Sunday, 10 July 2011

The Ugly Fabric Swop Skirt

Dear Sewing bloggers,
Some months ago, in Brussels during this year's European PR Get-together, I acquired a piece of 'ugly' fabric.

Which became this skirt

The fabric - whose was it?

Some of the suspects

There is always a ugly fabric swap and this one took the form of pass-the-parcel.
I have to admit this piece ended up mine after a bit of furtive re-swapping had gone on and most of us had something that didn't make us secretly think charity bin, dye-pot or where's my shovel .. I jest dear reader. My previous pieces of outstandingly ugly fabric are still at home in storage because I do intend use them someday. Honest.
This piece at least was cotton of not too bad a quality. I thought of making a lined vest then I saw that there was a fault in the print down the centre of the whole piece. Aha - another challenge. I decided to make a simple pull on skirt with a six inch deep yoke and a gathered skirt, with a lining. I wanted a full skirt so I could wear the skirt and ride my bike. The lining was to beef up those gathers and preserve modesty. The gathering would also hide the fault in the print.

The skirt is self- drafted if you can call what I did drafting. It was more a case of measure, mark and cut on the material itself. The yokes were six inches deep. The width was half my hip circumference plus an inch of ease, the top edge had no ease but remained big enough for me to pull it on when finished. The skirt piece was a simple rectangle twice the width of the yoke piece and enough length to hit at the knee and two inches extra for hem. The front and back of the skirt are the same. The lining, made of inexpensive cotton voile has a really deep hem of five inches to give it a bit of weight.

The yoke is self faced. I left a little hole in the facing for elastic. Then turned the facing to the inside and stitched a line for the casing.

Measuring where to stitch.

The inside finished

I really like the contrasting lining that echoes a bit of deep brown-red in the flowers. I considered leaving it long enough to show beneath the skirt.  When I finished the skirt I hopped on my bike and cycled into town (a common mode of transport in Oxford) and found that the skirt needs a weight at the hem to stop it flipping back a bit when I am pedaling. The lining, thankfully behaved itself. I think I needed a deeper hem on the skirt itself. I'll sew some little pockets and a few removable pennies will do the trick. 
Happy Sewing,


  1. If you have nice looking good fabric anyone can make something wearable but the challenge to create something wearable with fabric of questionable taste is a true battle. Honestly you have risen to this challenge successfully. I would not have labelled this ugly fabric seeing your end product. Well done. you have obviously had lots of fun too.

  2. I'm not sure this rates as ugly fabric either, but the end product is very nice.

  3. True, true, it was more faulty than ugly and I liked the colours.

  4. I tried to say “Welcome to Oxfordshire” in the comments before but some technical malfunction wouldn’t let me. I’m Juliet, working in South Oxfordshire and living in Berkshire, just the other side of the Thames. I was a “no-show” to the Paris PR Meet-up a couple of years ago and read along about that weekend.

    Now I’m sure your working hours are not 9 to 5 but if you’re free on the last Saturday of the month you’d be very welcome at the Thames Valley Offcuts: we meet in Bracknell to sew, quilt, measure, critique and (of course!!) eat. There is a closed blog for the group and I’d be very happy to put you in touch with the organiser.

    As regards sewing in Oxford, I’m afraid it became a desert with the loss of King’s a couple of years ago. Wallingford has a very nice quilt shop (with good haberdashery) and there is a fabric store in Wantage.

  5. Hi Juliet I can't make it to the group this month but I really appreciate the invitation. I hear there is a fabric shop in Kidlington - do you know of it?

  6. Valerie, please contact me if you can make it to the MPB Day in NYC August 13. I'm flying up and need a roomie.
    Georgia, USA

  7. Oh, seeing this post ( a little late) brings back the memories of that lovely weekend. good lookoing skirt, not ugly at all.