Archive | Skirts

Skirts I’ve made

April 3, 2017

How to transform the Upton Dress into an Upton Skirt

Hey, chaps and chapesses!

For my recent trip to LA, I decided I needed to whip up a skirt with some amazing burnt orange and purple “painted” Liberty lawn I got at the mysterious cheap Liberty shop. I’m not much one for a ditzy print, but these chunky tulips called my name from the back of the basement.

I contemplated the skirt patterns in my stash but none really appealed and then I realised I should take a different approach: hack the Cashmerette Upton Dress into a skirt! And here it is, a hack of Upton Dress view A, the pleated skirt:

Upton Skirt Hack

Pretty fabulous, non? I paired it with a chambray Harrison Shirt, knotted at the waist like the carefree LA chick I am (ahem).

Upton Skirt Hack

This was a super easy hack, and very quick to whip up. I’m planning another pleated beauty with some amazing Suno burn-out silk I got on Emma One Sock, and also a version using View B, to make a gored skirt.

Once you have your copy of the Cashmerette Upton Dress, making an Upton Skirt is pretty easy.

Before you start, consider the size: the Upton Dress has a high waistband, which sits on the lower ribcage (your high waist). If you want your skirt to hit there too, make your regular size. However, if you want it to hit at a more traditional waist height, you need to consider whether your waist is bigger than your high waist. Mine is, by about 2 inches (the narrowest bit of me is just below my bust, and then I get progressively bigger towards my hips), so I sized up from my usual 18 to a 20.

Upton Skirt Hack

To get step-by-step illustrated instructions, simply sign up to my newsletter below, and you’ll get the free downloadable PDF tutorial in an instant! (Note, you need to already have the Upton Dress pattern, no pattern pieces are included).

Already a newsletter subscriber? No problem, just re-enter your info, and you’ll get the download but we’ll make sure you only get the newsletter once.

Here is how the free download works

  1. Put your email address in the box above (it needs to be this box, not the general newsletter subscription one).
  2. You will be sent an email asking you to confirm you want to be subscribed: click the grey “yes” button.
  3. You will be sent a second email which has a link to download – the subject line of the email is “Cashmerette Upton Skirt Tutorial: Subscription Confirmed”.  Don’t see the email? Check your junk folder, and make sure you clicked on the confirmation email.

August 29, 2016

Summer in silk: Springfield Top & M6931 maxi skirt

I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but this summer in Boston has been brutally hot. One day my car got to 38.5 degrees celsius…. oof! And when it’s that warm, I just want to wear flowy silk and maxi skirts, so naturally, I had to whip up a new summer outfit.

The first part of it is a version of my new pattern, the Springfield Top, that I made during its development. I used black crepe de chine (so luxe!) and constructed it with French seams throughout so it feels totally lovely to wear.

Springfield Top & M6931 skirt

Though it’s not ideal, I decided to offer this top to the washing machine gods and see what would happen… and it’s fine. Not quite as shiny as it would be, but now I’ll actually wear it on the reg rather than side-eyeing it my laundry basket while I decide that yet again I’m not going to do any hand washing.  I can already tell this top is going to be a summer workhorse…

Springfield Top & M6931 skirt

Now on to the drama! This is the maxi version of McCall’s M6931, made using an amazing silk crepe de chine that I bought in Mood many moons ago (with a separate silk knee-length lining). I’ve made this pattern before with great results – orange silk twill, flamingos!, clouds! – but this was my first time using the maxi version.

The black border around the bottom (made from the same crepe de chine as the Springfield) was a serendipitous accident caused by me not following the cutting layout for the skirt (naughty girl!) and suddenly having a chunk missing at the front of one of the skirt panels. So, I lopped the bottom 8 inches off the whole thing and added on the border. As it happens, I think it looks much better like this – somehow my most stylish garments always come from an accident of some type…

Springfield Top & M6931 skirt

The pattern uses a combo of pleats and gathering caused by the elastic waist to give fullness. I do have a few reservations about the lined maxi version though: there’s just a bit too much bulk around the waist/hips than I’d like. Before the elastic is put in, the skirt is about 5 feet wide! It looks OK in these photos, but I feel like I have a bunch of extra fabric wadded around my waist, which is the last thing I need (my waist disappears at the smallest provocation).

So, I think I’m going to be unpicking this skirt (and French seams! sigh), bringing it in by about 12 inches, and I’m going to strip the lining out too – it’s just too much bulk around the waistband (which ends up being 4 layers of fabric and elastic). Instead, I’ll just wear it with a slip to counteract the sheerness.
Springfield Top & M6931 skirt

The long variation includes two knee-high slits at the front which I like – it looks awesome when you’re walking in a bit of a breeze!

Springfield Top & M6931 skirt

All in all, I love this new outfit – it’s so cool and comfortable to wear, but makes me feel like a pretty glam summer lady!

Springfield Top & M6931 skirt

What are your go-to fabrics and patterns when it’s super hot outside? Do you have any plans for silky Springfields?

July 4, 2016

My ultimate summer skirt: elastic back skirt tutorial

In the summer I just want to wear super-comfortable cotton skirts… but if you’re anything like me, skirts with a waistband are just a bit pinchy when you sit down. Yep, I spread – and my waistbands need to, too. So, I decided to use some of my precious large gingham seersucker cotton from Japan and make a comfortable pull-on skirt with an elastic back- and I have an free elastic back skirt tutorial download for you!

Navy Gingham Skirt 2

The awesome thing about using elastic just on the back of the skirt is that you still have a flat front waistband, which is a touch more sophisticated (though don’t get me wrong, I can manage elastic all the way round, no problem), while you still have max comfort. I also have a technique for stopping the elastic twisting around that you can check out in the tutorial download.

Navy gingham midi skirt

To make this a super easy project – and to avoid having to pattern match gingham on diagonal seams – this is a really simple gathered skirt, with a rectangular waistband. But you could certainly use the same waistband approach on a more shaped skirt if you’d rather.

Navy gingham midi skirt

I managed to whip this up in less than 90 minutes, and I have a queue for more already…

Navy Gingham Skirt 4

If you want to make your own, simply sign up to my newsletter below, and you’ll get the free downloadable PDF elastic back skirt tutorial in an instant! (Note, this is the instructions for how to draft your own pieces and sew it up, there aren’t any pattern pieces included). Already a newsletter subscriber? No problem, just re-enter your info, and you’ll get the download but we’ll make sure you only get the newsletter once.

I can’t wait to see what you make!

Here is how the free download works

  1. Put your email address in the box above (it needs to be this box, not the general newsletter subscription one).
  2. You will be sent an email asking you to confirm you want to be subscribed: click the grey “yes” button.
  3. You will be sent a welcome email which has a text link to download – the subject line of the email is “Cashmerette Elastic Back Skirt Tutorial: Subscription Confirmed”.  Don’t see the email? Check your junk folder, and make sure you clicked on the confirmation email. Here’s what the email looks like:



January 11, 2016

Perfect Pleated Pleather Skirt

When I started sewing, inevitably the pattern would come first, and then I’d try to find the fabric. Oh! What japes, fruitlessly searching for a very specific fabric I had imagined but almost certainly doesn’t exist (alas, I still do this with product samples for Cashmerette Patterns, but that’s a story for another day). These days, however, I’m much more likely to start the other way around: buy some awesome fabric, and then figure out what to do with it.

And thus was born, the perfect pleated pleather skirt!

Pleated Leather Butterick B5929 skirt

I bought this wondrous beauty from the ever-reliable and inspiring EmmaOneSock back in May, with little idea what to do with it. It’s fake leather, folded in tiny pleats and then attached to a smooth backing. It is GORGEOUS. So gorgeous, in fact, that it then ended up sitting in my stash for months as I was too scared to do anything with it.


Pleated Leather Butterick B5929 skirtBut, following my new life motto “Better On My Bod Than In My Stash” (might get that tattooed), I decided to make something which would make the most of it. So, out of the TNT pile, came yet another Butterick B5929, the pattern that just keeps on giving.

Originally my heart was set on a tea length midi skirt, but alas I hadn’t bought quite enough, as that B5929 is a hungry beast. But after a bunch of jigsaw-puzzling with the pieces and lots of chalk tracing I managed to squeeze the drafted length-and-about-2-inches out of the 2 yards I had.

Sewing was remarkably easy – this pleated leather both sewed well and surprisingly, pressed well too without melting. I did a really small hem to try to avoid losing too much length, and because of the pleating it’s a little jagged, but only a sewist is ever going to notice that, let’s face it.

Pleated Leather Butterick B5929 skirt
For a pretty crazy fabric, it’s incredibly wearable! I love the sculptural nature of the final skirt, and it pairs really well with a black top or cardigan for day or night. It’s not obvious from the photos but it’s also really soft – more like neoprene than leather – though that does mean that it creases a little bit.

Finally, did you notice the goosebumps on the previous pictures? Maybe the chattering of teeth? THE SNOWFLAKES?! Needless to say it was mondo cold when we took these pictures and I risked life and limb for you, dear readers. And here’s the proof:

Pleated Leather Butterick B5929 skirt

Oh, blogging in the winter in the northern hemisphere: it’s quite the challenge. I’m hoping that *maybe* my new studio might afford enough of a blank wall for photography purposes, so watch this space!

So, what are you: a pattern-first or a fabric-first sewist? Do you ever buy fabric with no plans and then puzzle for months about what to do with it, like me? Or are you altogether a more organized person? (that wouldn’t be hard, I’ll admit). Do tell!

November 23, 2015

Tilly Arielle skirt hack!

I’m not generally one for trends; I know what suits my figure, and most “fashions” are woefully not good on me. But, when I was in London recently I saw a trend that caught my eye: asymmetric wrap skirts with D-ring closures. So instead of dropping 300 quid at Reiss, I made my own, using the Tilly & The Buttons Arielle skirt!

Tilly & the Buttons Arielle Skirt

Here’s the style I saw everywhere on the high street. I did a bit of inspecting and realised it would pretty easy to recreate. Plus, I had the perfect plaid to use, which I also bought in London (clearly my roots are showing a lot at the moment).

skirt inspiration

After discovering there are no patterns out at the moment that are much like this (wrap, pencil skirt shape, high waisted and faced with no waistband), I decided to use the Tilly & The Buttons Arielle skirt as my base, and work from there. Arielle fans will notice my mistake immediately: despite appearances, it’s not a wrap skirt. Oops! But I was still able to use it, just with a bit more alteration than I expected. The key changes were:

  • I used the right hand side (wider) piece for both fronts, and didn’t use the left side
  • Shaved a big wedge off the side seam of one right front piece, so it would angle down. I kept the piece on the grain so the plaid would follow the diagonal.
  • Made the same changes on the lining and facing pieces.
  • I didn’t sew the darts on the front over-layer so it would hang straight.
  • Added an internal button to hold the underlayer closed at the waist.
  • Inserted a piece of grosgrain ribbon into the right side seam, about 3 inches down.
  • Strung two D-rings onto another piece of grosgrain and sandwiched it in the front wrap between the skirt and facing.

(Is anyone interested in a tutorial? Not sure if it’s just super obvious or whether you’d like step-by-step instructions!)
Tilly & the Buttons Arielle Skirt

Here are my D-rings! The combo of these rings plus the grosgrain unfortunately means it doesn’t stay held just through tension, so I have to put a little knot just behind the rings to avoid flashing. Yes, I did flash before I realised this. You’re welcome, strangers of Boston.

Tilly & the Buttons Arielle Skirt

On the inside I used this highly jolly raspberry Radiance lining! Forgive the creases – this was after wearing it all day.

Tilly & the Buttons Arielle Skirt

Though it was muchly hacked, I do like the fit of the skirt. However, I wonder if it runs a bit big – I made the size 18 despite the fact my waist is 3 inches too big, and it works well!

Tilly & the Buttons Arielle Skirt

So now I have an ON TREND skirt to wear in winter. How long before I get stopped by a street fashion photographer for being so ON TREND? Only a matter of time, I’m sure.

Tilly & the Buttons Arielle Skirt

Are you a trend follower? Or even a trend-setter?! Are there any other non-heinous fall/winter trends I should try?

September 28, 2015

Welcome to Twee Town

As a general rule, I try to avoid twee. I’m as drawn towards a whimsical print as the next gal, but I attempt to restrain my impulse to look like a 4 year old.

Sometimes you just have to give in, though.

Behold: a London map Butterick B5929 skirt! In London! (See what I did there?!)

Butterick B5929 skirt

I first saw this ADORABUBBLE print by Moda textiles when a fabric salesman popped by Grey’s Fabrics one day. A bit of frantic googling, and I discovered it’s available from NYC-based online fabric store Jones and Vandermeer. It’s a mid-weight quilting cotton, which in my book, means it’s suitable for a skirt (I’m not sure I’d cope with a full dress in it, and a top would be too rigid for me).


I pulled out Butterick B5929 which is rapidly becoming a new TNT for me. I used the same view as for my Caribbean skirt this winter. It has a deep box pleat at the front, and two side pleats, which I sew in the opposite direction from the instructions (otherwise it looks… odd).



It’s a quick and easy make and yes, I did get the joy/mild embarrassment of wearing a London map skirt around London for a day. No, it is not geographically accurate, though you can pick out roughly where my parents live now!

Butterick B5929 skirt

It’s probably good for the soul to indulge in a touch of twee every now and again. What do you think, lovely readers? Are you on Team Twee? or Team I Am A Grown Up Thank You Very Much?

(Photo credits go to my Dad, who was most patient, and even persuaded me to pose in front of the grey wall because it would go with my outfit… Good eye, Dad!)

Butterick B5929 skirt

June 8, 2015

Lemon and grey and twirling, oh my!

These are a few of my favourite things:

  • Yellow
  • Grey
  • Japanese fabric
  • Midi skirts
  • Twirling
  • the Renfrew t-shirt

So this outfit is just one big YAY!

Butterick 5929 and Sewaholic Renfrew

I feel very Nicolette Mason here…

Ever since I snapped up this hand-painted style lemon and dove grey plaid linen at Tomato in Tokyo I’ve been daydreaming about what to do with it (you can buy very similar fabric over on Miss Matatabi!). Luckily, I also bought the blue/green colourway thus reducing the inevitable angst I feel when deciding what to do with precious fabric (but what if it was *meant* to be a shirtdress?! It can keep you up at night, that). I love my other Butterick 5929, so I decided to whip it out again and make another 6 gored, adorably swishy, nearly-midi skirt.

Butterick 5929 and Sewaholic Renfrew

In an attempt to improve my attention to detail I thought ooooh, better make sure I do plaid matching, but it’ll be impossible to do anything with those grey stripes, so I’ll just match the yellow ones.


I guess this is just something you learn with experience but… on this type of gored skirt you can indeed line them both up. Just after I took a photo of the first seam (bottom left) I suddenly realized that it’s possible to make chevrons with the vertical line. Playing around with an unsewn seam, it was obvious! (bottom middle). Thankfully, this skirt is so absurdly long in the original pattern – practically ankle length on me, at 5’6″ – that I was able to save the day. I shifted down the side pieces until they chevron-ned with the middle panel (bottom right), and then trimmed off about 3 inches from the top middle, and 3 inches off the bottom side panels, et voila! Chevrons!


Bad -> Better -> Best!

I’m glad I spent the time re-doing it, because now I can amaze passersby with chevron pattern-matching. They will no doubt appreciate it.


Having absolutely nothing in my wardrobe to coordinate with the skirt, I went to my trusty standby, the Sewaholic Renfrew. I used some lovely lovely dove grey jersey from Grey’s Fabrics, and got to try out my new Babylock Imagine serger for the first time. Man, it’s so much better than my old one! It glided through the jersey really well, and it doesn’t sound like a freight train, which is a bonus. My neckbands are usually wobbling all over the shop, so I took my time this time to cut it accurately, and then chalked on the serge line to follow – sometimes returning to my more “beginner” techniques actually serves me well.


What to do but twirl?


I think this combo is going to be getting a lot of wear this summer, at least once the rain and cold stops. Seriously, I was wearing my Grainline Cascade Duffle coat on June 1st. That’s not right!

Butterick 5929 and Sewaholic Renfrew

Have you had any pattern-matching disasters and/or last-minute recoveries? The secret, I feel, is having a bit of extra fabric. Thank heavens I thought ahead… Now, what to do with the blue/green variation – any ideas?


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