Made to measure
Charlotte Peacock’s self-drafted skirt is what your capsule wardrobe has been waiting for



■ 2m (78¾") Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton Solids in Yarrow (ours was from www.

■ Matching sewing thread

■ Water soluble pen

■ Seven imitation tortoise shell buttons (ours were from www.

■ Dressmaker’s paper

The beauty of creating your own clothes is getting the fit just right. And that’s to say nothing of the joy of choosing a fabric you love and adding pockets with wild abandon. This button-down skirt ticks all those boxes, plus you’ll create pattern pieces you can use again and again, based on your own measurements.

Use a 1.5cm ( 5/8") seam allowance throughout unless otherwise instructed. If you prefer, you could use press fastenings to close the skirt instead of buttons.

01 Measure your waist – this is measurement A. Measure the length for the skirt, holding the tape measure from the waist to where you’d like the hem to sit – you’ll need a hand otherwise you’ll end up with a shorter skirt. This is measurement B.

02 To make a pattern for the pockets, place your hand down flat on a piece of paper and draw around it, drawing a straight line where your wrist sits. Cut it out.

03 Next, create the paper pattern pieces. On the dressmaker’s paper, measure and mark the back piece as measurement A x measurement B plus 3cm (1¼"), then on both sides mark 10cm (4") down from the top of the waist and draw around the pocket pattern. Draw out the same shape once again for the front, then cut in half down the centre front to create two front pieces. Draw out a waistband piece as measurement A plus 3cm (1¼") (this is a 3cm (1¼") overlap for the button placket) x 9cm (3 5/8"). Pin the four pattern pieces onto the fabric and use fabric scissors to cut them out, adding a 1.5cm ( 5/8") seam allowance all around.

04 On the two front pieces, fold over the centre sides to the wrong side (WS) by 1cm ( 3/8") and press, then fold over again by 3cm (1¼"). Press and pin in place, then sew 2.5cm (1") from the edge and 0.5cm (¼") from the edge. Repeat for both front pieces – this creates the placket for placing the buttons and buttonholes.

05 Pin the back piece and two front pieces right sides (RS) together, aligning the raw edges. Sew each long raw edge and around the pockets. At the corners, drop the needle in, lift up the presser foot, pivot the fabric around, then place the presser foot back down. When sewing the pocket, take it slow.

06 To finish the raw edges of the skirt, trim the seams about 0.5cm (¼") from the stitching and sew using zigzag stitch, ensuring the needle goes on the fabric, off, on the fabric, off. Pin the side seams flat and facing forward.

07 To gather the skirt, set the sewing machine to a long stitch. Sew two parallel lines along the top of the skirt between the plackets, 0.5cm (¼") and 1cm ( 3/8") down from the top edge, leaving long tails of thread at all four ends. Picking up the long threads, pull from both ends and evenly gather the waist until it matches measurement A, plus 3cm (1¼").

08 Place the waistband against the top of the skirt, RS together and with 1.5cm ( 5/8") overhang at each end. Sew using a 1.5cm ( 5/8") seam allowance – this will hide the gathers. Fold the top edge of the waistband to the WS by 1.5cm ( 5/8").

09 At each end fold the waistband RS together, with the top edge still folded, then sew along the edge of the waistband. Trim the fabric, then turn through to the RS. Gently push out the corners and iron the waistband over, ensuring the gathers are hidden. Pin and top stitch close to the waistband seam.

10 On one placket, use the fabric pen to mark where you’d like the top button and buttonhole, then mark every 6cm (2 3/8") down until you’re 20cm (7 7/8") from the hem. Create a buttonhole at each mark following the sewing machine instructions – always do a tester on scrap fabric first.

11 Place the side with the buttonholes over the opposite placket and line up. Use the fabric pen to mark the placement of the buttons through the buttonholes. Sew on the buttons.

12 Turn the hem to the WS by 1.5cm ( 5/8") twice, press, then pin in place. Top stitch the hem using a 1cm ( 3/8") seam allowance.