Clothkits Skirt – Rob Ryan ‘Hold Me’

My lovely Stitching Santa gifter who I now know is the lovely Kate at Fabrickated gave me a clothkits skirt kit for Christmas. I really liked the idea, and seeing as it was Christmas/New Year and I didn’t have as much to do, I thought I’d sew it up sharpish. And to motivate me further, The Monthly Stitch’s first theme of the year is ‘Not Stashed’ (use up fabric before it reaches your stash) – challenge accepted!

If you’ve not heard of Clothkits, they basically print a pattern directly on to the fabric, so you just have to cut the pattern in your size from the fabric!


The kit was designed by Rob Ryan, and is called ‘Hold Me’.


So during Chrimbo Limbo (you know the bit between Christmas and New Year) I sewed it up!

I cut the size 10 and it fits perfectly.

clothkits skirt

The pieces included are: 2 x back panels, 1 x front panel, 2 x back facings, 1 x front facing.

I like how there’s not an extra waistband; you just sew the facing right sides together with the skirt pieces and flip it over. I just stitched in the ditch (at both sides seams) and that holds it in place.

clothkits skirt

I inserted a concealed zip in between the back panels of the skirt, sorry there’s no back view photo!

You can add a lining if you wish, but for time and laziness sake I didn’t bother. The fabric is a lovely corduroy, so it’s not see-through at all to warrant a lining for that reason. Perhaps it would have benefited from one to prevent it kind of sticking to my tights, but I’m happy enough without!

I decided I didn’t want a line of stitching around the hem so I took the extra time to slipstitch the hem in place, so that nothing is visible on the front. I’m really happy I did that!


All in all, I would recommend you all to get a Clothkits kit! It was lovely to be able to cut the pieces straight from the fabric, and it took no time at all to sew up!

clothkits skirt

Now back to old fashioned pattern pieces…

Beth x


GBBS Asymmetric Skirt

Do you remember that skirt made from a tricky Japanese pattern in the last series of the Great British Sewing Bee?

This one:


They all look really happy there, don’t they?

Well the pattern is in the new book, ‘From Stitch to Style’. I crazily told my dressmaking class that I will make the skirt. So I did…

gbsb asymmetric skirt

I made it in a scuba type fabric that I picked up in my most local fabric shop for an unbelievable 30p per metre (“because we don’t know what it is”). I used some of it to make a Coco dress, and now there’s this. I have a little more that I can probably use to make something for a child! It’s brilliant because it’s nice and swishy, a knit of course so doesn’t fray which is essential for this project, and it was so cheap that I wouldn’t be upset if I messed it up!

And the skirt wasn’t as difficult to make as you’d think. I survived! There are perhaps a few small things that Patrick and Esme would pick up on, but overall I’m 90% happy with it.

The cutting out was the most time-consuming part. Because you have to cut every piece (of which there are 6) individually, and really carefully because those raw edges are on show – and you must mark the notches carefully too as they have to meet up.

gbsb asymmetric skirt

I cut out the pieces then got busy so left it on the side for two and a half weeks; but if you can’t sew for yourself on Bank Holiday Monday, when can you? So I sewed it up in the afternoon.

Have you made anything out of the new book yet? I found the instructions to be good; in the past the Sewing Bee books haven’t always been too great but I had no issues with this one.

The biggest annoyance is in this photo…

gbsb asymmetric skirt

Yeah, the lines don’t match up across the seam. Quite frankly at that point I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to go back and redo it all. It’ll do. The skirt took some patience, a lot of tacking and careful sewing, so by the end I’d had enough!

To finish the “waistband” you sew grosgrain ribbon to the top of the skirt and flip it to the inside. Ahhh, I rummaged through my ribbons and the widest I had was this bright green! I had exactly the right amount, so that was to be it! As it’s on the inside, you can’t see it. I love how little this skirt cost me! Excuse the poor photo.

gbsb asymmetric skirt

And as the fabric doesn’t fray, I didn’t actually hem it. Which feels weird but I love how there’s no bulk at the bottom.

Finally – essential twirling shot!

gbsb asymmetric skirt

So are you going to make this? Have you already?!

Beth x


GBSB Pleated Skirts!

My sister wanted a tartan skirt for Christmas. I originally visualised a Tilly & The Buttons Clemence. Then about a week or so before Christmas I remembered the box pleated skirt in the Great British Sewing Bee ‘Sew Your Own Wardrobe’ book. I’ve been wanting to make it since before I bought the book, well over a year ago. So I chose to make that.

Of course I had to use this excuse to make myself one first – a practice run! And I knew which fabric I was going to use – some that I’d actually bought with a Clemence in mind. (Move over, Clemence!) Sewing-themed fabric!

GBSB pleated skirt

I bought only 1m (for about £4) because I know I can get a Clemence out of it (with the waistband being a different fabric like my spotty Clemence’s). The above pic shows the two pattern pieces pinned on. This is on my coffee table, which is juuusst about completely covered. There’s some hanging down the long edge. I cut the waistband out of this afterwards. Yeah, it’s on the opposite grain but I didn’t think it’d matter. And it didn’t!

I’ll kick off with a close-up of the front pleats. I love them!

GBSB pleated skirt

I traced the pattern, cut the fabric, and tacked the pleats one evening. And sewed it all up the next. It was a dream to sew.

GBSB pleated skirt

The pattern features a lapped zip, which I very rarely sew. But it went well. I don’t know if I prefer it to an invisible zip, though. Yeah, I could have done with a bit more seam allowance at the top! I thought I’d be a good girl and follow the book’s instructions for the zip. Well, needless to say, I should have done it my own way!

GBSB pleated skirt

I cut a size 14, to my measurements. Once it was made, I couldn’t decide if it was right or not. I think I could do with going a size smaller.

GBSB pleated skirt

But overall I’m really happy with it. It was so refreshing to make something for myself. Oh yeah, I also recently made a Seamwork Oslo, which I’ve forgotten to blog… I WILL do that soon!

I’m going to post about the tartan skirt in a day or two, just so that this post doesn’t get boringly long. I’ll just say one thing – it was more of a challenge!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Make it a crafty one!! 😀

Beth x

Raw silk Christmas bubble skirt

This is my daughter pretending she likes her new skirt:

silk bubble skirt

I made the skirt using the pattern (well, instructions – you only need to cut rectangles) in Love Sewing magazine, issue 20.

The fabric is raw silk – oooh posh… I was given a roll of it from my “boss” who got it from someone who works for some posh clothing brand that I can’t remember. This is the first thing I made with it.

silk bubble skirt

I think it looks so Christmassy, and am really happy with how it turned out. But she doesn’t like it!!

silk bubble skirt

The addition of the bow was my own idea – before it, the skirt looked pretty plain. This is before:

silk bubble skirt

And after!

silk bubble skirt

It’s actually really easy to make bows. I popped it on and think it transformed the skirt! (But still darling daughter didn’t like it.)

silk bubble skirt

I lined it with white 100% cotton – it does look a bit odd I guess but you can’t see it unless you turn it upside down or inside out!

silk bubble skirt

How you make bubble skirts is really clever. This was my first one! But I will definitely make more! (Although not for stroppy S.)

You use three pieces of elastic – two at 6mm and one at about 20mm wide. So there’s a strip around the bottom where the cotton and silk join, another at the top, and then the waistband is added and of course then the wider elastic is threaded through. I’m pretty sure it can be done without the 6mm elastic, but I think it gives it more poof!

Obligatory twirl shot…

silk bubble skirt

Beth x

P.S. I made some chocolate chip cookies with my girls a few days ago – Sharon at Creativity & Family shared the recipe last week. They are DELICIOUS. Here’s the link to the recipe (along with ones for mince pies and fudge which I’m sure are equally wonderful) – you have to try them!

yummy cookies!! 20-12-2015



Denim Dress to Skirt Refashion

I’m really happy with my new skirt that I made in only an hour or so.

Denim Skirt Refashion 1

How did I make it such little time? I cheated, of course. (The title kind of gives that away…)

It started life as this:

Denim dress to refashion

I bought this from a car boot sale, with the intention to refashion it into something I’d wear. I like the fabric; it’s lightweight and floaty. But the top half really didn’t do it for me. The skirt section, however, was something I could definitely work with.

Denim dress to refashion

So of course, I chopped the top half off and turned it into a skirt!


To do this, I used a skirt that I own that fits well – and coincidentally is the same length as the skirt part of the dress.

denim skirt

I used the skirt to cut a piece of elastic to the right size; as you can see the skirt will be gathered a bit – just how I like it. This was much easier than measuring myself, which I tend to get wrong somehow!

denim skirt refashion

I sewed the ends of the elastic together securely – then realised it will be on show so really should have used black thread… whoops :/

denim skirt refashion

I [very roughly] hemmed the top of the skirt – this was going to lie underneath the waistband so will not be on show; I just wanted to prevent fraying and keep it looking tidier than zigzag stitch.

denim skirt refashion

Then I was really clever and remembered how to attach elastic in such a way that it gathers evenly around the skirt – without looking it up. OK, it’s not rocket science, but it’s the kind of thing I always have to look up to job my memory! I learned how to do this when making knickers. (Note to self: make more knickers, it’s really fun!) Basically I pinned the elastic at regular intervals, and pulled it tight between the sections when sewing.

denim skirt refashion

I sewed two lines of stitching to ensure the elastic was secure; one at the top and one at the bottom. I bodged parts of the top line because I kept missing the fabric, where the hem wasn’t even. Luckily I had switched to black thread so it’s invisible!

I made a silly mistake. You know how I stitched the edges of the elastic so securely (in blue thread)? I made sure to turn the end that was going to be visible in – and left the other edge raw because it was going to be enclosed anyway. Weeeell, of course I didn’t check which way round I had placed it before stitching it onto the skirt. And, yes, I put it on the wrong way round; the raw edge was on the outside. GRRRRRRR!!!!! Can you feel my frustration?!

denim dress refashion elastic

OK, I have to admit – this was a blessing in disguise. I unpicked most of the blue stitching and turned that raw edge under before stitching it down in black thread. You will see that I left some of the blue stitching there. This is because it was pretty difficult to unpick it. I reverse stitched, for one, and secondly – I kept pulling on the elastic as well as the thread. So I left it at that. I’ll cope with it; life’s too short.

denim dress refashion elastic

So that’s it! I’m really happy with it; it fits perfectly.

Denim Skirt Refashion 2

My boyfriend was really unhelpful – I should give up asking for his opinion because he said he doesn’t like the colour. I didn’t make the colour! Clearly he’s a man. So please tell me that it looks nice!! Anyway I like it and that’s all that counts 🙂

Denim Skirt Refashion 4

The only thing besides the elastic that I can be pernickety about is that the skirt can just about be seen over the elastic in places… but I’m fine with it… This is because I didn’t take enough (OK, any) care and attention in the finishing of the top edge. I want things to be finished too fast!

Denim Skirt Refashion 3

I think I can be hard on myself… but that’s how I learn and progress, I suppose. I am aware that things aren’t going to be PERFECT, but without looking at the mistakes, I won’t know what I need to improve on. Next time I WILL check what way round the elastic is before sewing, and I WILL make sure I finish that top edge more accurately.

Because I’m sure there will be a next time; I love making something new out of something unloved 🙂

Quick, easy and fun denim dress to flippy skirt refashion

Beth x

Ladies Dress to Girls Skirt Refashion

I’ve had a productive evening. My partner is out, my eldest daughter is staying at my sister’s, and my youngest is tucked up in bed for the night. Time to sew 🙂

A couple of days ago I bought this beautiful dress from a charity shop for a whopping £2.25. I really love it; the skirt is so pretty.

Ladies Dress Ladies Dress - Bodice P1070176

But sadly it’s too small for me. We are only a couple of weeks past Easter, after all. So I thought instead of returning it, I would leave my money for the disabled and disadvantaged individuals the charity supports, and refashion something new out of it. Yes, I didn’t want to let this lovely fabric go.

So, I looked at the dress and the most obvious thing that came to my mind was to turn it into a child’s skirt. I love having daughters! I slipped it onto my 5-year-old and found that, with the elastic band at her waist, the length was fine (a midi-maxi kind of length – longer than she’d usually wear, but it suits the style of the skirt). It was a few inches too wide for her tiny waist though, so a bit of sewing was in order.

It looked like it would be quite a straightforward sew, and luckily it was. I’ll explain how I did it, in case you are wondering…

I began by turning the whole thing inside out and stitching down one side seam an inch or so away from the current seam, to make it smaller. I made sure not to stich up the overlay. I did actually come across a problem here as the elastic slipped out of line. I’m a bit of a perfectionist with things like this; I just need to have it lined up, so I unpicked it a couple of times and 3rd time lucky, I got it all lined up perfectly. The top of the dress was a jersey material, so not very easy to handle. Especially considering I’ve never sewn with it before.

Once I’d got that sorted, I trimmed the new seam, and zigzagged down the edge (oh, I need an overlocker!) I then cut the top of the dress off, leaving 3″ above the elastic. Instead of leaving the elastic showing, I thought I’d fold the jersey fabric over the top of it to create a more comfortable waistband. I took a (pretty poor) photo at this point, and thought maybe I should have taken some more earlier but I was just too into the sewing…

Cut up dress

Next, with the skirt inside out, I folded that extra fabric over the elastic, and tucked the raw edge in all the way around to create a clean edge. I pinned this to ensure that tricky jersey fabric didn’t slip everywhere, and got stuck in stitching it into place. I tried to follow the line already stitched on the elastic so it didn’t show. Nearly done. I turned the whole thing right side out, and pinned the cute corsage onto the elastic. Done!!

P1070181 transformed skirt skirt - elastic waistband

I think it looks pretty impressive. Pretty and impressive. But it was so easy! It didn’t even need any pressing. I feel like hunting the charity shops for more similar dresses to do it all again!

Now I just have to wait for my little princess to get home and she can try it on…