double denim skirt – The refashioners 2016

My workroom has become awash with denim……between the last few makes, I have also been picking up more jeans from ‘the euro rail’ (yup the local charity shop had to reduce all jeans to 1 euro to clear them out a few weeks ago….on one hand I gain by getting so much raw material so cheaply, but on the other hand it shows the levels of overconsumption…)

I had been meaning to try a skirt, as I have a good few dresses for winter, but want to try a skirt so I can mix and match with trousers and sweaters.  I had doodled about some ideas, and in the end the main contenders were…………………….

the refashioners 2016 Upsew Skirt ideas

It was pretty much playing about with some graphic shapes, the first being ‘the drawing exercise’ (is it a silhouette of a couple or a candle-stick…) and  then going between 2 colour and 3 colour options. I decided to go for the jigsaw idea, though now with hindsight, I probably would have found drawing 3, 4 or 9 easier with the straight lines.


The dark denim was from a dress I did last year from a pair of jeans, I didn’t wear it much and figured most of it would go into making the skirt.  The light denim was from another pair of jeans from ‘the euro rail’ (the reduced rail).   I used an a-line skirt pattern I had, and divided it into 3 parts along the dart lines.  I added the shapes to one side, and added seam allowance onto that.



The centre front and other side ended up being joined together and cut rather crudely from the dress front and dress back as there was insufficient fabric.  It is not on grain but the seam line is relatively evenly matched and I figured I could get away with it given the fabric weight, and weave.

I placed the jigsaw shape side over the dark denim, pinned in place, and top-sewed in place – I was more organised with the second jigsaw panel, I clipped the curved edges before I turned it over with a tacking stitched, then pinned and top-stitched  They are not perfect curves, but as it was a bit of an experiment, and a casual skirt, I am fine with this (and given my increasing need for glasses, I probably am well able to overlook it!).  I used a zip from one of the pairs of jeans, and the inside leg scrap from the light denim for a curved waist facing.

Its a knee length skirt, and probably best suited for summer.  Knee length is a funny length for me, I am experimenting teaming it up with different shoes/boots/tops and have not settled on a ‘winter’ look, as tights look a bit odd from the light denim sided….. but I don’t want to cut it short either…..

Iam also thinking of trying some of these graphic skirts for some wools off-cuts, which would work out well indeed.





Vogue 6368 in denim

I have this pattern (dress only no coat sadly) for quite a while and have been looking for any excuse to try it out, I adore the shaping, and I also think that the ladies white hair in the illustration could have swayed me also!


I had a semi formal event in September and it seemed as good an excuse as any, however finding the fabric was a chore.  I wanted something with a bit of depth and not prone to creasing, and as I am far away from shopping choice I ended up settling on a denim on sale in the local fabric shop.  (The only other were some synthetic crepes – that were both flat and loud).  I had already made the denim cigarette pants from the same denim and at 8euro a metre I would get the dress for 24 euro, so even if it didnt work, the pattern pieces were so large it could easily be remade into something else……………………and the denim also looked lovely with my silver shoes.

I washed the denim to soften it a bit, and my main worry was the weight.  I really should have worried more about grading the pattern at the hips.  I graded it fine in the main, but forgot to add to the the other side as its an asymmetric cut – but I was able to compensate later as it sewed up.

Not a lot to say about the construction.  The dress went together pretty quickly, and the main difficulty was the weight of the pleats, and the omission of grading on the other side of the hips. For the back pleat I used a length of black binding to give me the extra to meet the side seam (the pleat is sewn onto the seam allowance here.  If I was sewing it again in a heavy fabric I would take the kick pleat out of the back and make it a slit and have it hang straight down – ie not anchor it at all, and I would consider something similar for the front pleat.  The sewing instructions also had the back pleat hang from the facing but I hand-stitched it down a few inches as the fabric seemed to drag it away from the body.  I probably should have hand-stitched it further, but I was afraid if I did too much, the sewing may get caught up somehow.

The back of the dress is 4 layers of fabric and when you factor in the darts that’s 6 layers so after I steam pressed the facings, I used bulldog clamps to make it look less bulky (and it worked a charm).

The dress was incredibly comfortable to wear and if I ever see a potential swanky fabric I would definitely like to make it again.    I am going to take the back pleat from this dress and turn it into a more casual summer dress.


The Shrug

When I planned the dress last spring, I forgot that September weather can be changeable so had to rustle up a shrug.  I made a modified version of the studio faro balenciaga top – and gave it extra tailoring from a vogue picture I saw.  I drafted up the pattern again, the last sample I did got used as hand bag lining, but I remembered I had drafted it far too big so I used a close fitting block as my starting point.  I was using some left over grossgrain type fabric and would have liked to have done a bias cut and absorbed some of the darts, but as the fabric has a raised stripe, it was easier to cut on grain.  I did a toile from an old sheet first, and fixed the darts using that, and also cut a curve in the back of the ‘sleeve’, and used the cut and fixed toile to alter the newer pattern.  I was going to put in buttons and did some trials but thought buttonholes looked a bit fussy so I left it was was…….. a really useful shrug for an empire line dress.