I’m very lucky to be invited to test new patterns from time to time. This gives me the opportunity to provide feedback to the designers and take part in the process of developing a new pattern. I love the element of chance involved, too, as I often get to try styles I’m not necessarily confident with in advance. Very often these garments end up as wardrobe favorites.
This is the third time I’m testing for Dhurata Davies, an independent pattern designer from the UK. Her style of patterns is easy to sew and the resulting garments are mostly casual and easy to wear, but always with carefully considered details that set them apart. Testing for Dhurata is always such a pleasant experience. No rigid schedule or deadline is involved, and she is always super helpful and encouraging. This is important because I do this on my spare time and have to fit in sewing with my other obligations. I’m always excited when she gets in touch because I know I have something good coming my way.
Olive is a casual two-tiered skirt with generous pockets and elasticated waist. It can be worn in any season depending on the fabric. It has two lengths of ruffles and two different pocket designs, giving you plenty of alternatives to choose from. The dipped hem softens the horisontal line of the hem and makes the midi length more flattering on a shortish person like me.
Depending on the fabric choice and length Olive will fit well into either a 70’s or 90’s aesthetic which makes it current and on trend while being a classic shape. Any kind of lightweight fabric with drape will work. I particularly like viscose, silk or cotton voile for this skirt, but it’s really up to you, there are so many options. View C and D lends themselves to color blocking or pattern mixing if that’s your thing. That would be a fun scrap busting project.
I made view B, a midi skirt with inseam pockets. The pockets are not the usual simple version which flop around to endless irritation, they are securely fastened to the waistband. The openings are reinforced with fusible interfacing and have a subtle oval shaping. They stay in place whilst almost invisible from the outside. I LOVE these pockets.
I mentioned being reluctant to wear some styles. One of them is skirts and trousers with copious amounts of fabric around my waist. In this case, however, the carefully drafted shape reduces the amount of gathers to almost nothing, and the result is slightly fitted and very flattering on rounded hips and tummies like mine. I love the comfort of the elasticated waist without having to sacrifice looking good. Yes, I admit being vain 🙂
For me, this is probably more of a summer skirt because I’ve made it in a lightweight viscose crepe, but the addition of a slip skirt and tights is definitely possible. I like the idea of wearing it in early autumn with boots and a cropped sweater, too.
The instructions are very thorough down to the reminder of measuring twice and cut once. There are lots of illustrations and measurements tables. I think the pattern is designed for the confident beginner, but in my opinion anyone should be able to make this as long as they are able to thread and handle a sewing machine. The gathered ruffle could maybe cause some stress for a complete beginner, but by taking it slow there should be no troubles. Following Dhurata’s instructions should be a guarantee for a good result and there will be no unpleasant surprises whatsoever I’m sure.
After a long winter of Covid restrictions I’ve unfortunately gone up a size and feel less confident than ever in gathered style skirts and elasticated waists. Because I worried the skirt would be difficult to get over my hips, I chose size 14 which corresponds with my current measurements. Unfortunately the fabric “grew” when I ironed it, so the finished garment has more room than I expected. This has nothing to do with the pattern. If I make another version in a slippery viscose I’ll definitely consider sizing down, but in a crisper fabric I think this is the correct size for me at the moment.
The finished skirt is lovely and versatile and I can see endless use for it in my summer wardrobe. We are planning to stay for several weeks at our summer house, so a floaty casual skirt paired with tees and camisoles will be perfect for the hopefully many warm days ahead.
Transparency: The pattern was given to me without any other obligations than giving feedback to the designer. All fabric is from my stash.
Pattern: Olive skirt by Dhurata Davies
Size: 14 UK (EU42, US 10)
Fabric: 1.8 meters viscose crepe from Atelier Brunette via Metermeter
A strip of interfacing
Time: Half a day
My other test makes for Dhurata Davies:
The Cora tee
The Overlap jacket and dress