Finished: My namesake skirt

23 Nov

It had to be done really didn’t it? At some point I was going to have to make a Kelly skirt. I held off for quite a while, I wasn’t entirely sure about it, and all of the Megan Nielson patterns also seemed to be in short supply. But then she released some of her patterns at PDFs, and they worked out at about £7 each – half the price of the printed patterns. That made it a no brainer really – I bought both the Kelly skirt and Tania culottes pattern the day the PDFs were released.


My ‘blinded by the sun’ look

Ok, before we get started, a disclaimer on the photos – it took me weeks (and weeks!) to get round to taking these photos – finding time when it’s not dark, or grey or miserable or raining is nigh on impossible these days. I was off work yesterday and it was a little sunny, so I grabbed my camera and ran outside. Of course, I didn’t notice until I looked at the photos afterwards that the neckline of my top was sitting properly WEIRD – it’s meant to be much more drapey at the front, and not all bunched up at the back! Also, this top is so not see through in real life! At least I don’t think it is…I think it was the weird, slightly eerie sunlight. And my top isn’t tucked in properly either and is doing a weird muffin-top thing, again didn’t notice til later, and after waiting so long, I’m not going to wait til I can re-do them! So just forgive all that please :)


When I made the baby dungarees, I completely fell in love with the fabric I was using for them, and decided it would make a perfect Kelly skirt. I had about a metre of the corduroy left after I’d made the dungarees, and hoped that I’d be able to get the skirt out of that piece. But when I came to make it, no matter how I laid out the pattern pieces, there was just no way they were going to fit. So I took a trip to Masons to get some more of the lovely blue cord. Except they didn’t have any! Noooo! I did manage to find some purple corduroy, and some lovely flower print needle cord, both of which I purchased (enough of) to make some more Kelly skirts.


Yes, I chopped my head off in this photo – was pulling THE most ridiculous face!

But having been visualising for weeks the blue corduroy version, I just couldn’t give up on the idea. So when I got home, I set to work figuring out how I could potentially take the pattern pieces apart so that I could eek the skirt out of my fabric. I started by turning the back of the skirt into two pieces, rather than one cut on the fold. Of course, remembering to add seam allowance onto each piece. But even that wasn’t enough. I then cut a few inches off the bottom of the back pattern piece, again, adding seam allowance onto each piece. I also cut the waistband in half, so that it would have a centre back seam. This was enough to just about get all the (important) pattern pieces out of my fabric. I also cut the waistband in the opposite direction, so the cord runs round the length of it, rather than vertically like the rest of the skirt. This was necessary to fit the pattern pieces on, but I also prefer the way it looks like this.


The extra seams are hardly noticeable :)

The only pieces I couldn’t fit on were the pocket facings. I got out all the scraps and offcuts I had from this fabric, and laid them all out to figure out if I could piece the facings together somehow. I swear I spent longer trying to do this than on any other part of making the whole skirt! In the end, I gave up on trying to piece together the whole facing, cut the facing out of the same fabric as the pocket lining, and then attached to that just enough of the corduroy  to cover the pocket opening. Turns out I only *just* used enough corduroy – I’d forgotten that more would be showing once I’d attached the pockets, but it just about worked out ok.


For the pocket lining, I used the same blue and white striped seersucker that I used to line the dungarees, and I got some more of the same buttons as well.


The skirt went together really easily, despite my slight pattern alterations. There was one mistake I made though: when it said to finish off the seams at the end of each stage I thought ‘I’ll just do them all at the end’. This was mainly because I started one, using the overcasting foot on my machine, and somehow the needle hit the foot, which broke the needle, and bent the foot. So I had to give up on that idea, and I couldn’t be bothered to have to switch between my overlocker and my sewing machine constantly (mainly because they both need to use the same table space so it is a case of lifting each of them off the table each time…).


I feel like it is shameful showing off the naked, unfinished innards of my skirt!

Of course I realised, once I’d sewn the hem and the waistband, that this meant that the ends of my finished edges weren’t neatly tucked away inside the seams. To be honest, most of the seams are still unfinished…I overlocked the edges of the pockets, but haven’t yet decided what to do with the others!



Helpfully, while I was planning my corduroy Kelly, Lauren published a post with a few helpful tips on making this skirt out of corduroy, such as hints on ironing and interfacing. This was a huge help, as I’d probably have ironed it normally otherwise, and then been really disappointed when I ruined my fabric!


Broken sewing machine feet aside, the only other problem I had with skirt was with the buttonholes. Man, I am not a fan of buttonholes! My machine has an automatic buttonhole function, which is great when it works (which it always does on the test pieces), but after having ripped out 6 buttonholes from the waistband along, I was a little fed up with it! Especially when the thread is such a good colour match to the fabric, and the texture of the corduroy means that the thread kind of sinks into it, and I had to resort to a magnifying lens and a head torch to be able to see enough to rip a couple of them out!


My attempting to kick the leaves shot!

I think the problem is that, where the buttonholes are quite close to the seams, the buttonhole foot trips up when it has to ride over the seam allowance. I have not explained that well AT ALL, but just trust me. I also have another Kelly skirt in progress, and am having exactly the same problems – haven’t managed to get one buttonhole done yet! Anyone got any tips for sewing buttonholes near seam allowances?

I might interface the button band next time – some of them have stretched a little with use.


I also made a slight mistake with the positioning of my buttonholes and buttons – I didn’t put the top one on the main part of the skirt close enough to the waistband, and as a result, it gapes open slightly at that point. I did sew a popper in the gap to try and remedy it, but managed to sew the two halves of the popper on so that they didn’t quite line up. Boo! But at this point, it was late, and I wanted to wear the skirt the next day, so I gave up, and may not have quite remedied that yet…oops! It’s better than the gaping, but it doesn’t quite lie flat. I will fix that at some point, but I have worn it a good few times an awful lot in the meantime.


Gaping without popper done up


Slightly better, but still doesn’t quite lie flat

And having worn it, I love this skirt! And ohmygod, it has pockets! I mean, I have heard people raving about making skirts/dresses with pockets, but I never quite understood what all the fuss was about, until I wore this skirt for the first time. Given that none of my clothes that I regularly wear for work have pockets, it was a refreshing change to actually have some. I will definitely be making more skirts and dresses with pockets!


Lauren’s post also made me really want a Renfrew to wear with this skirt. It’s a pattern I want but don’t have yet, but I do have a RTW top that is a very similar style. It’s a lovely drapey viscose, and it works brilliantly with this skirt. Renfrew has gone to the top of my list of patterns to purchase!


There will definitely be more Kelly skirts in my future. Other than the one that’s already in progress, I probably will make two more out of those other cords I bought, and I’d like a cotton one as well. I think I’m going to give piping a go on the next one, after seeing Daniela’s lovely piped version. I’m also looking forward to making some more of Megan’s patterns, as this one was such a joy to sew.


Did I mention how much I love the pockets?!


8 Responses to “Finished: My namesake skirt”

  1. Helena November 23, 2013 at 10:33 #

    It looks great and I seriously want a corduroy skirt. BTW I also have made myself a namesake skirt (and named it so), in my case it was the Helena from Burdastyle.

    • Kelly November 23, 2013 at 10:35 #

      Thanks Helena! I want more corduroy skirts, it’s so comfy!

  2. LLADYBIRD November 23, 2013 at 15:09 #

    Yay for corduroy Kelly skirts! It looks so good- that blue is amazing, I don’t blame you for wanting to make it work! :) for your gaping issue- pull off the popper (hee, we call those snaps here but I like popper better :P) and sew a flat hook and eye in it’s place. It’ll stay closed (those snaps always pop open on me, I find) and keep everything lined up. Also, I had a big issue getting the buttonholes sewn in too! I just moved them away from the edge a little, and gave them some space from the waistband/skirt seam. It meant that I could only do one button on the waistband (with the hook and eye below), but at least the button holes look nice I guess haha :)

    • Kelly November 23, 2013 at 23:21 #

      Thanks Lauren! I’m so glad I managed to eek it out of the fabric :) and thanks for your corduroy tips. I did want to do a flat hook and eye, but I didn’t have any at home, and I really wanted to wear the skirt…I’m glad it’s not just me on the buttonholes – had massive issues on the denim one I’ve made too, especially the top one on the button band. I think next time I might try sewing that one before I attach the waistband.

  3. mirrorgirl November 23, 2013 at 18:05 #

    I really love this (not just because I know you). I am having a “blue” clothes period anyway, and generally fall for A-LinE shirts. Its so great you`ve started with this, I would also do it, if I didn`t have thousand other projects :)

    • Kelly November 23, 2013 at 23:37 #

      Thanks Nina! Finding time for all the projects is always the problem – I have so many things that I want to do and not enough time to do them all! Luckily this one is a fairly quick make :)

  4. Daniela M. November 24, 2013 at 21:19 #

    I really love your skirt (and now you are tempting me to make one from corduroy as well) and I am super impressed how you managed to squeeze it out from your fabric! I had similar problems with the button holes even with my thin poplin, but luckily I got it working after my second attempt. By the way, I love that you nail polish matches your fabric :) And yeah, I am not the only one who hasn’t tried the Renfrew yet!

    • Kelly November 28, 2013 at 13:46 #

      Thanks Daniela! You know you want to make a corduroy one, it’s so cosy for winter! I’m wearing mine right now :) I’m glad it’s not just me with the buttonholes, they were a nightmare! Haha, thanks for noticing the nail polish, don’t paint them that often, but I love that colour! Maybe we should make renfrews together, I really want to get that pattern!

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