This outfit gives me so much joy. Why? It’s just a throw on jumper and skirt right? Pretty, but kinda unremarkable? …Apart from the fact that I made it out of fabric remnants in my stash! YAS. Stash busting win! One of the problems with needing to dress modestly is that I rarely have use for fabric lengths less than 2m so I have a tonne of 1m (or less) lengths from makes which overestimated the fabric requirements. So to be able to find a pattern (or patterns) that can be used to stash bust is pretty darn amazing!

I was gifted the Ness skirt pattern alongside the Nora top when Tilly and the Buttons released their Autumn collection. We all know how much I love the Nora pattern (I’ve made four already!) but I wasn’t sure about the Ness skirt. It comes in a mini and knee length which isn’t really what I wear. But then again the straight skirt style of the Cleo dungaree dress has really been a hit in my wardrobe, so I thought why not give it a go?

Not being convinced that it would be my style I thought using stash fabric would be a good way to ‘test’ it out without committing to some lovely new fabric. I found this deep aubergine/burgundy cotton twill I had left over from when I made Taufiq some cropped Jedediah pants. The only problem was that I had just under 1m of fabric left…The pattern asks for 1.4m for the knee length version so working with less than 1m seemed a little insane to me! But I gave it a go and cut linings from some leftover Liberty cotton lawn to scrimp on the main body fabric. It was working out well (even managed to squeeeeze in my lengthened pieces) until I realised I’d made a super rookie mistake and cut TWO left sides out for the back pieces. D’oh! But I wasn’t going to give up so I shortened the pieces and fudged the pattern pieces to fit.

I’ll go more into the pattern in a second but I really love the way it looks. It’s been an unexpected staple over the winter/chilly spring days and the fact that I managed to squeeze it out of remnants really makes me super happy. It’s given me the confidence to try and ‘shop’ my stash more and take a few risks!

Pattern Review: Ness Skirt by Tilly and the Buttons

Difficulty: ‘Improvers’- I would say this is a good pattern who has gotten to grips with some beginner patterns. It’s the perfect step up from the Cleo dress

Sizes: UK 6-20

Type: Paper and PDF

Price: £14.50 (paper)£11.50 (PDF)


Fabric: I used a less than 1m remnant of 100% cotton brushed cotton twill in damson from Croft Mill. This fabric is a dream to work with- it has a brushed texture does make it slightly corduroy-y with a soft, velvety touch. YKK zip from John Lewis and jeans button leftover from the Jedediah pants I made  from Guthrie & Ghani)

Sizing and fit: I sized this based off the hip measurements and made a size 14 waist graded to a 16 on the hips. One thing I’m not sure we speak that much about is fitting to our lower part of the body at certain times of the month. I tend to fluctuate with bloating during the month and in particular during my period where my stomach area can go up by 1-2 inches. Knowing this, it was kinda silly of me to have fit the skirt when I was at the peak of bloating! So even though it fit perfectly when I made it, the other 3 weeks of the month it’s a little too big! Next time I’ll be sizing down a lot more on the waist (especially as I’ve since lost some weight).

Pass the lint roller…

Construction and instructions: Aaaahhhhhhh. Construction. What can I say? This was SO SATISFYING to make. I mean, it gives me all those warm sewing feels. Top stitching, the yoke, the scoop pockets, the fly front. All those details that make something look so extra special but are actually pretty simple to do. The fly front came together really well too- I tend to use the written instructions (with photos) alongside the blog posts (and in this case- the video) to make Tilly patterns. The only place I had an issue with was the waistband which is a little twisted- but this is 100% my fault because I interfaced the wrong bit of the waistband and also probably not helped by the fact I had to use my lining fabric for the inner waistband rather than the main body fabric. But I bet you can’t even notice in the photos!

Adaptations/hacks: As always, I lengthened the skirt. This works perfectly well apart from the fact I transferred the split in the front wrong (I know, it sounds like I did more ‘wrong’ than ‘right’!) and it’s smaller than it should be. It’s fine for around the house (with a little hitching up to go upstairs) but it’s too restrictive if I need to be walking around. I made the mistake of wearing it to work one day and it did not go well with me having to power walk around the wards! I quite like the front split (normally having my splits at the back).

Tips ‘n’ tricks: Definitely don’t feel restricted by the fabric length suggested- if you have something in your stash I would try and lay the pattern pieces out to see if they fit. Don’t cut on the fold if you’re tight with fabric requirements- you can save a lot more space by cutting the pieces on the flat. The yoke and smaller pattern pieces means that this is quite a good pattern to try and piece together from a remnant. The only part which needs a lot of fabric is the waistband, but you could do what I did and make the inner waistband from a different fabric. Just be mindful of the weight of the fabric and interface the right bits!

Overall: I really love this pattern. The pockets are roomy and it’s got a lot of the same detailing as jeans would which makes it quite it a nice satisfying make. I love how different the skirt looks based on the length and fabrics people make it with. I can definitely see more of these in my wardrobe. Gasp. Does this mean that I’m a…’separates’ person!?

Many thanks to the Tilly and the Buttons team team for sending me the patterns. I was under no obligation to make/post about the patterns. All opinions are my honest views. 

6 thoughts on “Pattern Review: Ness Skirt”

  1. This really has a nice shape, especially the waistband and fly! And thank you for admitting the little things that don’t go right :). It’s good to know that I’m not the only one!

    1. Ohhh I couldn’t let you think I was a perfect sewer! In the end no one else notices those little things 🙂

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