I bought the Fumeterre skirt pattern in 2017 and then proceeded to waffle about it for two years, but less than a week before I left on vacation, I decided a skirt like that should come too. It felt touch and go at the time but the finished Fumeterre landed in my suitcase with a couple days to spare!
(It’s so not relevant to the sewing but we took these pictures in the ruins of Godstow Abbey after dinner at The Trout. This walk was on my must-do-in-Oxford list after reading La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman. I loved it. Even though I had read the rest of the series as a romantic child and I read this entry as a brisk and sensible adult, I love it the best!)
Okay, back to sewing. I definitely made some choices based on time constraints. Most importantly, I couldn’t find buttons I liked and didn’t have time to check another shop, so I sewed the skirt with a blind button placket. A blind button placket is a delightful origami sewing technique that I sometimes use just for the fun of capturing all those neat folds with one line of stitching! It isn’t a view for the Fumeterre, but if you want to convert a regular placket to a blind button placket on really any pattern, I’ve made a diagram of how, below.
Hopefully it makes sense! Essentially, if you’re starting with a finished placket width of what I’ll conveniently call ‘1’, you just need to add another band of width ‘1’ plus a seam allowance of ‘1/2’. I prefer to then fudge the width of the folds, as noted in the drawing, so that the bottom layer (the buttonhole layer) ends up completely and easily concealed. If anyone has any questions please let me know. Making diagrams for instructions is trickier than I guessed, and I’d be happy to throw words at the problem, if that would help!
I used the buttons looted off an old shirt of Professor Boyfriend’s. For the visible one, I found a shiny yellow button in my sewing box, which I wouldn’t have noticed at a store but actually quite like.
The finished skirt is fine, but not great. While Dee & Doe theoretically accommodates a pear/hourglass/whatever-you-care-to-call-it shape, the angle of this skirt seems to assume a gentle slope from waist to hip. My ‘hip shelf’ (a term I just made up) is definitely more abrupt than that, plus I’ve got a tum. The waistband pieces for size 42 just about fit with a smaller seam allowance. However, the skirt panels themselves would not wrap around my hips and stomach.
Luckily it’s drafted very long, so I cut 3” from the top of the skirt. I then gathered the excess into the back waistband. The line drawing indicates long smooth gores but the back waistband has some elastic gathering anyway, and my midsection is not particularly long or smooth, so this was a body-friendly solution for me.
The silhouette was still not working, though, so I also shortened 6” from the bottom! I didn’t like the semi-sheer linen as a maxi – the transparency was much more apparent around my ankles where the fabric panels were wider. Luckily, the midi seems to work. I was thisclose to immediately donating or swapping the skirt, before it got the chop.
I can’t tell how apparent it is in these photos, but my hem here is wiggedy wack. I’ve already leveled it by time of writing this post. I had to trim as much as 1 ½” from two places and ¼“ from a couple more. I cut this skirt on the fold, so I suspect I cut two separate pairs of panels off-grain, one worse than the other.
The fabric was shifting all over the place and basically, I was just happy to get it hemmed and done the first time. Unfortunately I didn’t notice the wack-ness, let alone its wiggedy degree, until I fetched it out of my suitcase to wear (I wore it anyway, clearly!).
I made myself unpick and redo the hem when I got home from travelling – nobody’s favorite sewing, I think. My happy ending, though, is that I ran out of bobbin thread just after finishing the new hem! Not 3” before, as is traditional! ❤ Meant to be ❤
Also, if you get the chance, I highly recommend cheesecaking around a ruined nunnery.
But be careful not to sit in rabbit poo!
I very nearly learned that the hard way…
Bye for now!
Pattern: Deer & Doe Fumeterre skirt
Pattern cost: $13.00
Size: 42, with changes, above
Supplies: 3 yards of jade green 100% linen, Sewfisticated, $21.00; elastic, $0.17, Sewfisticated; thread, buttons from stash
Total time: 7.25 hours
Total cost: $34.17