Category Archives: Skirts & Trousers

Long sleeved Blouse

In the past when planning a wardrobe to take on holidays I had a plan. I would take a printed fabric and make a top and skirt in that print. I would add plain tops and trousers in colours from that print. This way I would have a fully coordinated set of clothing that would mix and match and be perfect for a variety of activities.

As soon as I had finished making the Jenna skirt in this beautiful printed viscose, I cut out a long sleeved blouse to go with it. The blouse took just 1½ metres of the remaining 2 metres of fabric so this blouse will have cost £7.86 for the fabric, plus a little for the thread, interfacing and buttons, all of which came from my stash, to give a total of around £10.00 – a bargain! I have the remaining ½ metre to make a nice scarf which I can either keep or give as a gift.

The pattern that I used for the blouse was my own draft based on the bodice of my TNT shirt dress. I kept the bust darts but ignored the body darts. I re-drew the side seams and added a shaped hemline that finished about 6 inches below the waistline. I added the long sleeves that have a smooth sleeve head but with lots of fullness gathered into a buttoned cuff.

The construction was straightforward as I have made this collar and lapel many times. I top stitched the collar, lapel and front facings. The side seams of the bodice and sleeve seams were French seamed. There is a narrow hem double folded before machine stitching in place.

I was a little unsure which buttons to use but finally settled on a 2-hole button in matt finish in a variety of colours. These buttons have been in my stash for about 10 years so about time that they were used!

I love this particular printed viscose from Rainbow Fabrics of Kilburn and now that I have a dress, a blouse and a skirt they will form the main components of a great capsule wardrobe. I already have necklace, belts, sweaters, turtle neck top, gilet and jersey trousers to include in this capsule. Now I just need to add a plain skirt or culottes.

project #62 completed 31st October 2020

Jenna Skirt #2

I loved the first Jenna skirt from that I made back at the beginning of the Spring 2020.

I also love this particular printed viscose from Rainbow Fabrics of Kilburn, so I thought it would be a great match of pattern & fabric. There are so many lovely colours in the print that the skirt will coordinate with a wide variety of tops, be it tee shirts, blouses or sweaters.

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.

I retrieved my TNT pattern from the stash and cut out size 24. This time I added 6 inches to the length as I plan to wear the skirt in the Autumn with boots and maybe next Spring with bare legs (Ooooh!) The pattern took 2 metres of fabric so this skirt will have cost £10.48 for the fabric, plus a little for the thread, interfacing and elastic to give a total of around £11.00 – a bargain!

All seams were overlocked and a narrow hem double folded before machine stitching in place. I added my TNT pattern concealed sideseam pockets and fusible interfacing to all sections of the waistband. I reduced the length of the elastic for the back waistband casing. The elastic insertion was a little fiddly but it does give a comfortable and stylish finish to the skirt.

I have another 2 metres of this printed viscose remaining and plan to make a long-sleeved blouse to complete the outfit. I can wear the two pieces together as a ‘dress’ or as separates with other plain-coloured garments.

project #60 completed 27th October 2020

NHS Scrubs Set

Well that is something that I never thought I would sew! A call has gone out and ladies (and gents) throughout the land are putting their sewing skills to good use and making Scrubs for our stars in the NHS.

I was fortunate to receive an e-mail from Franklins with an offer for the pattern and a kit of suitable Polyester/cotton fabric, interfacing and twill tape for just £20. I chose the Dark Navy colour and within a couple of days the parcel arrived.

It took a few more days (well in truth – a week) for me to put together the pattern and finish the current project (yet another TNT ‘Kitty’ dress) before I could re-thread the sewing machine and overlocker in preparation of making the Scrubs.

In the end I chose to make the set using the PDF pattern supplied by Sewmesomething.

Sew me Something FREE Scrubs pattern

Sew me something state: After speaking with friends who are NHS workers we have included several features they specifically requested. The Scrubs Top has grown on sleeves to make it easier to wear and quicker to sew, the facing is stitched down so it’s not uncomfortable and there are side vents again for ease and comfort. The trousers have side pockets and a drawstring waist so you don’t have to worry about elastic sizes, and they are easier to get on and off. The patch pocket can be used on both the Top and the Trousers so again, quicker to sew and it means there are lots of handy places to tuck stuff. Polycotton is apparently better than 100% cotton, so we have some in stock to use for this pattern.

Sewing was straightforward and when in doubt I could easily tune to the Youtube tutorial prepared by Jules of SMS.

Completed Scrubs Top

As I had plenty of fabric, I elected to make the largest size XXL which comes out as a 57 inch chest on the tunic and 54 inch hip for the trousers, leg width 12 inches. A couple of sessions of sewing and the set was completed.

Although I had an address for the hospital in Southampton I also joined a facebook group based on Salisbury which is a great deal closer to my home. After some messaging I was able to arrange for the set to be collected for onward transmission to the Salisbury hospitals and health centres. I hope that whoever gets to wear them enjoys them whilst staying healthy providing the essential care and support that the NHS provides to us all.

Now that I have the pattern, if I have sufficient yardage in my stash I hope to make some smaller-sized sets in cheerful printed fabrics.

Modelling the XXL Scrubs – too big!!

When these extraordinary times are behind us, I may well make up the tunic and trousers in my husband’s and my size to wear as pyjamas!

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…..