Thursday 4 September 2014

Delphine Skirt and Bronte Top for Autumn

Now that the weather is getting colder in the UK, I have the strong urge to start sewing warmer clothes. Especially after I realised that I have hardly made any clothes for colder weather. Because we are moving, I had to pack all my staff and when going through the garments I thought "Where are my me-made winter garments" - there were none. That brings me to the problem, what fabric and patterns should I use to make winter garments? If you have any suggestions, please let me know :)

But as a start I think a denim Delphine Skirt and a long-sleeved Bronte Top are a good idea. So let's talk about the skirt first.

Pattern: Delphine Skirt by Tilly and the Buttons.

Fabric: Grey denim bought from Clothes House in Soho, London (so pricey fabric). I had bought this denim when I started sewing (so about 4 years ago) and I made a pair of trousers from it. Although you can't actually say they were finished trousers, because I realised they were massive on me and never hemmed them.

I think 1.5 me would have fit in there, haha.
For the last 4 years they lived hidden under my bed (as many other items that I made before knowing about fitting and muslins). A few weeks ago I remembered them and thought I might be able to refashion them into a skirt. So I unpicked all these pesky seams, cut out the zipper, gave the fabric a wash and waited for the right skirt pattern to come along. And the Delphine came along and I decided to muslin the pattern with the denim (you can see my second version here).

Cutting: Can you imagine that one half of the trouser leg was bigger than one quarter of the skirt? I managed to cut each skirt panel from one trouser leg. To be sure to be on grain, I pulled one thread from the denim to get a straight edge and used this to align the skirt panels. The front panel of the skirt is cut on the fold. But I didn't have a piece big enough to cut on the fold. So, I just added a 5/8" seam allowance to the center fold and cut two front panels that I sewed together.

Fitting: As said in my last post, there was a lot of fabric bunching in the back due to my sway back. So, I just kept shifting the waistband down at the center back until the bunching was gone = instant sway back adjustment.

Embellishment: I couldn't resist to add a pink piping that I made with some bias tape from my stash. Don't you think pink and grey are a match made in heaven? And yes I know that the pink piping will limit the versatility of the skirt. But never mind, I love it. I added even more pink on the inside where I used a lovely pink quilting cotton with mannequins on it as a facing. The fabric was a leftover from one of my first quilts.

Almost perfect invisible zip if it wasn't for the bulk added by the piping.

Now before the post gets to long, let's talk about the Bronte Top.

Pattern: Bronte Top by Jennifer Lauren Vintage.

Fabric: I'm not 100% sure what kind of fabric it is. It looks knitted on the front and has little loops on the back. And it is super soft :) I could be a French Terry Knit. However, I somehow doubt it because I bought the fabric in Walthemstow Market. I can't remember the price, but it will have been under £3.

Alterations: I made the same alterations as for my first Bronte and this time just sewed the long-sleeved version. For the sleeve, I traced the sleeve in size 10 and the sleeve cap (between front and back notches) in size 12 to get a slightly higher sleeve cap. I love the fit of the Bronte top. Usually sleeves are twisting on me because of my forward shoulders. The Bronte, however, fits perfectly! The sleeves are a bit long, which I actually like because that means I can cover my hands with them :)

Some closing thoughts:

I love both the skirt and the top, although I have to admit that I'm not really sure that they fit both perfectly together. The styles go well together, but I'm a bit unsure about the colors (me kicking myself for adding pink piping). Actually when getting dressed for the photos, I kept changing my tights and top until I came up with this outfit. I think because of the pink the skirt doesn't look as wintery as the top. But when paired with a summer top and my woolen tights (yes I'm that cold already - that's why I have issues sewing winter clothes) the top looked out of place. Maybe the tights are the problem, haha.

On other news, I have moved to Cambridge and started a new job :) I'm not having internet yet. Other than on the bus to work (and it might stay like this for another two weeks, thanks internet provider) hence my absence from the blogging world. This post was actually half written before my move and I had luckily added most pictures. I'm saying most here, because there are a few missing such as a pic of the facing. But hopefully everything will settle in the next two weeks and than you can see a few more makes that I have already finished :)


  1. What a great outfit. I love the piping on your skirt, and also that you refashioned it. This fabric is too nice to waste. I think I'm going to have to buy the Bronte pattern, I've seen so many lovely versions of it, and it's the kind of top that would go with anything. Good luck in your new job, and I hope you get your internet sorted out soon.

  2. Great save! The piping is a really nice feature and I'm sure you'll have more tops to wear with it in no time. Hope the new job is going well.

  3. I think there should be extra kudos for using up stashed UFOs, especially to make such a pretty skirt! The bird print fabric is super cute too :)

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Hey, I love the skirt! I just came across this post so I know it's a late comment but I had the same problem at the back when I made my first Delphine skirt and I'm just about to embark on my second so I was hoping to pick your brains on what you mean when you say you bunched the back down? It looks like a great fit and I'm hoping to achieve something similar! Georgia x
    PS. I've been having trouble commenting so sorry if it said I already commented once!

    1. Hi Georgia, thanks for your question. I actually meant that there were a lot of fabric fold at the height of my sway back (= bunch of fabric fold). I probably used the wrong expression with English not being my native tongue I keep making up words :P To remove the fabric folds, I deepened the seam between back waistband and back skirt panel. Imagine you take out eg 5 cm of fabric at the centre seam and tapper to nothing (=0 cm) at the side seam. By hand London have a good tutorial how to do this one a dress: It is essentially the same for the skirt. Try taking out fabric from the skirt panel first and if there are still folds, than do the same for the waistband. I hope this helps! Good luck :)


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