Happy Halloween! Simplicity 2413, Paper Bag Waist Skirt

S2413 Paper Bag Skirt Thumbnail

My work was closed due to Hurricane Sandy so I had some unexpected sewing time.  A bonus, unplanned item seemed the way to go.  I sort of fondled my stash for a bit and ran across this crazy fluorescent neon safety orange sateen.  I purchased it from Fabric Mart a couple years ago for $1/yd to be the trim for my Butterick 5315 piped shirtdress but I ended up using tie silk for that project instead.  I was wavering whether to put it into the giveaway pile or make it into a Halloween skirt.  Halloween won.  I love Halloween, but there is just nowhere for a grown adult to dress up in a costume and go someplace non-horrible.  It makes me sad that I've had to give it up.  This lets me celebrate a little.

I went digging through my skirt patterns and found Simplicity 2413.  I made the pleated skirt last year in silk organza, and had made a mental note at the time to try the paper bag skirt.  A bright orange skirt shaped like a pumpkin--what could go wrong?

Stitch Edge Above Zipper

Both the front and back are meant to be cut on the fold; however, I always prefer a center back zip.  The pattern has good instructions for doing a side seam pocket with a side zip, if you prefer to make it as drafted.  I sewed the side seams and then the zip before making the waist pleats, for easy fitting.

Paper Bag Overhang

As drafted, the zip is supposed to go up to the facing self-fold line.  However, my zipper wasn't long enough for that, and I kind of liked the idea of having the paper bag portion of the waist open above the zipper, so I put the zipper stop at the waistline, letting the entire self-facing and above-waist paper bag overhang.

To get a nice finish I folded the facing right sides together and stitched above the zipper.  When turned right side out, it has a clean finish.  To keep the upper edges of the zipper in place I took a few hand stitches, catching the zipper tape.

Wrinkling at skirt waist

I turned under the upper edge of the self-facing so it would look nicer on the inside, but this created a wrinkled mess on the outside at the waist.  This has to be worn with a belt or the sash.

I cut an 8 at the waist, transitioning to a 12 at the hip.  I ended up taking the back pleats slightly larger than marked so it was probably more like a 6 or slightly smaller, so I think this runs a bit large.

Tack Pleat

To keep the pleats facing the right direction, the instructions want you to topstitch all the way around the waist.  I wasn't keen on adding another element to the already unsightly waist, so I hand-tacked the pleats to the facing.


The instructions have you press the front pleats toward the sides (radiating out from the center) and continue the back pleats in the same direction, toward CB.  Well, as you can see that looks pretty terrible.  After seeing these photos I changed the back pleats to be pressed toward the sides as well and I think it is an improvement.

The skirt can be made with or without a hem band.  Without a band it is very short:  16 inches.  In cutting, I lengthened it by 6 inches.  I cut off two inches in hemming, so next time I'll add 4 inches.

Machine Blind Hem

Because I was lengthening it, it is not as pegged as drafted.  I went down to the drafted hem width at my 6 inches, but since it ended up being shorter than that I lost some of the pegged shape.  That was fine with me, however.  I wanted more leg room for walking and I can even ride a bike in this skirt, as the sateen has some stretch.

I hemmed it with a machine blind stitch, using about a 1 1/4 inch hem allowance.

Front, One Pocket

This skirt ended up so much cuter than I expected!  The pockets are a little iffy, especially in this robust fabric, but the overall shape and the paper bag detail are surprisingly flattering and also fun to wear.  I'm even wondering if this could be more than a once a year novelty skirt (styled with gray instead of black).  I'll keep this pattern in mind for the future.

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.

How are you celebrating Halloween?


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