Curvy Colette: My Mabel Skirts

This is my first post for the Curvy Colette Blog Tour. When you’ve finished reading, why not check out the rest of the posts:

Wednesday, April 16th: Jenny at Cashmerette
Thursday, April 17th: Mary at Idle Fancy
Saturday, April 19th & Sunday April 20th: Laurence at QuirkyPrettyCute
Monday, April 21st:  Tanya at Mrs Hughes
Tuesday, April 22nd and Wednesday, April 23rd: T at UandMii
Thursday, April 24th: Jenny at Cashmerette
Friday, April 25th: Mary and Idle Fancy
Saturday, April 26th and Sunday, April 27th: Sophie-Lee at Two Random Words (me!)
Monday, April 28th: Mary at Young, Broke and Fabulous 

There are some patterns that as soon as you make and try on, you laugh. Why on Earth haven’t I made one before??


Colette Mabel is one of those patterns. I used to have a black knit, princess seamed skirt that I loved, and wore all the time. At least once a week. One day a year or so ago it went missing and ever since I’ve thought “I should really make one of those”. I’ve half-heartedly tried a couple of times, using this pattern from Burdastyle, but they ended up going to my sister-in-law Tough Chick.

When Colette Patterns released their two new patterns, the Mabel skirt and Moneta dress, it took a bit of time to sink in. “Oh, some basic knit stuff, how nice” and on I continued with my day. Then I realised – this is EXACTLY the sort of stuff that’s missing in my hand-made wardrobe. With Me-Made-May coming up, I’ve really had to think about which garments I reach for more than others, and what kind of things I’m missing.


This pattern has definitely filled a gap in my wardrobe. It’s quick to make, quick to pull on and sooo comfortable. I would warn you though: be very careful what kind of fabric you use! Being so far away from any fabric stores, I bought this online and while it was described as a Ponti de Roma “knit wear, tops, skirts and pants”, it’s a bit thin for this kind of thing. I cut the XL size, grading to a size L at the hips, and it’s a bit clingier than I would like.

At first I thought I would have to give it away as it was showing all sorts of bumps and VPL’s, but I’ve found myself reaching for it quite a lot. Unfortunately the fabric has already started to pill, only a week after making it (and wearing it about 4 times since making it).

Thinking that the clinginess was a combination of the fabric choice and the pattern being slightly too small, I quickly made another one to test out the theory. Luckily I had just cut out a jumper for Mr. Guy and had easily enough of this wool blend leftover:

This second time I traced off the 2XL for the front side panels, giving me more room all around. I chose only that panel to trace bigger as I wanted the princess seams to sit further towards the middle, so they sit over the “fullest” part of my puku (stomach). You’ll also note this version is longer – while my black one has 2cm added to the length, when I walk it rides up to sit at mid-thigh. This version has a total or 12cm added to the length, and a 1.5cm seam allowance (for reference, I’m 178cm or 5’10”)

This is a much more “work appropriate” length, and is what I usually wear, although the shorter black version is nice to make me feel a bit like a babe (and it’s nice to finally have clothes that I can only wear out of work, rather than everything being work-appropriate – I don’t feel I can wear my ships or lobster dresses to work, for example).

You’ll see that this thicker fabric still shows a lot of lumps and bumps, so it’s nicest with a cardigan over it. It’s quite thick so I can’t really wear a top over it (plus I don’t have many tops that are for wearing untucked). This is the main thing to be aware of when choosing fabric for this skirt – the more stretch the fabric has, the more it’ll show what’s underneath (because the fabric will “stretch” over the lumps/seams rather than sitting flat over them). Thicker fabric will help alleviate that, as would a fabric with two “layers” such as a terry knit.

 I just love my facial expression in this photo.

What do you think of the new Colette patterns? I’m absolutely stoked that they’ve graded their patterns up – yes, I fit their standard block (although I would grade up in the hips) but so many women are stuck using Big 4 patterns because the indie patterns don’t go big enough. When looking at the patterns you can tell they actually did a fair amount of work getting a good “plus sized” sloper, as there’s some extra shaping in the 2 and 3XL sizes, to keep the proportions right. Well done Colette!

This is how short it actually wears.


Pattern: Mabel by Colette Patterns

Fabric: Black ponti, $14 incl. postage. Grey and black wool, ~$15

Notions: Thread, stash

Total: $14 and $15

In case you were wondering, the photos were taken in Russel in the Bay of Islands, where Mr. Guy and I went for a few nights over this ANZAC weekend, for our first wedding anniversary. Damn but I love that man. You’ll see a couple more Bay of Islands photos in my next post for the Curvy Colette Blgo Tour – tomorrow!


25 thoughts on “Curvy Colette: My Mabel Skirts

  1. I have just bought this pattern, having seen it on the other blogs, I love yours! I too am 5’10” and seeing your versions is great. I’m usually a size 20 skirt / trouser, so as you say, finding nice patterns that fit without industrial quantities of extra paper and Sellotape is a real bonus!! I’ve bought the Moneta as well, are you thinking of giving that a go?

    • I definitely recommend lengthening the pattern unless you like it quite short – my black one does ride up to mid-thigh. It seems about spot on for other bloggers but us tall ladies need a bit more length, especially if we’ve got some junk in our trunks. I’ve already made TWO Moneta’s and want to keep wearing them in rotation – I’ll be blogging about them tomorrow and keeping my eye out for suitable knits to make more!

      • Brilliant! I will look forward to seeing them, it looks like a very popular pattern! I have some really nice ikat patterned knit so I can see one being made out of that…

  2. love the Bay of Islands…and am looking forward to seeing the Moneta tomorrow. I keep eyeing it up on the website but then remind myself that the Gabriola and Belcarra have just made it into my shopping basket so “should” exercise some restraint…….tomorrows post may break that resolve 🙂 I am also now tempted by Mabel – I rarely make work basics, rather get distracted by pretty fabrics and colors; it seems like a skirt that would work well with a number of tops.

    • Heh, I’ve so far held of the Belcarra because I recently bought the Afternoon Blouse. I’m sure when I do another order from SewSquirrel it’ll end up on it’s way to me too. Both these patterns are excellent – to be honest I may not have bought them initially, thinking the skirt is very plain and the dress is similar to other dresses (I was planning on adapting my Renfrew to a dress) but.. well, I’ll talk about the dress later. I love it though and want to wear them every day

      I, too, get distracted by pretty fabrics and so I only have about 5 black items in my wardrobe (two of which were made in the last fortnight). I am getting better about buying plain colours rather than prints, because otherwise nothing matches – but I NEEEEED more plain tops.

  3. Boo for quickly piliing fabric but yay for a wonderful fit! I think both versions look nice and after seeing everyone’s curvy versions, I have one on my sewing table too!

    • I know, it looks rather ratty actually – pills and it’s collecting bits of dust. I’m of the “don’t care, feels comfortable” camp so will continue to wear it. I look forward to seeing your version!

  4. These are fabulous, Soph! I really like the longer length on your wool blend one. I’m just a smidgen shorter than you are and, after wearing my Mabel a few times, can definitely see the benefit in some extra length. Both of these skirts look amazing on your curves! Love them.

    Also: Happy Anniversary!! I hope you’re having a lovely, romantic weekend.

    • We are! Today (our actual proper anniversary) will be spent doing what we love – me sewing and blogging, Mr. Guy is on the computer playing Battlefield. He’ll get bored and start bugging me in the early afternoon. Also need to try and get hold of a bigger pot to make feijoa chutney (I can’t wait to have all my kitchen things back)

      I’m oookay with a mid-thigh skirt but I do continually tug it down. I thought it might be because it’s a bit small but I don’t think the shape of the skirt would encourage it to do that

  5. Pingback: Sewing double for Curvy Colette | The Monthly Stitch

  6. Love the short version even though the fabric is pilling: the proportions it creates looks awesome. Plus, you have great legs: why not show them off? (Hope i’m not out of line for saying so…)

    BTW: Is the skirt lined? Maybe that could help with the lumps and bumps? That plus a thicker fabric…

    • It’s not lined (have never lined a knit garment before) but I agree, that would probably help a lot.

      And nope, definitely not out of line! This skirt hits right at the sweet spot that makes my legs look good – any shorter or longer and they don’t!

  7. Thank you for taking part in this blog hop! I am enjoying all of the bloggers. The skirt looks very nice on you. When I wear knits I use a light control panty. I hate the belly button dip and other lumps and bumps. It doesn’t feel tight, but it does give a smoother line.

    • Thanks! And yes, I hate that “belly button dip”. I might try and make one of those, to smooth everything out – I don’t buy RTW so will have to do it myself, despite it being that much harder.

  8. I love both of them, but especially the grey! Very chic and business appropriate, but they could both be dressed up, too. I never thought a knit skirt could be more than just a casual piece until y’all!

  9. I completely agree with the fabric choice. I actually first tried the mabel with a thinner jersey and it was an epic fail… They both look great on you!

    • Yeah it’s why I specifically bought a ponte! It came in the mail and was slinkier than I had anticipated but decided to go with it. At least it’s crazy comfortable

  10. Pingback: Curvy Colette: Check out the makes!  |  Coletterie

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