Sewing Journal #3: Japanese Peony Midi Skirt

While on my journey to create a me-made wardrobe, I started to truly appreciate the wide range of small businesses that sell gorgeous fabrics that are beyond the generic prints found in fast fashion outlets.

While on a massive fabric hunt, I came across an Etsy shop called Earth Indigo Fabric. They also have a separate store website: Earth Indigo is based in Canada and specializes in environmentally conscious, organic, and eco-friendly fabrics

I fell in love with their assortment of Japanese woven cotton fabrics because of their classic color scheme, nature-themed traditional prints, and unique woven texture. After receiving the fabric in the mail, I got inspired to create a button midi skirt—the perfect ode to spring.

I began with a sketch with watercolor with the intension of creating a belt to go with the skirt. After completing the skirt, however, it looked a lot better without the added belt.

The Fabric

There are fifteen varieties of fabric to choose from, each one dyed with indigo, and each one with a unique print.

Primary fibers: cotton and poplin

Width: 42.5 inches / 108 centimeters

Price: $8.38 per yard

The Skirt

My favorites of the prints are the Peony, Seven Treasures, and Sakura prints. I tried to create a shirt using the Seven Treasures fabric, but unfortunately it did not turn out right (too tight in the bust). I will be scrapping the shirt and cutting out the fabric in squares to use in a quilt instead. I am saving the Sakura fabric for some other project in the future.

I ended up using the Peony fabric to make the midi skirt with wooden buttons in the front. I used Jess Dang’s DIY Button Front Skirt tutorial to help me construct the skirt, and I am so excited about how it turned out!

Japanese Sashiko Peony Midi Skirt paired with my Eyelet Crop Top and Sapphire Knit Cardigan

For fun, I paired the skirt with my Sapphire Heather Knit Cardigan and Eyelet Crop Top. Inspired by the Land of the Rising Sun, this outfit is pure fun with a flowy cotton skirt, a warm sweater, and some good literature.

Wear it to the local library to be fashionable yet comfortable. If you haven’t read the featured books, find yourselves a copy of The Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki and Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. The Tale of Genji is considered to be the first novel ever written; it is a possible reflection of court life during the Heian period with risqué themes. Memoirs of a Geisha was one of my favorite books when I was in high school. It is fictional tale of love and survival during the 1930s and 1940s with lyrical language. However, take the portrayals of geisha life with a grain of salt since this is a fictional take on their highly esteemed customs written from a Western perspective. There are also many inaccuracies that have been pointed out by real geisha, and an unfortunate confidentiality offense with celebrated geisha Mineko Iwasaki.

Skirt Qualities


Back to the skirt, this garment is my first with an elastic-free wasitband. I measured it to fit my waist, and I used interfacing to ensure that the band keeps its shape.

Detail of the Peony fabric and wooden buttons.
Brown Concave Wooden buttons with Khaki Floral pattern from the Etsy shop Lyanwood

At first, I wanted to use these wooden buttons from the Etsy shop Lyanwood. However, when I received them, they appeared more black than brown and didn’t work for my piece.

I ended up using wooden buttons that I got from JoAnn. I forgot the name of the button brand I used (either LaMode or Organic Elements), but I ended up using solid wooden buttons in medium brown. They ended up complementing the skirt a lot better than the dark brown.


One thing I added that is not in the Jess Dang tutorial are POCKETS! I am spoiled by pocketed skirts and dresses now, so I find it very difficult to make a skirt without pockets.

To make the pockets, I used a navy blue cotton fabric so that I could use every bit of the printed fabric in the skirt. Plus, the cotton fabric has a tighter and stronger weave, making for stronger pockets.

Japanese Sashiko Peony Midi Skirt paired with a V-neck modal t-shirt from American Eagle, the Fringe Pinch Hat from Eric Javitz, and Dolce Vita Lulu Espadrille Wedge Sandals in Off-White

I thought I wasn’t a midi skirt fan until I made this skirt. It has a mature presentation with functioning buttons that can be adjusted to fit the mood of the occasion. In the photo, I paired the skirt with a modal T-shirt from American Eagle Outfitters, the Fringe Pinch Hat from Eric Javitz (gifted to me by my mother— Thanks Mom!), and wedge sandals from Doce Vita.

The jewelry are nearly decades old woven bangles and wooden bracelets. I bought the bracelets over a decade ago (I don’t remember where), but the bangles were gifted to me by family members and family friends that have passed on. Unfortunately, I do not know where they came from. I am a huge proponent for wearing family heirlooms and gifts, so most of my outfits feature jewelry of this type.

Japanese Sashiko Peony Midi Skirt paired with a long sleeved button blouse from Express.

What I learned…

This original project taught me a few things:

  1. Wash your fabric before you use it – This was not the project where I discovered the importance of washing your fabric, but it is the first project where I did so. I no longer worry about my items shrinking during a wash.
  2. Always buy a little more fabric just in case – I really wished I had three yards of fabric instead of two so that I could have made a fuller skirt. The gathered look had just enough fabric for the skirt to work.
  3. Pockets are essential – I might be repeating this particular lesson. I absolutely love pockets in skirts. It almost feels like having pants, and I love the freedom of being able to choose whether or not to wear a purse.

The Final Verdict

I give this Japanese Sashiko Peony Midi Skirt a 9/10.

I would have been able to make the skirt a little fuller had I had more fabric, but I was able to get away with the two yards I had.

I also might make the waist a little smaller next time so that my shirts stay comfortably tucked in (there is some bunching when I move too much).

My next midi skirt will be much fuller with dramatic gathering and a larger panel for nice, chunky buttons instead of medium sized ones.


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