Just a few more...

I know, I know....I hadn't intended to post pictures of any more clothes...but there were some that I made before Christmas that I'd meant to blog about, and then there's the whole problem of me becoming absolutely addicted to making myself skirts, not to mention the fact that your commenty goodness is only encouraging me and it's so much fun to have others to talk to who are equally obsessed...so somehow here I am with just a few more skirts and dresses.

First is this skirt that I made for Zebra-girl in December - these colourful corduroys were in my local fabric shop and on seeing them I had that heady moment where you can't breathe for loving something so much. Luckily she is only a small thing and so my craving for the corduroy could be satisfied with just a mere soupcon of fabric...which was a good thing as it was so very expensive. At home I had some wonderfully strokeable velvet ribbon that my sister had bought for me a couple of years ago, and that went with the rich red perfectly and pulled the the two fabric colours together. Luckily, Zebra-girl loved it and has worn it a lot.

This is the yoke as a work-in-progress for the dress that I made for my sister's Christmas present. Planning this dress turned my head inside out...it took me so long to work out what order to do things in as I'm not used to working with concealed zips with linings.
Anyway, this hanger (which is a baby's hanger) is far too small for displaying adult clothes on (hence the fact that it looks a little odd), but here it was before I sewed the central buttons on and hemmed it - I never took a photograph of the finished dress as December was a little busy, but I was pleased with the way that the lining had gone in, even though I feel like I've since learnt so much about drafting patterns (see last post), that I may not necessarily have cut it in quite the way that I did.

So that's last year's garmenty goodness...now what I got up to on Friday night (yes, I am thrilling company for my husband, but fear not, we had fun on Saturday instead). In winter, when I wear boots and thick tights, I prefer my skirts to be short, but in summer I prefer them to cover my knees (due to my finding my own to be exceptionally ugly ones) so I'm keeping the denim skirt from my last post the length that it is and saving it for summer wear. Which left me with such a winter-skirt craving that I simply had to rustle something up. I had a fraction less than half a metre of this lovely blue corduroy and it was just enough to make an A-line skirt. I ended up completely redrafting my pattern as I decided to take a couple of inches out so that it sat a fraction higher on the waist, and so that the A had hit it's widest point at my new shorter length (rather than several inches of invisible skirt below it).

Two hours later a skirt was born. Once again, I had fun adding a contrast fabric to the insides of the waistbands and hem line. Mr Teacakes chose the fabric for me, as he could see that my two hour project was threatening to turn into a ten hour one if I continued to spend any more time hovering over the fabric drawers winneting about what print to use.

It feels unbelievable to me that something that didn't exist at 8.30pm on Friday night can have materialised and be ready to wear by Saturday morning. But it was, and I was so excited that I completely forgot to take any pictures of it until that evening when I was making a cheese sauce. So just like any normal person making something that will catch on the bottom of the pan easily, I grabbed my camera and took some right there and then before it got covered in flour.

Hurrah for multi-tasking...the cheese sauce didn't burn and was tea was ready ten minutes later.
What has pleased me most about these skirts is that I'm rapidly feeling like making my own wardrobe is the most appealing option. I have always loved clothes shopping with an absolute passion and thought that making my own clothes could be fun, but that really I'd want them in addition to my shop bought lovelies, not instead of. However, I've had a skirt from Gap that was (almost) perfectly acceptable sat in a bag for a week. It was a little too long for me and would have needed shortening and I would have needed to have moved some of the buttons at the front to take it in at the waist (due to Gap no longer stocking their smallest size...grrr, but for those shorties who have been similarly enraged by this, Boden have gone some way to making things lovely again by introducing a size 6 across their entire range) and the pleats in it didn't sit in quite the right way at the back, but I did really like it. However, suddenly these things felt like one compromise too many, so it has been returned to the shop and I am one step closer to being able to do cartwheels (I'm thinking that elation may propel me in a way that no amount of tips and advice from Zebra-girl thus far has been able to) due to the fact that making my own skirt that is just perfect for me cost me only £3.50.

Anyway, going back to my last post - if you commented then I've (hopefully) responded in the commenty section, however, a couple of things came up that I thought I'd mention here:

Jody asked whether I thought it would be any use for making maternity clothes with...hmm, I wouldn't want to send lots of pregnant women on a clothes-making goose chase, but I can only imagine that it would. As you use so many measurements (ie. true waist, low waist, high hip, low hip etc), then I would have thought it would be perfect for making allowances for all the places that you go in and out during pregnancy. You don't use every measurement for every pattern, but once you've learnt how to draft a pattern from some of your measurements, then I'm guessing that throwing a couple of extra reference points in wouldn't be too difficult. However, Cal Patch, the author of the book, has a blog and a Flickr group...so perhaps she might be able to tell you how many leaps on maternity pattern drafting really is..

Anita (of whom I'm having severe shoe jealousy) mentioned the author Simon Henry in my comments - he looks to have three books out, all of which I'm interested in, although I'm wondering how easily applicable to the 'everyday' his work is. Has anyone ventured inside these books and found out to what extent one has to be a full-time party girl to find these useful?
Additionally, a few people commented or emailed about a book called Sew What! Skirts - I'd seen this on Amazon, but had never realised that it was about making skirts from scratch rather than someone else's patterns, and it sounded too good to miss - thank you so much for the recommendations. It has now arrived, but I'm yet to have a chance to look through it (due to my working on a custom order very slowly today - really, it was like watching a baboon trying to sew and what should have taken an hour, took me five - yes, five! - hours to get perfect), but will report back once I have finished reading.

Also, Sarah emailed me and asked if I might mention a Pattern Challenge that she is hosting on her blog. Her hope is to create a pattern library of reviews for different shop-bought patterns...which could be a really useful thing to avoid mishaps like those that I had when making my blancmange dress from a troublesome Simplicity pattern.

I know that I have proved myself to be utterly untrustworthy now, but I absolutely promise that my next post will not be about making clothes, thinking about making clothes, or even dreaming about making clothes...it will be about quilted things of the non-garment variety.
Florence x


  1. You can be as untrustworthy as you want. I love the dressmaking posts as much as all the others. The skirt is fantastic and I am off to ferret out the lump of black cord I know I have. Also you have given me another blog/reason I cannot do the housework to follow, so thanks for being so untrustworthy. x

  2. Absolutely adorable! :) So cute <3

  3. I've just blogged about your blog! I've just discovered it and its one of my favourites. Love all the clothes you are making. Gorgeous! http://sewscrumptious.blogspot.com/

  4. i love your making clothes posts Florence. your new skirt is great!
    thanks to you i now possess cal patch's book too and on first perusal and measurement taking it looks really good. i just need to work out what to make and find me some time to make it in.
    ginny xxx

  5. That skirt is amazing! Everything about it is perfect, and I absolutely adore skirts with buttons.

  6. Thanks for the shout out, Florence! Pretty please don't stop blogging about garment making! It is so inspiring!!!

    Sarah @ http://comeandseetheseitz.com

  7. How cute the little girls skirt is - I used to really enjoy this kind of sewing, its lovely. Your sisters pattern is very ambitious - to think you did it without any previous know how is most impressive. Your own new skirt is another well fitting triumph! All your clothes are beautifully detailed and obviously a fiddle to do but so worth it by the end result. I have my Sew What skirts book now too but need fabric to get started. Someone said they were cute, and I really think they are. You will probably find them easier than what you have been doing already, but I think I will find it an excellent starting point and it does get you to think imaginatively about types of basic skirts. The little A lines reminded me of some I saw in a Boden catalogue, simple but effective and attractive. It is the fabric choices that make all the difference to the end result. I also need to buy a yard stick before I can get started.

  8. That skirt is scrumptious. I love what you said about the clothes you've made feeling appealing to wear; I feel similarly about my hand-knits vs. shop-bought knitwear. I think once you come to realise the all the special details it is possible to put in when you make things yourself, commercially-produced alternatives start to seem a bit disappointing.

  9. I've really been enjoying your dressmaking posts since I found your blog, so don't apologise!

  10. Your new skirt is just fabulous! It looks perfect. I'm furiously chewing my nails in envy...as someone who almost always wears skirts and dresses (due to big hips and other issues), I dream of making clothes as well as you do.

    Zebra-girl's dress is lovely.

    More posts about clothes, please Florence!

  11. Sorry, I meant skirt!

    See, I was distracted by thoughts of new clothes and perfectly fitted skirts...

  12. Fantastic skirt - you are soo clever.xx

  13. Thanks for the reply - you're right, of course, but it's the thought of all those YARDS of fabric I'd have to use ;) But your skirts are GORGEous - the trim really does give them the Boden feel - so professional and SO CHEAP!! You could add a nought on and double it for Boden prices.

  14. Love the skirts. I am enjoying your commentary on dress and pattern making. I'm perfectly willing to let you iron out the wrinkles!

  15. I LOVE both skirts so far and can't wait to see what else you come up with! I especially like the details (the buttons and the inside fabric trim), so cool!

    Please keep us up to date with what you make next!

    Also just thought you might like to know that there is a website called www.patternreview.com where people upload their reviews of store bought patterns, and there are thousands of reviews on there. They also do online sewing classes. And give sewing machine reviews.


  16. I don't mind at all your posts about making clothes! I've been so discouraged in the past in my attempts to make things for myself, but reading your blog makes me want to go home and try again.

    I've used the Sew What! Skirts book, and I think it was pretty decent. Certainly it was exciting to think that I could make cute skirts in a short amount of time without a pattern! I just haven't figured out where the right set of measurements should be taken, since I don't like my skirts up around my natural waist, and always manage to take my skirt waist measurement too low. Needless to say, I made two summer skirts from the book before I had to return it to the library:


  17. hello! sounds like no one wants you to stop talking about clothes-making florence ;n)
    i just wanted to pipe in about the maternity question: honestly i have no experience at all with maternity clothes, but i think that the book could help one get the concepts down to begin making patterns, and then they can use some maternity clothes as reference for special techniques. i think for tops and dresses it's not too difficult to deal with, but it's the bottoms that i'm not too sure about!

  18. Florence, your clothes making is seriously amazing. I love all the thoughtful little touches you add...really very beautiful.

    PS I love how you slipped "winneting" in there!!!

  19. Did I read correctly? You made a skirt out of a little less than half a metre of fabric? I couldn't do justice to a Barbie Doll skirt with that amount! Well done and I must say the skirt looks fabulous.

    It appears that the consensus is that you keep writing about your dressmaking adventures, so please don't disappoint all your readers.

  20. Joy, I do love the idea of it being a 'lump' of black cord...the transformation into something lovely will be even more wonderful having started off as a lump.

    Sew Scrumptious - thank you so much - that was so kind - I am incredibly flattered.

    Ginny, I'm so delighted that you have the book and can't wait to see what you come up with.

    Chickie Chirps - thank you so much for the link - I'm off for a peek just as soon as I've replied.

    Cal - thank you so much for the maternity advice...I hadn't even thought of trousers...I'm finding it difficult to progress past the skirts at the moment!

    Lina - you noticed!

    Hot Fudge...that's what comes of being as tall as your average 11 year old (5ft 1)! There have to be some perks to it.

    Thank you so much for all your lovely comments. Florence x

  21. No don't stop! I need to hear this stuff. I tried drafting the skirt pattern from Cals book. I measured the waist or where I thought I wanted the skirt to sit. (On my low hip). I obviously think I am bigger than i actually am. The skirt sat way too low. I have really straight hips anyway. Blah blah. I will be redrafting. LOL. Wish me luck. You are my inspiration. Thank you.

  22. Hello Anonymous - I made the same mistake and my first measurements had the skirt sitting far too low on my waist (and like you, I'd wanted it to sit below my true waist, but this was far too low), which was the good thing about making a muslin first as I was able to take a couple of inches out before cutting into the real material.

    Good luck. x

  23. Sarah might like to have a look at Pattern Review, a website set up to host reviews of patterns, sewing machines, fabric shops etc. It's a great resource, and I've learned to always check the reviews before I buy a pattern!


  24. I must have totally missed this one florence! I love the skirt, it's really beautiful. congrats on the crafterhours skirt win!

  25. found your picture on flickr which linked back to your blog. i just made that same side-button skirt for my daughter from cal patch's book...so i just gotta know, did you have to improvise the side closure as well? her diretions seem to have left out a few key steps.

    LOVE yours!


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I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x