Hot! The ‘Moloka’i Rising’ skirt

I’m going to apologise in advance.  This is the boringest possible re-make ever, with the boringest possible photographs to go with the boring re-make.  So I’m going borrow an idea from Kazz and throw in some photographs of my trip home to Moloka’i, because they are where I wish I was able to photograph this skirt, and because the colours inspired the name of the skirt.  If you want to know more about the photographs, it’s a pretty amazing story.

Right.  So the boring skirt started out as a wrap skirt that I wore when I was 14 and had a 25 inch waist and hips that were hardly bigger.

I’ve grown a bit since then, and the skirt no longer does the really pertinent thing for a wrap skirt, which is to actually wrap.  Now it just sort of barely meets.  Also, I no longer live in Hawai’i, and don’t have a lot of reason for light cotton skirts in crazy batik patterns with phoenixes and butterflies on them.

I do, however, have a mother who loves crazy batik prints in blues and greens, and who is only a tiny bit bigger than me, and who lives in Hawaii and thus has a use for endless numbers of light cotton skirts.  So I re-made the skirt for her by sewing up the edges of the wrap, turning it into a circle skirt with one seam.

There were small holes in the fabric right along the edges where I’d pinned it closed on windy days, so I used bits of the ties and the extra edges to hide those, creating a fun seam feature that I quite like.  I’d wear it on the side front of the skirt, but wearing it as a side seam is fine too.

One hole couldn’t be covered and needed a mend, which I did with super-basic machine piecing.

I finished the skirt off with a hand-set zip, because my fun mend feature seam made any other sort of zip-setting impractical.

The name is because the skirt is all the colours of Moloka’i: green hills and blue sea, gold sand and red dirt, and because of the phoenixes on the skirt.  Moloka’i has been struggling in the last few years, economically and environmentally.  I hope to see it rise like a phoenix soon.

Just the facts, Ma’am:

Fabric: One circle wrap-skirt

Pattern: None

Year: Originally?  Probably 1970s

Notions: Metal skirt zip (thrifted for 20 cents), vintage thread (inherited).

And the insides? It’s all on the outside – hidden in my seam feature.

Hours: 2

First worn?: I guess Mum will wear it as soon as I stick it in a package and get it to her!

Total cost: 20 cents (and I guess that some time way in the distant past I may have paid for the skirt, but if you can’t remember when or where you got it, it doesn’t count, right?)

Yawn.  Time for some for some interesting pictures!

I’ll finish off with one of Mum and I.  I hope she likes her skirt re-make!


Leimomi Oakes - The Dreamstress

Leimomi Oakes learned to sew as a child in Hawaii, and hasn't spent a day without doing it in the-more-years-than-she-would-like-to-admit-to since. When she was 18 she was nicknamed 'The Dreamstress' and bought the domain name, and now she's stuck with it. After getting degrees in Art History, Costume Design and International Relations she worked in a number of fabulous museums before going freelance as a textile and fashion historian and historical seamstress. She lives in Wellington New Zealand with a lovely husband and a world-famous cat.


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  1. Lovely skirt Leimomi I’m sure your mom will love it. Such gorgeous photos too.

  2. Nice work, Leimomi. This really appeals to the extremely practical side of my nature, and I love the colors and the tie with Moloka’i’s colors. :)

  3. Cute! You and your mom very happy together.

  4. Cute! You and your mom look very happy together.

  5. I need to make something for my mum. Wonderful post about Moloka’i – very moving. Thanks for sharing it.