Sewing Sunday: Cath Kidston Perfect Summer Skirt (from The Zen of Making)

Sewing Sunday: Cath Kidston Perfect Summer Skirt (from The Zen of Making)

This could be the project I’m proudest of to date. Deviating from a tutorial, gathering, making pockets AND inserting an invisible zip for the first time? Admittedly it was a daunting project since I’d never tried any of those things before, but it was absolutely worth the effort.


In my post about the Cath Kidston Beach Bag I made a couple of months ago I mentioned that I had a project lined up using the remainder of the fabric… this is it! I adored the combination of the blue floral Cath Kidston fabric and the red polka dots on my mum’s bag, and since I had so much left over I thought that it would be the perfect combination to use for my first attempt at The Zen of Making‘s Perfect Summer Skirt.

 Haley’s tutorial for her Perfect Summer Skirt is, to put it simply, awesome. She clearly teaches you how to draft your own skirt and pocket patterns using your measurements and walks you through sewing it all together using clear photographs and concise instructions without being at all patronising. She also has great taste in fabric – in fact, I even picked up some of the gorgeous navy botanical print fabric last time I was in Ikea so I could make exactly the same skirt as she did! Unimaginative I know, but it just looks so lovely.

I cut my skirt pieces according to the plus size measurement guide. Although I no longer count myself as a plus size, using the plus size measurement generated the same width of fabric as the skirt I made using a tutorial from Merrick’s Art and I really like how that skirt fits around my hips, so I went for it. I’m glad I used the plus size measurements, as I think the skirt would have been too poofy around my booty had I gone with the standard formula. I ended up with the skirt waist opening being 46.5″ around rather than the 64″ generated by the standard measurement, it was quite the bulk reduction!

Sewing Sunday: Cath Kidston Perfect Summer Skirt (from The Zen of Making)

Instead of folding the top of the skirt down and threading elastic through to make the waistband, I instead created a separate waistband using the red polka dot fabric. I didn’t have enough of the red fabric left to make a waistband the same size as the waist opening of the skirt, so I ditched the elastic and instead made a fitted waistband the same size as my waist plus 2 inches of seam allowance, using an 8″ white invisible zipper as a fastening at the back.

I was initially terrified at the thought of inserting an invisible zipper but thanks to this video from The Coletterie the process was a breeze. Admittedly it wasn’t completely incident-free – I had to restitch the bottom of the zip when I got too excited and accidentally sewed down a little fold in the fabric – but it was so much easier than I’d anticipated.

I had another derp moment when I was making the pockets – my hand doesn’t fit in the right one! Perhaps my mistake was not adding seam allowance to the pocket pieces, I’m not too sure, but thankfully I can still slot my phone in so it’s not completely useless. I just have to carefully pluck things out of my pockets using my fingertips instead of bunching my fists in there!

Sewing Sunday: Cath Kidston Perfect Summer Skirt (from The Zen of Making)

I hemmed using bias tape I bought off eBay and I can’t tell you how much better it looks with the contrast bias tape at the bottom – it’s night and day difference. The bias tape doesn’t quite match the waistband, but I figure it’s far away enough from my waist that the difference isn’t overly noticeable.

Despite a few niggles along the way I’m thrilled with how this skirt turned out. The shape is so flattering on me, I will definitely be using Haley’s tutorial again to make some elasticated waist skirts with pockets that I can actually fit my hands in. I do have one final problem, which is entirely down to my fabric choice… does it look too much like an apron? Am I rocking the 1950’s housewife look, or do I just look like an idiot who forgot to take her pinny off when she left the house? I’m still not too sure, but I’ll go with it for now!


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Until next time,

- Poppy -