Category Archives: Skirts & Trousers

Jenna elastic back Dirndl skirt

Back in February I made the Lemony Libby blouse by Sew Over It. In preparation of my planned Cruise holiday in May I always intended to make a coordinating skirt so that they could be worn together with the look of a dress or with other separates. Now that the holiday has been cancelled the incentive to get the outfit completed was no longer there but I have decided to use this time of home isolation to finish all those UFO (unfinished objects) so that I can then enjoy new makes with some of the beautiful fabrics in my stash.

According to Seamwork magazine separates can add great variety to any wardrobe, and a simple gathered skirt like Jenna effortlessly marries cute style and comfortable fit. Jenna’s elastic-back waistband and in-seam pockets make this skirt as practical as it is stylish. This seemed to me to be the perfect accompaniment to my Libby blouse.

Jenna skirt front view
Jenna skirt back view

I downloaded the pdf pattern and cut out my fabric. The only alteration was to change the pocket pattern to my standard that is stitched into the waistline seam and extend the length of the skirt by 3 inches.

The construction was so simple I cannot understand why it has taken me so long to make this style of skirt. The pieces went together easily, the only change during sewing was to reduce the length of the petastretch elastic in the back waistband by a couple of inches.

Squeezy lemon Jenna Skirt & Lemony Libby blouse

I am delighted with the finished skirt which I can wear with the coordinating Libby blouse, at least two different belts (or none at all) and a variety of plain tops. Now that it is completed I may add some belt loops for when I wear a narrow plaited leather belt.

Now onto the next project which is a Cerise Pink Jenna (same name, different garment!) cropped cardigan.

Cotton Print Tiered Skirt

Khaki Suedette Biker Jacket

Now to be honest, there are very few clothes that I don’t make myself but this faux suede biker jacket was on sale for £27.50 from jdwilliams mail order catalogue and I just had to have it!

I planned to make a skirt using a pretty floral cotton print (bought from Fabricland, Salisbury branch) to wear with a variety of tops and these great Olive Green Suede loafers or boots when the weather got colder.

Flat lay plan for outfit

I set to and used my very old TNT method for making a tiered skirt with elasticated waist. For the waistband and top tier I cut my hip measurement plus 10 inches. For the second tier I cut 1½ x the top tier, for the bottom tier I cut 1½ x the second tier.

The skirt was made with a great deal of care with french seams on all the joins in the tiers and gathers. The hem is a narrow double fold so there are absolutely no raw edges anywhere on the skirt.

Tiered skirt with Faux Suede Biker Jacket

The skirt looks good on the mannequin teamed with my new jacket and a Salmon top but on me – oh dreadful! This is definitely a ‘fail’.

I may revisit and reduce the amount of gathers or actually cut up the skirt and use on other projects. For the time being let’s just leave it hanging up at the back of the wardrobe!

p.s. I have since found another length of this pretty print so all is not lost – I will probably make a shirt dress to go with the jacket. Watch this space.

completed 4th November 2019

Quick & Easy Jersey Trousers

When I originally purchased the Tropical print jersey for the cowl neck top, I knew that I would want to make some elastic waist trousers in a coordinating plain-coloured jersey.

I was fortunate to find a Teal cotton interlock at £7.00/metre. I bought 2 metres on eBay from pepe monty. The fabric arrived, was duly overlocked and laundered ready to make the trousers. But which pattern to use?

I auditioned several different patterns but in the end decided to go with what I knew – the trousers that I had previously made and ‘refined’ to a good fit, Simplicity 2289.

As I had made this pattern before the construction was again very quick. They were basted on the sewing machine using a large stitch before a double check of fit and then ‘whizzed’ through on the overlocker.

I inserted two lengths of 1/2 inch wide elastic into the waistline casing and hand stitched the hem with a loose herringbone stitch.

Simplicity 2289 in Cotton Interlock Jersey

The trousers are very comfortable and I plan to make more versions to wear in the Autumn/Winter.

Ponte Roma Trousers Butterick B6388

Now I remember why I don’t like making trousers for myself. I have had my right knee and my left hip replaced. Even with the best efforts of the surgeons, this has resulted in a rather lop-sided figure, especially I notice that my right hip is higher than my left and my left leg is very slightly shorter. Fitting tailored trousers would be a nightmare but perhaps I could manage some made with a jersey fabric?

I ordered 3 metres of this lovely Chocolate Brown Ponte Roma at £6/metre from 1stforfabrics. The fabric was delivered superfast and beautifully packaged.

Included in the parcel was a free reel of matching thread. The tissue was from a sewing pattern – the front and back panel for a circular skirt. That’s great as I will be able to use it on a future dressmaking project!

Checking the measurement chart on the pattern I decided to make the XXL size – I could always take the trousers in, better to do that than make them too small! I checked the length by measuring the inseam and it was fine so went ahead and cut out the pattern.

First step was to baste in the pleats at the front, plus add the pocket bags. All straightforward.

As I had not made up this pattern before, I stitched all the seams with a long straight stitch so that I could check the fit. First fitting revealed that there was more than enough ‘wearing ease’ included in the pattern. I removed about 1 inch from each side seam and re-basted the seam. So now the trousers are nearer to a size L.

I then partially unpicked the basting stitches and used the overlocker to construct the trousers using my revised seamlines. Second fit showed that I still needed to take in the side seams slightly from hip to knee and also the back crotch was short. Lowering the curve by about ¾ inch and grading back to the original seamline did the trick. I added the waistband and inserted the elastic. I turned up the hems (the actual inseam length turned out to be 27 inches, I must be losing height!) and using a straight stitch length 3.0 on the sewing machine sewed up the hems with 2 rows of stitching ¼ inch apart.

I am pleased with the final result and depending on how these trousers wear, I may make another pair. However, I still don’t like making trousers for my ‘wonky’ figure!

Full Circle Skirt

Back in January I purchased 2 metres of Cream Ponte from The Textile Centre (cost £3.14/m). I knew that I am short of plain-coloured skirts in my wardrobe so a full-circle skirt with elasticated waistband would fill a gap.

To make the skirt I turned once again to McCalls 6754

and using only the skirt front and back patterns with an additional 3 inches to the length I cut out. I omitted the centre back seam of the skirt by placing on the fold. I cut a waistband from the width of the fabric x 4 inches wide.

So with very little seaming the skirt was sewn in less than 1 hour. The waistband is top stitched and a length of Petastretch® inserted for the elastication.

The skirt has been allowed to hang for 24 hours but there does not appear to be any drop in the bias. The hem now needs to be top- stitched in place with a twin needle and given a good press.

This skirt has proved a winner. I was a little disappointed that the colour I had bought was Cream rather than White but provided I do not wear the skirt with any White tops, I am sure it will be fine.


Aubergine Evening Trousers – Simplicity 2289

After all the trials and tribulations with the trouser pattern part of Simplicity 2289 I have just completed another pair.

You may recall from my previous post that I drafted a pattern from the third version when making the Navy track-suiting trousers. I used that pattern to make a pair of evening trousers which will co-ordinate with some pretty small sequinned jersey bought from Fabricland.

Sequinned fabric from Fabricland

For this version of the trousers I used part of a 4 metre length of Plain Spun Poly Stretch Jersey Knit Dress Fabric – Aubergine that was on sale at the giveaway price of just £2.99 from Minerva Crafts. At that price it would be no great shakes if the trousers did not turn out well.

Poly stretch jersey from Minerva Crafts

Well, they turned out great!

It took about 1 hour to cut and stitch the trousers. There is only one leg seam and the crotch seam, sewn with the overlocker,  followed by a channel for the elastic (petastretch ® ) waistband and twin needle stitching for the hems. A really easy project that has inspired me to make another pair of these easy, peasy pants!

Finessing Fit for Trousers – 3rd time lucky!

Earlier this month I posted about some Navy track-suiting made up into trousers using Simplicity 2289 pattern.

The first incarnation using size XXL was so over-sized that when my husband saw them, he laughed. You could easily fit another, albeit smaller, person beside me inside this version. I finally got around to unpicking the garment. By that I mean really unpicking. Each and every seam, the top stitching around the waistband and the twin rows of stitching on each hem. I pressed each of the fabric shapes and laid out onto the pattern. I re-cut a size smaller (XL) and again constructed the garment, taking a ¾ inch seam allowance. Still too big. So for the second time, I unpicked the seams. Fortunately this time I had not stitched down the waistband, nor sewn up the hems. But by now I was fast losing any desire for a pair of track-suiting trousers!

For the third and final incarnation I would ignore the pattern! I retrieved a pair of cut off stretch denim trousers that do fit me. Using their measurements I re-cut the fabric shapes. Before stitching up, I made a paper pattern of this version.

The trousers do fit – not exactly as I would like but I believe as near as I am going to get without reverting to a traditional pattern of leg front and back pieces copied from an unpicked pair of existing trousers. It may well come to that but for now I have a paid of ‘relaxed’ fit, very warm and comfortable ‘leisure’ trousers.

And so the search for an ‘Ultimate Trouser’ pattern continues…..

Baggy Trousers!


I have used Simplicity 2289 to make three of the Tunic tops in fleece. For those I have made up size XL and they have proved to be ample size-wise. In preparation for making a pair of wide-leg satin-backed crepe evening trousers I thought it would be a good idea to test run the trouser part of this pattern. I checked the actual garment measurements and although I was pretty disappointed with the size (oh yes I know that it is only a number!) when I discovered that the best size was the XXL. OK, suck it up!

I purchased 2.4 metres of 150cms wide Navy track suiting fabric from Fabricland at a price of £4.99/metre.  I was pleased to see that this pattern has no side seams so construction was going to be really quick. No need for seam neatening, having stitched a couple of test seams, I could make  the entire garment on the sewing machine (no need to change thread on the overlocker just yet!)

Off we go – easy, peasy construction and within 1 hour the trousers were all stitched up. I tried them on. Yes they did fit – but there was sufficient room inside for another person – talk about comfy pyjamas! To have the crotch sitting in the correct place involves pulling up the trousers so far that I can tuck the waistband under my bra. The legs are the correct width at the bottom, but I really don’t need all that excess around the hips.

I am thoroughly fed up. I need to alter the trousers and refine the pattern, or trial another pattern before I can even consider making the evening trousers. There is just 9 weeks to go until the cruise and many other garments that I want to make, sew much to do and so little time……


I usually buy my leggings from Lands End when there is a sale on. However, one of my unspoken resolutions is to continue making more clothes than I buy “off the peg”. To this end I have ordered the Beth pdf pattern from Style Arc – it was on offer with a discount for Australia Day!

The Beth pattern is a new version of the award-winning Barb Pant. It features a wide waist band with inserted elastic for comfort. The front design lines add style to this pant which is perfect for the office or the weekend. This pattern has negative ease suitable for a stretch woven fabric (e.g. Bengaline).

I have not encountered Bengaline fabric before and a search revealed the following: The fabric was first produced in Bengal, India, from where it gets its name. The French began to trade for the fabric, and its popularity rose in the late 19th century as a material for dresses. It is often used in children’s clothing as well because it does not wear out easily. Bengaline was first produced mostly as pure silk. Cheaper textiles, however, were soon woven in with the silk because the resulting appearance still looked like silk but cost less to manufacture.

The ribbing that the material is known for can be made by first using a thin or fine textile for the warp, or vertical yarn when weaving. A heavier weft or horizontal textile is then woven in to create the raised rib. Bengaline can be both stretchy and durable due to this type of weave. Bengaline is a fantastic fabric for making all type of garments – particularly skirts, dresses, trousers and jackets.

Having searched the internet I found that Minerva Crafts stock the fabric. Their Bengaline fabric is made from polyester and lycra and stretches down the length of the fabric (rather than stretch across the width like most stretch fabrics do). It is a good medium weight and doesn’t require lining. The fabric is machine or hand washable. I ordered 2 metres in a Deep Purple colour, again a special offer price of just £2.99 per metre. The Beth pattern also calls for some 1 ½ inch wide elastic. Another search online and I have purchased 5 metres at a price of just £3.99 – enough for 5 pairs of trousers!

Burda 9772 – Child’s Denim Dungarees


Back to the Burda pattern 9772, this time made up in stretch Denim. Again I made size 3 and this time view A with the knee patches. Meg at New Threads Quilt Shop supplied the pattern, fabric and Bib & Brace closure for the straps. I provided the thread, a small piece of interfacing, the applique, some elastic and my time.

denim close up applique

I used an outline from the internet to make the White Rabbit applique on the bodice which is satin stitched in White with a Blue eye. Taking advice from Meg, I used elastic casing all around the hem of the legs. If the child is short then there will be a little more “blousing” in the trousers but as they grow, the blousing will reduce. Built-in room for growth! The knee patches are cut on the bias. The instructions in the pattern suggest that you leave a raw ” frayed” edge but I went “off plan” by lining them with a cotton print, turning through and then top-stitching in place. Top stitching was made in co-ordinating Blue. The straps had seam allowances pressed under before top-stitching in place thus I avoided having to turn the straps through which took a long time on the previous set of dungarees. Having sewn the pattern before I am now more confident and this set took just 3 hours to complete.

denim full length