I don’t know how I feel about knit skirts

February 5, 2015


With Colette patterns I seem to go from one extreme to the other. While my new floral Moneta dress is definitely a contender for the title of favorite dress ever, this Mabel skirt… yeah. I’m not feeling it. And it shows, given that I finished it back in November and I’m only posting pictures of it now. I didn’t event want to show it here, but I guess a blog is also made for less successful projects, right?


Actually, when the pattern was released, I kind of hated it. I thought that this skirt was very unflattering, and borderline tacky. Here in the States, very short skirts and bodycon (body conscious) dresses seem to be quite common. But I really don’t get them. The Nettie dress for instance. Nope. I feel more like wearing fit-and-flare dresses, that put the focus somewhere else than on my hips and bum.


Then projects made from the longer variation of the skirt started popping up all over the sewing blogosphere: Miss Make, Miss Crayola CreepyIdle Fancy, Cashmerette… And in this pencil skirt-inspired variation, Mabel started reminding me more of Joan Holloway from Mad Men than Snooki from Jersey Shore. I had been wanting to make a pencil skirt for a long time, so I thought that a knit version could be a good solution to avoid struggling with the fit too much…


So I made Mabel. Let’s start with the good news: it’s a really quick and easy project. It doesn’t take much fabric. It’s comfy. And yeah, as a whole I do like the silhouette. Okay that’s it. Now for the things I don’t like…


First of all, the horizontal wrinkles on the front: let’s be honest, that’s my fault. I chose to do a size S all over because it corresponded to my waist measurement and I wanted to keep the hem tapered and not end up with a straight skirt. I thought that with the elasticity of the fabric, the skirt would still fit at the hips. As it turns out, I can wear it, but of course it’s too tight and so it wrinkles and rides up a bit. If I had to do it again (which probably won’t happen), I would trace the waist in XS, hips in M or L, and the lower part of the skirt in S.


Then there is the waistband that is no good. It is lined in self-fabric, and so it is way too thick and the seam allowances create bumps all over at the waistline and seam line. Even if I wear a shirt on top to hide it, it still shows and it’s very ugly. You’ll also notice that any kind of tights or underwear lines completely shows through the fabric…


And the back is not left out. Instead of an inverted pleat like you would usually see on pencil skirts, the pattern has a rectangle of fabric folded on the side and stitched down with a diagonal line. But on this type of fabric it sticks out in a very weird way.


My point is not to bash the pattern here, as my issues with this skirt also come from the fabric… I bought this interlock / Ponte di Roma on fabric (this one), it’s the same type of fabric as my blue Moneta and my pink Coco. When it arrived, I was afraid it would be too thin (I wanted to make the skirt in scuba knit but I couldn’t find any I liked). It turns out it is both too thick at the waistband (I should have lined it in a thin jersey instead) and to thin everywhere else since underwear lines are showing. But my main concern is that after a few washes, it is already completely covered with bobbles (is that the right word, dear native-english-speaking readers?). And I didn’t even put it in the dryer! Plus it is a real dust magnet, so just five minutes after a wash it already looks gross…


So, I think that was clear, this skirt is mostly a fail. I still wear it from time to time but given how it aged already I think I’ll only wear it on the weekends, when I don’t have to get out of my apartment. The silver lining is that it did give me an occasion to try out a new silhouette, and I do like it. So I ordered the Sew Over It pencil skirt kit (I’m in love with their fabric, it’s the ultimate plaid!), let’s see how it goes with a woven fabric…


Mabel Skirt
Colette Patterns
Size S
Ponte de Roma from Harts Fabric


  1. MadebyMeg

    - February 5, 2015

    Aww too bad it didn’t work out – good luck with your next one! The Sew Over It skirt looks very flattering, and the length is much more Mad Men. As for the issues with the fabric, I’ve heard it called “pilling” when it starts to deteriorate like that. I’ve had this problem with even some nicer (more expensive) ponte, and don’t know what to do about it! 🙁

    • Camille

      - February 6, 2015

      Thanks! Yeah the pilling is so annoying, I’ve had the same things on a lot of clothes (more often on the right side when I sometimes have a bag rubbing against the fabric) but on this one it’s the worst I’ve ever had, I guess because it’s a tight fitting skirt and so it rubs more when I sit down or something? It’s so frustrating to spend time on a garment and have it look like a mop after just a few wears…

  2. Ginger

    - February 5, 2015

    I’ve had that same problem with ponte! Pilling right away! I’ve also had that problem with RTW knit garments… I had a knit pullover that pilled the very first time I wore it, ugh! Hate when that happens. 🙁

    • Camille

      - February 6, 2015

      Argh! Is there any thick knit fabric that does not do that? This is so frustrating because ponte looks so good when it’s new :/

  3. Helen // Grosgrain Green

    - February 6, 2015

    Too bad it didn’t work for you. I have made this in a scuba knit, and I live it. I made the short version, but extended it to below knee length (didn’t want the extra seams on the front, or the vent at the back), and I love it. Scuba is definitely thick enough to cover any lumps and bumps, and is soooo comfortable, so it might be worth trying again if you come across any. Better luck next time!

    • Camille

      - February 6, 2015

      Thanks! I definitely want to try sewing with scuba knit, I just find the texture so.. fun 🙂 If I find one that I like I might give another try to this pattern…

  4. Carey

    - July 5, 2019

    I made this pattern and found some serious errors in the pattern. The printed garment measurements were significantly off. The pattern is not drafted to make room for the butt; it’s just flat pieces of fabric sewn together. The pattern maker should have built fit into the back of the pattern and not expected the knit to do all the fitting. Before you write off knit skirts altogether, try another pattern. Also, a vent in a knit skirt is not always necessary. I skip them in knit skirts.

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