Roobedoo posted a question on my last post regarding the length of the header dress: She wondered wether this was a new length for me. An excellent question, and I know she has elaborated a bit on the topic of work appropriate lengths on a recent blog post of hers, you should definitely check it out!

To answer the question, the answer is no, this is not a new length for me, but the fun thing about this question is that it got me thinking about hemlines. What is a good skirt length for me? And what is a good skirt length for others? I went through my closet, and pulled out some skirts I have made the last couple of years to see if there were any similarities in lenghts:

I have taken a pic of all skirts wearing the same top, tights and shoes, just to make it easier to compare the lengths.

The results are inconclusive. I seem to wear all kinds of lengths! Although most of my skirts are “around knee”, I have some that are shorter as well, for instance, I have made Burda 8237  three or four times, so shorter lengths attract me as well as longer. The funny thing is that a lot of the skirts I make come out shorter than I intend. I am ten centimeters taller than the average height that the pattern companies uses, and so I really should add at least ten centimeters when I make skirts, but I end up adding too little, and most of my skirts thus become shorter than I plan for them to be.

I love pencil skirts that has a mid-calf hem line, but I never seem to manage to make one for myself. Actually, taking these pictures of myself, made me aware that I think that my skirts are longer then they in reality are! Both of the Vi 3324 patterns for instance, are intended to be tea-length. Yeah, right. They are both obviously ending just below knee. 🙂 The same goes for Burda 02-2011-107 too. I was supposed to make it below knee, but there was too little fabric. Note to self: If I want a skirt to be both high-waisted and mid- calf, I need 90 cm of fabric, not 60 as I in my imagination think I need…

It´s funny that a seemingly insignificant detail of a garment like the length can cause such a stir. I mean, how many other parts of a garment have been affected by the stock market?  Some women are very specific about their hemlines, I have friends who only have a small flexibility between just below knee and mid-thigh, others never go above knee, then there are even those who never wears anything but maxi skirts. Fascinating.

With all that said, I fuss very little about the length of my skirts. I seem to wear whatever length. I am aware of that having those extra ten centimeters makes more hemlines available for me than for others. And so to my next point.

I try to sew for others as often as I can, but most of my friends and family live far away, so fitting becomes difficult. And since I know that hemline placement is an issue for others, it´s tricky to know how the length of a garment will look on that person. I know that there are some opinions out there that say that shorter women should stick to knee- or above knee length. What do you think, are there any general rules of what is flattering on women of different heights and shapes, do you think, or is it a individual thing, depending purely on the tastes of the specific woman? I´d love to hear you opinion on this, and also what your favorite skirt lengths are!

I for one, will try and make at least one mid-calf pencil skirt this year!

No Comments

  1. Alessa on 22/01/2012 at 15:10

    Wow, your legs are long! I’ve never noticed that before! 😉 I try not to wear skirts/dresses longer than mid-knee length anymore. I used to wear them all the time because I didn’t like my knees, but since I’m pretty short, they make my legs look even shorter. That means I usually chop off about 5cm of hem length of pretty much any pattern before hemming. Good thing I don’t have to add length, I bet I would regularly forget about that, too! 🙂

    • Sølvi on 23/01/2012 at 10:16

      Haha, Alessa! A lot of my pics are taken by my even taller boyfriend, and then he makes me look shorter, I guess;-)

  2. Tors on 22/01/2012 at 16:20

    I tend to wear skirts that are below the knee to tea length, purely because I prefer how they look (and don’t have to shave my upper legs quite so often … TMI?). I love that you wear different lengths, even if that is unintentional at times 😉

    • Sølvi on 23/01/2012 at 10:17

      Excellent reason for not wearing above-knee skirts, Tors! 🙂

  3. Chris on 22/01/2012 at 16:45

    Here’s an interesting post on choosing the most flattering skirt length at the “Crewsin’ Thru My 50’s” Blog:
    http://jcauncmom.blogspot.com/2009/09/part-2-how-to-decide-your-ideal-skirt.html

    • Sølvi on 22/01/2012 at 20:25

      Wow, that is sooo fascinating! Thanks for the link! 🙂

  4. Andrea on 22/01/2012 at 19:06

    I think it’s universally flattering when skirts hit the narrowest part of a woman’s leg (at knee or directly below knee). That length is generally appropriate for most occasions, but I tend to go a bit shorter when I go out to bars or concerts on weekends. I won’t wear skirts that hit mid-calf because my calves are relatively wide so it makes my legs look chunky. I’ve never tried to wear a full maxi skirt because they seem so dramatic, but they’ve always intrigued me!

    • Sølvi on 23/01/2012 at 10:18

      That is a rule I´ve heard of too, come to think of it. Thanks for reminding me! I haven´t been wearing a lot of full maxi´s lately either, but I´d sure like to make one for summer!

  5. molly on 22/01/2012 at 19:55

    I think it is an individual preference, but I also think short women don’t look as good in mid calf or tea length skirts. I pretty much always go at or above the knee, not only because I’m about 3 inches shorter than the pattern models, but I’m just more comfortable in those skirt. But I can see that tall women can do the mid calf skirt very well!

    • Sølvi on 23/01/2012 at 10:20

      To feel comfortable is a very important argument, Molly, I agree!

  6. Sarah on 23/01/2012 at 02:00

    I’m fairly short, but I’m not bothered by it and never really thought before about how hem length might be affected. I don’t like mid calf length on myself, so all my skirts are either mid knee or full ankle length. I actually feel taller in full length skirts, because there isn’t anything to break me up floor to waist.

    • Sølvi on 23/01/2012 at 10:24

      That´s an interesting point about the maxi skirts. 🙂

  7. liza jane on 23/01/2012 at 02:42

    I’ve always heard you should keep the length at the narrowest part of your leg. But I don’t really have an narrow parts of my leg, lol! I made a mid-calf length skirt recently. And I really like it with boots, but no way I would wear it with bare legs. I’d love to try shorter lengths but I’m too chicken. Fun to see all your different skirt photos for comparison!

    • Sølvi on 23/01/2012 at 10:26

      I loved your mid-calf skirt too, but I know what you mean about picking the right footwear, it´s rather important, I agree! 🙂

  8. Sigrid on 23/01/2012 at 04:49

    Hmm. . . I think you have gorgeous legs that look great in any length skirt. I look forward to the long wiggle look.

    • Sølvi on 23/01/2012 at 10:27

      Thanks Sigrid! I bet you would look gorgeous in a wiggle skirt as well! 🙂

  9. Sherry on 23/01/2012 at 09:42

    You are lucky to be able to wear so many lengths and look great! I like on or just below the knee, but currently I adore mid-calf pencil skirts – so sassy!

    • Sølvi on 23/01/2012 at 10:27

      I agree, very cool with the mid-calf, and just below is pretty nice too! 🙂

  10. Geri on 23/01/2012 at 13:34

    I think you look really good in all the different lengths! Also, surely lifes too short for just one skirt length!
    For YEARS I didn’t wear anything longer than just below the knee – due to the fear of appearing shorter ( no problems with short skirts though!). But long flow-y garments, especially the tea-length and maxi length skirt became like forbidden fruits, I wanted them! A few years ago I realised there’s nothing wrong with looking short & haven’t looked back. I’m now generally speaking an any-length girl!

    • Sølvi on 23/01/2012 at 13:49

      Thank you, I think so too. Life IS too short for just one length, but I find it fascinating how much time we put into these matters! 🙂 Here´s to being an any-length girl! 🙂

  11. Alexandra Mason on 23/01/2012 at 16:11

    I think you look really good in different lengths. I’m short and tend to wear skirts above the knee…they often end up a lot shorter than i want because i’m not very good at getting the hem level and keep cutting more off!

  12. Carolyn on 25/01/2012 at 15:07

    All these lengths look great on you!
    I like different lengths myself too, but with the exception of knee length. Personally I feel frumpy in knee length skirts!

  13. Roobeedoo on 26/01/2012 at 13:49

    Until I discovered the Ginger pattern, all my skirts were well below my knee. This was partly because I am short (5 foot 3) and partly because I lost weight and all my skirts started falling lower. This was getting depressing! So having discovered that the sky did not fall in when I wore a Ginger to work, my hemline has been creeping upwards ever since… I might even try winter shorts and tights to the ofice tomorrow! I feel a lot more energetic in a short skirt – I am not tripping over excess fabric!

  14. quietandsmall on 30/01/2012 at 05:36

    LOL, i’m a shorty (but have long legs for my height) and tend to make things that end 2-6 inches above my knee. longer skirts make me look so short!! i’m totally envious of your height!!

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