Carmen Flounce Skirt by DesignerStitch Patterns

When I look at my hand-made wardrobe, there are a few designers whose clothes I seem to be attracted too and testing* for DesignerStitch patterns is always up there for me. This newly release skirt was a no-brainer for me. Classy, elegant, fun and flirty were all words that came to mind when I saw the line drawing for the Carmen Flounce Skirt**, mostly because fabric choice dictates the overall outcome of where and how to wear this skirt.


I chose to use duchess satin (100% polyester) for my skirt as I wanted and elegant skirt that would pair up well with a number of tops in my wardrobe. This skirt requires fabric with a considerable amount of drape to show off the lovely drafted flounce but with some body so they don’t flop or droop. The duchess satin is also medium-bodied so I didn’t require lining, it has a nice luster and best of all it is durable, wrinkle-resistant (to some degree), and machine washable.

As always, the pattern is really well drafted and instructions are great. DesignerStitch patterns feature all the sought after features to make sewing a quicker and successful experience. The beauty of the Carmen Flounce skirt is that it comes in a range of sizes, two different lengths with the choice of either a standard waistband or a high torso waistband and also offers the ability to be made in a stretch fabric. There is a centre back invisible zipper, not necessary to install with the knit version.

I made an AUS 12 in the longer length, with the high waistband and the optional tie. Everything aligns perfectly during construction although some patience is required to hem the flounce, which is surprisingly long. The flounce is actually drafted such that there is no need to gather any fabric, and for some reason, gathering is one of my least favourite sewing techniques.

I’m really happy with both the fit and the final look of my skirt. If you love wrap skirts but don’t like the potential for accidental exposure, this skirt is a mock wrap.

Other tester versions have been amazing and I am contemplating a more casual tencel denim version for spring. Stay tuned for that!!!

Although I paired my skirt with a RTW simple silhouette, the skirt is perfectly accompanied by the Eleni Top from DesignerStitch Patterns, and to make your life easier, you can purchase the Eleni Top at the same time (for a complete outfit)  and you save 50% on the Eleni Pattern. Use code “carmeneleni” at checkout, whilst the skirt itself is currently at an introductory price of only $6.00.


*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

**This post contains affiliate links to DesignerStitch Patterns


Nita Wrap Skirt by Sew DIY

I have been a long time follower of Sew DIY, authored by Beth. Her style is simple, practical and effortless. She has already released a number of patterns but at the time was working on the Nita wrap skirt. My reason for applying to test* this skirt was driven by fabric in this instance.


I have had this twill (unknown composition) in the stash for goodness how long, always envisioning a skirt but wasn’t sure of a pattern. The design of the wrap skirt is perfect as it is a simple silhouette which makes up for the busy print. It has an angled front and three length options as well as three closure options.

The pattern comes in sizes 00 to 20 with printing layers and everything fit together perfectly. There are instructions provided to line the skirt if you wish to do so, there are waist darts, and a built in front facing. Medium-weight woven fabrics are recommended for this pattern.

I went with the midi option and construction is actually quite quick. My fabric had enough body and wasn’t transparent so I omitted the lining. I did stall though when I couldn’t find my D-rings and had to venture back to the shop.

This test round up is well over a year late, it was run through February of 2016, but like always I usually like to complete a garment with the completed pattern and instructions before posting, needless to say, that hasn’t happened. I even bought fabric for version 2, some wine coloured suedette.

I haven’t unfortunately worn this skirt as much as I thought. The print is quite loud and other than the top pictured, I don’t really have much else to wear it with so will need to sort that out in the future. Likewise, it has been a bit impractical for day-to-day wear considering it’s a wrap skirt, sitting on the floor or chasing after kids isn’t the most classy of looks to have too much leg showing. I did add a snap about halfway down the angled front to help with this.

Overall, it’s a great pattern with excellent instructions and I will get around to making another version eventually but it’s my lifestyle that currently limits the practicality of this silhouette.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.


Black and Gold Sequins become a Midi Pencil Skirt

I was very lucky to get a fabric store voucher for Mother’s Day way back when, and didn’t waste any time spending it, especially as the store was having a sale.

I came home with some things I had been eyeing for a while, especially this sequin number. Without really knowing what I was going to make with it, I purchased 1.5m, I’m not quite sure of the fabric content, it doesn’t really matter either.

Fast forward 6 months later I am finally making something with it. I didn’t want to over complicate things and make a dress, or a busy skirt, so decided on a maxi skirt. The fabric has a little stretch so I cheated by making something with an elastic waistband.

sequin skirt front

                            sequin skirt side 2 sequin skirt back 4

First I made a pattern using my waist, hip and length measurements. I used a black performance cotton lycra (90% cotton/ 10% elastane) as the lining, cut to the same measurements and constructed in the same manner as the outer fabric. I have read a million times that it is often better to remove sequins in the seam allowance before sewing but mine were not that densely packed together and I just used a heavy duty needle (denim needle) to sew and didn’t have any problems. There wasn’t a symmetrical pattern repeat so I just went with what I had.

sequin fabric

I got as far as attaching the elastic waistband and tried on the skirt and it just felt and looked BLAH!!!!! I slept on it, not sure what to do, and next morning chopped off the length to a midi version instead and narrowed the skirt by about an inch on either side seam and pegged it from hip down. I think the fabric had more stretch in it than I originally thought and just was a saggy hot mess. Probably not helped by the fact that sequin fabric has a bit of weight behind it anyway and drags.

Anyway, I cut the lining in the same way, attached a new, narrower 3cm wide black elastic waistband, and used hemming web for the sequin fabric hem. Oh my goodness, why have I never discovered this before for hemming tricky fabric, it made everything so much easier and I had a nice crisp hem. The knit lining was just cut across at the bottom and the hem left unfinished as I still wasn’t sure on how the skirt would go once worn plus it doesn’t fray, and more to the point I was finishing this up the night before wanting to wear it to a function.

Normally I like to serge the seams but I didn’t with this as I wasn’t sure if the sequins would blunt my serger blade. Also the knit lining doesn’t fray so didn’t bother with that either. For construction I used a narrow zig zag stitch with a slightly longer stitch length than normal.

sequin skirt side 3

It is a really quick garment to sew and fits like a glove once fitting issues are sorted. I feel so glamorous and glitzy for such little effort. The sequins are definitely more gold as seen in the fabric close up photo than yellow as they appear in the others.

Scrapbusting… Self-drafted Skirts, a Molly top and some Gathered Pocket Shorts

This post is a quick summary of what has been made using some of my scraps in keeping with my self-imposed “use up scraps” rule. I found out recently my daughters kindergarten will accept fabric for their crafts, so small, unusable pieces for me, are now re-directed to them, away from landfill. Anyway, that’s besides the point.

Today miss 2 is benefiting from the scrapbusting exercise.

First up is this ruffled skirt using DS picadilly medallion and ditsy in pink (100% cotton) fabric left over from miss 4’s circle skirt. Cutting the ruffle layers was okay but I had to piece together a few pieces to make the waistband due to my fabric shortage. As I didn’t have enough fabric, the connectors between the ruffles were made from white top pop poplin (80%polyester/ 20% cotton), as was the middle ruffle. For documentation purposes, the 2 connector pieces were 10cm W x 42cm L and the 3 ruffles were each 10cm W x 52cm L and gathered. I would have liked more gathered ruffles but when you have minimal fabric to work with it’s a “make it work” moment. The ruffles were finished with a narrow machine rolled hem. I cut 2 waistband pieces (outside and inside) with a final measurement of 5cm W x 42cm L. I top stitched the seam allowance at each connector and at the waistband and stitched in the ditch at the waistband side seams to keep the elastic from twisting.

Triple tier picadilly skirt

Second is a two tier simple skirt using this tutorial from The Stitching Scientist. The modern tribe poplin 9312 in ink (100% cotton) and white top pop poplin (80%polyester/20% cotton) fabric is what is left from this dress for miss 4 and one of my pre-blog dresses. I followed her tutorial but made my skirt 34 inch wide as that is all the fabric I had. Sensing a trend here!!!!! Not much else to say.

tribal 2 layer

Third is a chevron top using the Molly Top Pattern from Made For Mermaids. I followed all the measurements and directions provided as there aren’t printable pattern pieces, and it went together really quickly. The fabric, spots and stripes chevron #1 in orange (100% cotton), was left over from a dress I made miss 4 last year, obviously pre-blog, but that has since also had a refashion and I cut it down to a more practical skirt for her too. This pattern is so cute and I love the ruffles on the straps and the tie back that goes through a loop. It’s not obvious but I had to cut the back in two sections because I was short on fabric, turned out pretty well though!

                                             orange molly M4M frontorange molly M4M back

Fourth are these delightful pair of shorts using the free toddler gathered pocket shorts pattern from Little Quail. The fabric is cotton sateen left over from my cape project (stay tuned for that awesome pattern, next post on Monday). The black is premium cotton sateen (96% cotton/ 4% spandex) and the check is black printed sateen pluses (97% cotton/ 3% spandex). I followed the tutorial exactly and didn’t use the optional waist tie. Great wardrobe basic for her.

Black gathered pocket shorts

New Look 6107 in Violet Jacquard… Again

Sorry to bore you with this pattern yet again, but wait…. today’s edition has a twist.

I am using my TNT New Look 6107 pencil skirt pattern with some violet jacquard suiting (54% cotton/ 43% polyester/ 3% spandex). I wanted a different silhouette this time and chose to add a ruffle to the bottom.

                         New Look 6107 side 2  New Look 6107 front  New Look 6107 back 2

It was a really quick change to do and I was working with only 1 meter of fabric so had to get it right. I cut the skirt portion to where the back vent begins and added an extra for the seam allowance and ensured front and back pieces were the same length.

For the bottom ruffle I decided to make it an inch longer than my usual finished skirt length. This was to include the length required for a narrow hem and a 1.5 cm seam allowance to attach to the skirt. I determined the width of my ruffles by measuring my pattern pieces and multiplied by 1.5. So the front rectangle was 11″ x 33″ and the back was cut into 2 rectangles of 11″ x 18″ each, and  then sewn with a centre seam to continue the seam line straight down from the body of the skirt. For the hem, I serged the raw edge and then turned it up 1 cm and machine stitched.

New Look 6107 back

Due to my fabric restrictions I had to cut the front waistband in 2 pieces but hopefully the beautiful pattern on the fabric detracts from that. Because of my fabriNew Look 6107 insidec limitations, I also cut the waistband facings from black cotton sateen (96% cotton/ 4% spandex), which allowed me to maintain the integrity of the jacquard which also has some stretch. I hand stitched the waistband down on the inside.

Again I inserNew Look 61607 invisible zipted a “very” invisible 8″ (20cm) zipper, first fusing some interfacing at the seam allowance. I constructed the skirt to completion before attaching the ruffle because I wanted to ensure the proportion was okay. Glad to say I’m happy with this one.

I skipped all sorts of pattern matching with this one because the print was so busy but it managed to match up pretty well by accident at the centre zip 🙂

I am truly going to give this pattern a rest for a while, hopefully!!!!

FYI: The top is a Vogue pattern made so many years ago I don’t recall the pattern number.

New Look 6107 Skirt Again…. In Black Lace and Snake Suedette

I had to change my sewing plans a few days ago as I was in desperate need of a black dress for a particular event, which meant I had to change my serger thread too to get it completed. I’ll blog about that at a later date when I have photos but thought it was a good opportunity to sew up some other patterns/items I had cut in one of my preparation sessions which require dark serger thread.

This is now my TNT pencil skirt, sorry that you have to read through another post of New Look 6107, view D. I decided to blog both skirts in this post as there is nothing new to report for either really.

For my black version, I used some black panama stretch with black paisley lace as the overlay. Black is a hard colour to photograph at the best of times but hopefully you can make out some details. I didn’t line this skirt as I was already working with the two layers and really wanted a simple project that looked nice. I basted the lace to the panama and treated them as one layer throughout construction.

New look 6107 front                                    New look 6107 side 3New look 6107 back

I pegged the skirt by about 0.6cm starting about 20 cm from the bottom, which was no problem as the skirt has a back vent anyway and is still easy to walk in. I chose to do a lapped zipper as per the instructions as sometimes in the past I have found my lace gets caught in the invisible zipper and I wanted this skirt to have longevity in my wardrobe. I wasn’t completely happy with the zip insertion but it is hard to see the imperfections because, well, it’s black.

Black lace fabric

I also don’t like to stitch in the ditch, as many patterns suggest, and instead turned up the seam allowance on the waistband facing and hand stitched it on the inside. Likewise for the hem I chose to serge the raw edge and then turned up the hem only by 1 cm and hand stitched that as I didn’t want machine stitching visible on the outside. I think next time I will lengthen the pattern so I can keep this length but have a deeper hem, too bad for my next version though which was cut out months ago.

The skirt is nice and fills another gap however the lace is so delicate I have to be careful not to snag/catch it on anything.

The second version, which was actually cut out in December of 2014, shame on me, I think simply because I changed serger thread colour at the time it never got completed and ended up a UFO. I won’t mention much else other than to say the fabric is brown snake suedette and I’m happy it’s finished. The fabric tends to fall funny when wearing the skirt and I definitely should have lined it to add weight. Oh well!!!

New look 6107 front                                     New look 6107 side  New look 6107 back

I did peg the skirt whilst sewing on this one too and as I had this one cut so many moons ago I didn’t lengthen it as I would have liked.

I chose to use an invisible zip due to personal preference. This meant I changed my order of construction slightly. I serged the centre back seam ready for later. I attached the front to back at the side seams and then the waistband. At this stage I inserted my invisible zip to an interfaced seam allowance and then sewed on my waistband facing to enclose the top of the zipper tape. The vent and hem was then finished as instructed. I hand stitched the waistband facing and hem but found this fabric quite difficult to hand pierce with a needle.

I have one more iteration of this skirt cut out and ready to be sewn up, with a small difference. I think after that I need to give this pattern a break and sew some more everyday/casual clothes.

In regards to the black lace skirt, it’s another SWAP 2015 off the list. I have made good progress with my plan so far but have reassessed my plan and feel I don’t need some items anymore. I have the navy peplum top cut and ready to sew as well as the cream birdcage tank top. I have decided however to not make any white tops from my SWAP for the time being as I have enough of those in my wardrobe. Additionally, my blue pants turned out horrible, although I will post them at some stage, the jeans haven’t been started but I do plan on making them sometime but considering the weather where I am at the moment they are a bit useless. I won’t be making anymore skirts as specified as I really want to get some other projects done instead BUT I will definitely be completing a black dress as every girl needs a LBD in her life. I am happy to be starting a new plan, which really is to sew what I please.

Pretty in Pink Lame Skirt and Jacquard Dress

I thought I’d post these two outfits here in the one post as there isn’t too much to say for either and they share the common theme of the colour pink because I happen to have girls that love pink.

First up is the lame three tier ruffle skirt. I made this outfit to match big sister at a recent family event. I used the left over japanese tissue lame in rose white (45% nylon/55% metal), pink bridal tulle, stash lace and metro linen in petal (100% linen).

3 tier ruffle skirt

   3 tier ruffle skirt details

The close up is a true indication of the colours.

I essentially made this skirt up as I went along. I first made the linen layer with a 103cm x 24cm rectangle joined together with french seams and finished with a machine rolled hem. Then I attached two layers of soft stretch tulle to minimise irritation against the skin. Each layer was a rectangle of 176cm x 23cm with french seams and the hem left raw. Third layer was the lame cut at a completed size of 129cm x 16cm. I had to piece this together with 3 separate pieces as I only had scraps left from the Haven dress. I french seamed the short edges and did a machine rolled hem. The final layer was some lace of a length of 129cm. As you have probably noticed, although I did try and keep consistent with the lengths of each layer, I was using stash and scrap fabric so often just went with the lengths I had. All layers were gathered individually before layering and attaching on top of one another.

lame front

             lame front 2 lame side

The waistband was made up of two rectangles each 61cm x 8cm, joined with french seams and then attached to the skirt layers. I machine stitched the waistband on the inside leaving an opening to thread through a 47cm length of 2cm wide elastic and then machine stitched closed. It turned out pretty cute but was in desperate need of a matching top. I took the easy way out and purchase a plain white t-shirt and removed the sleeves. I added two layers of the soft stretch tulle at the upper armholes and 2 layers of thin lace at the neckline, finished off with a pink ribbon bow, all from the stash. I wanted to carry the tulle and lace them through from the skirt and think I achieved a complete outfit. I also made a matching hair clip so she was wearing handmade from top to bottom.

lace top front                  lace top details 

Outfit two is a pink jacquard satin (unknown fibre content) dress. I was originally making this for my eldest as more of a tunic but once it was finished the proportions looked off so I have kindly gifted it to my baby but it now requires some fit adjustments.

jacquard dress front

                       jacquard dress front 2  jacquard dress side

I used the purple rose party dress pattern from nestfullofeggs. For the bodice and I only extended down the length 5 inches as opposed to 6 inches as instructed. The jacquard frays so much that I serged all my individual fabric pattern pieces before even beginning construction. I chose to line the bodice and just used some stash white top pop poplin 8925 (80% poly/20% cotton) using the “bagging” method so that all seams were enclosed, and then I understitched wherever possible. I inserted a 20cm (8″) white invisible zip for the closure.

The skirt was constructed using a top and bottom ruffle layer of jacquard each 112cm long x 3 inch wide finished with a machine rolled hem. The eyelet layer was 133cm long as that was the length I had and used the entire width of the eyelet. Each layer was attached to a middle tier which was the width of the bodice of 70cm x 3 inch wide, except the top jacquard layer. Each tier/layer was closed in the round first and then attached to one another.

It probably isn’t too noticeable from the photos but the neckline is in fact too wide for this cherub and falls off her shoulders. I am contemplating how to alter the dress without having to take it apart. I am actually thinking of sewing some ribbon at the back shoulders to keep the dress from falling off until she grows a bit so she can wear this before it gets too short otherwise I may cut out a wedge from the centre back where the zip was and adding a button and loop closure. What do you suggest?

jacquard dress back