Dr. Strange-seam or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the bias

Pattern: McCall’s M6966McCalls M6966

gray knit skirtstriped knit skirt


These skirts were inspired by the many striped knits skirts I’ve seen people wear at work. I saw this pattern online, and thought my skirt would really stand out having the stripes going in different directions (view D). Those diagonals were intimidating – there seemed to be a lot of room for error if I cut wrong.  But if I did it correctly, I would have a skirt that was not only me-made, but something you would see in stores as well!

My first attempt was a wearable muslin in a charcoal gray knit. I needed to make sure I could actually make this with bias seams before I ruined my striped material.  Turns out cutting out those pattern pieces on the bias was harder than I thought, but not for the reasons I originally thought. I bought 3 yards of fabric, thinking it was a bit excessive but safe. It worked out in the end, but if I make this again I may buy an extra half yard to avoid the cursing and the sweating. Fitting the pattern pieces so the diagonals match up perfectly took some creative adjusting, and every time I thought I had it with one piece, I adjusted for the diagonal and it would overlap another piece. Gah!

Advice: try to fit the two largest pieces first (bottom back and front) and then work your way to the next biggest. Trying to go by the picture for laying out the pattern does not work.

I tried to make sure the pieces were all going to fit before I cut, but its tough when you are cutting two pieces from the same pattern piece. These pieces were so large so I don’t think that folding the fabric would work in this case.  The good news is if you have successfully cut everything out, the hard part is over.

The rest was easy – I used my mom’s serger to sew up all the seams. This pattern is definitely one of the easiest I have attempted and the directions and pictures are very clear and easy to understand – great for beginners wanting to work with knits.

My only issue was the length. After I sewed up my first skirt, I noticed it was a little long. I thought I could live with it. However when I got it caught in the wheels of my chair at work…twice!…I realized I needed to hem it again. So it was back to my mom’s serger to take off another two inches. Then a fairly big hem – and my skirt was an appropriate length.Striped seams

Striped skirt take 1
Striped knit skirt with elastic waist

Now to try the striped version – I still only had 3 yards to play with, but I thought if I was more careful about fitting everything, it could still work. I confidently laid out the fabric, and then I noticed it – a flaw in the material.  Gah again!  Adjust….and re-adjust….adjust again…okay it should work. Sewing this up on the serger was just as easy the second time. I even serged the bottom of the waistband, in order to give those raw edges a more professional look. This time, I cut about 4 inches off the bottom. If I make this again, I will cut 6 inches and sew a very narrow hem. I think this would help avoid some of the bunching issues I had trying to keep the larger hem straight.  So if you’re tall, this is the pattern for you.  It would be a great skirt for a giraffe.

The diagonals are really quite flattering in both skirts. Even though the first skirt was solid gray, the middle section looks almost like a different color because of the grain direction.  It’s pretty difficult to match up the stripes completely, but I got lucky in that the stripe size plus the bias gives the illusion it’s all aligned.

Now my skirt can walk proud among all the other striped skirts – and I have been seeing a lot of them.  And because it’s stretch knit, it’s as comfortable as a pair of pajamas!  Glad that this was easy enough for me to make before it went out of style.   Yeeeeee-Haaaaw!

striped skirt take 2

11 thoughts on “Dr. Strange-seam or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the bias

  1. Kate

    Came across your blog when I googled help for this pattern. You haven’t attempted view C with the gather, have you? I am a BRAND new sewer and am a little lost. Thanks!


    1. I have not attempted view C, but looking at the directions, the only difference seems to be the gathering on the yoke. If you’ve never done gathers before, there is an article on my blog about them called “Gather ye Bustline” from April 2014. Basically you will want to make two parallel stitches, using a long stitch (like you are basting). Keep both ends of the strings long. To gather, you pull each side of the strings and kind of scrunch up the material. The directions don’t really go into how to gather, so I hoped that helped a little.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s