Monthly Archives: April 2019

40 year old skirt to jacket

About 8 years ago, my grandmother gave me a lovely, hand embroidered skirt. She told me that it was a gift from her friend in New Delhi, Swaran, and the skirt was at least 40 years old. As beautiful as it was, I never actually wore it.

MMM_Skirt to Jacket 01

The style was simply a straight waistband with a gathered rectangle for the skirt, and a side closure. The fabric was a basic navy cotton, but the stand out feature (obviously) is all that beautiful, hand embroidery.

MMM_Skirt to Jacket 02

I feel like the embroidery itself has been done in silk; it is very soft but the fibres aren’t spun together, so the fly-aways do tend to make it look a bit hairy. Just for added sparkle, there are little circular mirrors scattered among the embroidery!

MMM_Skirt to Jacket 05

I couldn’t have this glorious piece of work hiding in my stash anymore, so I decided to up-cycle it. Before I ripped any seams, I went over the embroidery and tidied up all the hairy bits by threading them to the back. Some bits that were too short to work with got a very careful trim. Then I unpicked the hem, waistband, and the single side seam.

I decided on a very simple, Channel-style jacket. I couldn’t have darts eating into the beautiful embroidery. I already had the perfect pattern in my library; New Look 6496.

At the start of the year I learnt a very hard lesson about not making a toile (the Tully pants that I made from some gorgeous Pitt Trading linen were way too small!). I didn’t want to repeat that disaster, so I happily made a quick toile to test the fit. The only alteration I made was to split the single-pieced sleeve into a two-piece sleeve.

MMM_Skirt to Jacket 06

Once happy with the fit, I carefully placed the front panels, paying close attention to where those little mirrors lay. To help the silk threads stay in place (and to add a bit of structure) I used iron-on interfacing on the back side of all the pieces.

MMM_Skirt to Jacket 04

Even with the stabilisation, the cotton fabric seemed quite thin, so I hunted through my stash for something to use as a warm inter-lining. I found some merino wool that I bought from The Fabric Store a few years ago. I had previously attempted to make a mens t-shirt from it, and failed miserably. I’m so glad I kept this failure, because there was just enough to cut up and use inside this jacket.

MMM_Skirt to Jacket 07

I simply hand basted the merino wool to the cotton, to act as one piece. I also tacked it together in a few central places in case the merino wanted to sag inside the jacket.

MMM_Skirt to Jacket 08

In the spirit of using as much of the original fabric as possible, I had to do a bit off-cut piecing together. You can see on the right hand side facing where I had to sew two bits together. I’m really not fussed by it, and I honestly think a few quirky seams adds to the character of the jacket.

With the jacket shell sewn together, all I had left to do was draft a lining (because it’s not included in the pattern). I followed this amazing tutorial by Jen from Grainline Studios. If you ever need to draft a lining, follow this tutorial! It’s so simply explained! However, I worked off the one piece sleeve for the lining, I didn’t have the brain power to figure out how to do a two piece sleeve lining.

MMM_Skirt to Jacket 13

Pattern drafted, I fully expected to have to purchase some lining to finish this jacket. I’m so glad I looked through my scraps first, because I found just enough left over from a dress I made about 4 years ago. Again, I had to piece together a section for one sleeve, but I managed to cut the rest whole.

MMM_Skirt to Jacket 14

MMM_Skirt to Jacket 12

Instead of bagging out the lining, I sewed it straight to the facing. I was unsure about the correct finished measurements and felt that this gave me more control. I took my time and used hand sewing techniques (blind stitch) to finish the bottom hem and sleeve hems.

MMM_Skirt to Jacket 10

Finally, she was finished! I’m thrilled with the end result, I feel like I’ve given this textile a brand new life, with many years of wear to come.

I’ll leave you with some pictures we took down Katoomba’s Street Art Walk.

MMM_Skirt to Jacket 15

MMM_Skirt to Jacket 16

MMM_Skirt to Jacket 19

MMM_Skirt to Jacket 20

MMM_Skirt to Jacket 18

MMM_Skirt to Jacket 21

MMM_Skirt to Jacket 23

MMM_Skirt to Jacket 24


  • Pattern brand/name/number: New Look 6496
  • Style, size: View “A”, size 14
  • Fabric:
    • Outer shell – Navy cotton skirt with silk hand embroidery
    • Inter-lining – Merino wool from The Fabric Store
    • Lining – High quality poly lining left over from a previous project
  • Notions: Black iron-on interfacing from Spotlight
  • Modifications/alterations:
    • Changed the one piece sleeve to a two piece sleeve for the shell
    • Drafted a lining pattern (with a single piece sleeve)

Mitty x

40 year old velvet

Recently I was visiting my friend, Nicole, when she casually handed me a length of beautiful, emerald green velvet. She told me that it was her Grandmothers’, and it was at least 40 years old! To my horror, she said that she was going to cut it up for some cushion covers…

Just… no.

MMM_Velvet Skirt 01

So I did what any sewist in my position would have done, I offered to make her a skirt instead. We talked about the different styles that would best suit her personal aesthetic and the fabric, and decided on a below the knee length pencil skirt.

MMM_Velvet Skirt 02

I started with the Erin Skirt by Sew Over It as a reference pattern. I made a simple toile and shaped it to perfectly hug Nicoles curves. She asked me if I could sew the button placket closed so she didn’t have any “flashy” moments. I split the back piece into two, and installed an invisible zipper, so she could actually get into the skirt.

MMM_Velvet Skirt 03

We decided to omit the front pockets for a cleaner look, and reduce bulk. I also drafted a simple lining pattern, for comfort, and to extend the life of the skirt.

Nicole was absolutely thrilled with her skirt, but she was even happier when I managed to squeeze another one from the offcuts…

MMM_Velvet Mini 01

I adore this mini! I used the same modified pattern as the pencil skirt, but I had to split the front into three panels to fit the remaining fabric (impossible to see on the above picture!).

MMM_Velvet Mini 02

To add a little visual interest, I used an exposed trouser zipper for the back closure. I didn’t want the zipper to catch on Nicoles stockings, so I hand sewed in some grosgrain ribbon to act as a zipper shield.

MMM_Velvet Mini 05

Winter outfit, sorted!


  • Pattern brand/name/number: Erin Skirt by Sew Over It (available in the City Break Capsule collection)
  • Style/size: Started with a size 16, but took it in a lot
  • Fabric: Nicoles’ Grandmothers’ 40 year old velvet, anti-static lining from Spotlight, fusible interfacing for waistbands
  • Notions:
    • Pencil skirt: 35cm invisible zipper, 10 x 3cm wooden buttons from eBay
    • Mini skirt: 18cm trouser zipper
  • Modifications/alterations:
    • I fit the toile directly to Nicoles proportions, so I can’t remember the exact measurements, but I did end up taking it in a fair amount
    • Tapered the hem of the skirt quite a lot, leaving just enough room to walk comfortably
    • I sewed down the button placket and left off the button holes (I was going to put them in to help with the illusion but my button hole foot left too much damage on the velvet)
    • Merged the front and the pocket pattern pieces to make a single piece
    • Split the back piece into two so I could add in the invisible zipper
    • Drafted a lining pattern
    • For the mini skirt, I traced the front pattern piece so it would be cut on the fold, then I drew in the panel lines and traced off those pieces so I could add on seam allowance
    • Used an exposed trouser zipper for the back closure, with a grosgrain zipper shield
    • Shortened the length drastically for the mini skirt and the lining

Much better than cushion covers, don’t you agree?!

Mitty x

ruffle sleeve top

What could be better than a well drafted top pattern that includes beautiful finishing techniques?

MMM_Ruffle Top 01

Answer: a well drafted top pattern that includes beautiful finishing techniques that you can download for free!

MMM_Ruffle Top 02

This is the Ruffle Sleeve Top, designed by Emily from In The Folds, exclusively for Peppermint Magazine. Emily has such an amazing, clean aesthetic that really shines through her patterns, and I think it is very generous to offer them for free!

MMM_Ruffle Top 04

I shamelessly took a lot of inspiration from Amanda of Bimble & Pimble after seeing her ruffle sleeve top on Instagram. I purchased a pretty navy check cotton from Tessuti Fabrics and had this baby hanging in my wardrobe the next day.

MMM_Ruffle Top 06

I actually made this navy linen version first, you could call it my “wearable toile”. It’s one size up from the checkered top, and is probably a little big on me. The linen is so lovely and gets softer after every wear.

MMM_Ruffle Top 07

I mentioned before about beautiful finishing techniques. This pattern is sewn with French Seams! I’d never done a French Seam on a sleeve before, and I am thrilled with how clean it looks on the inside.

MMM_Ruffle Top 05


MMM_Ruffle Top 03

Love, love, LOVE this top! I already want to make a white version, maybe with an eyelet fabric for the ruffle sleeves (better pop it on the Spring Sewing List!).

Mitty x