I really wish I could take credit for this one.
A couple of summers ago at home in Canada I experienced a bit of sewing serendipity. I was in Fabricland admiring a bolt of bright flowered fabric, when an elegantly dressed "grand-mère" next to me (think the French Canadian version of Anne from the first series of Sewing Bee) started talking to me (in French) about the qualities of the brightly bloomed fabric. Most importantly, she thought, it was the perfect match for a skirt she just finished sewing, and pulled out from her purse a compact bundle of accordion folded fabric.
I watched in awe as mon amie carefully unfolded each panel to reveal a knife pleated linen skirt and (still oblivious to the fact that I was not bilingual) went on to excitedly list the merits of the pattern. I used my best Grade 12 french, along with some arm and leg gestures, to learn this clever little skirt was ideal for traveling: it folds up neatly in a suitcase, doesn't take a lot of space, resists wrinkling, is light and cool in the summer heat but slightly structured with a bit of "je ne sais quoi" about it which, of course, would look perfect with the aforementioned fabric (the flowered fabric is too loud for a dress, mon amie insisted, but would make a great blouse. I wonder if she would approve of what it became!)
The image of my elegant friend and the enthusiastic way she talked about the pattern stayed with me for a long while until earlier this year I finally sat down and, with an exhaustive Google keyword search, discovered the pattern:
It turns out the pattern was designed by the talented and accomplished Kathryn Brenne of the Academy of Sewing and Design who, I also discovered to my delight, lives a not far from my hometown - which makes it all the more special to me. (See Kathryn's profile in The Guardian, here)
The Travel Skirt was easy and super satisfying to sew and simple to modify to your size, made up of a number of panels. I just added an extra panel to get a perfect fit.
Whether you're far from home for a short or a long while, crossing cultures or crossing a canal on a slow boat, I think every seamstress needs a Travel Skirt in her wardrobe.