Liberty Zina Wrap Skirt / Simplicity 8606
I love floaty skirts and I love prints, and so this Liberty Zina Wrap Skirt pattern really appealed after seeing their photos. With a cruise booked for next summer, I didn't need much persuading. Not only that, I was about to have a relaxing holiday in a lovely rented house in Wales and the thought of sewing something up there that didn't need fitting adjustments got me all excited.
After a bit of searching, I couldn’t find any reviews online from anyone who had sewn this. I like to read a few before embarking on a new pattern to learn from their experiences. However, the moment I finished the skirt, those very helpful people on the Patternreview.com forums were discussing the Liberty patterns being reprints from the Big 4, and I realised this skirt is the Simplicity 8606. Ah, that explains a lot!
Using a laser level to mark grainlines
Starting / ending seams on lightweight fabric
My waist measurement meant I was between sizes 14 and 16, of size range 6-22. This put me into the larger of the two sizing brackets, which means it has fairly limited sizing. I went with size 14 after measuring the waist on the actual pattern pieces to see what was more appropriate.
I used Art Gallery fabric Summerdress Dreams Flare in Rayon bought from Lamazi Fabrics. This was my first time using rayon challis and it was so soft and drapey, perfect for this type of skirt. It wasn't sheer either which was a bonus. I can definitely see me using more of this type of fabric in the future.
Cutting the fabric
Having not found any reviews before I started, it looked like I was going to have to make all the mistakes myself. Indeed, I cut the first piece in my beautiful fabric and realised that I had already made TWO mistakes!
I had 150cm wide fabric and was following the cutting layout for the 115cm width 🤦🏻♀️
In this layout they asked for the fabric to be doubled up ie. cutting in 2 layers but not folded so the pieces would be the same way up. I didn’t read this correctly or realise what I would end up with, cut with the fabric folded crosswise so I cut one back piece upside down. Thankfully I don’t think it’s noticeable on this fabric, but definitely a face palm moment.
And so followed a bit of careful jiggling and planning to ensure I could cut the rest of the pieces in the remaining fabric, mostly involving single layer cutting. I wanted to attach pockets too and had enough spare fabric for this.
The back flounce is cut as 2 pieces, a symmetrical pair and so the fabric is folded with one selvedge on top of the other. Fitting in the pieces was tight due to my earlier mistakes and so I cut close to the selvedge, which was fine because it would lie within the seam allowance. What I didn’t realise was that the selvedge underneath had a 3cm wide white strip containing the fabric info, and this ended up in the mirrored piece underneath. I had 2.5cm of this strip at its widest, where the seam allowance for this part was 1.5cm so it would show along the centre back seam.
The top part of the skirt was sewn by this point, otherwise I might have chopped this bit off and adjusted the other part of the skirt to match. As shown in the diagram below, I decided to make this centre back seam wider to hide the strip, and take off the equivalent on the other end, so that the top edge of the flounce was still the same length. This meant the seam allowance on one side was 2.5cm, and the other 0.5cm, making a total of 3cm, the same as two at 1.5cm.
In practical terms for French seaming the larger centre back seam, this meant sewing the first seam wrong sides together with a 1.5cm seam allowance, trimming this back to 0.5cm. Then putting right sides together and sewing with a 1cm seam allowance.
At the other end having only a 0.5cm seam allowance, this wouldn't be enough for a French seam but I still wanted it neat and enclosed. I had to remember that the front flounce that it would be attached to still had its original 1.5cm seam allowance. I decided to use this additional width to help enclose the narrow 0.5cm seam allowance. Here's how I did it:
Step 1 - Pin the seam in place
I pinned it in place to allow for 0.5cm seam allowance on one piece, 1.5cm on the other. This meant the raw edges were staggered by 1cm.
Step 2 - Stitch the seam
I stitched the seam using the 1.5cm seam allowance on the wider piece.
Step 3 - Fold seam allowance over and press
I pressed the wider seam towards the middle, about halfway between the seam line and the raw edge.
Step 4 - Fold over and press a second time
I folded this over again to meet the seam line and enclose the raw edge. I then pressed it.
Step 5 - Stitch in place and press
I stitched this in place close to the seam line, trying to make sure I didn't go over it and pressed it.
I was really pleased with the finished seam, showing no sign of the white strip.
Using a laser level to mark grainlines
I recently came across a superb tip on Patternreview.com about using a laser level to mark grainlines, as described in this video by Manecoarse. You put the laser level at one end of the cutting mat making sure the light runs along one of the gridlines. You then lay your fabric on the mat making sure the selvedge is also parallel to a gridline, or use the print on the fabric if it has one to line it up with the laser light. Then place your pattern piece on top, and it’s easy to adjust it so the grainline runs along the laser light.
I thought this was genius and it certainly made this project easier to cut out. They often come with a red light but I got one in green thinking it would stand out more, and especially because I would be unlikely to sew anything in that shade of green.