2 skirts in one: a reversible Mabel
One of the coolest things about double knit fabric is that it can actually be made reversible. Because there are two right sides to the fabric, you can sometimes find double knits that have patterns on each side.
Mabel requires a few changes in order to make it reversible. There are three things that need to be changed so that the skirt looks similar both inside and out: the seams, the waistband, and the hem.
My favorite way to make reversible seams is to make them flat felled.
This is easier than you might think with the Mabel because the vertical side seams really don’t require much stretch. All I did was the usual flat felled seams, but using a narrow (0.5mm width) zigzag instead of a straight stitch on my sewing machine.
While I used a fabric that was already reversible, I do think you might be able to use two fabrics and simply sew them with wrong sides together, like a lining. In that case, you wouldn’t need to do special seams, as they’d be hidden between the two layers. I haven’t tried this, but let me know if you do!
The waistband is another area that should be altered for reversibility.
I decided to cut the stripes vertically on both the waistband and hem as a design detail. Since my fabric had 4-way stretch, I could cut it either way.
Normally, you would serge the waistband to the skirt. But this leaves a serged seam on one side of the skirt.
Instead, I essentially sewed the waistband to the skirt like you would on a woven garment, by folding the seam allowance under on the underside and edgestitching it down.
Again, I used a narrow zigzag for stretch. If you have a coverstitch machine, you could do a chainstitch instead.
Another option would have been to serge the waistband to the skirt as normal, then topstitch the serged seam allowance down for something that looks similar to a flatlock. Depending on your fabric, this might not be all that noticable, but I wanted something a bit neater and less sporty looking.
Finally, there is the hem.
On the original skirt, the hem is finished with the twin needle technique (or you can use a coverstitch machine). This leaves a pretty clear right and wrong side.
Instead, I did a band hem (instructions are in The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits). I installed it just like the waistband, folding all the seam allowances under and edgestitching with a narrow zigzag.
That’s it, 2 skirts for the price of one! You can use these techniques if you come across your own double sided double knit fabric. Here are a few 2 sided double knits I found on fabric.com, for example.
What I really wanted to share here is how versatile knits can be when you’re willing to switch up your techniques and get creative.
You don’t need to be limited by your fabric or the way a pattern instructs you to sew something. Take that as a starting point and try out different hem finishes, seams, and edge treatments for totally different results.