Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pattern Review: McCall's 5812- The Senorita Skirt

So I started this project in Spring 2009. I tossed it aside to complete less tedious projects. I couldn't get the thread tension right on this very lightweight fabric. I finally used a smaller needle and problem solved! After much procrastinating, I brought this one back out and finished it. I am glad I did. It turned out beautiful... at least I think so!

A tiered skirt from Neiman Marcus for $695 by Jean Paul Gaultier:

I know the picture is tiny. Here is the link.

Now, I did splurge on the fabric. The skirt calls for 7 3/4 yards of fabric! This can easily add up. I wanted something lightweight and flowy. I had my eye on this cotton voile for quite some time. I picked it up when it was on sale for $6.08 a yard and I got 8 yards. The good news is, I ended up leaving off the bottom tier of the skirt. Plus I think Ann at Gorgeous Fabrics is a little generous with her cuts. So I ended up with at least a yard and a half extra and will be trying to squeeze a blouse out of it.

Pattern Description: Tiered skirts, ankle length, have yoke, side zipper and unfinished edges; skirt B has contrast tiers.

I made view A, with the matching tiers.

Pattern Sizing: This pattern comes in sizes 6-20. I made an 18 but ended up taking in the waist and making other adjustments.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? We got there in the end. But the waistline is different.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, the instructions were fine; HOWEVER: I believe the waistband pieces to be incorrectly drafted... more on this below.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Like: I like the look of the tiered skirt. The raw edges are exposed in the tiers which creates a slightly different look than all of the prairie skirts out there.
Like: I love the end product- it's a beautiful, flowy skirt perfect for Spring/Summer.
Dislike: Not counting the waistband pieces, there are 6 tiers to cut out. Depending on the tier level, there were up to four long pieces of fabric to cut out for each tier. It was a lot of cutting! Tip: use a rotary cutter if you have one, it makes cutting the long straight pieces much easier.
Dislike: All of the gathering and basting and ripping out basting took FOR-ever. The pattern instructions have you gather the top edge of the next lower tier. Then you are to overlap the bottom edge of the upper tier and the gathered edge of the lower tier by 1/2" and sew it in place. Doing this accurately with gathered fabric was a bit of a challenge. My fabric is voile and relatively sheer. I ended up doing my gathering basting in a dark, contrasting thread for easier ripping outage. I then ran a line of basting along the bottom edge of the top tier 1/2" away. That way I could match up the 1/2" markings and pin in place- lots of pins! I would then sew this in place with my permanent thread and rip out all of the basting. Only to do it all over for the next tier!
Dislike: The waistband pieces drove me bananas before I realized they are incorrectly drafted. More below...

Fabric Used: A beautiful cotton aqua voile from Gorgeous Fabrics. It has since sold out. The only other items I needed were thread and a zipper. For the very lightweight voile, I used a small needle: size 65/9.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
- There are six tiers below the waistband. I left off the 6th tier and only did 5 due to my short stature (5' 3"). The length turned out perfect.
- Waistband pieces: ARGH! Basically, the waistband consists of two pieces (pieces 7 and 8). Piece #8 is supposed to be sewn on top of piece #7. If you look at the pattern envelope, you will get a better idea of what I am talking about. So I sewed in the bottom of the waistband (#7) to the 1st tier without a hitch. Then the instructions have you sew #8 to the top of #7. There was no mentioning of having to ease either piece to fit. I couldn't understand why the bottom of piece #8 was way too huge to fit the top of piece #7. This probably but me out of commission for at least an hour while I stared at the pieces and retraced my steps. Had I made a mistake? The waistband is sewn in last by the way, after you have finished all of the tiers. Had I wasted hours of gathering and basting only to have the waistband not work for me? I then got to looking at the pieces:

Here is a picture of how the two pieces should be sewn together. Now how am I supposed to fit the bottom of #8 onto the top of #7?

Then the light bulb went on. Here are the two pieces, one on top of the other. They are exactly the same piece! There is a small giveaway that the pieces are drafted incorrectly: both pieces have the waistline marking in exactly the same place!!

So to make a very long story short- after a big pity party, I creatively finished the skirt. I left off the top piece of the waistband entirely and kept piece #7 attached. I finished this as the waistband. I had to take it in about 1/2" each side to prevent the skirt from being too low slung. It is still a little big but I think my hips will hold it up!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? NO, I will definitely not sew this one again. I do love the end product but it took a lot of work to get there. I would recommend the pattern as long has you take note of my trials and tribulations so you can avoid them.

Conclusion: I love the finished product! It has a very senorita vibe and will be great worn with a pair of summery shoes.

This picture makes me look like I have a beer belly- I swear it's just the way the blouse bellows out!

The voile is slightly sheer so I will wear a pair of leggings under the skirt. I can't wait to go out on a dinner date or something else special so I can wear this. I know I always harp on the jean jackets but I think this would be super cute with a little white camisole and a white jean jacket over it.



  1. It turned out nice. You don't need anything under it if you Know you will not come between a bright light and other people ...

  2. Cute! You also need to head out to the beach in that outfit!

  3. I'm working on this pattern now, and I was wondering how you liked the raw edges. It doesn't look like even the hem is finished. Has it frayed a lot when you washed it? Did you finish the inside seams?
    As for the weird waist thing, I guess I'll figure it out when I get there! Thanks so much for your review!

  4. Teresa- I kind of like the look of the raw edges. However, when I wash the skirt, I don't put it in the dryer so it doesn't fray as much. I did not finish the seams. But if you don't like the raw edges, you could sew the pieces right sides together and press the seams up or down on the inside. Hope that helps, good luck!