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Embroidered Ada Skirt

For my first Minerva Makers project I wanted to sew something I could wear all year round with my favourite tops. I had originally planned to make shorts but I’m three toiles in and deep down the garment fitting rabbit hole. So for now I decided to use my favourite skirt pattern – the Ada skirt by Make My Lemonade (formerly known as Wear Lemonade).

There are three reasons why I love this pattern:

  • It has a curved waistband with an elasticated back so it doesn’t stick out awkwardly at the waist
  • It has a tie belt so I can nip it in at the waist for a fitted look but also loosen it for comfort after eating
  • Most importantly, it has huge pockets! They’re big enough for both my phone and purse and they’re perfect for keeping my hands warm in the colder months

I used 1.7 metres of Lady McElroy Stretch Cotton Sateen Fabric and had a small amount left over for testing buttonholes, tension and stitch lengths. This medium weight fabric has a lovely sheen and is available in navy and black. Many sewists hate wearing black – it’s plain, it doesn’t photograph well and it's associated with office wear and funerals. But it can also be a great canvas for colourful embroidery, bold buttons and decorative topstitching.

I chose to decorate the back pocket so it can be easily removed and replaced when my embroidery skills improve. Considering it’s only my second attempt at embroidery, I’m fairly happy with the results. Sure, it’s not particularly neat but it’s on my bum so no-one is going to be looking closely enough to notice the imperfections! But just for you, here’s a close-up photo (it doesn’t look too bad if you squint):

I’ve since read that you can get a neat outline by split stitching the outline before filling it in with satin stitch so I’ll try that next time. I have a couple of dresses that need mending so I’m thinking of fixing the holes with some chunky embroidery.

I drew the design on to Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy, a non-woven water soluble stabiliser. If you buy it in sheets rather than a roll, you can also cut it down and use it in your printer. I drew my design in pencil but I’ll use a marker pen in future because the drawing faded over time so I had to stitch it from memory towards the end (which resulted in some oddly shaped leaves).

I cut a size 40 based on my measurements of 29” waist and 38” hips (approximately a UK size 12) and the fit is great apart from the excess fabric at the back. I think a swayback adjustment would fix this issue so I’ll try that next time. I’ve never photographed the back of my Ada skirts before so it’s the first time I’ve noticed the problem.

If you’re planning to make this skirt and you’ve never sewn a corner seam before, the pattern instructions for this part aren’t very detailed so here’s a video tutorial on how to do it. The trick to getting a pucker-free corner is accurate measuring and snipping right up to (but not through) the corner stitches. If you do it correctly, you may be left with a slight pucker like this which will smooth out when pressed with the iron:

If you'd like to see more of my dressmaking projects or share some embroidery tips, you can find me on Instagram (@claireanthony) or my sewing blog.

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