Finished: good basic skirt pattern for my body shape

My body shape is that of a goblet:

handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vesthandsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest
The under carriage of a goblet has “a case of the no’s”: no waist, no buttocks, no hips, no thighs. So a straight shape suits best, with a flare at the bottom to match the “flare” a goblet has at the top (yes, I mean breasts/shoulders):

handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vesthandsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest

The lower back is very swayed. I put in a yoke, in double fabric: handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest

Only the back has these flaring pattern parts. The front is one piece, straight down. With pockets. The flare of the back facilitates walking: handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vesthandsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest

Some details: pockets. In this one I made one continuous pocket running from one side to the other:

handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest The inner side is not from the shell fabric but from an old pillow case. The underside of the pocket is shell fabric. The skirt has a zipper. My sewing teacher taught me the blind zipper. It went all very well until the very last, when I folded down the waist band to sew in the ditch from the right side. I was afraid I would not catch the inner side of it so I took a larger SA on the outside then the inside. I forgot I had already determined where the SA from the outside should be when I attached the zipper. Secondly I did not match the folding of the waist band from the front panel to the back panel, around the zipper: handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest
Oh well. It really was the last 30 minutes of sewing when I made these mistakes. The rest is good, both inside and out.

I learned how to attach a lining:
handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest (again, the only thing not so nice here is how the waist band is folded down and sewed)

So gorgeous:

handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest

I’m very glad to have a good basic pattern now. I’ll trace the parts on sturdy carton and it will be a go to pattern.

This one is in sturdy canvas so I can use it a lot and use it hard.


finished: gnome dress

Self drafted, with plenty of ease so it can be slipped on without a zipper and can be worn over winter underwear.

Made from sturdy rasberry coloured cotton canvas with a slight stretch. Still I cut the pattern pieces with about 0,5 cm extra width for wearing ease. This is too much. Should have done only at the side seams, not the princess seams. Or not so much. 0,5 cm at the side seams, 0,2 mm at the princess seams.

Accent fabric is a thin cotton with print of gnomes in vans:
gnome dress volkswagen van<
I’ve bought this combination years ago, to put together.

Lined it with cupro or Bremsilk which nearly cotton, I think?

Pockets in the sideseam. Lined with gnome fabric.

I put in some irregular knives pleats for walking ease:
gnome dress volkswagen van

I have been wanting to make this dress for years now. A block dress with the gnomes-in-vans down the middle. I didn’t know how to sew a square neckline though. With lining. And princess seams. I made muslins through the years but lacked the sewing skills to pull it off.

Now I did, thanks to my sewing lessons.

Regrettably I have not reinforced the centre panel enough, even though the gnome cotton is interfaced. I will adjust it. It also thought me I like firm fabrics, with not a lot of drape. Where shaping comes from the seams and pattern pieces. Will investigate that road further.

And the princess seams are a bit too pointy and roomy at the apex. Will resew that seam.

It sits really comfortably. The wearing ease makes it nice to wear, over maillot and long sleeves. So happy with the pockets!
Will use this pattern again. I have already amended it to a round neckline. Love a square neck though…. problem is the front panel cannot be a rectangle as it rises above my bust and needs to come in a bit. Shoulder straps move away from CF. They can’t be less wide because I like my back to be covered for the whole width. Ahh it’s a puzzle.

Love the bow at the back. It’s from Bleuet dress from Deer & Doe.

After these pictures I made some amendments.

  • the front panel collapses at the top. I have inserted fortifying rows of stitching in the lining and underlining.
  • made the curve at the apex (bust points) less curvy. I had room to spare there.
  • added topstitching at the front princess seams. They help tack down the seam allowance and make the seam sit pretty from the right side. Edge was treated with pinking scissors.
  • made the sideseams more curvy. But not too much so I still can put this dress over my head.

hand sewn dress
hand sewn dresshand sewn dress
hand sewn dress

finished: taupe wriggle dress in stretch cotton

Princess seams in front and back. A pleated fanshaped vent in the back, two in fact in each of the princess seams.

Straight front panel with handspun silk detail which returns in the patch pocket.

details of sewing:

The princess seam at the side front panel does not match the straight front panel. I sew a shape into the front panel and it doesn’t show in the finished project. Will amend pattern:

Reinforcing the front top with unstretable band:

Treating the seam allowances: stitch, trim so they are neat, fold under, press, sew:

Clip at ridiculous curvy bits:

Armholes are finished with biais band. Pin in place

Stitch (from the RS, right in the fold):

Clip and trim:

Redo parts that looked wonky from the RS. The curve in the armhole is very steep, it’s difficult to sew without catching some fabric here or there. Note how the band is folded at the start, this will fold inside neatly:

Baste in place. I used my machine with a long stitch and low foot pressure:

Pick with the hand. At the steep curve I have to bring the stitches closer to the edge, all the way to the basting line. The biais band just won’t stretch enough to let the fabric lie flat.

Pocket: treat top first, then use a carton mold to press the shape around (using a gathering stitch):

I added a detail with handspun Mulberry silk. Also to sew the folded under top in place and to prevent stretching. This edge was not reinforced with non-stretching tape or band:


a few tweaks to the pattern of the green flowery wriggle dress:
– make front panel straight. 19 cm from top to bottom. This means:
– subtract 2 cm from the side panel princess seams. This gives too much curve at the waist line. The fabric won’t be able to attend to it. I middle the curve with the front panel:
– at the waist line of the front panel there’s a slight shaping of 0,5 cm.
– it needs 2 x 0,5 cm more room at the apex. Given this at the sideseams.
– vent at the back princess seams, not at the side seams.
– lower the back neck line. It creases on the back torso in the green dress, even after we took out some of the length.
– pockets….

– handpicked binding at the arm hole and neck line.
– stay tape at the top of the front panel
– the arm hole is good. Good as a base for a dress shirt. Nice and close to the body, giving maximum range of motion.

The idea is that this too will be a try out dress. To get to the perfect basic dress pattern.

– treated seam allowances by folding them under and stitching. They were too scratchy if I’d overlocked them or sewn a zigzag. Looking forward to giving this pattern a lining.
– bias band at the armholes, unstretchable tape at the front and the neck line
– patch pocket, using <a href=””>this tutorial from inseamstudios</a> and<a href=””>this tutorial</a>
– handsewn details at front panel and pocket, from handspun mulberry silk.

Conclusions after sewing:
– armhole curves too steep  for bias binding, this shape benefits from facing. Teacher says to deepen the hole for future dresses. I’m holding hope that a sleeve will fit in there. (but now I see my previous shirts in my minds eye and I know that that’s probably not the case.)
– after wearing it a while I can say that upper legs have enough space for free movement. This is good.
– use same pattern pieces for a (medium weight) tricot/ jersey. Sew same pattern pieces with 1 cm SA instead of 1,5 cm for wovens plus lining. And a long sleeve? Would be ideal for winter.
– ease the curve at the back, towards the shoulder seam, a bit.

Finished: green wriggle dress in stretch cotton.

I have sewing lessons now. And they help me with keeping track of a project; with not minding to rip out a seam and with all the tricks and practises of sewing a project. I’m a weird case: I know about pattern drafting but I lack experience sewing.

Thanks to the lessons I now have perfected the pattern for a fitted dress, with princess seams in the front and back.

This is the try-out, in stretch cotton:
green wriggle dress stretch cotton sewinggreen wriggle dress stretch cotton sewing
green wriggle dress stretch cotton sewinggreen wriggle dress stretch cotton sewinggreen wriggle dress stretch cotton sewinggreen wriggle dress stretch cotton sewing

It wears really comfortable! Not tight at all. We reduced the most obvious gaping and buckling and found real good princess seams and side seams.
Neckline and arm holes have a facing from bias band. They were sewn with the machine from the wrong side and then stitched in place by hand from the right side.
details green wriggle dress stretch cotton sewing

For walking ease I tried to put in two vents at the side seam but they are not good yet:
details green wriggle dress stretch cotton sewing

The frontpanel has a straight neckline. We put in staytape to prevent it from wobbling.
We put a lot of attention to the connection of this part to the sidepanels. I had to grade the seams considerably, to prevent bulk.
details green wriggle dress stretch cotton sewing

Also seams I had resewn, in a better line, she told me to take out the previous stitching. Just to prevent unnecessary stiffness.

For finishing the raw edges I used her serger/ overlock machine. This fabric frays so it was a good call.
The hem is just turned under and sewn with a straight stitch on the longest length.
details green wriggle dress stretch cotton sewing

I now have a base pattern for stretch cotton dresses. I already have a second one cut which will improve on this one with staystitching, vents at the back and non-stretching band at the neckline. And a pocket.

After that I hope to venture this pattern into a thick knit fabric and into a lined version, for Winter.

Finished: Beige Winterbeestjes shirt.

handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt

Finished the dress shirt. It’s wearable, yay!

Noting the problems:

I used the selvedge at the button band but now it shows at the underside:
handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt
handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt

The shape at the arm hole needs to be taken a little in at the sideseam. The arm hole needs to be brought closer to the body at the underside. The sleeve then needs to be equally elongated:
handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt
The steep corner at the front of the armhole isn’t actually much of a problem. Besides it being difficult to cut and difficult to sew.

Collar is a bit too wide:
handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt
Probably the width I added when I thought it was too narrow.

The waistshaping is horrible:
handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt
I’m converting it to a princess seam or to a panel with tucks or pleats at the underbust. Being petite with a small frame and having this proportionally big boobs just won’t make a nice fitted dress shirt with just waist shaping.

Little mistake: both sleeve plackets are the same. One closes the wrong way around. But at least they are both at the correct spot on the sleeve: the underside.
handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt

Overall I’m happy. This is wearable!

Today I wear it with my fractal handspun vest.

a Fake Fur Crocodile

krokodil kussen crocodile plushkrokodil kussen crocodile plush

Free form sewing the ridges, remembering to pivot in two steps at every corner:
crocodile cushion Sewing fake fur
Only I made the mistake though of sewing with the Wrong Sides together. I had to unpick all this.

Much better, sewn with the patterned sides outside and then turned:
crocodile cushion Sewing fake fur

Those back paws look awkward though. They’ll have to go.
crocodile cushion Sewing fake fur

Two tips when sewing with fake fur:

  1. don’t pivot in one step at sharp corners, pivot in two. It makes turning easier and corners become more crisp.
  2. after turning rub the seam with something (end of scissors, a nail) to free up the hairs.

Here’s the turned seam with one half treated so the fur is free and one how it looks fresh of the machine:
crocodile cushion Sewing fake fur

Handsewing on its paws and its felt teeth. The front paws are little pouches a well, they can hold things.
crocodile cushion Sewing fake fur

She loves it!
crocodile cushion

Bonus: cats really appreciating this fake fur:
crocodile cushion Sewing fake furcrocodile cushion

Skirt-Sew-A-Long Inside Number 23 Finished

A self drafted pattern of a skirt with waist band, zipper at the side, lining, and nice deep pockets. Inspired by the Hollyburn skirt by Sewaholic which is used for the sew-a-long by Inside Number 23 in which I participate with this skirt:
selfdrafted skirt pattern sew-a-long Inside Number 23selfdrafted skirt pattern sew-a-long Inside Number 23

selfdrafted skirt pattern sew-a-long Inside Number 23selfdrafted skirt pattern sew-a-long Inside Number 23

It’s a fitted skirt because I have no hips and no bum. No waist either. I do have a belly. And a sway back (curved lower back). I accounted for all of this in the pattern. Straight skirts are most flattering, with a flare at the hem so I can move my legs. The flare is done with godets in this skirt.

Look how much ease for striding these godets give me. I feel victorious!
selfdrafted skirt pattern sew-a-long Inside Number 23

Using the selvedge as the edge was very handy. Less finishing to do.

Now there’s a nice IKEA print just at the front of my skirt. Also: This skirt is lined.
selfdrafted skirt pattern sew-a-long Inside Number 23

I’m very happy with my skirt. It’s made of sturdy canvas so it can stand my way of living. It is in all the right colours that fit my shirts and this grey vest that I just knitted.
The fabric has a bold print and it will disguise the stains I undoubtely will make on it.

And now I have a good pattern from which I can make multiple skirts. The video tutorials Inside Number 23 posted gave me the courage to make this skirt form beginning to end. French seams in the lining. A kind of lapped exposed zipper. Pinked seam allowances in the canvas.
The only thing I didn’t take from the video’s was a level waist band. That’s for next time.
I did use the zipper to take away the excess width in the waist band. There’s a hook and bar in the waist band.

Onward to other sewing projects!
selfdrafted skirt pattern sew-a-long Inside Number 23

Finished: light linen skirt on the bias

sewed a skirt, wet felted a bag

Cut on the bias, based on my self drafted pattern. With minimum ease as I figured that the biased fabric will have a lot of give.
Don’t know what happened but I cut it way too small. Had to insert a strip but didn’t have enough fabric left for that strip to be on the bias too. So it’s a design feature now.

I sewed it to one end of the front panel and then fitted it on me to determine how much overlap the back panel should have.

This made for an awkward angle of the zipper but I didn’t care that much at that point:

sewed a skirt, wet felted a bag

It has a little pocket which is better supported by fabric on the grain than fabric on the bias.  It only needs to hold my ear plugs and my pills which are all light weight.

The zipper catches the shell fabric and the lining. Shell fabric finished with pinking shears. Base of zipper reinforced with a few hand stitches. I even closed the top of the side seam by hand to make sure everything was fairly neat.

sewed a skirt, wet felted a bag

The waist band is just a straight rectangle folded double, reinforced with non stretch band and a few runs with the machine. The band is regular satin band, but the non stretchy kind. Light weight too.

Its ends are even more reinforced to hold the hook and bar. Or at least the hook. Because the bar had to be put back. I made sure to sew it to the areas where the satin band and the top seams are though, the sturdiest parts of the band. Will keep an eye on it with wearing.

I’ve already noticed that the top of the band wears down quickly. It being just a fold and not two pieces sewn together, in that delicate linen. Another thing learned.

What I also learned is that I’m way more shaped at the waist than that the top of my skirt indicated. I’ve now learned that straight waist bands don’t fit my body if waist bands are any higher than 1 cm/ half an inch.
sewed a skirt, wet felted a bag

All my future waist bands better be (ridiculously!) shaped. (But how to reinforce them then? Don’t like iron on interfacing. My iron hates them and so do I. Will have to learn about this.)

With this final skirt I have now narrowed down my favourite type of skirt to wear: with pockets, with shaped waist band that closes with a hook and bar, with a straight line past the hips (no pleats, no gathers, no semi-circle) yet enough room around the legs to take strides in (flare, vent, inserted godets, fabric on the bias, it’s all good).

The lining is made of chiffon, slightly shorter than the skirt:
sewed a skirt, wet felted a bag

Chiffon matches this light weight linen and together this is a lovely Summer skirt.

Which shouldn’t be pressed or ironed from the outside because the silver among the purple shapes melts.

Another thing I learned and that I can illustrate clearly: chiffon likes new needles. Here I am sewing the French seams in the silk chiffon lining and the old needle ravages the silk. I switched mid seam to a new needle and it went smooth from there on:

Finished: a sturdy canvas skirt

Sewing skirts, learning to.

Using the same pattern as the Lilac Skirt on the Bias, with the straight pockets I’ve come to love and a VERY sturdy waist band. No lining. Double stitched side seams (lapped seams) with a zipper. A sturdy waist band with a sturdy hook and bar for closing.

Again below the knee.

The waist band is extra sturdy: it has curtain band in it. Talk about non-stretchy sturdy stuff! I sewed it on the inner panel and then topstitched through it from the outer panel.
Sewing skirts

The inside of the waist band takes “roll of cloth” into consideration. I prefer the fold not to be on the outer top of the edge, but just on the inside. I think it’s a neater look from the outside. Inside:
Sewing skirts

When sewing the waist band to the skirt I made a mistake. It doesn’t meet its other end at the same height:

Sewing skirts

Will have to redo one side (at least).

After readjusting the waist band all that had to be done was to attach the hook and bar:

Sewing skirts, learning to.Sewing skirts, learning to.

Not sewn in very neatly because I was done with this waist band and this is a usable garment primarily, not for pretty details. Prior to attaching the hook and bar I reinforced the ends of the waist band by machine stitching and pivoting and stitching some more.

The reinforced pocket openings and the sturdy waist band work like a charm. The sturdy side seams have proven useful too. I wear this skirt with confidence, no matter where I sit down or when I crouch down and put quiet a bit of strain on the seams.

Only one thing I’ve learned after wearing this skirt a couple of times: reinforce the point where the pocket opening meets the side seam:
Sewing skirts, learning to.

And something weird happened during pressing: the black thread melted. I had to restitch some parts of the hem and now the molten bits scratch against my calves when I wear it.Sewing skirts, learning to.

Don’t press too hot. Your cotton, linens and silk fabrics might not care but these polyamide threads do.

Finished: lilac linen skirt cut on the bias.

Tour de Fleeve 2016Tour de Fleeve 2016

Here still in progress, with its waist band not yet turned to the inside.

It’s a straight skirt which flares at the bottom. This is a look that suits me very well as I am a chandelier? a candle? I don’t know. I have no waist and I have no hips.

The pattern is self drafted, inspired by a commercial skirt I have (linen, on the bias) and with my previous self drafted patterns as starting points. I have inserted pockets into the front panel. The inside of the pockets is not on the bias.

The pictures show I have a problem with pointy darts on this skirt. None of the usual measures helped (run the foot as slowly from the fold as you can; shorten the stitch; don’t make a knot). This is because the cause probably lies in the fabric being cut on the bias. It stretches different from fabric cut on the grain.

Things that might work are the use of shrinking thread or to stitch a non-stretch fabric or silk paper together with the dart on the WS.
Or don’t use darts in bias patterns. Just loose them into the side seam. Biased fabric stretches anyway. That’s what I’ll do on a next skirt. My commercial skirt on the bias doesn’t have darts either. A clue.

the skirt:

  • 40 cm wide at the waist
  • 50 cm at the hip
  • proceed a bit straight and then flare.
  • front and back panel are the same. Previous skirts have shown me I don’t care for a slightly lower CF.

I’m now using the basic pattern I’ve devised over the last couple of skirts. In this skirt I placed the front/ back panel 1,5 cm away from the fold, but only at the hem. To give myself a bit more ease around the calves when walking. This skirt is below the knees.

the sewing:

Cut and stay stitch everything.

Add the pockets to the front panel, reinforce the opening with non stretching band.

Temporarily baste the pockets, especially at the waist edge, to prevent skewing.

Sew side seams but only once.

Try for fit. If good: finish side seams: fold to the front and add topstitching. This is a lapped seam? Felled seam? At the pocket I reinforced the side seam. Finishing seams with pinking shears.


has 2×5 cm more width than the skirt

Pressed lining. Sewed the side seams with french seams. Where it meets the zipper I gve it a rolled hem. The lower hem was a rolled hem too.

Now the lining can be hung into the skirt. I pinned it to the waist.

Catch zipper and lining together in the seam allowance of the fashion fabric.

I reinforced the opening of the pocket with a non-stretchy band:
Sewing skirtsSewing skirtsSewing skirts

It has a lapped zipper. I like those.
Sewing skirts

A strange problem occurred during wearing: when walking the skirt swivels around and brings the sideseam to the front. Might have to do with the chiffon lining being tacked down onto one sideseam (the one with the zipper) but not the other.

Yes, I still need to attach a hook and bar. But I’m already wearing this skirt in public 🙂 It wears wonderful, apart from the swiveling. It’s nice and light and a good colour and there is indeed enough room around my legs for fierce striding. The pockets hold up well.

The pattern works well for fabric on the bias. The darts are less pointy then on the first pictures but in a next skirt I will take them out (of the sideseams). Would add more sturdiness to the waist band though. Perhaps a second line of (top) stitching, about 1,5 cm from the top. Catching that non stretching band. It’s just that in previous attemps I have not succeeded in making this neat.