Friday, April 26, 2019

Salida Skirt by True Bias

This is going to be one of those posts. The post where I have critiques about the pattern. I don't like making those but I also don't like not doing it. It might be a personality thing but it eats me up when I see what I consider mistakes. And not because we are not allowed to make accidental mistakes, we all do, my goodness. But when I see something that is not helpful or can cause confusion and which should be there, that eats me up and I just have to talk about it. Because patterns are a big part of many people's learning process. 

But first, what pattern am I talking about? It's the Salida Skirt by True Bias. It's a two style pattern with a pencil skirt and a flared skirt. Same top half and different bottom halves.

I bought it as soon as it released because I was looking for a pencil skirt pattern and really loved all the lines/panels, the yokes, the pockets and the zip fly. All those details made it more everyday style, which was exactly what I was looking for. 

Since taking these photos, I have sewn it in a bit more in the front mid seams, right below the yoke and down. The seams were a bit more curved that I needed them to be. So in these photos there's still at bit too much fabric in the top front area below the yoke. I'm not even sure it can be seen, but I felt it was needed after wearing it for a day after taking photos.

Here is a photo of what I'm trying to say above.

I don't often make muslins anymore (the more experience, the more you can predict things. Not always though!) but with this pattern I did. Because my experience predicted it necessary, ha. The particular design for this skirt made me anticipate that I needed it. 
See my hip measurements put me in a size 14 but my waist is smaller. And I really didn't wanted to sew in the side seams and mess with the pockets and their placement. 
(I always say, that it doesn't matter what mistakes we make. What matters is that we learn from them. And I learned something from making the Indigo Maxi Skirt. See post HERE.)  Instead I wanted to sew in those mid front and back seams, which meant slashing and gathering the front and back yokes (making them smaller too). That can't be done when the real fabric is cut because there is no seam to sew in.

I saved my muslin, so I could show you the difference in the methods of taking it in. The left side shows the mid center lines and the way I ended up with. And the right shows the side seams. I did one method on each side, while wearing it, and it was clear that the left side gave the best result.

I also anticipated that the waistband, which is not fitted (aka it's a long rectangle) would not fit my pear shape. My waist is narrow and everything is curved around there on me. Not straight up and down. I don't blame the pattern for this. Lots of people fit a waistband like that, but I know that I don't unless it's very narrow. (Very simple math will help you understand why. :-)

HERE is a monster post from 2013, that amongst other things, shows you how to draft a fitted waistband from a rectangle (first photo collage). It's basically a slash and gather (or spread) master class.

So my plan was to sew a muslin in a size 14, and then make it smaller above my hips, using the method described above. Plus figure out much I needed to pinch in the top of my waistband for the right fitted size.

I added some length too. The pattern is drafted for a 5'5" (165 cm) tall person and I'm 5'10" (178 cm), plus I personally don't want my skirts above my knees. Also looking at the modeled photos from the pattern listing, I think this is drafted to sit in the actual waist, which even more confirms the logic in a non-fitted waistband. I wanted mine to sit a bit below, which definitely made a fitted waistband necessary (on me). 
That's why sewing is awesome. We can get it the way we want it.

So far everything as been hunky dory with this patterns. Seams are trued, they are matching up, it's all good. It was a big job removing all the extra seam allowance on all the pattern pieces, and there are quite a few. I loathe 1/2" SA and insist on using 1 cm (3/8") but that's 100% on me and my personal preference.

So WHAT is the problem? The short answer is: There are no marking of CF (center front).

That causes problems two places. When you sew your zip fly and when you attach your waistband. Let me elaborate. 

Let's start with the waistband because that's the most troublesome.
At first I thought maybe the missing CF marking/notch was just a mistake. You know, supposed to be there but somehow went missing in the process. It happens. But then I checked the tutorial and I realized that was not the case.

So there's the back notch and that's it. So why am I concerned about that? Well, it says "The ends should extend past the center front edges of the skirt by 1" or more." So when there is no CF notch on skirt or waistband to match, or side seam notches for that matter, then the sizing of your waistband will be a bit random. And that's not good in my mind. It will depend on stretch in fabric, fabric type, whether you naturally ease your fabric a bit or not. I know there's stay stitching, which I have absolutely no experience with (in industrial sewing we are taught to ease any fabric back in shape, which is why interfacing your facings, waistbands etc etc, is SO important, because you can't trust the un-interfaced pieces of fabric. I'm NOT saying stay stitching is wrong. If it helps you, by all means do it. But I wouldn't trust it to keep that top seam of the skirt, exactly the same as the paper pattern.
So to just sew the waistband on and see how much ends up past the edge is unthinkable in my world. Sorry to be so dramatic. I know some of you will be rolling your eyes now, haha. We can still be friends!
And if some of you have been taught this way, it's most likely someone in dressmaking/tailoring, where everything is individually fitted to the individual person. Like I've said many times before, it's a whole other (fascinating and amazing) working process. But since all the other techniques in this pattern are industrial sewing techniques, I think I can expect that the waistband is too. I want the waistband to come out the same size that the paper pattern is drafted for every time, no matter what fabric I us. And for that you need, as a minimum, a CF notch on the skirt and the waistband, so you can match them up and ease the fabric of the skirt back to original paper pattern size.

I would also have liked the waistband to be precisely drafted for size. You can do that. But if the CF notches had been there and the pattern had me trim afterwards, I wouldn't be so upset because there isn't much that can stretch after the CF notches. No blog post necessary, ha.

The next problem about no CF marking is the zip fly. And things are going to get a bit more muddled now. First of all I personally think there should be a CF mark every single time there's a zip fly. Just because it's such an essential marking. The reason why things are getting muddled, is because if you follow the pattern's tutorial you can, as far as I can decipher, sew the zip fly. So what's the problem? Well, personally I think patterns should be drafted to be able to be sewn without consultating the tutorial (besides seam allowance info). Again, that's the industrial sewing way. If you know how to read notches (and they are placed correctly), you'll know how to sew the pattern. All I need to sew a correctly drafted zip fly is a CF notch. But I absolutely have to have it. It's my beacon and I use it all the way through to make sure it turns out right. I need it to check that nothing is crooked and the skirt has the right size. Yes, if you don't align your CF notches on the two overlapping layers, again your top of your skirt isn't the right size....and if you don't have a waistband with the correct markings either, then trouble can really start happening. One seam usually affects another and so on.

So what do to, if I have convinced you that you can't live without a CF notch. (A girl can always dream, haha.)

You overlap your sewing lines on the front yoke and front skirt panel. In this case I have 1 cm seam allowances (SA), so for the sewing lines to meet, the paper has to overlap 1 + 1 cm = 2 cm. As you might remember I reduced the SA. Originally it's 1/2", so the overlap has to be 1".

Now the line at the very bottom of the photo (yellow arrow) is your CF line. A ruler like this is GOLD when working with patterns, because it can measure in two directions at the same time. So I'm measuring my SA horizontally and at the same time I'm continuing the CF line vertically, all the way up though the layers, to the top of the front yoke, where my pencil is pointing and I've added a blue notch. That's the CF notch, woohoo. Now we can finally start cutting fabric and sewing. ;-)

And just for fun, I've added a red arrow too, to show you where I slashed and gathered/overlapped my yoke piece after making the muslin. Same method on the back yoke.

Okay, THAT was a lot of rambling about a missing CF notch. I know I could have just mentioned that I missed it, but I really do prefer to explain why.
As you know there are many ways to do things. I'm reviewing this pattern from my point of view and trying to be as fair as possible.

I always try to think about previous posted tips or tutorials that can be helpful when making this pattern, so HERE is a mini tutorial from #miessewingtips on Instagram about what to think about when placing a button and buttonhole in a waistband. Hint, you don't want to place that button in the middle of the buttonhole. AND it's the button placement, that determines the buttonhole placement, not the other way around!

PS. what happened with the hair here? Birds nest? Focus on the bum, focus! hahaha

My fabric is some lovely cotton twill that clearly didn't like my iron's temperatures. Oops.

I just remembered I also drafted some visible pocket facings to sew on top of my pocket bags, since I didn't want my whole pocket bags to be made with this fabric. Another thing I wished came with a pattern that is drafted for medium weight woven fabrics such as denim.

Okay, that's absolutely IT, ha. After a lot of work I ended up with a lovely skirt and now that my pattern is fully prepped to my liking, I want to make many more.

Thank you for reading!


  1. Long post, but I agree with you on putting centre front markings and notches onto patters. I remember having a nightmare of a time with a top pattern once, that didn't have any notches. I knew I needed to make some adjustments to the pattern for fit reasons and I just couldn't figure out how to make the changes because I hadn't got these essential guidelines. I would also say that this skirt looks like a tricky one to fit with that front fly because the zip is attached to the yoke and below it.
    All this said, your final skirt looks awesome and I definitely like all the seam details on it.

    1. Yes, that's exactly it. You are missing those essential guidelines. Thank you for the nice words and for stoppping by!

  2. I sincerely appreciate that you are one of the few sewing bloggers who can be relied on to give unbiased, informative feedback on a pattern. We tend to be so driven by positivity that we stunt our collective growth, so thank you for offering another option! (Also, I quite love the haircut!)

    1. Ack, your comment is almost making me cry (happy tears). It's always nice to feel appreciated and understood! Thank you so so much!!

  3. I love reading your blog posts and tips, Mie! I had no idea that a center front notch was so essential on a waistband piece— I’m thinking that quite a lot of the patterns I normally use don’t have them. I will pay more attention to that in the future! Thanks for this informative post. Your skirt is so pretty I’m that green fabric and I love it with your pink top.

  4. Thanks so much for such an informative post. I'm a beginner and this will come in good use for future skirt makings!

  5. I have questions i am a hobby sewist. New to downloading indie patterns and printing each piece then cutting out.
    So i purchased 3 patterns from a designer
    Heres my questions:
    For example one pattern in the print view had 5 pattern pieces.
    In the material pattern. Cutting/layout view there were 7 pieces( none of them labeled in the pattern/ material cut out view).
    Then in the pattern pieces needed view there were 8 pattern pieces needed?

    That to me means something is a miss as that does not make sense to me?
    Am i missing something? Being new to downloading indie patterns and printing them out?
    What would you make of this in a pattern instruction if you encountered this?

    I found this situation in all three patterns i purchased? And one pattern definitely had a pattern piece missing.

    I emailed the designer . and sent photos.
    to date i have received no response to my inquiries, questions other than the designer sending the missing pattern piece .

    I hope you will respond. I am excited about wanting to sew the patterns but confused and wondering if all the patterns are missing pieces or you are expected to just wing it?
    Sincerely cathy l

    1. That sounds very strange. Are all 3 patterns from the same designer? Are some of the missing pieces, rectangles and maybe something you are expected to draft yourself? Have you actually printed out the patterns yet or have you just looked at the print view so far?

  6. Yes all three patterns are from the same designer.
    There are no instructions in any of the patterns that would lead me to understand i have to draft any pieces myself.
    I have printed one pattern out. But heres whats so confusing.
    There are five pattern pieces in the print layout. 4 of them are marked as to what the pattern pieces are. One of them is not labeled with anything except cut on the fold. Thats all it has on it.
    7 pieces ( all unmarked)in the material cut out layout.
    There are 6 unmarked pieces in the pattern pieces needed to make the pattern and it says how many to cut of each pattern piece. but in that diagram they are not individually labeled as to what each pattern piece is In that layout.
    And no instructions that i see as to cut pattern ( xyz) x amount of times as this piece is used for x and or x???etc.

  7. The other two patterns ive just looked at instructions and the layouts. The jacket pattern is missing the actual pocket pattern piece, it is not in any of the 2 layouts print, cut, it is in pieces needed.
    And that particular sewing instruction abruptly ends at the collar attachment leaving me to believe pattern construction info is also missing.

  8. So heres my question if there are x amount of pattern pieces required to make a pattern and their are no indications that you are required to make any of the pattern pieces yourself, shouldnt the required amount of pattern pieces (needed to make the pattern) be in the print layout/ actual pattern?

    1. Well, the answer to that question is definitely, YES, they should be in the actual pattern. Do you mind sharing who the designer is? Maybe I can help you get in contact with them. You can send me an email to: Please also name the 3 patterns you've bought in the email.

  9. Thank you so much for this. Just made my muslin of my salida and was looking for that notch...too funny!


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Thank you!