The Village Haberdashery Skirt

When I completed my Pattern Drafting Course at Central Saint Martins I knew it would be really important to use the lessons I’d learned straight away. Otherwise, I’d forget them! So it was fortuitous when Annie from The Village Haberdashery got in touch to mention her new online shop.

There were some lovely Loulouthi velveteens, and Annie generously offered to send me a metre to work with. This was my opportunity to draft a pattern and see if I could turn a scant one metre into a workable skirt.

I pulled out my skirt blocks, my tracing paper, my pattern master and my pencil and rubber. I drafted and toiled, drafted and toiled, drafted and toiled. Three toiles before I cut into the fashion fabric. I can’t claim that there was a whole lot of clever thinking behind my drafting, but I felt my way slowly, slowly towards a skirt that would work.

Thinking time became very important, I discovered. Mulling over why an inverted pleat on the hip wasn’t working. Looking at skirts in shops and noting their pleat construction. Realising that gathers on the back pieces weren’t at all flattering. Slowly, slowly, allowing ideas to bubble up. Letting myself make mistakes.

Then I got bored! Cut into the fashion fabric and got on with things. Working with the velveteen saw my thinking become extremely focussed. I didn’t want to waste Annie’s gift and I wanted to get this right. There were further tweaks during construction. (My next immediate concern is transferring those changes to the pattern pieces so that they’re not forgotten.)

I fumbled, tripped, and staggered my way towards a final skirt.

And what of the velveteen? Obviously, accepting a freebie comes with all sorts of moral quandaries. What if I hate the fabric? Am I allowed to say that on my blog? What if I foul up, and ruin the lovely velveteen? Will Annie decide sewing bloggers are flakes? So I’m really pleased that a) the skirt has worked and b) I can genuinely rave about the velveteen.

As you can see, it holds structure very well. Look at those pleats!

It’s also unbelievably forgiving to work with. Stitches just sink out of sight. Here’s a detail of the hand sewn inside waist band. Can you see the stitches? No, neither can I.

You will need to line a skirt made with this velveteen; it would stick to your tights like mad. You’ll also want to finish seams as quickly as you’re able, as this fabric frays:

In terms of care, I threw this into the wash at 40 degrees. I tend to do that a lot when pre-washing, as I want to ensure that makes will survive the occasional wash when I forget that I’m caring about the planet. I also pressed the fabric on a fairly high heat, both sides, with no ill effect. Yes, it’s damn near indestructible, but if you want a much more comprehensive guide to caring for velveteen you can go here.

I drafted my own pockets (get me!) and used red piping on them. There was also another perfect button waiting in my button jar.

I’m really pleased with how this skirt worked out, the density of colour and soft touch. I’m delighted that Annie introduced me to a fabric I would never normally have considered working with. I’m dying to see someone do something magnificent with the Zagzig print.

I couldn’t help being curious about how Annie set up her online business, which means there’s an interview with the woman herself coming up. Stay tuned!

Thank you, Annie. You gave me the kick up the derriere I needed to draft my very first pattern. It kinda worked. I think I’ve just taken this season’s fashion for animal prints to a whole other level…

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51 Responses to The Village Haberdashery Skirt

  1. ooobop! says:

    Well done Karen. This is gorgeous. I bet it feels really luxurious. Don’t you just love a kick up the backside?! They are a great prompt to go forward and create cleverer and lovelier things. And your skirt is no exception! 🙂

  2. Jacq says:

    Fab skirt .., oh no, have just looked at the online shop, what beautiful fabric and I’ve already blown my monthly self-induced budget!

  3. Fiona says:

    Wow! This skirt is GORGEOUS! That fabric is so lovely, I’m heading straight on over to that website. I’ve literally just finished a pattern cutting course myself and understand how much thought has to go into any design. I’m so impressed with the fit and style of your skirt, you should be proud!

  4. Felicity from Down Under says:

    and I love the red piping

  5. London MQG says:

    Oh Karen! I couldn’t have imagined a lovelier skirt. You are so talented!

  6. Portia says:

    Looks like immaculate drafting to me. Simplicity in drafting has no less value. Sometimes it’s possible to over engineer a make when what is called for is a little self restraint!! I’m a big fan of simple lines and construction. Especially on a fabric that’s able to “speak for itself” like that gorgeous velveteen, I think it’s just what was called for! Beautiful job Karen, as ever!

  7. I love the butterflies in the print. That fabric looks so good with the red.

  8. Oh Karen! I couldn’t have imagined a lovelier skirt. You are so talented!

  9. beebeesvintagedress says:

    Its lovely Karen! I love velveteen and needlecord’s They are great for practical clothing and well done you for drafting! I learnt at college but I’m too lazy to put my skills in to practise most of the time!

  10. Kerry says:

    Wow, that skirt is a show stopper! Nice use of pleat details and the piping and its a really flattering shape.

  11. Sam says:

    Wow, what a beautiful skirt. Your self drafted pattern and the fabric combine to make it a truely wonderful garment. It looks so gorgeously spring-like, but in the velveteen I’m sure it would work during the colder months as well (that’ll see you through summer then! 😉 )

  12. 1107nikki says:

    Love this skirt, the colours are so cheerful and bright. I’d never put pink and red together, but this looks amazing with your jacket. I can’t believe it’s self-drafted too, it’s too good!

  13. 1107nikki says:

    What a lovely skirt! The colours are so bright and cheerful too. I’d never put pink and red together, but it looks fab with your red jacket. I can’t believe you’ve self-drafted this, it looks too good, especially with pockets!!

  14. Jane says:

    Absolutely beautiful. That’s all! x

  15. Elisalex says:

    That is a gorgeous skirt Karen! Lovely elegant lines and immaculate finishing. I love how you’ve teamed it with red accessories – pink and red is probably my favourite colour combination. Beautiful fabric too, I must say I have been lusting over Anna Maria Horner’s velveteens for a while, but always held back due to high shipping costs from the US. Will be paying a visit to The Village Haberdashery pronto, methinks!

  16. The F Girl says:

    That fabric is gorgeous. And the skirt is very beautiful, the fitting seems just right for you. Lovely!

  17. shivani says:

    I love it! I’m aching to get my hands on some velveteen, but I must try to stick to budget this month! Love the pattern – those pleats! And pockets! Great job! x

  18. Yeah, welcome to the world of draft it yourself.. you done great work and the skirt is stunning on you !I love the fabric too..

  19. prttynpnk says:

    Lovely and inspiring!

  20. mujerboricua says:

    All the toiling paid off. The skirt looks great. It looks really nice paired with the blazer.

  21. Debi says:

    This may be one of my favourite skirts of yours. I just love it! I’m going to check out the store straight away as I’m dying to work with some beautiful printed velveteen! Great job, my dear!

  22. Oooh that’s gorgeous! And absolutely beautiful fabric – I will have to look into velveteen as we approach winter I think!

  23. CherryPix says:

    So clever! Great that you are quickly putting what you learned into practice! You’ve definitely inspired me to find a good pattern drafting course!

  24. so sew says:

    So very pretty.

  25. gail says:

    It’s gorgeous! I’ve had my eye on this fabric for a while but been afraid to try it. I can’t imagine a better use than what you’ve done! I especially love the pockets.

  26. OMG!!! You just DESIGNED AND MADE YOUR OWN SKIRT! Totally fabulous. I mean I knew you were on that course and all but it’s kind of different actually seeing something you just DESIGNED! Love it. I want to do excited crafty girlie shrieks, so I’ll have to do them online, GNEEEEEEEEE!!

  27. Graca says:

    Your pleats are perfect and your skirt is lovely. Nice job!

  28. Bold Sewist says:

    What a fun print – and velveteen – just perfect for the cold snap that’s apparently round the corner while the print will remind you that spring & summer will be following behind. And well done on the drafting! x

  29. liza jane says:

    So pretty! I’ve always wondered about those Anna Maria Horner velveteen prints. They are expensive, but so gorgeous!

  30. Peggy says:

    Your skirt turned out beautifully! What a delightful design and luxurious looking fabric.

  31. Stacy says:

    Lovely job Karen! I love the look and you look so darn cute in that last photo. Congrats on this creation.

  32. Roobeedoo says:

    Woo hoo! Really really lovely fabric and your pleating works so well. Is it slightly narrower towards the hem? Fab!

  33. Can’t believe you’re new to this! Lovely skirt and flattering too.

  34. Marie says:

    What a beautiful job you’ve done Karen, you clever, clever lady! This skirt is spot on – great shape, lovely construction and such a fun print. Loulouthi means ‘flower’ in Greek by the way…just thought I’d share that because you look like a fresh little flower in this outfit ;o)

  35. Tamsin W-P says:

    Everyone’s already said it, but Great Skirt! the fabric is beautiful and you must be so proud that you designed it yourself!

  36. Lisa says:

    Thats a great skirt Karen I love the shape of it . That fabric shop looks great unfortunately 😉

  37. carmencitabs says:

    Very very cool skirt! Congratulations!

  38. gingermakes says:

    Oh, this is so fab! I really love it, and I never would have thought of using velveteen before (seems so costume-y to me, but this doesn’t look it at all!). Great job!

  39. symondezyn says:

    First of all, congrats on your very first self drafted pattern – yipppeeeee!!! 😀

    Second, that fabric is lovely and looks so soft, but the lining… oh how I love that rich, jewel toned lining – delicious!! 😀

    Also love the pleats, it’s a really lovely shape and looks wonderful on you! 🙂

  40. nothylane says:

    Beautiful! I love your skirt. You are very right. Use those skills or lose them!

  41. Pingback: Interview with Annie of The Village Haberdashery | Did You Make That?

  42. Elizabeth says:

    Your skirt is soooo cute. And springy! Beautiful.

  43. Sufiya says:

    Yes, great skirt! If I saw you coming my way I would certainly stop you and give you a compliment! That colour combo is just delicious. Just goes to show that “the rules” can in fact be broken with good results; the key, of course is that the colours work together (no orange-based red with blue-based pink, f’r instance) and the other colours play along in the background. It reminds me rather of a Persian rug, somehow, or an Indian paisley: rich pattern and colour combining into a harmonious whole that doesn’t cross the line into “cheap and gaudy”.

  44. Anna Lin says:

    The skirt fits the girl very much!And the design of fabrics are very cute!

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