Sewaholic Gabriola – lovely in linen

I'm quickly trying to post this in the brief period where it looks like our internet connection has returned. It's been down for 8 out of the last 9 days due to various issues with BT, so while it's up I need to get a move on!

I've already posted about working on the Sewaholic Gabriola skirt in the linen I bought from Fabworks. Last time around, all it needed was hemming and the addition of a hook/bar and it would be all done. I'm pleased to present the finished skirt!

The first finished pic I shared was on Instagram – from the side. This is a) because I love the side view and b) the front and back views are both a bit of a car crash.

So, some details.

Gabriola is designed as a flared, unlined maxi skirt (although you can add a lining if your fabric choice calls for it) that sits at your natural waist, with all of those flattering seam lines. Ideally it should be made in a light to medium weight fabric and you can use a plain fabric, or something with stripes, checks, prints – anything really.

I think it's classed as an Intermediate level pattern – as you end up cutting some of the pieces on the bias and there's some tricky seam lines to sew, it's not impossible for a beginner, but would be tricky. I certainly struggled with aspects of it.

I cut a size 14, which is the size with the best fit around the waist and hips at present – there's a LOT of ease added from the hips down – which is part of what makes the skirt so swooshy. For people who aren't so pear shaped on their bottom half I believe instructions are given on how to grade the hips down through the yoke, so you end up with a similar effect without all that extra fabric.

There's also a sewalong that has taken place on the Sewaholic blog – I was actually able to follow along big chunks of this one and it was really useful as a relative novice to have something to refer to. All the posts can be found here.

As a result of following the sewalong, the whole process took me around ten days. I could have finished it quicker, but it was nice to wait a few days and follow along with the blog.

There are some tricky construction aspects to this. Lots of seam lines and notches to line up, to make sure everything falls properly. I came across an issue with my size where a few bits didn't seem to be lining up properly – a few emails later I was told I could carry on without worrying, which was fab.

The front came together quite quickly:

I also got to have my first go at slipstitching.

Hand sewing isn't something that I was particularly keen on. A bit like finishing off and seaming knitted items, I guess it's a bit of an acquired taste. It's a real skill and takes a long time to do properly, but really adds to the garment. I had a go at slipstitching my waistband to the inside of the skirt – there's bits of it that look great – which typically are at the back of the skirt. The front, is a bit of a car smash in places.

You have to let the skirt hang for at least 24 hours before you attempt to hem it, as the bias cut pieces need time and the overall weight of the garment pull them out into their permanent length. Hemming this thing was a bit of a beast. Without a dress form it was a bit tricky and also took FOREVER. It's a lot of skirt to measure, cut and hem.

You could catchstitch the hem, making for an invisible finish, but I was pretty lazy and did a visible hem in the end. Not brilliant, as I could have topstitched closer to the hem edge, but it looks ok.

Finishing this garment has also made me consider an overlocker. You have to finish all of the seam allowances, in most cases separately before you press them open. For mine, I pinked them and then zigzagged them, but it's not very neat and tidy and leads to the inside of the skirt looking very messy. An overlocker would be cleaner, but it's another piece of equipment to buy, store, maintain, learn how to use, etc. I could also use it for other things though, so I may decide to do it. I also want to learn about different seam finishes, to give me some other options.

Without further ado, more pictures!

Hello! The first problem. At the join of the centre yoke panel to the skirt, there's some sort of crazy gathering thing that happened which wasn't there in my IG picture further up. This leads to the front panel of the skirt not falling at all like it should. That line of fabric right down the front, SHOULD NOT BE THERE. It leads to me feeling like the whole thing is one big massive #fail 😦

On the plus side, it gave me a good chance to practice some very interesting poses – so that I could break the fall in th skirt and show you how it should look. Voila.

Or, I can hold out sides of the fabric – which both gets rid of the crazy gathers and shows you how much fabric has gone into the skirt.

Before we move on to the car smash which is the back, here are my beautiful side seams. I managed to make these trickier order myself then they needed to be, by some poor work in the previous steps, but I think they look fab

Left side:

Right side – which is my favourite for some reason.

So, the back. At least there are no crazy fabric gathers here. And if I wear a long top, the back doesn't look too bad. Bonus.

Here it is in all its glory. Want a close up? I'm sure you don't, but you're getting one anyway.

Wow. Messy! I actually put the zip in twice – this was way better than attempt one. What I don't understand is why the right side of the zip looks better than the left? Just not fair.

Lets not even talk about the horror that is my hook and bar. I may take the bar out and do it again – see if I can fix some of the weird bunching going on there.

But look at the waistband and all my beautiful slipstitching that you can't actually see because it's so beautiful and perfect and therefore invisible!

Now you can see it 😦 I did debate ripping out the whole waistband and doing it again but decided against it. With a top on, generally you can't see it and I just need to learn to live with issues like this. Or just get better and eliminate them in the first place. I like this plan better.

One thing that is a little odd that others have reported too is that the waistband sits a little way away from the body. It's drafted straight, not curved which could be why, but I don't yet know enough to try and do it differently. One for a future make.

So there we have it. A linen maxi skirt that will go with everything once the weather warms up and has actually had two outings already. One last weekend for a few hours and once at work during the week. It feels fabulous to wear and I love how it swooshes and swishes as you walk. You feel very glamorous in an odd kind of way.

I'd had some thoughts about what to do differently if I made another:

  • French seam as many seams as possible – this would need less finishing then and should look neater
  • Catchstitch the hem, depending on if I'm using a lighter fabric or not
  • Handpick the zip – I saw something who did this on their Gabriola and it's a nice idea on one where you really want to make an effort with hand sewn, couture techniques
  • Go the other way and use an invisible zip – I've not sewn one of these before so it would be nice to try. I'd need a dedicated sewing machine for to do this though
  • Use a long zip – this would eliminate the need for hook and eyes/buttons – you'd just run a longer zip that goes up through the waistband and finishes at the top
  • Curve/dart the waistband somehow – to solve this standing away problem
  • Make the waistband slightly longer – if I wasn't going to run a zip all the way up I might try this, so it gives you more overlap for the hook and bar. Part of why it looks so bad above is there's not a lot of room to play with

So there you have it. Another make, successfully worn out of the house! The problem with the internet having been down for over a week is that I've actually made a second Gabriola, but let's pretend I haven't yet, so when I post about it in a few days it will be a nice surprise 🙂 I hope you're all having a lovely weekend!



4 thoughts on “Sewaholic Gabriola – lovely in linen

  1. I enjoy reading this post. You learn so much from others. I like how you shared what you liked and what you didn’t . Overall, you look great in the skirt. The next one you’ll make will be smooth sailing :0) mari

    1. Thank you for the kind words! The second one (which is almost finished) has gone much smoother 🙂 I learned loads from reading the posts by others who have finished – it makes such a difference!

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