Paprika Patterns’ Jade Skirt

Jade skirt front view

This is the Jade skirt from Paprika Patterns. I made it a couple of weeks ago but getting photos has been surprisingly difficult! But before I go on a disclosure: I was given the pattern for free to review, although I paid for my own printing and fabric. I agreed to review it because it’s something I’d definitely have made if it had turned up in Burda or Vogue…but somehow I can’t imagine Vogue producing this.

Jade is a PDF pattern. You get both large format and tiled versions in the package. I used the large format one as there’s a copy shop around the corner from my work, so I can’t say how easy it is to assemble. I have assembled precisely one (very simple) tiled PDF pattern and intend never to repeat the experience!

One interesting feature of this pattern that I wish every pattern house would copy: it has a version number. If an updated version should ever be released it will be possible to tell which one you currently have and if you should go and download an update.

There are two views to choose from: a mini and a longer length which has one extra pair of pleats. You can also optionally add an exposed zip. I am 5’10” and made the longer view without the zip. This is a good length on me; I certainly wouldn’t want it shorter. The pleats make the front pattern piece tricky to alter for length. There’s an explanation of how to lengthen it on the Paprika Patterns site, but I think the inclusion of the two views is a helpful feature that would allow most people to avoid doing that; you can easily fine-tune the length by altering the side seams to adjust exactly where the skirt sits on the waist.

I made no adjustments to the pattern pieces at all, just cut the closest size to my measurements. It’s a knit skirt with negative ease so needs no serious fitting. The instructions helpfully mention adjusting the side seams just before you attach the waistband, and I think I ended up taking them in at the top at that point.

Jade skirt side view

This is a quick make. I sewed it up in an evening and most of the time was spent on the pleats. The construction for the pleats involves first carefully pinning them all in place, and then sewing them down to an underlayer one by one. This often involved removing and replacing pins. It leads to a pleasingly solid front panel with the underlayer keeping the pleats nicely in place, but I found the pinning and unpinning a time-consuming process. If I make this again I shall try pinning and then sewing each pleat in turn as I’ve an idea I might find that easier than pinning the lot at once; also I’d probably drop fewer pins on the carpet. Another thing I’d do if tackling it that way is mark the pleat placement lines on the underlayer fabric. They’re not on the underlayer pattern piece as given, and I certainly managed without them, but I think having them might have made the folding go faster. However this was fun to make despite all that, and the instructions are very clear and detailed. There are also lots of useful extra hints on the website. I’d have had no problem tackling this as a beginner.

I used the same fabric for the shell and lining: a viscose-lycra jersey from Tissu Fabrics. This is medium weight and pretty stretchy. It needs to be: as you can see from the side view, this is a clingy design! The fabric doesn’t have as much recovery as would be ideal for this style and I found the waistband tended to grow during wear, so I’ve added elastic to mine to help with that. I’ve bought this fabric a couple of times now and been very happy with it, but I’ve had feedback from a reader that when she bought the same one she received something rather different from the fabric I’ve got. Mine has a big difference between wrong and right sides for example, and hers does not. So I guess that link may no longer be for the exact same fabric I’m showing here. Pity – it’s so hard to source fabric online at all, and knits are even more difficult.

Jade back view

Here’s a back view. My hem tends to rise up a tiny bit in the middle although it appears to have been sewn straight; I guess I probably should have made the next size up at the hips.

This is an unusual but easy to sew design with really great instructions and support; it’s reminiscent of some of the Pattern Magic styles but far more accessible. I wish it had been around when I was first starting out with knits.

Apple peel

Apple Peel leggings front view
I made these leggings a couple of weeks ago but have only just got pictures of them. They are the Apple Peel leggings from the Pattern Magic 3 book. Pattern Magic doesn’t provide you with patterns, rather instructions for drafting your own pattern from a block. I drew up a stretch leggings block from Metric Pattern Cutting for Womwn’s Wear and used that as the basis for making the pattern. The rippled effect comes from adding length to the outer leg so that the shape of the leg ends up like this. Hence the name.

Pattern Magic Apple Peel Leggings flat

The style is obviously intended for two-way stretch knit fabrics, but mine are made up in a very stretchy mystery stretch woven fabric which I happened to have on hand. I probably should have used a knit. The draft needs fine tuning to fit my legs and the woven is less forgiving than a knit would have been. As it is, they’re more than a little tight on the calves. They’re also slightly too loose on the thigh to keep the ripples firmly in place there, but I suspect they’d become uncomfortable if I took them in.

Apple Peel Leggings back view

They’re very easy to make up. I did all the sewing on the overlocker in this order: inside leg seam, crotch seam, outside leg seam, waistband, hems.
You can’t see it in the pictures, but the waist is finished with a straight waistband with elastic inside. The waistband folds over to enclose the elastic and then the whole thing is overlocked onto the waist. I didn’t have any wide elastic on hand so I flatlocked two narrower lengths together on the overlocker. That worked well enough from the point of view of making a functional waistband, but unfortunately the flatlocking shows though the waistband fabric so I’m only going to be able to wear these with a top that covers the waistband.

I also used a flatlock stitch to do the hems. This is a finish I hadn’t tried before. I found this tutorial while I was working out how to deal with the elastic, and gave it a go. It worked OK, although being a first attempt and on a very small circumference it’s not perfectly even. However it has stood up to a couple of wears, and I wasn’t confident a twin needle hem would have lasted beyond the first try on. I’ll definitely use the technique again.

Apple Peel Leggings front view