Vintage Maria Drape Skirt

I had a rummage through my stash looking for long lost projects to make as part of my stashbust. I came upon this piece of vintage curtain fabric, bought from the local flea market last year, I think it cost £8. It is getting so difficult to find vintage fabric nowadays so I snapped it up with a view to making a rather lovely vintage skirt. That was as far as it got before languishing at the bottom off my stash chest, until now! It is quite a heavy fabric so did take up a fair bit of space in the pile so I thought I’d create a bit more room by finally putting it to use.


The problem with this fabric was that although it was two and a half metres long it was only 57cm wide. I knew I wanted a skirt with a bit of body and flare but it was too thick to make a gathered skirt. I raided my skirt patterns but couldn’t find any which could be cut with my limited fabric and so I decided to have a go at drafting my own. I knew I wanted it fitted over my tum and hips and so I thought I’d go with stitched down pleats or tucks.

I cut two pieces for the waistband along the crossgrain as I couldn’t spare anything off the length. I planned to stitch the waistbands together at the sideseam, fold it double and attach a side zipper which would go all the way to the top of the waistband.


After cutting the waistband I cut the remaining fabric into two equal pieces. I tapered the sides a bit to add some shape and reduce the bulk around the top of the skirt.


Then it came to figuring out where to place the pleats. Half the waistband measured 16 inches. I roughly calculated that I could fit six pleats in total at a depth of one inch each. I decided to put three pleats either side and so spent quite a while measuring, fiddling, pinning, unpinning and fiddling a bit more until the pleats were more or less even and the waistline was matching the waistband at 16 inches. I did exactly the same for the back piece and then stitched the pleats in place on the inside. They are actually more like tucks as I stitched them as you would do a tuck. I did two rows of stitching and backstitched a few times at the bottom as I didn’t want them to come undone, this has unfortunately happened with the stitching on the pleats of my Colette Zinnia, I guess they just couldn’t take the strain!


It was easy to put together after that, I sewed the side seams (no pockets because I didn’t have enough fabric and thought they might gape a bit with the fitted top of the skirt) and then attached the waistband, interfacing both sides. I put a standard zipper in the side seam and took it to the top of the waistband so not need for a button. I turned the hem up using the selvage and was finished!

WP_20140708_10_43_36_Pro (1)

I’m quite pleased with the result, although when I asked my other half what he thought his reply was that it looked like an old curtain! I countered this by informing him that it was vintage and if Julie Andrews could do it in the sound of music then so could I! (Hence the Maria Drape Skirt!


It is quite a heavy skirt so I think it will probably work better in the winter with thick black tights and a sweater. It was only after taking these photos that I realised that the skirt is quite well camouflaged with the flowers and greenery in the background!




I think this skirt was a bit of a nostalgia trip for me, taking me back to my teenage years when I wore nothing but ‘vintage’ which was then called second hand. In abundance, dirt cheap and therefore affordable to a fifteen year old indie chick! We had a wonderful shop called Jins which was full of clothes from the twenties onwards. I was quite lucky being short and a bit curvy as clothes from the fifties fitted me perfectly. Most of these clothes have got lost along the way but I still have a couple of dresses and a beautiful New Look style shawl collared coat which I will probably never be able to fit in again but can’t bear to get rid of. I just like getting them out and admiring them every now and a again. A bit like all the shoes I have which I can’t walk in but occasionally put on to do the ironing in! I guess I am a bit sentimental about clothes, I’ve still got the top I was wearing the night I got together with my other half! I just think clothes hold memories, sometimes more tangibly than photographs.

Do you have any sentimentality when it comes to clothes? Have you any treasured outfits which hold memories for you?

Navy Peekaboo eyelet Laurel

After the Chambray I bought for my planned Colette Laurel turned out to have a fault (and subsequently turned into a Hollyburn Skirt) I had to come up with a plan B. I had three metres of this Navy Cotton Eyelet in my stash (I also bought some Teal and Purple at the same time, couldn’t decide which I liked best so had to get them all!) It’s not embroidered like normal Eyelet but seems to have been laser cut with flowers printed around the cutouts.


I’ve had a cotton Laurel on my list for a while now but it kept getting bumped down. The Summer Stashbust is really making me look at what I’ve got and finally getting around to putting past plans into action. I’ve made two Laurels previously, the first was a Royal Blue and Black Polka dot knit version which has become a ‘pottering around the house dress’. The second was in some Green Polyester which felt horrible but I really loved the colour! Both of these didn’t do the pattern the justice it deserved, it really needed to be Cotton.

I cut a size 12 and managed to get out of putting a zip in by cutting the back piece on the fold, I had done this with my previous ones and it worked well. The first step was to put on the patch pockets, I’ve got a cardboard template I use which is about 1cm smaller than the pocket, I just fold the fabric over the template and iron it into shape. I shortened the sleeves by around 4 inches and squared off the last 2 inches so I could hem them rather than using bias tape. Once I had sewn the side seam I tried it on to check how much I could realistically take off and still be able to get the dress over my head, I repeated this, stitching a centimetre further in each time, until I got to the point where I could comfortably wriggle into it! It was only then that I finished the seams with my overlocker, I have been so careful not to get carried away with it after my last brush with danger!

I finished the neckline with readymade bias tape which I had in my stash, I was trying to conserve fabric and managed to squeeze it out of a metre and a half, so I still have a metre and a half left for something else! I gave it a two inch hem to take my short stature into account and it falls just above my knees. It does however ride up a bit when I am sitting down and bending over is a complete no go! I wore a Navy slip underneath to preserve my modesty as I didn’t want any peekaboo moments through the eyelets. It is however a perfect summer dress as it has built in ventilation and the breeze just flows through those cutouts!










Overall I’m really pleased with how this turned out and I know it will get a lot of wear, it’ll be perfect on a breezy day, especially as there won’t be any chance of my skirt blowing up (this just happened with my Cambie, must remember: windy days not good for flarey skirts!) The pattern is the perfect shift dress and very quick and easy to make, only taking about 3 hours. I know there will be more on the way (possibly in Teal or Purple Eyelet?!)

And so that’s another metre and a half out of my stash, which makes my Summer Stashbust tally at 7 metres so far! (I keep dreaming about how much fabric I’ll be able to replace it with when it ends in September!)


How are you doing with your Summer Sewing? Have you had any me made wardrobe malfunctions?