belt loops, you can add these if you like, easy but fiddly. I added four, two at the front and two at the back. They add just that tiny bit of detail, even if you leave off the belt.
Sew it up!
There’s a zip at the back, so sew the back seam leaving a gap for the zip – remember to count the waistband when leaving the gap. Then put on the hem. Keep your lines straight! Rip it if you find it’s uneven and do it again, you wont wear the skirt if it’s not perfectly made so no point in kidding yourself.
Next, attach the waist band to the skirt. Before you do this you’ll have to put in darts for the back. I just have one dart on either side of the zip at the back. The size of the darts will depend on the difference between your waist size and hip size. You need to gather the skirt to fit the waist. Divide the difference in four. Half for the back and half for the front. In the front, I put in pleats for detail but darts are smarter at the back (to show off your bum!). (Victoria’s skirt has pockets at the side, I didn’t put pockets in mine as I wanted to keep it really really simple so I just added in the pleats instead).
So you’ve got your half for the back, now divide that in two again and you’ve the starting size for your dart at the waistband end. You need to make your darts about 10 cm long, so starting at the waistband end you make a triangle shape in to your fabric, equal distances on either side of the zip. You Tube will help you if you’re stuck! Lots of tutorials for sewing on there so have a look.
For the pleats at the front, the same idea holds – divide the gap in the sizes of the fabric by two, half for one side of the front, half for the other, and put in two pleats for detail. Put pins in to hold in place while you attach your waist band to the skirt. Take it very slowly and get it straight – again, no point in it being crooked, you wont wear it! Use pins if it helps and go slowly.
Now all you have to do is put in the zip. I used a basic zip and just sewed it in as normal but you could try it with an invisible zip too. Have a look on You Tube for good clues on how to sew in a zip neatly and give a few practice runs before you go at your skirt. Keep it slow and neat and remember, it’s at the back so no one will notice ;-). Sew on belt loops if you want to, I just folded the fabric in half, seamed it and stitched them on. Neat and nice.
That’s it. Enjoy!