I originally bought the HotPatterns 1208 Fast & Fabulous Dressage A-Line Skirt pattern mostly because I liked the name, and because I wanted an A-line skirt pattern that was shaped with darts rather than gathers at the waist. On the pattern envelope, it looks like just a really basic skirt, with only the extra-long darts to give it any distinctiveness. Made up, though, it really is fabulous. Besides the darts, there is shaping to the center front and back seams that gives it swish, twirl, and freedom of motion.
The pattern description recommends using a firmer fabric like denim or (p)leather for this skirt, but I’m a rebel, so I used a floaty rayon challis. My hypothesis was that the long darts would give it the shaping of a panel skirt, without interfering with the gorgeous border print. I think I was right.
I’m really happy with how it turned out, and I have a couple more planned for after I’m done my summer wardrobe capsule: one in black vinyl for the goth part of my life, and one in pinstriped dark denim for work-to-weekend.
Size range: 8 – 26, roughly corresponding to ready-to-wear. A size 26 is 52″ bust/44″ waist/54″ hip.
My body: I’m not sure how to classify my shape. When I was thinner, I was definitely a pear, but now I have boobs and a belly and heavy upper arms too. I’m 5’3″, 52″ bust/47″ waist/54″ hip.
How my body worked with the pattern: The only adjustment I made was adding about 3″ to the front waist. I did it by slicing from waist to hem on either side of the long dart, and then spreading the pattern at the waist, tapering to nothing at the hem. This might have taken me five or ten minutes.
The fit of the muslin after doing that, was pretty much perfect. (Pardon my posture in the muslin picture)
In the picture on the envelope, it looks like this is supposed to be a mid-calf-length skirt, but on me it came out as a full-length maxi. I’m OK with that, I like maxi skirts better anyway. I feel like this skirt works great for my body type, and would work well for any body that has some hips to keep it from falling down.
I used a floaty border-print rayon challis (counter to the pattern recommendation, but with great results). Getting to those great results, though, was an absolute bear. The challis was awful to work with. Soft and floaty means it biases and stretches and distorts if you look at it funny – and one of my cats was rolling around on it begging for belly rubs, while I was trying to pin and cut. Besides banning cats from the cutting room, one hint (figured out the hard way) that I would give for making this skirt in a not-firm fabric is, trace the long dart onto the fabric while it’s still pinned, then cut it out after unpinning.
Once I got it cut out, construction was a breeze. I was able to get the whole thing done, from laying the fabric on the cutting table to photographing the finished object, in just over four hours – including all that wrestling with the cat, and a break for supper. I didn’t really look at the instructions much because the construction was so simple, but I did see there was a novel way of inserting an invisible zipper without using an invisible zipper foot – that I didn’t try because I have an invisible zipper foot. Instructions on newer Hot Patterns are generally pretty good, but don’t totally hold your hand. An absolute beginner would probably need a bit of help understanding and executing some of the techniques.
Unfortunately for the finished object, all that stretching and biasing and general difficulty while cutting out, resulted in the waist somehow being way too big. For the evening I wanted to wear it, I just safety-pinned it and wore it anyway, but one of these days I’ll take it in properly.
Size Range (1-5): 3. Nice, but there’s no reason a skirt like this couldn’t come in significantly larger sizes.
Instructions (1-5): 4. Great for anybody with a grasp of basic techniques, but no hand-holding
Construction Process (1-5): 5. Super easy, super fast.
Final Fit (1-5): 5. The problems I had with the finished object were my own fault for using a non-recommended fabric.
Overall Rating (1-5): 4. This is a really great skirt. Fast and easy but far from boring. Looks great on any body type with enough hips to keep it from falling down. Easy to take from work to the weekend to fancy, depending on the fabric you use. What’s not to love?