A couple of years ago I started to introduce the occasional bit of leopard print to my wardrobe, a bit of trim on some trainers, a belt, a scarf and was beginning to feel that perhaps it could become a new neutral. With so many fashion designers featuring animal print for autumn/winter this year I've decided to crank it up a bit and wear an actual leopard print garment. Many of us are very nervous of animal print and can't quite get Bet Lynch and Dorien out of our memories, but if ever there was a year to give it a try this is it.
This wasn't a project I wanted to spend a lot of time or money on, so I chose to self-draft a jersey maxi skirt, which was pretty easy to do. I decided to go for a long straight skirt as gathers or pleats around the waist only highlight my tummy, which is very good at highlighting itself thank you very much. Walking might have been tricky as it's straight down from the hip to well past the knees, but I wanted to have a single side split, so no problem there.
The only measurements I took were my waist, hip, the distance between the two and the length I wanted from waist to hem. As the skirt has 5% negative ease, I multiplied the waist measurement by 0.95% and then divided it by 4 which gave me my ¼ measurement. I rounded down when necessary and didn't add any seam allowance.
I drew a line for the total length required, drawing a line across at the top for the quartered waist amount, measured down by the waist to hip measurement and across again by the quartered hip measurement. Then I added a 2.5cm hem allowance and a 5cm ‘waistband', drew in the curve between hip and waist and then cut out my pattern. This needed to be cut on the fold twice, so the back and the front are the same.
Sewing up was quick and easy, I overlocked the front and back sides together on the left side, on the right, I overlocked the sides before sewing the front and back together. Once I'd done that I used a stretch stitch and ball point needle in my sewing machine to sew the seam up to the knee. I pressed the seam allowance to the wrong side and topstitched in place with the same stretch stitch.
To form the elastic waistband I used 3cm elastic stretching it around my waist and leaving 1cm on each side to overlap and sew with a zig-zag. I then sewed the elastic using a zig-zag stitch to the wrong side of the skirt at the waistline pinning at the side seams and stretching to fit – I find this works well to avoid the elastic flipping and getting bunched up.
I could have been a good sewist and overlocked the raw edge of the waistband or turned it under, but I'm lazy, and jersey doesn't fray, so I folded the band inside, over the elastic and sewed it down and hemmed without overlocking too.
Overall I'm pleased with how it turned out, I suspect it'll be worn to death this year as it's so comfortable and will work with tights, boots and a big old jumper when it gets a bit colder.