Swish swish

And hello there. Long time no see. I missed you guys.

Four months? How did that happen? You can pack a lot into four months: holidays and funerals. Kondo-ing my house (almost there). Taking stock. Reading real books again. Losing the entire contents of your blog reader to some weird glitch. Life things.

There has been sewing as well. Slower sewing, but sewing nonetheless. A backlog of things to photograph as long as your arm. But you gotta start somewhere right?

Sewaholic Gabriola

So lets start somewhere swishy. Gabriola swishy. Like the rest of the sewing blogosphere, I absolutely fell in love with Ada Spragg’s fabulous version of this pattern. If that fabric had still been available I would have out-and-out copied (it’s not – waaaaah). So I put it to the back of my mind just waiting for the right sort of crazy geometric colour explosion fabric to appear. And appear it did… eventually. A couple of weeks back I dragged my long-suffering husband along to the opening day of a new little fabric shop in Brisbane called Needlefruit, where I snagged this awesome crazy floral but not too floral rayon. Obviously it had to become a Gabriola. Swish swish.

Sewaholic Gabriola

So, the deets…

What’s to love?

Well, I think the hip-hugging pieced section looks really nice. It is precision sewing but not anywhere near as complicated as it seems (as long as you mark your pieces very well because they all look the same). The shaping of the skirt means the volume is at the hem and in a flowy, drapey fabric it all feels very summery and well, swishy. It’s a fun skirt to wear.

Sewaholic Gabriola


Now, I am not quite the shape Sewaholic designs for, so I had to make a few mods to get this skirt to fit the way I wanted (apparently some people on the internet get very grumpy about people doing this but I don’t care). I could have just gone on waist measurement alone and kept the extra volume around the hips, but I wanted things to be a little less floofy so I graded from 6 at the waist through to 0 at the hips (keeping the length at size 6). There are good instructions on the Sewaholic blog on how to do this. (A further note here: I tend to only pay attention to finished garment measurements to pick sizes because I like my clothes to fit closer than Sewaholic designs for.)

Sewaholic Gabriola


  • A lot of reviews of this skirt mentioned that the straight-cut waistband didn’t really sit on the body well so I decided to sub in the waistband from the Grainline Moss Mini instead. This was a bit of a dodge-fest – basically I folded that waistband piece in half, and flipped it over when I cut so that the curvier bit was on the fold and the straight bit was the cut end. This was because I figured it was my belly that needed the curvature and my back would be fairly straight. There was excess (as the Moss is designed to sit on the hips not the waist) but I just cut it off once I had sewn the waistband on. This method is a bit more work as you have to cut 2 instead of folding the waistband over, but it does sit a lot nicer on the body.
  • Another thing mentioned a lot in reviews of this pattern was the tendency of the pieced section to stretch out if you just so much as looked at the pieces sideways. To prevent this in my slippery, slidey rayon I block fused that section before I cut the pieces out so they held their shape.
  • I did a invisible zipper and skipped the hook and bar malarky – I think it gives a much cleaner finish. I added fusible stay tape down the seams where the zipper was going to go to keep everything stable.
  • I used much less fabric than the pattern says you need – I got this out of 2.5m. As long as your fabric is wide enough (and non directional enough) to put your pieces side by side you shouldn’t need as much.
  • I’d advise hanging this skirt for a long time before you cut and hem it. There’s a lot of bias to fall and it just kept on falling. I left it a week before I hemmed and I still think it has become uneven. I did a rolled hem because I’m lazy and it was the easiest option. Likewise I stitched-in-the-ditch for the waistband because I didn’t want to hand-sew anything. Lazy.

Sewaholic Gabriola

So, that’s my Gabriola. I don’t know if I would necessarily make another, just because it is such a departure from my normal style. But it is a beautiful skirt, and a lot of fun to wear. I’m jealous of all the Northern Hemisphere folks about to go into summer who can make and wear stuff like this. Though winter has its advantages (say, Cascade Coats…).

What seasonal sewing is next in your sewing queue?

Swish swish