I love this new winter skirt I made.  A Delphine skirt from Tilly and the Buttons was the first garment I ever made and wore out in public. I used a floral blue cotton that my grandma’s had and wore it to be a ‘nerd’ in my school’s production of High School Musical. I made three versions of the skirt before I got it wearable as I couldn’t get the fit or invisible zip just right. A few years later making this skirt was so much easier. I really loved noticing how much my skills have improved in three years. This time around I had some problems with the zipper but it did turn out much much better and I don’t have to keep cutting off loose threads or worrying it will break every time I wear it!

Part of the reason this was better than my first one’s was due to this gorgeous fabric I used. It’s a quilted Italian jacquard that I bought it at a fabric sale from the brand ‘Life with Bird’.   They used this fabric in the amazing dress below.  It was so exciting to drive out to the sale and see a range of gorgeous fabrics that were so different to what i’d normally see at a fabric store.  This fabric is really warm and I love the texture and pattern of it. It’s also really good to hide any dodgy stitching as the dark colours combined with the texture make it almost impossible to see the black thread. This was useful to attach the waistband facing by stitching in the ditch but not useful when I had to unpick the zipper as the thread as it was difficult to see!

I made a few adjustments to the pattern.  I took out some extra fabric around the zipper to make it sit better. I think it sat funny as my measurements are in between pattern sizes and I just picked the biggest instead of grading, leaving me with a waistband far too big.  I’ve never graded between sizes before as normally I just pick the bigger size which is probably not good sewing technique. However not grading was a little frustrating as I had to take out my invisible zip which I did a really good job of and start again. My zip wasn’t quite as good the second time! Now I know this is what I should do for garments that are more fitted. I also shortened the skirt about two inches.

I really love working with any of Tilly’s patterns.  The instructions are so easy to follow as they really step you through every process. I would really recommend her book ‘Love at First Stitch‘ for any beginners as it’s so helpful for many basic skills even if you don’t make all the patterns. I’ve referred back to this book for extra help on many of my self drafted garments and other patterns when I need help with elements so well explained in this book.

Even though I’ve still got a few final alterations (@ the invisible zip 🙁 ) to do before I wear this I photographed it as I’m really excited about this skirt. It’s the first winter item I’ve made.  I’m really missing wearing all the clothes I made over summer but I’m sure I’ll get a lot of wear out of this!

Pattern – ‘Delphine’ from Tilly and the Button’s book’ Love at First Stitch’

Fabric  –   bought from a Life with Bird fabric sale

One of my favourite things about sewing is being able to sew things in styles I already know I like without looking in stores forever to find something. This dress was copied off a similar shift dress I already own.  My checked ‘schoolgirl’ dress is one of my favourite winter dresses as really like the shape. I also love denim dresses and wanted to do something with this denim I had. Hence, It made sense to me to  copy the dress I owned instead of buy a pattern or a new dress. This wasn’t too hard as the dress I copied is actually a children’s size dress, so it’s made simply with little shaping. 

To do this I traced the main pattern pieces of the dress directly onto this fabric from Spotlight. (This fabric is super useful for tracing double sided patterns, making toiles and copying clothes so is a good fabric to always have a stash of. I usually buy a few metres of it when Spotlight has a sale so I’m always well stocked!) It’s a little tricky to trace the sleeves but possible if you flip them up so that you can follow the curve of the seam allowance when tracing and then cut the pattern piece you traced on the fold. 

After tracing I added seam allowance as it’s a little easier when the dress isn’t in the way and I can lay the fabric completely flat. My little ‘sewing hack’ for this is to use a ~2cm wide strip of paper with the desired seam allowance marked and place this along the no seam allowance pattern pieces at intervals and mark. Then just connect the dots and cut out. This just speeds up the process a little more than if a ruler was used. I then cut my pattern pieces from the fabric. 

I followed a standard dress construction method finishing the seams using a zig zag stitch, hemming the sleeves and bottom of the dress and using bias binding to finish the neckline. I added a keyhole opening at the back as I didn’t want to insert a zipper. The button is one I bought in Japan a few years ago and has a deer on it. The shop I got it from was a super cute florist that also sold buttons. It’s nice to remember it when I wear this dress.  I also decided to add some patch pockets on the front to add some interest as the dress is quite simple on it’s own. As always, when I’m sewing something I haven’t done before, I referred back to  ‘Love at First Stitch’ by Tilly Walnes for instructions to do this. I could not speak highly enough of this book. She uses patch pockets in the Margot Pj Pants that I adapted to use for this dress. 

Being able to make new clothes using existing RTW items is a really useful skill to know and makes it easy to make clothes you know are in your style and fit well without a whole load of guesswork, especially for simpler items like this dress. I know I’ll be making lots of copies of my existing clothes in the future. 

Fabric- about 2 meters of a heavy weight denim from Spotlight

Pattern- Traced off a RTW dress I own

I realised when I started this blog that almost everything I have sewn has been blue, so making this I was determined to use some old red fabric and change the colour scheme. I bought this fabric a few years ago  for a school event in which I had to wear red and made a Purl Soho Boxy Top, a pattern I’d made before. However, in my rush to make something, I cut the wrong size ending up with a top a few sizes too big and also picked a material way to stiff for this kind of boxy top so I never finished it. Luckily I had enough fabric left that I could cut up the top and remake it into something that I know I’ll actually wear.

I followed the instructions on the Felted Fox website. I was a little nervous about this make because I didn’t make a toile and this was a one size only pattern. I just blindly followed instructions in the hopes that the top would turn out ok. Luckily, the instructions were clear and only minor alternations were needed. I added a little bitt of extra length at the back, a small tuck above the join of the wrap pieces to eliminate some gaping as well as taking in the side seams. However for a free pattern that was one size only these were minor and super easy to do so no problem at all. 

My final top seems to be a little less cropped than the original (or maybe all the skirts and jeans I own are just high waisted) which I think works better with my style, so was a bonus for me, as I don’t usually wear cropped tops. It also sits a little differently due to the weight and stiffness of the fabric but I don’t mind it too much and it’ll be good to have something I made in my wardrobe that’s not blue!


FABRIC:      Heavy weight cotton.  Spotlight

PATTERN:  Felted Fox