The Clemence Skirt

Hooray, I made my first project from Tilly Walnes’s book ‘Love at First Stitch’ – and I love it! I chose the Clemence skirt, mainly because I wanted to use the fabric I bought at the car boot sale a few weeks back for a measly 25p. I kid you not. 1.10 metres, of fabulous quality black cotton. It pays to rummage!6e4f290085082e3372eac19bfcd4a06f^ Obviously not my photo…. Source:

The instructions were AMAZING. So, so clear and easy to follow. I’m DEFINITELY going to make something else out of the book. I love the look of the Lilou dress but maybe I should build up to that like the book suggests…

To begin with, you need to measure yourself and create your pattern – which is basically a few rectangles.


Easy peasy. Or not. I failed – the finished skirt was a good couple of inches too big for me. ARGHHH!!! Of course, I only realised this once it was 100% finished – zip in, hemmed, final press…! But luckily I have a sister. So instead of taking my careful work apart, I let her try it on for size. And, as if it was meant to be, it fitted! So now I have lost my 25p [plus zip] skirt 😦 But it’s gone to a good home so it’s not too sad really.

For the purposes of this blog, I did photograph me wearing it – pulling it together at the back! So here it is…


I hope this has taught me the importance of measuring properly and trying things on before it’s too late. Because I love the skirt! It’s so ‘me’.


From the beginning, then. As I mentioned, I had just over 1m of fabric to use. I was so lucky here. It was just about right. I had to flip one of the waistband pieces to cut it across the grain (or is it along, not across? Whichever is not normal!!) because I would have run out of fabric for the grain to run along the same way. But it’s fine – the fabric is plain, and besides, one of the pieces is actually a facing so isn’t seen!

Clemence waistband

Look at that for a tight fit. I’m not sure what my daughter’s scribbles symbolise. Maybe she was trying to tell me it was the wrong size…

The annoying thing about having to wait until at least 8pm before I’m able to do anything I want to do is that I had to wait until the following evening to start the actual sewing – what a nuisance.
But I got stuck in as soon as I could, and… learnt how to do French seams! I often want to do these – but only think of it once I have started sewing. You need to stitch wrong sides together, so you really need to plan in advance. But because the instructions are to sew French seams, I did it! And they turned out great (even if I do say so myself).


One of the best things I think I learnt in the making of the Clemence was in the gathering stage. Tilly suggests that you use brightly coloured threads for this step, so they can easily be seen. Well, this is GENIUS. Yes, so obvious, and I feel rather stupid admitting it but this is one of the best tips I’ve learnt recently!! My God, it made the gathering process easier. I would still be sat here now trying to find the threads had I stitched them in black.


Still, it did take me ages to gather the fabric. There was A LOT of it. But I got there in the end; with only a few threads snapping! Thank goodness The Great British Bake Off was on at the time. Aren’t the gathers so cute!


Oh, and also, Tilly advises to sew in sections – so there were four sections of gathers to pull, instead of one loooooong strip. I am so thankful that she advised this. I would have just done the whole thing in one go, and got mad at it, trying to gather around a metre of thick-ish fabric! Of course, when I think about it, it makes perfect sense to just section it – but my brain is clearly frazzled by listening to constant babble all day long!


I love how the skirt poofs out – for want of a better word. It will be a really versatile piece in the wardrobe.


Unfortunately, the zip is slightly wonky. It’s probably not noticeable when worn, but I think it does veer slightly off centre. One of those annoying things…


… And the other is that there’s a mark on the waistband that won’t budge. I think I glazed the fabric with the iron? Grrrr….. but do not fear, for I have a plan; I’m going to make a cute bow belt (also from Tilly’s book) to cover it. And you’d never know it’s there. 🙂


But overall the pattern and finished skirt I think are fabulous, and I am definitely going to make another 🙂 I’m on the hunt for more bargain fabric…

Beth x

8 thoughts on “The Clemence Skirt

  1. Pingback: A Spotty Clemence | After Dark Sewing

  2. Pingback: Clemence Skirt – Take 2 | After Dark Sewing

    • Thanks 🙂 I’m making up for the loss of the skirt by making myself a new simplicity 1609 dress, which fits (so far)!
      I definitely recommend the book – the instructions and photos are SO clear! Get it!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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