I bought a meter of beautiful turquoise wool twill fabric at the Festival of Quilts two years ago, from the Fabrics Galore stand.  I must have bought it in a fit of bravado and confidence.  Once it was tucked into my stash, working with it terrified me.  I was convinced it would be a nightmare to cut, or that it would unravel before I could could stitch the pieces together.

One of my resolutions for the new year is to work my way through my stash, because it is rather taking over my sewing room.  I’m not going to stop buying fabric for specific projects, that would be crazy, but I’m going to try to use the fabric I already have where possible.  Except for the bits that I can’t bear to cut into. Er, oh dear.

Anyway, so I decided to use the twill to make a skirt using instructions from the Design-It-Yourself, Clothes book by Cal Patch to draft the pattern.  My mum bought me the book for Christmas and I was itching to try it.

blue twill skirt with red buttons

Crumbs, it is not a book for beginners.  That isn’t a criticism, just a warning. I learnt so much making this skirt. It’s a skirt of many firsts.  This was the first time that I’d worked with a fairly loose weave fabric, the first time I’ve drafted a pattern with darts (and it nearly fits my tummy perfectly so I am definitely a dart convert), my first patch pockets, flat-felled seams and fringe hem (although that last idea came from Sew What Skirts). It wasn’t easy to make and there was quite a lot of swearing but I love the red buttons and stitching against the turquoise and black.  The waist is little lower than I usually prefer but I can adjust the pattern if I make another someday.

The twill was pretty scary to work with but I’m very glad I turned it into a skirt. You never know, before this year is out I may find the courage to make one of the trouser patterns from the book.

Oh crumbs, I am so far behind with my posts.  Like always, the run up to Christmas was a blur of activity and much crafting. I don’t have pictures of everything I made but I will work my way through posting about those that I do.

In November (yes, I’m that far behind) I made a wrap skirt using the directions from Sew What Skirts.  I like using this book and I think this is the third skirt I’ve made using it (there was also one failed attempt but let’s ignore that).  The instructions are clear and I usually find the ratios work well for me.

grey wrap skirt

For fabric I used grey wool suiting (so I think it will have to be dry cleaned only) with a light grey cotton belt/facing. I was apprehensive about using suiting fabric but it was a tight weave and was not difficult to sew.  I love this skirt.  It is so versatile and flattering and I love the way it moves.  I have a habit of standing feet together, twirling it from side to side.

Today I treated myself to the new Jasper Fforde book “Shades of Grey” and I can’t wait to start reading it.  It’s a book about a society where visual colour dominates, and erm, lost spoons. I’m a big fan of the Thursday Next series so I hope this new series is going to be fun.

Today R and I met up with some ex-labmates and we all played tourist in London.  This gave me a great excuse to wear my new summer skirt.  The skirt pattern is Study Hall skirt by Anna Maria Horner and the fabric is part of the Red Letter Day collection by Lizzy House.

I love the Red Letter Day fabrics and I’m very happy with the way my new skirt turned out.  The pattern is a bit of a faff, with lots of pattern pieces, but construction was easy and the instructions were clear.

I’ve been living in London for nearly six years and have seen many of the sights but today was my most touristy day.  We sat in the sunshine, on the huge steps at the bottom of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square.  Directly in front of us was the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben’s tower but the road to it was closed off.  It was closed because as we watched, up drove a horse and carriage carrying the Queen and Philip returning from the Trooping of the Colour.  We giggled.  We hadn’t realised today was the big parade day.

On a whim we walked down The Mall and ended up in front of Buckingham Palace.  There was quite a crowd and it turned out that the whole royal family were due on the balcony for a flyover by a variety of RAF planes.


Needless to say R was in his element, naming the different uniforms that surrounded us and being wowed as the planes flew over head.  I giggled.


A very fun day was had.

I’ve been making lots of clothes over the last few months but I find photographing them and therefore posting about them difficult.  The mirrors in the flat are in horribly dark corners so I can’t do standing in front of the mirror and taking the photo yourself thing.  But it always seems that if I wear my homemade clothes in the daytime, when the light is good, R is away and he only sees them (and is therefore available to play photographer) in the evening.  Ah well.  Here are a couple of pictures I have managed to gather.

First up, I made the Trellick Towers skirt by Cloth Kits.  I like this skirt but It would be better for me if it were more A-line.

Last summer I made this summer skirts with a cute flower bud pattern.  This picture was taken one evening in the pub and I think if you look carefully you can see where I was splashed with red wine.

I’m enjoying making my own clothes although R knows when I am working on a skirt or a dress because rather a lot of swearing comes out of my sewing room.

Remember this?


Well, I finally got around to making the asymmetrical skirt on the front cover.


It’s worked out a little tighter around the hips and loose around the waist than I would have liked but it is very wearable and I like it.  The skirt is quite formal, in a cute, quirky sort of way, and it will probably be a staple I turn to when I have presentations or lectures to give.

This was actually my second attempt at making it because initially I tried before the corrections to the pattern and instructions came out and I got myself into a pickle.  So if you are going to make it I suggest you go to the magazine’s website and look up the corrections.  I found the skirt a fiddle to make but once I got the pattern right it was easy enough.  And I learnt how to use the automatic button hole stitch on my machine!  I’m still al little wary of buttons so when I wore this for the first time (dinner with Rs sister and boyf in Sheffield) I made sure I took with me a safety pin in case the worst should happen and a button fell off.  It didn’t.  All the buttons are holding true.

The second issue of Stitch is out now and hopefully my copy is flying its way across the sea to me right now.

Another purchase at last year’s Festival of Quilts was 1.5 metres of fabric from Heather Bailey’s Freshcut range. I turned it into an a-line skirt that I’m rarely out of. The zip was a pain to put in but in the end I got it in just about stright. I’m not good with zips. Ah well. I’m currently in the process of making a new summer skirt and I’m battling with the zip this time around too, but I think I’m making progress.

As a detail I oversewed part of the pattern with satin stitch.