Sunday, 10 March 2013

Reviewed: McCall's 5431 Skirt (Earth & Spring 6PAC)

I have managed to finish the first of my spring 6PAC, a full twirly skirt made with McCall's 5431. I'm really pleased with it overall! Here's the pattern review (also on PR) as well as some extra photos:

McCall's 5431 in brown -- please excuse my ridiculous shoes, they were the first pair of heels I came across!

McCall's 5431
Pattern Description: From pattern envelope: "Flared skirt has yoke and back zipper closure; skirts A, B have lower edge band contrasts; skirts B, C, D have pocket and pocket band variations; skirt C has belt carriers; skirts C, D have machine-stitched narrow hems."

Pattern Sizing: 6-20. I made a straight 20 but I think I probably should have made an 18.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Except for a couple of design changes, yes, absolutely.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Very. This is part of McCall's "Quick and Easy" range and is very straightforward. Even though I made a full lining, I finished everything but the hem in a single afternoon.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I've been thinking about a very simple, full skirt pattern for a while as it's a favourite shape of mine. Originally I'd planned to draft my own semi-circle skirt, but I happened on this pattern going cheap on eBay and jumped on it because I liked the contrast band options and thought I might make the version with pockets at some point as well. I do wish the yoke was just a little bit wider.

The fabric before I made the skirt up
Fabric Used: Mystery synthetic bought inexpensively on eBay in brown with a slightly shiny self-coloured scale/animal print pattern. It's heavier than blouse weight, but really too light on its own for a skirt so I chose to line it. For the lining I used a shot bronze coloured taffeta. I love the fluidity of the two fabrics and think they're a good match to this flared, twirly skirt pattern, but unfortunately the outer fabric creases like crazy whenever I sit down in it.

Shot bronze full lining that I added

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I didn't really make any of the views specifically -- my version is closest to view C, although I omitted the very large pockets that are the most notable feature of that view. My other changes were all trivial. The length of the original pattern is particularly unflattering on me so I adjusted the length of the pattern before I cut out, shortening it by 6cm so it hit exactly at mid-knee when hemmed. As described above, the fabric wasn't really heavy enough on its own and so I chose to do a full lining with a hem 2.5cm shorter than the skirt. I also decided to try out an invisible zip on the skirt and installed it using the Colette tutorial rather than doing a lapped zip as suggested in the instructions.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes to both. I like this pattern a lot and plan to use it several more times. I would definitely recommend it to anyone look for a full twirly skirt pattern.

Conclusion: A great, simple pattern that I am certain to use again.


Costs: The outer fabric was £2.50/m from eBay, so around £3.50 for the piece I used. The lining was £4/m, also from eBay, so around £5.60 for the piece I used. I used an invisible zip (60p) and a hook an eye (5p). Total cost: around £11.50, allowing for thread and other overheads. You might have noticed I never count the cost of the pattern, which I should do really as I had to pay for it -- in this case the pattern cost me £2.80. The main reason I don't usually include the pattern cost though is that I haven't recorded what I paid for all my patterns and I don't know how I'd account for pattern magazines.

Nit-pickery and other comments:

+ I really did wake up one morning with the idea for this skirt fully formed in my mind, and having made it up I can only say that my subconscious clearly has all the best ideas. I bought this fabric because I had bought the same exact fabric in navy and loved it, but I don't actually wear all that much brown.

Totally coincidental almost-matchy side seam
+ I made zero attempt to pattern match at the seams because it was already such a trial even getting the pattern pieces onto the fabric and matching the grainline. However, somehow the side seams still look awesomely matchy. I would like to claim accidental credit for this, but actually it's a consequence of the type of pattern in the fabric. It does make me nervous about the next version I'm planning to make, which has a large pattern, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it I think.

+/- I am really pleased with the fact I managed to install an invisible zip with a minimum of fuss and unpicking, using my new invisible zipper foot for the very first time. On the down side, it's not actually quite as invisible as I might have liked. Still, I am pleased overall with it for a first invisible zipper attempt.

Almost everything I did wrong in one photo :|
- Most of the execution of this skirt is actually pretty great, but I went really really wrong on the yoke. It doesn't match at the zipper, which is annoying enough, but also in general I did a really poor job of getting a nice, even seam when I was connecting the yoke to the main body of the skirt. Part of the problem was the slippery, drapy, stretchy fabric, but more of it was that I just didn't take enough time to sew it well.

- The skirt is just barely the right size, and I only realized this too late to make any alterations. It fits, but it's loose and slides down to hang on my hips. That's fine, but if my weight continues to trend downwards it limits the useful life of the skirt unless I can work out how to alter it. Note to self: use no more than an 18 for the next version!


  1. The skirt looks really good on you! Brown is a very useful colour to have in your wardrobe too. Your zipper-area problems are probably all down to the slippery fabric and I am sure you will get it perfect on your next version!

    1. Thank you! Although it could have been more invisible, I was actually quite pleased with the zipper. Having the invisible zipper foot made a huge difference to putting it in as well.

  2. Love your skirt.. You have done a great job. Loving the fabric too.

    1. Thank you! I love the fabric too. I have just over half of it left, too, plus another 3m in navy. If anything the navy is even nicer, not to mention my favourite colour! :D

  3. I made this pattern on a few occasions too. I love how fast it is to sew. I have made one alteration with it..I made frayed layers for fun with a heavier denim. It is a comfortable, cute skirt to wear which I often recommend to others who sew.