With the Summer holidays upon us in Scotland, I decided that it was high time to get stuck into a new sewing project. I love nothing more than getting totally absorbed in a pattern, whiling away an afternoon measuring, cutting and joining together all the parts of the fabric puzzle, transforming the mental image of an outfit into a finished garment. This outfit was the result of exactly that; I’ve been hunting for a perfect lightweight denim/ chambray skirt for ages, and having no thrifting or high street luck, I decided to take matters into my own hands!
I’ve had Tilly Walnes’ book Love at First Stitch for a while now (who you might know from the Great British Sewing Bee and her gorgeous blog, Tilly and the Buttons); every page is filled with inspiration, beautifully styled images and enviable props. I thought it was time to give one of the patterns a go myself and the Clémence skirt – a full, Dirndl-style skirt with a wide waistband – involved another level of challenge that I felt ready to try: drafting your own pattern.
The best thing about drafting your own pattern is that it’s made to fit your exact measurements, and here you can adapt the length/ fullness according to your style. I measured the skirt to sit high on the waist and in a midi length as a nod to ’50s style. The instructions were very clear in the main, and with Tilly’s help I’ve now mastered French seams, concealing a zip, gathers and stitching in the ditch! I was pretty pleased with the results (though please excuse the bus-induced creases here!) and fully intend to make Clémence a few co-ordinating friends soon. The chambray fabric is from John Lewis and was lovely to work with.
All the while I was making this skirt I had my favourite Breton top in mind, as a nod to retro riviera style. I’d been searching for the perfect but elusive striped tee for some time, and this one from Boden really does tick all the boxes; made from the softest cotton, it’s fitted without being clingy and has the perfect skinny stripe. I’m really rather tempted to pick up a few other colours in the sale… The skirt is similarly versatile and I’ve worn it – just like the tweed midi I made last autumn/winter – non-stop. It just goes with everything!
For the skirt’s first outing a few weekends ago, we headed to Leith for a trip to the Flea Market and obligatory stop off at Twelve Triangles for doughnuts. It was such a sunny day that I was worried about burning and so wore my straw boater hat – resulting in Al serenading me with the Madeleine theme tune all day! No bad thing if you ask me; I can’t be the only one whose childhood literary heroes rank among their contemporary style icons?! Then again, maybe it’s just me…
After a good thrift we went for a languid stroll down to Ocean Terminal and then along the Shore, before venturing to The Roseleaf just along the road – the most perfect vintage pub and one of my favourite Edinburgh eateries – for a spot of brunch. Deliciously fresh and Summery toast with smashed peas, goat’s cheese and poached egg for me, and a kofta wrap for Al, all washed down by homemade rose lemonade and ginger beer. It was unbelievably good, the perfect way to spend an easy Summer day – in easy Summer style.
Do you have any Summer sewing projects on the go?
I’m wearing: handmade skirt (pattern from Love at First Stitch, fabric from John Lewis); Boden Breton (other colours now in the sale); Swedish Hasbeens via ASOS; John Lewis boater hat (from the kids’ dept!); vintage bag & ring.