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Tilly & the Buttons: Ness Skirt

When I opened my parcel and felt the beautiful Red Denim Fabric I let out an ‘oooooo’! The sort you make when you have your first sip of tea in the morning. This fabric was destined to be a Tilly and the Buttons Ness Skirt. I loved the style of the skirt, thinking it would be a great basic, casual skirt that could be dressed up or thrown on for the early morning school run. I chose to make the longer length.

As I suspected I was far off the pattern sizing so with a sad face I started scaling up the pattern 2 sizes. Extra paper and Sellotape later I was ready to pattern cut. I am hoping indie pattern companies will soon reflect us curvy sewists and rethink their size ranges, especially with the current #sewmysize and #sewinclusive movement on Instagram.

I used pattern weights to hold the pattern as I cut out the pattern with scissors, the quality of the paper in the pattern was excellent. I have 3 metres of this fabric, I have enough left to make a small skirt for my daughter, but I did need this length to be to cut out the long waistband (1 continuous piece x2).

The instructions were clear and the video tutorial for the zip fly is really helpful, but turn down the music if you need to watch it more than once.

I used 2 different fat quarters to be the pocket bag, simple to make but looks very professional (even if I do say so myself).

Throughout the making process you stop to topstitch along the way, I love the look of the top stitching on the denim. I used Gutermann Top Stitch Thread in yellow (no. 415). I have never topstitched in such detail before and I did have a topstitch heartache.

Things I learnt the hard way:

  • Top stitching is hard to unstitch

  • You only need topstitch thread on the spool, ordinary cotton on the bobbin (oops)

  • You only get 30m on a spool so with all the test pieces and unpicking, buy two!

  • Along stitch length 3mm is better than 2mm.

  • Instagram is great for advice (fellow sewist are the best).

But my sewing machine was happy as in the process of trying to figure out what was going wrong it got a full de-fluff and hoover. Plus a broken pin removed from its bobbin holder.

However it was worth the trauma, I love the detail on the back pockets and fly zip

Once the front and back pieces were constructed I pinned them around myself to check fit, hips being 2 sizes plus were fine but the waist was too large so I drew taper lines on the waist to decrease it whilst leaving ‘love handle’ room.

My machine struggled at times with the layered denim and thicker top stitch thread, so I decided not to do a machine button hole and did my first ever hand stitched button hole – it’s not quite as neat as I would like but does the purpose and is the same thread as the topstitching. I used instructions given on Di Kendall’s blog, although it took me a week to build the courage to do this.

To complete the denim look I used these Stud Jeans Buttons, I got my other half to hammer it through. I couldn’t take the pressure of doing it myself in case it went wrong.

I love the Ness skirt and the denim is vibrant, soft and with stretch (added bonus). Now I have the fit/size correct I can see myself making further skirts in other medium weight fabric.

Thanks for reading,

Charmaine @cham.west

Comments (2)

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Charmaine West said:

Kathryn thank you so much for your lovely comment. This outfit certainly gets a lot if wear. Xx · 1st May 2019 11:56am

Kathryn Hoyes said:

Thanks for taking the time to write about this project. I actually love your style with the fab coat and blouse. The mix of patterns is great, good for you. · 21st Apr 2019 09:58pm