Category Archives: Skirts & Trousers


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

Burda B9772 – Child’s Dungarees


Burda 9772

to fit 6 months – 3 years

In order to promote a new range of Lewis & Irene fabrics named ”To the Moon and Back” and a workshop to be held in March 2017, I was asked to make a sample set of Dungarees using Burda pattern 9772.

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, 8 inches of elastic and my time.


Using the cotton with a delightful print of Yellow Space Rockets on pale Duck Egg Blue, I prepared the pattern and made up view A but without the knee patches or elastic in the cuffs of the legs. I made size 3 which is the largest size in this pattern that includes a pinafore dress and elasticated waist trousers. I top stitched in Yellow to co-ordinate with the print and after approximately 4 hours I had completed the dungarees. About ½ hour of that time was spent trying to turn the straps and also to work out how to apply the bib& brace fixtures! But all sorted now and next time I will turn the straps using a short length of dowelling.


The next project is a co-ordinating boy’s shirt using more of this lovely cotton print and Burda 9792.

Daisy Print Wraparound Skirt

               front   back

This is one of my favourite printed Cotton Poplin fabrics from New Threads Quilt Shop at Weyhill Fairground. I already have a dress in this print and colourway and to co-ordinate with several Mustard coloured tops, I decided to make a wraparound skirt.

I used my TNT pattern that originated in the “Dressmaker” book by Ann Ladbury, printed and broadcast on TV in 1976. Just goes to show what a classic design this skirt is. It is also very useful to accommodate my waist measurement as it goes up and down!

As this is a cotton fabric, I lined with anti-static lining for two reasons: 1 – it adds weight and warmth to the skirt and 2 – it prevents the skirt from sticking to tights when worn during the colder months of the year.

I simply mounted each panel of the skirt to the anti-static lining, machine basted the two layers together and then stitched as one layer. The seams and all hem edges are overlocked. The hem and overlap/underlap edges are hemmed with my usual twin-needle. The finished length is approximately 26 inches an ideal length for me as it comes just below my knees.

There is a long buttonhole just to the rear of the right side seam through which the tie belt is passed before tying in a knot on the left-hand side.

This is a quick sew and I am sure will be worn a great deal from now until the Spring when I plan to start making and wearing a new colour theme.

A Good Turn – 50’s style skirt

One of our Friday sewing group Ladies will be attending a party on Saturday. The theme is to be 50’s vintage and so Mo wanted a skirt to wear with a fantastic can-can petticoat that she had purchased from eBay.

We checked the pattern and calculated how much fabric was needed and I gave Mo some hints and tips about construction. I then put that out of my mind whilst I concentrated on my own projects.

On Friday Mo arrived at sewing group with the fabric, a  White penny spot on Bright Red background,  cut into 4 panels to make a full circle together with wide elastic and a co-ordinating belt. Mo now asked how she should proceed as she no longer wanted to have a centre back zip, rather she would prefer an elasticated waist. We retired to another room where we had a fitting. There was not sufficient fabric in the skirt as it was to make an elasticated waistband, but there was enough yardage leftover to make another panel. As I knew this would become a little more complicated than perhaps Mo would be able to cope with just now, I offered to finish off the skirt.

The following afternoon, after a couple of hours stitching I had completed the skirt. I inserted an extra panel into the centre back, made a wide waistband into which I inserted the 2″ wide elastic and finished the skirt off with a twin-needle top stitched hem.

00 mos skirt

The skirt looks great and fits Mo a treat.  Hopefully she will be able to wear the skirt on other occasions. Rock On!

Summer-weight Denim Wraparound Skirt

denim wraparound skirt

When reviewing my wardrobe of Summer casual clothes I noticed that I needed a new denim skirt. This was an easy omission to rectify – I could quickly run up a wrap skirt from my TNT pattern. I used a lightweight denim with a little stretch purchased from Fabricland, Salisbury branch. This fabric comes in a wide width and therefore I needed just 2 metres to make the skirt. I cut out the panels and this time rounded the leading edge of the under and overlaps. All seams and raw edges were overlocked. I used an Orange contrast thread to double top-stitch the centre back seam and also the hem which was turned up by just 5/8 inch.

twin needle top stitiching

Twin needle top-stitching

I set pockets into the side seams, and this time stabilised the slight bias of the side seams with a little fusible webbing. It appears to be stopping the pocket openings from gaping so I will do that on future wrap skirts when I have side seam pockets. Another solution could be to top stitch the opening. For the waistband, due to the thickness of the fabric I used fusible interfacing only in the band that was attached to the skirt, the ties are not interfaced which makes tying a bow or knot a little easier. The entire waistband and ties are again top-stitched in the Orange thread. I have a couple of pockets which I intend to apply to the back skirt panels but before I do that I want to practice some decorative twin-needle stitching. Watch this space…..

Lily Ashbury Pears Wraparound Skirt

A few years ago I purchased a charm pack of Lily Ashbury prints. I made a quilt using the disappearing 9 patch block. The different designs in the pack “spoke” to me and I often looked at the quilt and thought – “that print would make a nice blouse” or “that print could be a pretty dress”. Several of the designs were recently offered in the “clearance” section of New Threads, Weyhill Fairground and so I hot footed it to the shop and purchased 2.5 metres of one of my favourite designs. I bought that quantity of fabric thinking that I would make a ¾ length sleeved blouse. When I got home I washed and dried the fabric and then laid it out on my cutting board. Hmmm… those pears could fall at inappropriate places on the front bodice of the blouse. What shall I do? I know, I will make wraparound skirt instead!

Would you believe it? It was only when I hung the skirt to take a photograph that I realised the pears at the centre front are all upside down! Just as well I did not go ahead with the blouse – who knows where those pears would have ended up?


As the fabric seemed to have lost some of its substance in the wash, I decided to mount the cotton onto anti-static lining. This has the dual effect of adding weight to give the skirt a nice drape and also removes the need to wear a slip under the skirt.

I wore the skirt with a co-ordinating tee shirt (from Bon Marche) when my friend and I attended the Sprat & Winkle Rooksbury Retreat Day. More of that later but it did cause a moment of laughter when it was revealed that one of the demonstration quilts also featured the same range of Lily Ashbury prints – I did not stand too close to it!

Wraparound Skirt Workshop

Saturday 16th April at New Threads, Weyhill Fairground found me and three ladies enjoying a  a fun and busy day as we I tackled a wraparound skirt.

We used a pattern that I had drafted from an original grid drawing dated 1976. The fact that this style is still current with the major pattern design companies just goes to show how enduring and versatile this design of skirt can be. Gemma 1, Gemma 2, and Yafit were all enthusiastic about finishing the seam allowances with Hong Kong finish – that is until they realised just how long it takes to apply 7.5 metres of bias binding with 2 rows of stitching. But the finished result looks so good and it was excellent practice for straight machining!

Pictured below is Yafit with a lovely smile BEFORE tackling the Hong Kong finish, together with another picture of my skirt. This was completed after the workshop as I to took the time to bind seam allowances and the hem in a contrasting Red bias binding. I also included side seam pockets which I  find so useful.

Yafit  my wrapover skirt

The fabric came from my stash of Fabricland cotton prints (when I was enjoying a cherry print phase!) and should be very versatile as it goes well with Navy, Red, Green and White. I still have some remnant of the fabric which I think is sufficient to make a sleeveless top or camisole but in the meantime I am finishing off another version of the New Look 6340  trapeze dress in a linen  cotton blend. I also need to make the sample kimono jacket to Simplicity 1318 so had better knuckle down and get stitching.

Blue Denim Flippy Skirt Tester

flippy blue denim skirt

Wow! A change from Cross Body Bags!

Yes, after all those bags it is now time for me to turn to my “roundtoit” list and get cracking on some dressmaking and Christmas projects.

Inspiration for this skirt came in the form of a promotional photograph for Pavers shoes. No shoes were purchased in pursuit of this project but a lot of lessons learned about my figure and skirts.

I decided to use this construction as a “test” before making a similar skirt using some lovely Mustard wool tweed purchased from B&R Textiles of Salisbury. I had a length of denim in my stash that I had bought from Fabricland so having overlocked the edges put the fabric through the wash to get rid of excess dressing and check for colour run. Unbeknown to me there was a towelling teacloth in the washer at the time – this came out a charming shade of Blue. Now I know to wash the completed skirt separately in future – and make sure the machine is empty before I switch on!

I measured myself and made a note of the inches before turning to my TNT prima dress pattern. I hacked the pattern by cutting through the waistline and adding a seam allowance. I already had a note of cutting line for the bias hem frill so placed the pattern pieces and cut out.

Although the original dress is made with sufficient ease to wear “pullover” style as this was to be a more fitted garment I would need a zip and waistband. I used my favourite lapped zip insertion method using a grey zip from the stash. It went in beautifully and the zip was completely concealed by the lap.

I made the darts front and back then basted the side seams prior to first fitting. Oh dear! I know that I have been losing weight but this was ridiculous! There were inches of excess fabric at each side seam and I could put the skirt on without opening the zip – back to the drawing board. I basted a new seam line 1 inch in thereby reducing the width of the skirt by 4 inches and tried again. Yes, now it was much better. I made a note to lower the waistline at centre front and grade out at the side seams. Having re-stitched the side seams I overlocked the seam allowances and proceeded to attach the bias hem frill. I used the trusty twin-needle for machine stitching the hem and also for top-stitching the seam where the frill was attached to the main body of the skirt. I cut a waistband 4 inches wide and attached to the skirt. Back for another fitting. Oh no! Still too big! In disgust I put the skirt to one side and went out to visit a friend.

Next day – I was determined to finish that darn skirt and make it wearable. Bearing in mind that I might yet lose more weight the waistband would need to be “versatile”. I removed the waistband, removed the zip and re-stitched the centre back seam in its entirety. I re-cut the waistband having taken off another 2-3 inches from the length. I re-attached the waistband by basting on the machine and using the feed dogs to ease the extra fabric of the skirt to the waistband. I left a gap in the centre back seam of the waistband to facilitate insertion of petastretch elastic. Having inserted the petastretch and safety-pinned in place it was time for the third, and I hoped, final fitting.

Third fitting – ah! That is soooo much better! I stitched the end of the petastretch together by using a triple zigzag stitch over a small piece of crepe de chine which covered the raw edges and completed the waistband by “stitch-in-the ditch” from the right side. A final press and it was done.

Conclusion: Now that the waistband fits nicely I find that because my hip joints are no longer symmetrical and one leg is shorter than the other thereby affecting my posture, the skirt does not hang as I would like. To correct this would take a lot of “finessing” and then who knows what my posture will be like once the hip replacement surgery has been completed? So, in future when a skirt is required I shall make a Pinafore Dress and then the garment will hang from the shoulders and avoid all that “quirkiness” of hip joints and posture.

Let’s hope that I purchased sufficient wool tweed to make a Pinafore Dress rather than the skirt I originally planned.

Batik/Stripe Reversible Wraparound Skirt

closed view

Here is the fourth version of the wraparound skirt. This time I used a Brown Batik print purchased from New Threads, Weyhill Fairground and a lining of a Brown/Tan striped cotton from my stash.

The construction was fairly straightforward. In order to reduce bulk I stitched the darts in both fabrics and pressed the Batik fabric ones to the centre and the striped fabric ones in the opposite direction. The side seams were all pressed open. I decided that I would make the skirt reversible and also to curve the lower edge of the overlap so that I would not need to be quite so precise when matching the hemline.

I placed the two skirts right sides together and stitched all around excluding the waistline. Then there was some precise turning and pressing involved to ensure that neither fabric showed on the opposite side. I think I have managed to achieve that. I then stitched the two skirts all around the edges using my trusty twin needle. I stitched from the Batik side with Dark Brown thread and had a pale Beige in the bobbin for the Striped side. I had hoped that the zig-zag of the bobbin thread would provide an interesting finish for when the skirt is worn stripe side out but unfortunately the final result is not quite neat enough.

I used Vilene 220 fusible interfacing in the waistband which was cut from 3 widths of the Batik fabric x 4inches wide. Having decided on the length required to hang from the right front (overlap) I pinned the remainder of the waistband to the skirt. I stitched the short ends of the ties right sides together, then folded in ½ inch turnings before folding the band and ties in half and pinning before top stitching the ties and “stitched in the ditch” the waistband. I stitched the buttonhole mid-way between the right side seam and the right back dart. I had found with the Blue linen skirt that the buttonhole needs to be set fairly far around the waistband as otherwise, as I lose weight, the flap of the underside gets drawn through the buttonhole when tying together.

By using two medium cotton fabrics this has provided weight to the skirt which I am sure will make a warm garment to be worn with opaque tights during the coming months.

open to show lining