A leopard changes its spots: to hot pink tiger stripes

I was gently reminded by my mother recently that in my teens I cocked a snoot at animal prints, while she was a big fan. Haters gonna hate.

As in all things, mother knows best so I’ve changed my thinking and embraced them. Hard. Like with my tiger stripe knit pencil skirt:

Tiger Stripes A

That fabric…it was cosmic forces that brought us together. Hot pink stripes on a pale flesh-tone background. Did I mention that those stripes are flocked? Hells yeah. 

As it’s a fairly robust fabric and the print needs to take centre stage (though you’d be hardpressed to stop it), I turned it into a very DIY pencil skirt.

And I love it. It’s a super-simple bit of sewing, and I can’t honestly say it fills a genuine gap in my wardrobe but who cares? It makes me pleased just to look at it.

It’s effectively a tube but if you want to see how I put it together, read on.

Tiger skirt collage B.jpg

  1. So I selected a snug fitting knit dress I already own and laid it out over my fabric.
  2. Using a ruler and chalk on the uneven surface and the pale background colour was going to be tricky, so I just put sticky tape round the edge of the skirt to add my seam allowance. Super quick! The tape was 1″ wide and I wasn’t using a zip like the original dress so I added two lines of tape. Plus 2″ along the bottom to give plenty of room to judge the final length.
  3. After sewing up the side seams, I slipped it on and discovered it was a good fit along the side but gaped at the back. I opted to add two darts. To work out their dimensions, I tried on the skirt, marked with pins where the fullness began on my lower back, and then measured how much excess fabric there was at the top of the skirt.
  4. This provided me with the end point of the darts and their width. So 2″ of excess became two 0.5″ darts (from diagonal to fold), equidistant from the side seams. I drew them on, and stitched them up with a triple stitch. I prefer this for darts in knits since it’s easier to judge the finish point than with a zig-zag but it still has a stretch.Tiger stripes collage D.jpg
  5. Tried on the skirt and measured my waist at the top of the skirt. Then measured out a rectangle on my fabric. The width = waist measurement + seam allowance, and height = double your preferred waistband height + seam allowance. As the material has stretch horizontally and vertically, I cut the print in the opposite direction to give a bit of extra visual interest. Then I stiched the short ends together with right sides together, and folded the band along its length with the right side on the outside. In essence a folded loop of fabric.
  6. Sewed waistband to skirt waist with right sides together and raw edges together, a la sleeve bands in Sewaholic Renfrew pattern.
  7. Hemmed with a double needle to desired length.
  8. TA-DA!

It could be kicked up a notch with a kick-pleat or a zip but I can put it on and run up an escalator in it, so it passes the wearability test despite the simple construction. It’s not a showcase for any particular sewing artistry. But really, the hard work was done before I entered the fabric shop, by the designer who decided the world needed hot pink flocked tiger stripe knit fabric.

Whoever you are, I salute you and your mad, mad genius.

This entry was posted in Knits, Self-drafted patterns, Skirts and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to A leopard changes its spots: to hot pink tiger stripes

  1. gingermakes says:

    I love this! I was once skeptical about animal prints, too, but now I’m a total convert! I especially like crazy ones like this print! Rad skirt!

    • Thanks Ginger, I think there are a lot of converts out there in recent years! I think stripes, dots and animal are classic prints that will never really go away. And super-charged versions like this just play with a classic. Kind of wish I could have made something like an Elisalex dress out of this, just so I could smother myself in it!

  2. Fiona says:

    Awesome! I never liked animal print either but now I think it’s always going to be a winner! Especially in non traditional colourful ways like this! Well done for not using a pattern, I can’t face that yet!

  3. Kristy says:

    I love your skirt, so much fun! I hate it when my mum pulls out the I told you so trump card, but I’m looking forward to doing it to my own kids one day too…..

  4. senjiva says:

    Great job! There definitely comes a time (and it really sneaks up on you) that one finds themselves doing/saying things that are just too close to what the parents say/do. It’s freaky but also human nature.

  5. Gjeometry says:

    The skirt is so pretty! I think somehow when animal print is in pink, it takes on a whole new lovely geometric ‘form’. Only the black/grey/brown really screams animal print.

  6. Sally Morgan says:

    Wow!!!! the skirt looks so lush and amazing, and what great use of such a striking fabric, love it! is the fabric from a shop or online?

    • Thanks Sally! I got the fabric in a Brixton shop called Simply Fabrics. They have some real gems. They don’t have an online shop but they may offer phone ordering, just conjecture there though.

  7. Kathryn says:

    This is amazing!! I just love that fabric! This may be a really silly question but have you put elastic in your waistband or does it just keep it’s shape due to the darts?

    • My waistband is essentially just a tube i.e. a rectangle the length of my waist folded over, so no real shaping at all. Not sure I would fully endorse that approach though as it does feel like it’s getting a little stretched out after wearing it a few times. But nothing I can’t live with!
      Does that answer your question?

  8. House of Pinheiro says:

    sooooo pretty!

  9. elle says:

    This is spectacular!

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