The sewing pattern for May’s installment of Project #SewMyStyle is the Cali Faye Collection Pocket skirt. For me, it’s been the most difficult pattern so far (keep reading for details on why!).
I am happy with how it turned out, and I predict my Pocket skirt will get a lot of wear this summer; it is part of my spring/summer sewing capsule after all! I have a vision of myself wearing it on a hot night and enjoying breezes as they pass through the linen-blend bottom.
In this post, I cover construction details for the Cali Faye Collection Pocket skirt, share what I love about the skirt, and highlight what could be better. AND — I also give handy-dandy tips for using basting tape, a sewing notion that helped elevate my finished product!
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Making the Cali Faye Collection Pocket skirt
This lightly gathered skirt with two front patch pockets is relaxed, with plenty of ease in the hips. The waistband falls between the high hip and waist (but not at the natural waist), and it’s not particularly snug (at least not on me). The back waistband encases a strip of wide elastic. The pattern includes a side zipper and a two-inch hem. If you’d like more coverage (as the finished length is well above the knee), give yourself more length to play with.
I used a soft 50 percent linen-50 percent rayon blend from Jo-Ann. The pattern calls for a lightweight woven and says it was designed with linen in mind.
I did some recon on Instagram RE: the Pocket skirt, and a sewist who shares my waist and hip measurements said she wished she had sewn a small instead of a medium. So that’s what I did, because I wanted the skirt to sit close to my natural waist.
I used ALL THE PRESSER FEET to sew this skirt — and I liked it. I used my seam guide foot (my everyday foot), zipper foot, stitch-in-the-ditch foot, overlock foot (my sewing machine has a rad overlock stitch), and blind hem foot. Each foot had a special job, and I’m glad I had them all in my toolbox.
What could be better about the Pocket skirt
Clarity of directions
The Pocket skirt is for intermediate sewists, and that’s no joke. I eventually abandoned the directions and followed my instincts. And I still spent a ton of time with my seam ripper. This pattern would frustrate a beginner sewist. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:
I take issue with “The opposite side of the zipper should lay on the inside of the skirt.” Doesn’t that sound like is should lay on the WRONG SIDE of the garment? Imagine if you were a novice sewist and didn’t have the accompanying illustration! IMO, that whole sentence should be removed; it’s confusing.
I don’t have time to rewrite the sewing pattern directions in this blog post. My advice for sewists interested in making a Pocket skirt is to baste a lot and think about how the waistband layers will end up. The waistband is secured with a line of ditch stitching. Move in that direction, and you’ll be OK.
As a side note, sewists participating in #SewMyStyle have two more Cali Faye Collection patterns to sew, and I’m concerned about the quality of those directions, too. We’re stitching the Valley blouse and Hampshire trousers; anybody have experience with those patterns and care to give me some advice?
This pattern needs technical illustrations. Technical illustrations would help describe proportions of the skirt and waist height. The directions also would benefit from more illustrations, especially a cross-section showing the order of layers when sewing the elastic.
What I love about the Pocket skirt
I opted for a blind hem, and I love it. I’m a recent convert to blind hems; I used to think topstitching was a great way to show off your sewing skills. Topstitching IS a great way to show off sewing skills, but a blind hem add an air of sophistication, no matter the garment. For the relaxed Pocket skirt, a blind hem makes it feel a little more polished.
Speaking of topstitching, I adore the topstitching on the pockets. If you were feeling cheeky, contrasting thread would be a cool design element.
Sewing lesson: How to use basting tape like a pro
Speaking of topstitching AGAIN, to nail that glorious topstitching on the pockets, I used basting tape (specifically, I used Dritz Wash-Away Wonder Tape). Basting tape is a narrow, double-sided tape good for positioning and holding in place objects to be sewn. Using basting tape is like having extra fingers that keep your business (such as patch pockets on the Pocket skirt) from shifting while sewing. It’s definitely a must-have in a well-appointed sewing toolbox!
There are lots of different basting tape products — some are marketed to quilters, there’s a Clover tape co-branded with Nancy Zieman, etc. I like tape that washes away; not all of it does, so pay attention when you’re buying basting tape.
Once you’ve got basting tape in your hot little hands, here’s how to use it like a boss (in no particular order):
1.) Cut basting tape into small strips. It’s easier to place many small strips of tape (1-2 inches) than one large strip.
2.) Apply basting tape strips to your sewing project BEFORE removing backing. It’s easier to peel off the backing when one side of the double-sided tape is adhered to fabric.
3.) Press the ends of the short tape strips HARD with your fingernail before peeling the backing. That way, you’ll only remove the backing and not peel up the tape.
4.) Pin for added security. IMO, basting tape isn’t a substitute for pins; it helps hold stuff in place while you’re pinning AND sewing.
5.) Test before applying to your fabric. This could be especially important with delicate, sheer, and thin fabrics.
6.) Line up your reference points. For correct alignment of whatever you’re stitching, pin at notches, etc. before pressing down on the tape.
7.) You will feel the basting tape on your pins and sewing needle. It will take more force to pierce the fabric and tape; with this in mind, consider switching to a slightly bigger sewing needle or longer stitch.
Over to you: Did you sew the Cali Faye Collection Pocket skirt? What did you make of the directions? Are you fan of basting tape? What’s your fave basting tape tip? Please sound off in comments! Thanks!
P.S. ICYMI, here’s my last post: Buying an iron for sewing: 5 irons less than $100 from Amazon. If you’re on the market for a new iron, check it out!
P.P.S. Here are my other Project #SewMyStyle garments!
Bridgetown backless, the forever dress
Becoming a (Manila) leggings person for Project #SewMyStyle
Named Saunio cardigan: Harder than it looks
Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater #2: The stylish sweatshirt
P.P.P.S. Ever wonder what it’s like to be a “glamourous” sewing blogger responsible for styling and shooting her own photos? It’s like this. 😂