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Amy Butler: Barcelona Skirt

Not all my projects are a smashing success. While this one is wearable and by no means bad, it has a lot of little details that are less-than-perfect.

The intention behind sewing my own clothing is to make timeless pieces that have an attention to detail and quality that you can’t find at stores (or at least can’t find at stores that sell garments in my price range). I spent a lot of hours on this skirt and did not end up with something that is going to wash and wear well. That said, it is still pretty darn cute and I’ll enjoy it for probably as long as you would expect to enjoy a Forever 21 skirt – a season, maybe two.

Here is what I learned while sewing the tiered Amy Butler: Barcelona Skirt:

  1. My first faux pas was using a REALLY cheap fabric. Pretty, yes, but definitely cheap. I ordered this on clearance from Fabric{dot}com and had great expectations for it. What I received was a thin, cheaply made and poorly printed fabric. Lesson: You get what you pay for and buying fabric online without first ordering a swatch is risky-business.
  2. Matching linear prints is MUCH harder than you think. Matching prints on a skirt with panels cut with curves is, as far as I can tell, damn near impossible. I got pretty close on the side seams, but they are off enough that it is noticeable to the truly OCD, or the veteran seamstress. Lesson: next time I make this skirt I will use a fabric that does not have a linear design.
  3. Putting in a lining with an invisible zipper is just something I flat-out don’t know how to do. Must call the sewing teacher for the next lined skirt so it is finished properly. As it stands right now, the lining is already unraveling. Forever 21 quality to the max. Lesson: call sewing teacher when unsure.
  4. I measured incorrectly with the zipper and it does not quite line up at the top meaning I cannot tuck a shirt into this skirt. Oops. Lesson: measure twice, sew once.
  5. And finally – I was lazy and did not measure my pattern before cutting my fabric. My wise and patient sewing teacher has tried to teach me that you always measure your pattern first and figure out the “finished” size. Garments are designed with “ease.” Typically the only way to determine how much ease is built into the pattern is to measure all the pieces, add them together and then subtract seam allowances.  Because of my laziness, this skirt is actually about two sizes too big and rides LOW. Two weeks ago I thought this would be great since I was certain I was pregnant… but now not so much. Lesson: measure as many times as it takes to only have to cut once.

All criticism aside, though, this is still a cute skirt that looks pretty with a  sweater I bought months ago and only now have something to wear with.

Pattern Review: I like sewing with Amy Butler patterns. The directions are clear and the pattern sizing is usually pretty accurate. Had I not been lazy and actually measured the pattern, the fit of this skirt would be perfect. This skirt calls for leaving the fabric edges unfinished so it fringes. The pattern picture looks super pretty. What I ended up with looks messy and unfinished and leaves me trimming it every time I want to wear it. I don’t know if it was because of my cheap fabric or  just the idea of leaving a fabric edge raw. The next time I make this I will not leave raw edges and will instead add interest to the skirt with some pretty trim. This pattern actually calls for a fourth tier. I left this off as I like my skirts a little shorter.

Sweater: Anthropologie (spring clearance); Olive Tank: ancient; Skirt: sewn by Belle; Earrings: ModCloth (Winter 2011); Shoes: Born; My new glasses: Coach from Lens Crafters.



Post a comment
  1. September 19, 2012

    You are adorable! Love the skirt & outfit. I am majorly impressed by anyone who can create their own clothes- and you do it so well! Sorry this one wasn’t exactly what you wanted, but it sure will look cute for as long as it lasts. : )

  2. jak #
    September 19, 2012

    it’s very nice!!

  3. meggola #
    September 19, 2012

    What a cute skirt! I love that print! Those are all important lessons you learned on this one. I always just hand sew the lining in after putting in an invisible zipper and give it a good press so it won’t roll out and get caught in the zipper. I love the way they look, but invisible zippers can be really tricky to put in depending on the fabric, and getting the top of a zipper lined up is difficult to get on the first try and comes with a LOT of practice. I find that pattern companies in general put WAY too much ease into their patterns! Way, way too much. It really frustrates me. I love seeing all of your projects! Keep on sewin’!

    • September 19, 2012

      Yeah… hand sewing is NOT my forte. I need practice. Guess it’s a good thing to do while chilling on the couch in the evenings. And yes, all the ease in patterns drives me crazy! I might be getting older but I am not quite at the age where wearing bags is appropriate. 🙂

      • meggola #
        September 19, 2012

        It took me a long time to get to like hand sewing. It, too, takes a lot of practice but is incredibly useful. And yes, it’s a great thing to do while chilling on the couch – just make sure you’ve got good light to sew by!

  4. September 19, 2012

    Love the skirt, and you are looking lovely as always :). I will have to follow your words of wisdom if I ever get past sewing squares!

    • September 19, 2012

      Lol! You and your burp towels crack me up 🙂 And I made a lot of REALLY BIG rectangular curtain panels before I ventured into clothing!

  5. September 19, 2012

    Is that Fermi enjoying the fashion show?

    • September 19, 2012

      !!! You pay attention! 🙂 Actually this one is Newton. Fermi is the round, brown, slippery cat.

      • September 19, 2012

        😆 I couldn’t see the face to compare to the about page. And the way Newton is sitting he looks bigger, but it probably is just the fur poofing out.

        I must ask about the name Yum yum. Is that a Chinese mathematician or did he just look like yummy ice cream?

        • September 19, 2012

          Haha, so the story behind the names: Yum Yum is my cat. Fermi, Euclid and Newton are the Professor’s cats. He obviously named his after math-y folks. Yum Yum is named after a feline character in the Cat Who book series (I’m a huge nerd). It is especially fitting considering her size and obsession with food! And yes, that is all Newton fluff, although, she does have an abnormally small head. Perhaps I’ll do a photographic study of our cats for you guys this fall…

  6. September 19, 2012

    You look awesome! I love your style. I’d never be able to leave an edge unfinished, stray threads make me crazy!

  7. Lisa @ hapahopes #
    September 19, 2012

    Love it! What a beautiful print and a smashing model!

  8. K.Smitty #
    September 19, 2012


  9. September 19, 2012

    I really like this skirt – it is super cute! I especially like the kitty admiring you in the first photo 😉

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