I had high hopes of a more complete post, but not only is my Beignet not ready for primetime, but this ridiculous daylight savings time is ruining my picture-taking mojo. Get ready for eight months of blog photos that resemble home-baked sex tapes. All blurry and bad lighting. Or at least, that’s what I imagine them to be. Not that I’ve seen one.

I’m slaving away on my Beignet. See? I rhyme! The picture taking I’ve managed has been spotty. I started out with a straight grading up of the pattern. I needed to add 3” to the size 18 at the hips and waist in order to get to my measurements, so I added 3/8” to each pattern piece (4 pattern pieces X 3/8” = 1.5”, X 2 = 3”.) Here’s a photo of the graded up pattern pieces**, I marked in the leftmost pattern piece in red where I cut and added the wax paper…

**Eagle-eyes will spy that the two left pieces are clearly graded up a bit more than the two right pieces. That’s because this photo is of the SECOND round of alterations, post muslin #1…

Once I graded up the pattern, I made a lovely tablecloth muslin to check the sizing. I sewed the front together (where the buttons will go) and tried it on.

Oooooo!! doggie! I will try to not blind you with my untanned tummy! The shot from the side isn’t terrible, although it brings up one of my rules for straight skirts (or even slightly a-line)… to reduce the frump factor, pay extra attention to the amount of fabric at the hem. In order to accommodate my hips there’s a lot of fabric there! I’ll probably take some out later.

Other than that, Obviously I have too much room at the top of the waistband which makes sense. I have a true pear-shape going on, with my upper ribcage being three inches smaller than my waist. The Beignet is drafted assuming that you are NOT shaped like a triangle, so the high waistband is more straight than I am. I’ll show how I fixed that below. Related to that, to pencil skirts and to fitting in general. One of the most enlightening (and slightly nauseating) things I’ve done since really focusing on proper fit was to take a photo of myself wearing leggings and a tight fitting camisole. Then I opened the photo in Photoshop and drew parallel lines along my hips, my waist, my bust, my ribcage and my shoulders. This really helped me ‘see’ how I’m shaped. Perhaps someday I’ll share those photos. Or not.

Final note on the side view. I hate when straight skirts are really tight, especially around the lower tummy/top of the thighs. Is there anything less flattering? This skirt is looking good in that area!


Now for the view from the front… again, not too bad. I’m not a huge fan of the slight a-line shape on me. I have the whole high hip thing going on, so a-line skirts just make my whole bottom half more ginormous.

The photo on the right shows an action shot, with me pointing at my particular problem spot on all skirts, most trousers, etc. I really struggle to get the hipline nice and smooth without too much unflattering tightness. But not baggy.

This photo also shows a bit of that snuggy buggy-ness that’s not my favorite part of this whole straight skirt business!


Final shot. Here I’ve circled a part I didn’t like in the front, I drew some lines on the side where that dip was showing a bit of tightness and you can see in the center front where I pinned to mark how big the waist was. Once I pinned the waist, I marked the edge of the fold I made on either side of the pins. Once I took the muslin off, I measured the distance between those two marks to see how much I needed to remove from the waist.




Altering the pattern

Muslin #1 made and modeled (what’s nicer than a tablecloth skirt and motorcycle boots, I ask you?) it was back to the drawing board to make the alterations. I needed to (1) remove the extra width from the waist (2) add a bit of ease to the hips (3) make all changes to the lining and facing pieces (up to this point I had not made any changes to those pieces.)

First – taking in the waist. I’ve circled in red the new waistline I drew on the side back piece. I removed about an inch from the side front and side back pieces, that’s 4” total, but I also add to the width in the next step. WARNING!! For anyone else doing this alteration – I was tricked by the size cutting lines!! If you’re taking in the waist, check your pattern and make sure to take in the waist on the side that’s marked for the pocket! On the side back, the cutting lines are on the pocket side, but they aren’t on the side front piece! I ended up altering the wrong side of the side front pattern piece!


After taking care of the waist alteration, I added to the width of the front and side front pieces. I added about a quarter inch on each piece, for a total of 1 inch added to the front of the skirt. I’ve notice from previous fittings that things tend to fit better if I’ve got more wiggle room in the front than the back.

The pattern comes with separate facing and lining pieces. The facing pieces are meant to be cut out of the fashion fabric and cover the inside of the waistband and the button placket (pictured to the left – they are a weird, swoopy shape). I graded all the pieces up by laying the facing/lining pieces over the altered pattern pieces and cutting and filling in with tissue.

The hardest part of the grading was adding to the front facing and the front lining piece that snuggles into it. With the seam allowances and the curves, I’m not certain that I graded really well. I guess we’ll see!



So here’s the final layout, all pieces graded up. This was a very quick and dirty process – I am planning on removing width from the fabric hem by a modified pegging. And I do have to say, I have found the most awesome square, mustard yellow vintage buttons that have Beignet sewn all over them.


  1. […] heavy, they caused the fabric to ripple. Plus, even though I graded the pattern and made a muslin (here’s the post from last November!) the resulting skirt didn’t fit well and I had to do an […]

  2. Tasia says:

    Good for you, for taking the leggings photoshop photos. Scary stuff for anyone! I'm curious how close/far the outline was from what you thought you looked like… as I wonder how far off I'd look from what I think I look like.. anyways I'm rambling!
    I made this skirt, and did not make a muslin (lazy!) and regret it, because I had the exact same problem. The waist is super big compared to the hips, so I just overlapped it more and sewed the buttons on. Now my buttons aren't straight! It kind of works, but now that you've taken all this time to get it right, you can make all the Beignets you want with confidence!

  3. Karen in VA says:

    Thank you sooooo very much for posting all the fitting details on this skirt. It will be such a help to me (whenever I get around to this pattern…)

  4. K.Line says:

    I've also got to say you are under no obligation to show us the photoshop fitting photos. I would not have the nerve to take them, much less post them! You are a very smart sewist (who no doubt gets perfect fit as a result) – with guts :-)

  5. K.Line says:

    This is a great post, Patty! You write excellent instructional pieces. I am really irritated by the daylight situation also. It's almost impossible to take a decent picture these days.

  6. LAP says:

    I agree with Kate that you sharing pictures is super helpful and empowering. I'm not a pear, but I think all us girls with hips need to make ourselves known! Pears, Apples, Hourglasses take up our cameras!

  7. tanitisis says:

    Well, progress is progress! I'm excited to see it made up. Hooray for muslins! I tend to prefer the look of a straight or even pegged skirt to a slight A-line, I must admit.

    I, too, have trouble getting a smooth line in the hip of skirts; I have lumpy hips (or rather, dents where a normal woman's hips would be…). It's a struggle between getting a close fit and a smooth fit. :P

  8. Anonymous says:

    Lurker popping in:

    I have the same problem with getting a smooth (snug-but-not-tight-but-not-baggy) fit over the hip/thigh area. One trick that was recommended to me was to get the fit as nice as possible, and then use a strip of interfacing along the seam in the final garment for a bit of extra structure. (So, for me, that means after I stitch the side seam, I press it open, then cut a 1-1/4" wide piece of iron-in interfacing, and iron it over the opened seam on the inside of the skirt/pants. Then I finish the seams with a zig-zag down each raw edge. Your specific steps may vary depending on your interfacing and seam finishing preferences.)


  9. Laurwyn says:

    I have the same issues as you, I am a pear! Let's say it altogether:

    I am a pear!

    And my Mister likes it! My issue is that my shoulders are a 18/20, my chest is a 20/22, waist is 22/24, hips are 24/26! "Pear-er" than that, you don't have!

    Thank you so much for the pictures and notes on your process. They, as always, are very clear and funny and helpful! In the end, you'll be even happier with the result because you would find nothing in shops that would fit you as well!

  10. Kate says:

    I REALLY appreciate you taking and sharing so many photos. I know it can feel a bit awkward to put it all out there online, but I sincerely mean it when I say that your posts on fit and alterations have been immensely helpful. For those of us at the larger sizes or even slightly bigger than the patterns, it can be so challenging to find positive fit and alteration examples in the blog world. You do us a great service showing your work with fit and patterns. Also, I think your pear-shaped figure is ADORABLE. You were born to wear the kinds of clothing you sew. Keep up the good work. It's helpful and inspirational.

  11. LAP says:

    Not much is nicer than a tablecloth skirt and motorcycle boots! Not much at all. As always, excellent detail. I'm wondering if you're going to change my mind and I'll have to make Beignet myself. Between you doing so much of the fitting work for me, and the ideas of covered buttons suddenly dancing in my head…hmm.

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