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High-waisted jersey pencil skirt

This skirt was featured in the May 2012 edition of BurdaStyle magazine, but it’s one of the few that’s also available for purchase as a downloadable pdf if you missed this issue (a really great one, IMHO!).

This is quite an interesting pattern because of its simplicity – it’s only one pattern piece (the same for the front and the back), with a bunch of radiating pleats on one hip, and just two side seams to sew. There are three hem lengths suggested on the pattern, and I went with the shortest, Hem length A, which ends up right at my knees.

And that’s it – no zippers, no elastic, no nothing. So it’s a really quick and easy skirt to sew up in one evening!

The grey vintage midi skirt

Remember my my pinup sheath dress? Well, I made good use of the remaining 2 meters of so of the ex-designer charcoal grey flannel and made a midi skirt with it!

I used this vintage New Look/Maudella midi skirt pattern I bought in Sheffield not long ago:

I made View 2 (seen in my attempted tech drawing above), and the pattern pieces for it and View 1 were already cut to size 18 (my size, judging by the pattern, eep!), which made it easy to just lay on the fabric and cut. There are only three pattern pieces (skirt panel, yoke, and waistband), so it was a really quick skirt to construct, though the hem sat ready to be handsewn for a week or two before I had time to do it!

At first I was concerned that the front and back pieces were exactly the same, but I haven’t noticed any problems in the fit while wearing it. I think this might be down to my pancake butt, but someone with a more pronounced derriere might have issues.

Piling up…

The number of posts I want to write is piling up at an alarming rate, and I have no time to do anything about it, what with work being crazy busy (I hate all of you who get tons of time off at Christmas – I only get 3 days off in total! And my days have mostly been solving one problem, and having five new problems pour in while I was fixing the one, then moving on to the next in a To-Do list which never, ever gets cleared.) and us spending all our weekends working on the boat (last weekend we spent 15 hours building the subfloor down there. No, don’t feel jealous – the boat blog is being neglected, too).

So rather than stress about the amount of things piling up, I’m going to present my pile to you in pictorial form.


This is what James’s desk looked like this morning. It’s supposed to be my temporary cutting table while we’re building in the hold. How can I possibly cut the bias Ruby Slip or Holly’s maxi-dress fabric on this?? I’m pretty sure Bosco isn’t responsible, though he does look a bit shifty there…


I finished my vintage midi skirt ages ago, but have had zero time to document, or photoshoot or anything. So here’s two photos to test the hem length (which is why it’s just basted here)


I sewed a little waistcoat for James’s nephew out of this Tardamask fabric on Spoonflower. It’s got hidden pockets inside! He’s 7, and the biggest Dr Who fan ever, so we’re excited to see his reaction on Christmas.

Grey flannel outlook ahead

My next two sewing projects to share with you both use the fantastic, charcoal grey, ex-designer poly/viscose/lycra flannel that Neighbour Helen gifted to me just before they set sail for the continent. If I didn’t have the fibre content tag still attached to the fabric, I’d assume it was a cashmere or wool flannel, it’s that lovely!

The first use of the flannel is actually already finished and could’ve been spotted in the swankier parts of Spitalfields on Saturday night – an amaaaaaaazing sheath dress from Burda magazine:

I’ll avoid a long story to explain the Why, but you’ll have to wait til next week to see the photos. But trust me when I say it is a truly stunning va-va-voom dress!

Then this weekend I decided to jump right in and use up the remaining ~2m or so of the flannel and make the vintage Maudella midi skirt pattern I bought in Sheffield a few weeks ago:

The Draped jacket & skirt suit

I’m very happy to report that my draped suit (Burda September 2011 #126 and 127) is finally finished! It feels like I’ve been sewing this for f-o-r-e-v-e-r and I am thoroughly sick of it now!

If you recall, it’s a two-part suit, with a draped, collar-less jacket and a pleated pencil skirt:

I’ve been sewing both of the pieces in parallel, so I’ve finished them at the same time. I like a lot of aspects of this suit, but to be perfectly honest, I’m not totally in love with the overall resulting look.

The jacket and skirt together!

Things I really like:

  • The lapel-less shawl collar construction
  • The asymmetric drape
  • The three part, bell shaped sleeve
  • The two-tone, piped lining
  • The folded and seamed facing on the draped side
  • Pretty much everything about the skirt
    • The drape makes for a rather elegant side view, too:

      Things I don’t like:

Draped jacket – no ordinary lining

There’s been only slow and steady progress on my draped suit (Burda September 2011 #126 and 127) this week as there’s been little time to sew, but I did get a few hours of “me time” in on Sunday evening after my insulation work was done for the day.

Those few hours were enough for me to finish the entire shell of the jacket and skirt, but I needed a clear surface to cut out the lining fabric, so that was delayed until last evening (since my running group was cancelled). Since the wool suiting has stretch, I didn’t want to negate the benefits of that with a non-stretch lining, so I pulled out one of the few stretch wovens in my stash – a blisteringly hot pink stretch satin I’d bought from Fabric.com last year (and came across in my mom’s suitcase before the wedding). Despite it being polyester, it actually feels wonderful and it was worth the price to be such a high quality lining.

The Vogue 1259 Donna Karan gathered skirt set

I’ve finally finished Vogue 1259! I don’t regularly sew Vogue patterns (or any envelope patterns, for that matter), but like plenty of other people, I just loved this design as soon as it appeared online, and I just couldn’t wait to sew it up!

I used this mushroom-coloured viscose/cotton/lycra jersey from Tia Knight on ebay, and it was perfect for this pattern. You really need something lightweight and drapey, because there are a LOT of gathers that would get bulky very quickly in anything heavier. Vogue don’t give combined yardages for making the top and skirt, but 3m was just enough for me to make both, in size 16, using their recommended layout.

This pattern is marked as “Advanced”, and I think the top definitely qualifies, both for construction, as well as the cutting and marking, and the following of their instructions (which certainly don’t make things easier!). The skirt, however, could easily be made by a beginner. So if you’re intimidated by the “Advanced” label but like the skirt, go for it!

My aqua pleated skirt

I’ve been talking about making this skirt for months now – I really liked it when it first appeared in the September 2010 issue of La Mia Boutique (#26), and then I thought I’d make it this winter, but my chosen fabric seemed too summery… But finally, its day has come and I’ve made it a reality!

It’s hard to see in the magazine photo, but there are pockets integrated into two of those pleats, too, which I really like!

And then someone on Pattern Review was asking for a pattern suggestion to knockoff this Karen Millen skirt, and I realised that my LMB pattern was really very fashionable indeed!

My pattern has more pleats, plus the added pockets, so I think it’s a better design, but I still appreciate seeing similar clothes in high end RTW, especially if I already liked the design anyway!

A purple lace pencil skirt

I started work on this lace skirt just before we left for France, when I was finally over my post-March wardrobe exhaustion and finally ready to get stuck in on some more complex and fiddly projects. So I got all the layers cut out and basted together before I left, so this I only had the fun stuff left to do last week! Hooray for me!

The luscious purple lace is all dark purple on one side, but with added chenille texture and lighter, printed flowers on the other side. It’s from Ditto fabrics, bought by Pip as part of my Christmas gift, and I made good use of my 1m!

Since it’s lace and more sheer than I’d like for a skirt, I underlined this with some fabric I bought on Karen’s big Walthamstow meetup – it’s a poly stretch woven, with a bengaline-feel on the light purple side, and a wine-coloured, satin reverse. The purple side matched my lace perfectly and the satin reverse just meant I didn’t have to line it because it’s already slippery inside! Score!

While the colour match isn’t perfect with either my bamboo tulip top or my purple boots, it was close enough for me to wear them together yesterday!

(Vote for my) March Mini Wardrobe

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was first laying out my initial plans for this mini wardrobe, but now I’ve had some time to step back and have a look over what I managed to accomplish last month. I made this wardrobe mostly for myself, to use some luscious fabrics from my stash in combination with patterns that really appealed to me, but I also kept one eye on the contest requirements running over at PaternReview.com to make sure I remained within their rules, too. Here’s my entry into their contest, or you can just read on below…

I started with a blue viscose, draped knit top that I’d bought from ASOS and really liked, but I wanted to wear with both casual and dressy bottoms.

To coordinate, I sewed:

1. Jalie jeans – I’d made a muslin but the waistband was horrible so I had my work cut out for me on this pair using great quality stretch denim from Mood in NYC, plus some London streetsign fabric for the waistband facings and pockets. I used my vintage hand crank Singer machine for all the topstitching, plus I got to use my vintage buttonholer attachment and high quality rivets for the first time! I fixed all the waistband issues in this pair and these are now my favourite jeans. Read more…