musings · sewing

more Mabels

It seems that when I have a small amount of stretch fabric left over from something else, I turn it into a Mabel skirt.  I have now made five of them.  The first three are here – and these are the remaining two.  I’ll show you how they look close up, then how I actually wear them. These photos were all taken at the end of the day, so there are a fair few wear creases.

Colette Mabel skirt

This one was sewn at Sewjourn in May. The fabric is a little unusual – it’s a knit, but more like a stretch bengaline in density and stretchability than a double knit. It came from Darn Cheap Fabrics. As you can see, I sewed the version with panels in the front and the kick pleat at the back.

Colette Mabel skirt

All the vertical seams were topstitched. The instructions also tell you to understitch the top of the facing – I have no idea why, as this is a pull-on stretch skirt and as soon as you stretch out the waist to pull it on the understitching pops. It’s a technique that would work well if there were a zip, but not on something that is meant to expand! I think that I made this as a Medium throughout. It’s pretty firm. Some would say it’s too tight, but I like my straight stretch skirts to be slim below the bottom, as I wear them with tops out over them.

Colette Mabel skirt

I didn’t even hem this one properly – instead I used fusible tape to secure the hem. The fabric didn’t like being sewn across the grain, and I was concerned that a stitched hem would look terrible, and a hand-stitched hem….well, I was too lazy to do one. It is lasting well through the wash!

Colette Mabel skirt

This one was made in mid-June. The size of the scraps I had available necessitated a centre front seam. From memory this is a Medium, graded to a Large waistband. Once again all the vertical seams have been top-stitched, and the fabrics were all from Darn Cheap.

Colette Mabel skirt

Gee there are a lot of wrinkles after sitting all day! This time I did a simple stitched hem. These skirts are comfortable to wear due to the nature of the stretch fabrics, and they are very fast to make.

Colette Mabel skirt with Style Arc Harper jacket and Jalie top

The Mabel skirt was reviewed recently over at The Curvy Collective. The comments made for interesting reading, especially in regards to what people consider to be good fit and/or what they consider to be flattering. I’ve also read some comments on terms like flattering and related discourse on what makes for “good fit” or clothes that suit people recently that give me food for thought. My opinion – is it comfortable (doesn’t rub or bind or pull) and do you feel good in it? To me, that is what is most important, not whether it makes you look taller and/or thinner (which is what most people tend to imply by “flattering”). What do you think?

Colette Mabel skirt

Colette Mabel skirt

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16 thoughts on “more Mabels

  1. I do not like the word ‘flattering’. My mother also uses it and to me it always sounds like a back handed compliment. When that word is used I can’t help thinking is my shape that bad that a dress/skirt is improving me somehow visually? I much prefer to say that an outfit suits someone. I do like your skirts and the versions you have created and they look really good on you. They suit you!

  2. I love your pop of color and the other one goes with everything, I bet – and I completely agree with you about how you feel in something is the most important.

  3. Flattering and unflattering are somewhat euphemistic words, granted. Personally I don’t like phrases like “pot belly” or “muffin top” etc because they can be demeaning and hurtful and they focus on one feature that is only a minor part of who someone is.

    I use the words “flattering” when something we wear makes our natural attributes look more beautiful or attractive, and “less flattering” to describe a look, outfit or colour that makes us look less attractive. That could mean slimmer, but it may also mean brighter, happier, or younger, or less lined, or less tired etc. We all have some colours that make us look ill, and are all aware of those shapes that make our bad features look worse (so we just wouldn’t wear them).

    I think your two outfits are very flattering. I think they have a “wow” factor that goes beyond comfort. The way you Lara, have dressed your body, makes you look fantastic. Healthy, happy, stylish, pulled together. You know what shapes really suit your body. By choosing those shapes, and using colours that also really suit/flatter you, you make the most of your great features and play down or disguise the elements you find less attractive. I would say these two outfits are a master class in style, shape, fit and colour.

    You emphasise comfort in wear and this is very important, and something the home dressmaker can fix. But you also say that you feel good when you get the outfit right. Exactly. This is about feeling better about ourselves, which portrays confidence to the outside world. When we are confident we get good feedback which reinforces our feelings of being OK with who we are. Knowing what shapes work for us, and which colours (ahem) flatter our different complexions, is something that empowers us. Its not that red hair is better than black hair, or wide shoulders are better than broad hips – all of us need to work with our own raw material and to make ourselves the best we can be. Well that’s what I think!

    1. Thank you so much for replying so eloquently Kate! You have articulated this beautifully. And thank for your compliments too! You definitely use the word “flatter” in the way that dictionary definition intends, rather than the way that people often use it. Language can be such a tricky thing. And by the way, I am completely with you regarding flat shoes!

  4. I particularly love your skirt with the contrasting side panels! But, heheh, that would be completely ‘unflattering’ to my pear shape 🙂 Interesting discussion you have brought up here. I think sewing for ourselves puts us much more in touch – over time – with our own unique body shapes and what works best. It really does go way beyond the way I used to think of myself as a RTW-size-whatever. Remember back in the day of taking a bunch of clothes into a changing room and trying them on and some just being SO WRONG but never knowing quite why? (Well I do anyway.) I think that body awareness also helps choose wisely from styles that are currently ‘fashionable’ but may or may not work for us individually. I completely agree with you about wearing clothes that are comfortable and make you feel good. You look very at-ease and confident (and fabulous) in your Moneta outfits!

  5. Making the most of the features we like and downplaying the features we don’t like is what flattering means to me, though like others have stated, I’m not overly fond of that word. When someone is comfortable in their clothing and their sense of style shines through, but doesn’t overpower their personality, but accents it, that’s flattering. Seems to me you’ve got it nailed! You create some great outfits for yourself that do the above perfectly! I truly appreciate your taking the time to share them. Very inspiring to me!

  6. I love your skirts and off to to have a read of those sites. I think wearing clothes that make you feel good is they key, and its always nice too when someone else takes the time to compliment them

  7. My #1 priority for all clothes is that they feel comfortable, but also that I feel stylish in them. Ergo I am a bit fan of skirts like this (and jeggings of course too). I don’t worry about what other’s say is flattering…there are too many opinions out there on what everyone should be wearing.

    Anyhoo – love your Mables. I have a scrap left over from a recent project that I am going to use to toile a Mable for myself.

  8. Lara these are great! I’ve never deeply analysed the use of the word flattering, but in my mind it’s never a back handed compliment when I use it. I think of it as a compliment to knowing exactly what suits you and works for you. These skirts are chic and a great fit and I wish I could wear more skirts in my day to day life and be able to look as stylish as this! 🙂

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