Red Umbrella Mini-Skirt

No comments

BSM 2018-08-103  Red Umbrella Mini-Skirt

This is a project from Autumn last year.  I made it for my birthday trip to Arima Hot springs with my friends.

The project

The skirt comes from Burda Style August 2018, Swinging Sixties collection.  Original is here.   I loved the cool exposed zip and angled front skirt – a really interesting feature.   I was originally attracted to the longer, office ready 102 version from the So chic collection, but I accidentally bought far too little fabric because…

Western/Japanese Fabric sizes

It seems that in the UK (and the US I guess) the standard fabric width available in shops is 140cm.  Whereas in Japan 110cm or far more normal. Wider fabrics are available for upholstery but fashion fabric is basically 110cm only – I wonder why, since even western brands Liberty, Marimeko etc are all cut down for Japan?

Usually I compensate for the difference by getting 50cm or so extra – but this time I just forgot – so had to change plans with the project.


I bought about 90cm… not quite enough!

Another beautiful Japanese pattern of traditional bamboo umbrellas in red, white and brown on a black background.  The colours to me, seemed very autumnal. It’s a busy pattern but not to distracting. I also bought the blue version and will talk about that project another time.

Umbrella fabric

I bought the fabric from a local shop – but it’s also available here.

The fabric is that tough but light cotton yukata fabric that I do enjoy sewing with so much.


This skirt requires a special kind of zip.  You need 25cm separating zipper, that’s also pretty.  And when I started this project I figured that wouldn’t be too difficult to find.  Well I was wrong, in the home of YKK (producer of 99% of the world’s zippers) I couldn’t buy one in any of my local shops.

So I had the choice of separable but ugly plastic, or inseparable but gold zipper.  As the main feature of this skirt was the exposed zipper I really had to choose the pretty one.  IT just means that now rather than a complete wrap skirt the bottom of the zipper is fixed and I have to wiggle the tight mini-skirt over my ass to get it on and risk the stitching each time.  Not ideal – but it works.


Other than that the skirt was really easy to put together.   Choosing how and where to attach the zipper to fit was a little tricky – I had to tape it on and wear it around my apartment several times before I was happy with the position.


I do like the skirt but having completed it and worn it a few times there are some things I wish I had done differently.

Busy fabric Vs cool pattern features

Can’t really see the zip, can you?

This is a recurring problem of mine – choosing fabric designs that mask the complex features of a project.  In this case, the business of the umbrellas hids the zip and diagonal cut of the front skirt. I really think a plain fabric would have suited this project better.  

I think it’s because I struggle to visualise how a piece will turn out – so when I’m standing there in the fabric store I get pulled to the fancy fabrics and away from the ‘boring’ plain options.

So my new rule: A Complex fabric pattern or a complex project – NOT BOTH.


This skirt needs a lining.  If I’m wearing tights – and in Autumn I always was –  it creeps right up. I had to keep tugging it down every few minutes or so – but I think that would be a pretty simple thing to add.


Fun pattern that shows off some great traditional Japanese fabric.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s