I was never really a fan of Tilly and the Buttons’ Dominique skirt when it came out – I guess I just wasn’t convinced it would suit me. But when I was working for them over the summer, I came across this dressmaking gem from @holliesews on Instagram (that’s right, they asked me to go on Instagram as part of my job. I repeat. Browsing Instagram was what I was supposed to be doing). There was just something about this skirt that grabbed me – it was flattering, relaxed and really quite chic in a simple denim. So I was quite pleased really to receive the pattern free of charge during my time at Tilly Towers.
It didn’t take me long to dig out a chambray dress which I bought second-hand for £4 on Vinted:
It was a lovely and good quality Dorothy Perkins dress, but, alas, it never quite fitted me properly and had a tendency to gape quite dramatically across the bust (sometimes the poppers even pinged open – eek!). And so I’d rarely worn it. It was difficult to make the decision to rip it apart, since it was a lovely dress, but I eventually realised that I was never realistically going to wear it again in its current state. I could, however, use the soft chambray fabric for something I was going to wear.
I spent a very, very long time seam ripping the whole dress apart. I knew it was going to be a squeeze to fit the Dominique pattern pieces onto the fabric, so I didn’t want to waste a scrap! Once I had dismantled and ironed out the gathered skirt, I realised it wasn’t quite long enough to fit the Dominique skirt panels on, so I just made the panels as long as I could, and cut out additional waistband facing pieces from the bodice of the dress. I cut out the pocket pieces from the sleeves of the dress.
And then I sewed it all together:
The extra waistband facing pieces worked just fine and the finished skirt hasn’t ended up being too short. The pockets are also slightly smaller than the pattern specified, but this doesn’t matter at all! I can still slip my hand in, as seen in the picture. I used white thread to sew the whole skirt together, and I really like the contrast stitching this creates at the waist, hem, and around the pockets.
I think I misjudged the Dominique pattern. Perhaps I just didn’t much like the fabric choices they made for the samples on the pattern envelope. But this was a speedy and satisfying make (not a single frustrating ‘ARGH’ moment as my sewing machine decides not to do what I ask). My finished skirt may not be the most sophisticated thing on the planet, but it is comfortable and very easy to wear – I have a suspicion it will become somewhat of a wardrobe staple as winter draws in. I’m thinking woolly jumpers and cosy cardigans layered over this skirt, with leggings and boots, and a warming mug of hot chocolate…
I’m glad I took the plunge and deconstructed that old chambray dress – I’ve already got much more wear out of its reincarnation. Perhaps this will encourage me to rethink what I do with all the clothes shoved towards the back of the wardrobe. Plus, this skirt was basically free – the pattern was given to me, the thread and elastic I already had in my stash, and the chambray felt as though it was free, since I only paid £4 for it a long while ago. I’d call that a win.