The Liberty #Seamworks Bristol Skirt


I was so looking forward to using the first of my Liberty fabrics purchased on a recent trip to London. And I’d thought that this ‘simple’ skirt pattern from issue five of Colette Seamworks magazine would be a perfect match, but I’m so disappointed! 😦

The Bristol is a simple, elasticated waist skirt, with a full skirt and ‘secret pocket’ under its centre panel. However in the marketing shots, it looks far more stylish than it does ‘in the flesh’. Maybe it’s the style that doesn’t suit me (my hips especially) or maybe I matched it with the wrong fabric, a combination of the two? The recommended fabrics were anything lightweight such as ‘rayon, silk challis, light twill or charmeuse’. I think my lovely, Liberty fabric (a wool mix I think, but fairly fluid and light) is just a little too heavy for it…

These were also the most confusing instructions I’ve come across from a Seamworks pattern. The pockets were constructed first and seemed straightforward enough to start off with, but attaching the rather unattractively named ‘pocket bag’ took a lot of trial and error before I finally cracked it. And the instructions for the waistband seemed even more impossible. They recommended you to prepare the elastic first, inserting it into the waistband fully stretched (!) before attaching it to the body of the skirt. I did try, but it looked so messy that I unpicked the elastic and just improvised, reverting to the method I’d used for the very first skirts I ever made, attaching the empty waistband first, but for leaving a small, unstitched channel and then feeding the elastic through with a safety pin, before stitching it and only then finishing the gap.

Teri did warn me about the pockets,  but I thought I’d give them a go and see for myself. I really should have listened harder Teri! While they look cute on the Seamworks model, on me I’m totally non-plussed. While they raise the skirt in the style stakes above a simple, elasticated design to something more pretty and elegant in theory, in reality I’m not sure of the point of them either.

It’s typical that this had to happen to my first Liberty, dressmaking project. But still, it’s been a while since I made a bit of a dud! And it’s not a total disaster, just a bit underwhelming. I’ll probably end up wearing it to work, rather than for a meal out. After my shirt-making adventures, I’m pretty disappointed with the finish of the internal waistband in particular. There are a lot of raw edges and I’m wishing I’d have thought ahead to cover this up somehow. I’m thinking of covering them with something, but clearly it’s going to sit on my waist so I want to avoid anything scratchy like lace or ribbon. Maybe a velvet ribbon sewn by hand would do the trick? Any ideas, as always, most welcome 🙂



35 thoughts on “The Liberty #Seamworks Bristol Skirt

  1. Oh no! I’m gutted for you that your not happy with it. Aside from the making up the last pic of it looks lovely. I think the bottom of your jacket sits at the wrong place in the other photos but without the jacket it looks lovely on you. Is it more of a summer style do you think? Well done for finishing it, sounds like a bit of a mare to put together. How about making some bias tape with some soft cotton to bind the raw edges? 😃

    • Thanks Ali, yep I think so many of my recent makes have been successful (with help from the course tutor) that this just seemed like a huge step backward step! I think the elastic is slightly too tight too and would have looked more flattering just a little looser (I’d already trimmed it though and didn’t have any more wide enough). Oh well, for work it’ll be fine… Good idea on the bias binding, thanks, will have a hunt through to see what I’ve got.

  2. Hi, I was also going to suggest a bias strip to deal with the raw edges.

    Maybe something lightweight, smooth and silky…you could sew a tube of fabric, wrong sides together, then press it flat so that raw edges are centered under the band and the face-up side of the band has smooth folded edges.

    That way the edges are easy to work with while you applique the flattened tube over the seam allowances of your lovely new skirt.

  3. Oh, I’m so sorry you don’t love your skirt! I think it looks great on you– I love how you’ve styled it with the sweater and jacket. I had forgotten about the weird elastic insertion. I did it the same way you did and I ended up overlooking the seam that attaches the waistband to the skirt. I think if I were to make it again I would see one side of he waistband to the skirt, press the seam allowance toward the waistband, fold over the seam allowance on the upper edge and then fold it all over so that the raw edges end up inside the casing. (I hope that makes sense!) I am somewhat mystified as to why they didn’t chose to do it that way for a neat finish. I do hope you end up wearing it– that fabric is so lovely!

  4. Sod’s law that’d happen when you’re using your liberty fabric! Good advice for me though, I’ll make something with a tried and tested pattern when I use my liberty fabric! That method of elastic/waistband is odd! I hope you can at least get some wear out of it…

  5. Am not familiar with this brand or pattern, but from the fabric description you’ve kindly given, it should probably have been one of the Liberty lawns rather than a wool. For many, like me!, A-lines are flattering only in light fabrics, that don’t stick out in the traditional A shape. My aging you-know-whats don’t need any additions in that area. Or any, come to that!
    Hope this helps! (Might have a pic of the After, but know I don’t have a before.)
    So sorry you’ve had this experience. xx

    What I did with something similar was to slightly alter the A shape, add a zip, and make it more structured. I also tapered the waist area all around, so the waistband was just barely elasticated (thus, zip was needed so I could get it on!).

    • Thanks Del, an A-line shape usually suits me well, but I think it’s the gathering and lack of o their shaping here. Oh, well I learnt to insert a very odd front pocket so there’s something…

      • Glad you reminded me you’re one of the lucky A-line wearers – thank you! What about a few darts to take out some of the fullness, and a new waistband in which you’ve incorporated your own soft finishes… next season, after you’ve worn this a bit!

  6. What a shame. I think you’ve a similar frame to me. I couldn’t wear a gathered skirt either. I think your more tailored garments flatter you beautifully. If you don’t love it, don’t wear it. I would consider putting it away until inspiration strikes for you to turn it into something else. Xx

    • Well I was due a dud soon, so I’m guessing this is it 😦 I wore it to school today and it was comfy, but it’s really not doing me any favours. Yes, I think we’re probably similar frames, and while I know fitted shapes suit me better, I sometimes just want to look a little more ‘relaxed’ especially at weekends… Oh well, I’m vowing not to succumb to the lovely Kelly skirt in this month’s Love Sewing magazine, nice though it may look on others my hips are not going to like it!

      • I know what you mean about wanting to look more ‘relaxed’. The amount of stuff I’ve sent back because the model looked great in them, just the style I was looking for, only to look like a sack of spuds when I’ve tried it on!

  7. Oh no, what a great shame that you are not happy with your make! Especially in a Liberty fabric! Maybe you’ll find a way of reusing the fabric for something else? Would be a pity to feel disheartened every time you put on the skirt!

  8. The skirt looks pretty enough, but that pocket placement is just weird. Sorry that you’re unhappy with it. Would you consider giving the pattern another try in a more cooperative fabric? And oh my, your jacket is gorgeous!!

    • Well it certainly looks pretty on the hanger and the fabric is still lovely, but I really don’t know what I was thinking with this design. I think in a lighter weight fabric it would fall better, but really don’t think this pattern is for me 😦

  9. Oh no! Sorry to hear you’re disappointed. I must admit it is a different style to what I’m used to seeing you wear but you have to try new things once in while don’t you (perhaps not in Liberty 😜)? The fabric is very pretty. I hope you get plenty of wear out of it.

    • Yep, you’re right I should have stuck to a tried and tested pattern…. I felt sure they’d be the perfect match, but there you go! It’s perfectly wearable, but just makes me look like I’ve gained half a stone overnight 😉

  10. What a real shame – I’ve made a fair few duds and they do just end up languishing in the wardrobe so as you appear to be quite disheartened with it I think I would have a go at making it into something else. The fabric is very pretty.

    • Thanks Clarinda! At least we can console each other on here, no one in my ‘real’ world would understand. I have thought about converting it into something else, but as it’s pretty short, I really don’t think I could. I think if I tidy up the inner waistband I’ll feel better about wearing it and I do have a little left, so I might just be able to squeeze a top out of that, fingers crossed!

  11. Pingback: Simple Sew Cross-Over Back Blouse #015 | navybluethreads

    • It was my first Liberty fabric so a real treat. I’ve just finished a pinafore for my daughter in some Liberty cord which I’m delighted with, will post photos as soon as it stops raining long enough to get some…

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