Monday, January 24, 2011

Butterick 3133

You will see this skirt repeatedly because it is the only one I packed for the trip. Iris was smart enough to bring two sleeveless shift dresses and two skirts.

Doesn't she look fantastic during this spice farm tour in Zanzibar?

The real trip skirt I had planned was made of heavy-weight silk twill (600 gram skirt!) employing time-consuming hand sewing techniques and was 2 inches too big at the waist. More on that later.

In desperation, I reached for some sturdy cotton and pedestrian-looking out of print (OOP) Butterick 3133. I wanted something washable, with an elastic waist, side pockets and that I could sew quickly.

The fabric has green thin warp yarns and black thick and thin weft yarns. It looks black in the top photo and gray in this photo of an ill-fated dress. This sage green Burda 8998 tank top brings out the green in the skirt.

We look disheveled because we had just climbed the stairs to the top of the lighthouse on Chumbe island. It was even more difficult because I wore a long skirt* in order to conform to the local modest dress codes for women whenever I was out of the water.

I sewed this in such a hurry, I neglected to take a photo of how I added two hidden interior buttoned pockets to the side seam pocket bags. I will do a tutorial on that later.

Don't hurry past old Butterick patterns when you come across them. In my experience, they are very accurately drafted, true to size, and fit well. In a 'hip' fabric, they can look very au courant. Don't believe me? Take a look at this picture from the December 2010 issue of American Elle. Aren't those $375 Philip Lim 3.1 silk pants dead ringers for the wide-legged pants, Butterick 3133 View E?

* In retrospect, a skirt this long is overkill. Female tourists just need to wear skirts or pants that reach past the knee. The local women wear their skirts longer, but they don't expect tourists not used to the heat and humidity to do the same. Sleeveless tops are fine, but don't wear spaghetti straps or flash cleavage.


  1. When we did our big trip around Asia and the Pacific, I bought a Macabi skirt for the trip ( It was awesome, although as you say- I could have gotten away with the standard length instead of the long length I bought. It has an amazing inner pocket that was great for stashing my wallet in. And the lightweight, quick dry fabric was very handy.

    Interestingly, in Malaysia, I wore pants more often than the skirt- because there, the locals wear tight pants and a long loose shirt. I found that my fitted T-shirts caused me to garner far more attention than my hiking pants. But I had needed to replenish my shirt collection in Singapore, and it was next to impossible to find anything that was big enough NOT to be tight on me. I eventually went to a shop in the Indian section of one of the Malaysian cities and bought a couple of new shirts that were looser.

    The skirt was really useful in Thailand, though. They're used to tourists flashing all sorts of flesh, but if you're going to visit a temple, they ask you to cover up, and in some cases, they prefer women NOT wear pants. I'd keep the skirt or a sarong in my backpack to put on over my pants or shorts if we were going into a temple.

  2. Anonymous22:59

    I'm a big fan of Butterick and often see some of my much used patterns from the '70s reincarnated in Vogue, JJill,etc. You're so right about the fit!


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