Knife and fork

So I got my fantastic new Bernina, and then took myself off to Wales for the weekend and ended up sewing the majority of this skirt on my mum’s trusty Janome, which is now, following the demise of our Canadian Singer from the 70s, our very oldest sewing machine, hailing from – shock horror – the late 90s.

The outer and lining are both self drafted so a bit (a lot!) of trial and error went into this skirt. The lining is A-line with darts front and back, and the outer skirt is straight with knife pleats (following this excellent tutorial, which, unexpectedly, calls for a fork). The fabric is rayon from Cotton + Steel’s second collaboration with Rifle Paper Co, Wonderland, purchased in the summer from The Village Haberdashery.

What can I say? I really like this skirt! I also figured out how to use my Bernina’s automatic buttonhole feature, so can now realistically think about making some proper, button-down blouses (at long last). Time to really make progress on my extensive Liberty tana lawn collection.


The soul of the rose

When I saw this Liberty fabric it reminded me of Waterhouse’s painting, The Soul of the Rose, which has hung in poster form in my mum’s bedroom for as long as I can remember, and for which I have a big soft spot (although I have always been perplexed by her neck). It’s also very Arts-and-Crafts, or Morris-ian.

It’s called Rose Xanthe, and I bought as much as I could afford and turned it into a self-drafted skirt.

liberty rose xanthe skirt

The pattern is based on my favourite skirt, purchased at H&M six years ago and worn about weekly since. Frustratingly I couldn’t find a pattern that was even close. The skirt is made up of 6 tapering panels which together add up to something like a circle. But then it’s also gathered. Extensive research yielded only patterns for gathered skirts made from rectangles or patterns for circle skirts without gathers.

I took matters into my own hands and with a lot of measuring, tracing and smoothing out of gathered fabric I made myself a pattern.

liberty xanthe rose skirt liningThe lining is identical to the main pattern, but a tiny bit shorter. I got the gorgeous pinky-orange fabric from a wonderful little haberdashery, or merceria, in Florence. It is just perfect in this skirt.

liberty rose xanthe skirt

On the waistband I’ve continued with my resolution not to use interfacing, and used cotton muslin instead. It worked a treat.

This is all a very rambling way of trying to say, I adore this skirt. I wear it all the time and it makes me happy whenever I do. The shape, the flow of the fabric as I move around, and the Liberty pattern are just delicious.

At some point I’d like to make a matching top too, but it will be fairly minimal as I don’t have much fabric left.

liberty rose xanthe skirt




Bluebells and a skirt

I was in Wales a few weeks ago, and spent a lovely morning sewing a skirt and then found myself running about in a bluebell wood near Crickhowell in the afternoon. I’ve never seen a bluebell wood before. It was incredible.


crickhowell bluebell wood crickhowell bluebell wood

Anyway, the fabric I used for the skirt was some long-hoarded Martha Negley ‘Feathers’ quilting cotton; and the pattern was McCalls 6706, which I mostly bought for the petticoat pattern but haven’t got round to making that yet.

Although this skirt is great, it joins the burgeoning ranks of the Skirts That Stick To My Legs When I Wear Tights club. I really have to get round to making some sort of slip or petticoat to disband this club once and for all.

feathers skirtfeather skirtYou can see the skirt sticking to my legs as I frolic amongst the bluebells. Sigh.


Santa’s Workshop 2014

Christmas happened. And as I still haven’t got over my sheer disgust at the shopping experience, most of my presents were, as usual, home-made.

Working full time and doing a Masters in the evenings is reducing my making-time, so I couldn’t be as ambitious as last year. To make up for time-poverty I used extra wonderful materials – lots of Liberty, lots of Adriafil yarn and lots of exciting zippers. And then of course a cousin ended up with something made out of my old trousers. Which I didn’t get a decent picture of… Sorry!

The list:

  • 6 boxy pouches, including ones lined in Liberty Kilburn Rose, Alexandra and Queue for the Zoo
  • 1 glasses case in Hat Box Tiger Stripes and Libery Queue for the Zoo
  • 2 sketchbooks covered in Hat Box Tiger Stripes
  • 3 notebooks covered in Liberty Edenham, Branchflower and Solsetur
  • 1 self-drafted skirt with box pleats and pockets in a vintage Liberty tana lawn
  • 3 pairs of socks in Adriafil Stella Jacq and Knitcol

End of summer

So now that it’s the end of summer, when better to make a yellow floral miniskirt?

I used my Garmenter skirt pattern, and the Nora tutorial – but went for a high waist and slightly less pencil-silouhette. 

I am so proud of this skirt 🙂 From the drafting-it-mself, to the fully finished seams, the pockets, the full lining, and most of all the wonderful Liberty stretch twill, in my favourite Tresco print. And the zipper is pretty invisible too, considering I have the wrong foot on my sewing machine.







Skirt and Skirrid

Last night I made a skirt, this morning I climbed the Skirrid, and this afternoon I made the skirt a bit smaller and got sunburned.

Liberty Kilburn Rose skirt

Liberty Kilburn Rose skirt 2

Liberty Kilburn Rose skirt 3

Liberty Kilburn Rose skirt 4

Liberty Kilburn Rose skirt 5


Skirrid view

skirt shadow

In short: the perfect beginnings to a long weekend.

Fabric is Liberty tana lawn, ‘Kilburn Rose’. Apparently Tamsin Grieg had something to do with the design. Lining is red taffeta, elastic waistband was purchased either in Florence or North Finchley (to my shame, I can’t remember which).

Bring on the tea parties.

The Grand Reveal: Christmas 2013

This year I only bought one Christmas present – and it was a bit of an afterthought anyway. The one bought present was a pack of 6 Le Corbusier notecards, for my dad to send me letters with, purchased from an awesome little shop in Abergavenny called FortySix. Incidentally, they also had a big book of treehouses from Phaidon, but I resisted the temptation and turned my energies towards my own gingerbread treehouse instead.

Here’s what I made for people:

  • A dress
  • Several ties
  • Two bobble hats (the pompom was added later to one…)
  • Change purses
  • A reversible bow-tie
  • A pair of socks
  • A shawl/collar thing
  • A skirt
  • A long scarf
  • Coffee cup sleeves

And here are some photos of the above:

I’m looking forward to being able to make some stuff for myself, finally! And get a move on turning some of the stacks of Liberty fabric I’ve accumulated this year into clothes, especially now that the Spring/Summer 2014 collection of prints has now launched. Luckily, I don’t truly covet any of the ones I’ve seen – so far!