BOOK REVIEW: Sew What! Skirts

51JQ6EGGQQL. SS500  BOOK REVIEW: Sew What! Skirtsfrom sarah the sewist

A few months back, I had tendonitis in my right index finger and basically couldn’t do a whole lot involving my hands—including sewing, knitting, opening doors, that sort of thing. Around that time, to compensate for the fact
that I was totally and completely bored, I went on a book-buying binge. One of those books has been some fun inspiration and helped me indulge my love of oh-too-cute cotton prints.

That book is Sew What! Skirts, which is, as the title indicates, a book of skirt styles that you can create using different techniques that result in a unique set of 16 skirt “patterns.” The authors utilize two basic formulas—one for a straight skirt, one for an A-line—and offer lots of different combinations for fastenings, waistlines and embellishments to make the styles even more unique. In the book, they’ve used really unusual fabric combinations, such as a satiny quilted fabric combine with a super-short Asian-print overlay. Or Barbie-pink silk with a reverse apron that’s in even pinker organza. Or maybe boucle is more your style? They’ve created a unique wrap skirt closed using snap tape, with the hem left raw.

I have made three skirts utilizing the book so far.

First, inspired by the “Asian Dream” skirt:

957543927 f96632d672 BOOK REVIEW: Sew What! Skirts

This skirt utilized an aqua and brown fabric from Michael Miller called “Cute Diamonds.” To create this skirt, I used the top of a straight skirt to create a yoke. I inserted a back zipper and utilized a brown bias tape waistband. The rest of the skirt was created by making a large single pleat in both the front and back of the skirt and two small pleats on the sides. I thought the skirt was complete, and tried it on for Josh. He commented on how nice the bias tape waistband looks, and then said, “What don’t you trim the hem in the same stuff?” Josh was, of course, correct. The brown bias tape hem really takes the skirt from being pretty cute, to one that get complements each time I wear it.

The next was the one that actually fits me better than just about anything I own. (The Cute Diamonds skirt’s a little too big.)This fabric is one that I picked up from Bolt’s remnant basket (seriously, the best two square feet of fabric deals anywhere), and I’m not sure of the manufacturer.

957725465 ffdc1eb001 b BOOK REVIEW: Sew What! SkirtsThis is the most basic A-line with a bias tape waistband and a side zip. I used a blind hem to finish it off.

And, finally, my banana bike skirt:

957778387 950476e45b b BOOK REVIEW: Sew What! Skirts

This was inspired by “Country Charm” with a little “Chinese Takeout” thrown in for good measure. This skirt, of course, has a story. We went to Fabric Depot during one of their many 30% off sales. Saw the Free Spirit/Heather Ross fabric from the “Lightning Bugs” collection that is not only pink, not only the softest cotton poplin ever, but has bikes on it that look just like the super-awesome banana seat bike I had as a kid (yes, it was pink). It had to be a skirt. Unfortunately, it’s also very see-through. So, I located some snazzy eyelet for an underlayer. Unfortunately, the eyelet was very ill-behaved, and caused me all kinds of problems when sewing. So, I ended up calling in reinforcements in the form of lace trim to disguise my funky-looking hemming and called it a day. I think my banana bike skirt’s awesome. I get a lot of comments on it, but it’s very pink, which seems to be a little off-putting to people who aren’t into color. Just an observation.

After sewing three skirts from Sew What! Skirts, I really do think it’s a fantastic book. It’s not going to challenge your sewing skills, unless you’re a fairly novice sewer-sewist, but the authors have done two things very, very well. First, they’ve really provided anyone, regardless of experience and skill level, with the basics to make a fun, useful skirt wardrobe. The possibilities really are endless with just the two basic styles. Second, and the thing I appreciate the most, is that the book encourages you to experience with fabric combinations, layering, embellishments and various closures and finishes. Sometimes, all you need is a little inspiration. Those two things alone make it worth the $16.95 price tag.

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9 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: Sew What! Skirts

  1. How cool that the both of you sew! I have this book, but haven’t attempted any of the projects in it yet. Your skirts are inspiring.

  2. Oh my gosh, I’m going to run out and buy this book right now! LOL! Thanks for sharing your review here and at PR.

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  6. Wow – this is amazing. Thanks for the inspiration. By any chance is that extra-wide bias tape?

  7. Thanks Sarah. I’m a total sewing newb, so seeing what others have made and how’ve they’ve made it is very helpful. Thanks for the info!

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