August 19, 2019

Holyoke Variation: A Swingy Above-the-Knee Skirt

Hiya, it’s Ayelet here with the third installment in our Holyoke Maxi Dress and Skirt hack series! Last week, we showed you how to turn the Holyoke into a cute peplum top and a fun knee-length dress with patch pockets. Today, I’m going to show you how to make this adorable above-the-knee swing skirt!

(Just joining us? Be sure to check out the main Holyoke Maxi Dress and Skirt sewalong page for fabric inspiration, sizing recommendations, step-by-step photos, and more!)

Ready to get your sewing on? Let’s get started!

Once you’ve prepared you fabric and pattern pieces, grab your skirt center front pattern piece. We’re going to shorten this piece like we did with the knee-length dress.

Hold the skirt pattern piece up to a bit below your natural waistline, and make a mark where you want the hem to be. This skirt has a 2 1/2” hem (about 6.5 cm; fold hem over by 1″ and then fold over again by 1 1/2″) so make a mark 2 1/2” (6.5 cm) below where you want your skirt’s hem to be. For me, that was roughly 18″ (about 46 cm) down from the waist.

Now measure down from the waistline. We need to draw a line across the pattern piece, maintaining that same distance up from the existing edge.

This is our new cut line!

Now we need to do the same with the three other skirt pieces, using that same measurement and making sure to follow the curve of the waist edge of each piece.

Now we’re going to expand these pieces to make the skirt more swingy. We’re going to use a technique called slash and spread.

Let’s take our back side skirt piece first. Draw a straight line across the top of the piece, perpendicular to the grainline, about 3-4” (about 8—10 cm) down from the waist edge.

Now, draw a line perpendicular to the line you just drew, going up from the bottom of the skirt.

We’re going to cut up the vertical line, and outwards from the center of the horizontal line. Make sure you leave tiny paper hinges at the two side seams—we want the seams of the skirt to stay the same length that they currently are, so that the pieces fit together properly. (If you accidentally cut all the way through, just put a little bit of tape over the two pieces and try again.) This is the “slash” part.

Now we’re going to pull the two cut pieces away from each other, creating a 1” (2.5 cm) gap in between them. This is the “spread” part.

Place a sheet of paper behind the pattern piece and tape the edges down to create the new pattern piece. Finally, redraw the hem line, maintaining the same distance down from the waist edge.

Depending on how much flare you’re adding to the skirt pieces, you may want to also true up the side seams. This is so that we don’t end up with any weird angles in the side seams!

Do the same thing with the front side skirt piece.

For the skirt center front and skirt center back pieces, we’re going to do something a little different. We want to maintain the straight line in the center for each piece (for the front of the skirt since this is the button placket, and for the back of the skirt since it’s cut on the fold). To do that, we’re going to draw the two perpendicular lines again, but this time, we’re going to cut across the horizontal line from the center line towards the side seam, and up from the bottom to just before the cut line, leaving a tiny paper hinges between the two bottom pieces and at the side seam.

Swing the pieces out, creating a 1” (2.5 cm) gap, and redraw the hem, maintaining a consistent distance from the waistline. Also straighten out the side seam if you have any funny angles.

And now it’s finally time to cut out our fabric with our revised pattern pieces. Use the regular pattern pieces for the waistband and pocket pieces, but remember to shorten the button band interfacing pattern piece as well!

Sew the skirt as you would the Holyoke Maxi Skirt, and then put it on for a little twirl about town!

I made this Holyoke Skirt in a size 12 E/F using a lovely tencel chambray. I paired it with a striped Concord T-Shirt.

We can’t wait to see your Holyoke Maxi Dress or Skirt hacks! Tag your photos on social media using #HolyokeDressHack or #HolyokeSkirtHack so we can ooh and aah at your gorgeous makes.

One thought on “Holyoke Variation: A Swingy Above-the-Knee Skirt

  1. Beck Stanton says:

    Ahhhh!!! Add a bib and it’s a cute pinny!! You’ve saved me the trouble of trying to find a pinny pattern in woven!!

Let me know what you think!