Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Not White Stuff Skirt


The title here is referring to the shop and not the colour. Some days I just want to be the girl who wears White Stuff:

409064_MULTIwhitesttufflovely muted, hellishly co-ordinated colours in cotton and linen, perfect for light summer days; easy style yet casual and reminds me effortlessly of rural France – picture Juliet Binoche in UnknownChocolat or Irish villages when the sun shines, shopping with wicker baskets hooked on suntanned arms filled with fresh herbs, waving at neighbours and friends while the sea gently laps at the harbour walls.Marine_Parade,






The clothes from White Stuff aren’t that expensive but when you want an outfit head to toe (with matching scarf) then the cost mounts up. I bought a willow green linen cardigan recently from The White Stuff, looked at the scarves, the skirts, T-shirts and tops but didn’t buy the matching items.  So now I have a cardigan and absolutely nothing to wear with it! Time to head to Quilters’ Quest.……..


Those devilish quilters really have all the best designs. Sometimes I just go to the shop to revel in colour and pattern. I’d be useless as a quilter – I can’t match colours and patterns they way they do, but I gave it my best shot, with a little help from the assistant. She admired me for being able to sew clothes and I admired her for being able to patch together little bits of cotton. We had a moment of mutual admiration – nice.

Anyway, back to today’s sewing project…….

A simple “White Stuff-ish” skirt – made in cotton and to match the afore mentioned cardigan with matching scarf – except this one has a secret……………



A Wonderwoman moment later and……


Here’s how to do it.

DSCN4061Choose a simple, straightforward A-line skirt pattern.

I used New Look 6762 but I think this is no longer available. Take a look at  this to make your own pattern or there’s lots of drafting advice out there. Some suitable patterns you might be interested in are here and here.

What you really want is a front and back cut on the fold with two darts apiece for flattering shaping and fitting and  a side zipper opening. If you have an A-Line that fits perfectly then it will make the following process so much easier but if you are using a new pattern please try on as you go as alterations will be nigh impossible later on.

Does anyone NOT suit an A-Line?

Remember, quilting cotton is only 45″ (115cm) wide so you don’t want a skirt that is too full and swishy – cutting on the fold then leaves enough scrap to make the scarf.

You need  1.5m of two different but co-ordinating cottons. This is for a size 14 and slightly lower than knee length, about 25″ or 84cm. So choose your length of fabric to fit


Press your cloth well matching selvage edges and making sure the grain is straight. If you wash your fabric before cutting, then do that. I don’t and I have to admit that I’ve never had a issue with shrinking. I think because I press with copious amounts of steam it sorta has the same effect.

Lay one cloth exactly on top of the other – folded edges on one side.


Cut your pattern as usual. Cut both skirts the same length including hemming.

Then take one skirt and cut 2″ – 3″ off the front and back pieces – you now have one short shirt and one longer. Keep the cut offs. In fact, keep all scraps, they will be used later.



Sew the darts. Now sew the left seam on one skirt and the right seam on the other.

Pin the waists of both skirts together, wrong sides; smooth the fabric down matching the sewn seams and darts and open sides.



One skirt hangs down below the other – perfect!

Now press the longer skirt up over the shorter one, overlapping by about 1/2″ – this will be your seam allowance on the hem. Cotton is brilliant for pressing. This will be the finished length of your skirt, so fold more or less to change the length at this stage.




If you wish to add embellishments such as an extra band, use the cutoff or cut another. I made mine 2.5″ wide to give a finished band of 1.5″. Sew the short edges together to make a long strip. Press the edges of the long edges over and sew about 4″ up from the hem line, matching side seam lines. I also added patch pockets to one side trimmed with the contrasting fabric. Heck, just do what you want………




Sew up to the zipper mark on both skirts. You will have mirror images with openings opposite each each other – don’t worry this is what it should be.


Put one skirt inside the other with right sides together making sure the openings are together and stitch the hems to one another. Turn the skirt right sides out and join the waistbands together again with pins. Smooth the fabric down and press the hem firmly. You should have a band around the hem on the shorter skirt. For extra security you could sew a row of top stitching around the hem but it may not be necessary.

Now it’s time to deal with the opening. Make a fly of both fabrics the same size as the recommended zipper length – one side each of both fabrics. Flip the skirts wrong side out again, align the fly with the raw edges of the open zipper space on the skirt fronts. Stitch the two skirt fronts together, along with the fly.  On the back edge, stitch the opening closed down to the fly opening.

This fly will allow you to wear the skirt inside out as it flips to the  inside or the outside as required.


Turn the skirts back out the right way again, press well and stay stitch the waistbands together.

Make button holes on the fly. Sew buttons on both sides of the back skirt keeping stitches loose and long.


Cut a strip of one fabric and stitch over the waistband, either slipstitch or stitch-in-the-ditch on the other side, ending the waistband exactly in line with the fly at the front and the back side seam.

Make a button hole in the front waistband and sew buttons on both sides of the back.

When you wear the skirt with fabric A showing the opening will be on the left; when you turn the skirt inside out and wear it with fabric B showing the opening will be on the right.

With any left over fabric, sew the edges of both fabrics wrong sides together and don’t be too precious about this – just stitch it, leaving a 4″ gap for turning. Trim, turn and press and sew the 4″ opening closed. Wear twisted and wrapped and it doesn’t matter what width it is!

So, you have one skirt and a scarf, but actually you have two skirts and a scarf that matches both! A cotton skirt with built in lining – perfect for holidays, pack one to get two and when you spill coffee over one side, just excuse yourself, go to the bathroom, reappearing a moment later in a clean, new skirt.

So I’ve made two new skirts – or should I say four?DSCN4074



Tips for choosing two fabrics include:

1. Keep tones similar, doesn’t matter so much about the actual colour so long as the shades are similar.

2. Choose a large print for one side and a small print for the other.

3. Pick one colour from one fabric and match the other one to this.

4. On the other hand – disparate patterns and colours might just work together too……….. let me know.

If any of this is unclear – just ask me questions in the comments and I’ll try to clear things up. Enjoy!


25 thoughts on “Not White Stuff Skirt

  1. Great tutorial and you look very fresh in both editions.

    I tell you who doesn’t suit A line skirts: children! I made one for my daughter and it wouldn’t stay on the snake hips (lol).

    • Children don’t count! Beside what we we, grown up women, give to have ‘snake hips’?
      So it’s an inequitable playing field and I don’t have rules for that.

      Can you pick a pic for VW or do you want me to send you one?

  2. What a fantastic tutorial! Brilliant. I will refer back to it often I think!

  3. LOL, I love this tute Ruth! What a fun skirt!

    • Jeez Maris, so much easier than a jacket! Thankfully we have a semblance of summer here so I can delve into cotton once in a while. This would be a good idea for your sewing academy…..

  4. Very clever. A great idea for holiday packing and brliantly executed. I think A lines look awful on women with skinny legs- they need a narrower silhouette!

  5. Thank you Ruth for the heads up on a new shopping site! I love some of the fashion and can see a few inspirations for next summer. Love the skirt and thanks for showing how you did it.

  6. This is such a clever concept Ruth. Thanks for sharing the tutorial. I love both sides of your skirt and they coordinate beautifully with your cardigan. The addition of the scarf is so stylish too.

  7. What a great idea! Love your colour/print combination for this one.

  8. What a brilliant idea! Your skirt looks great.

  9. I can’t help but think how perfect these would be for traveling. Less space in the luggage, more options to wear.

  10. So cute and summery, I love the button detail!

  11. Well done. I too love quilting fabrics for clothing. Must give this a go one day – I’ll just add it to the list LOL

  12. Your skirt, scarf and outfit are ten times better than anything in the WS collection. Thank you for the tutorial and for the link to lots of inspiration at White Stuff !

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  14. What a great tutorial and perfect for SWAP 2015, I think this would look great in two shades of linen too. I love the soft greens in your outfit.

  15. As a “white stuff addict” who has returned to sewing after 20 years this is just what I was looking for! Actually own one of these reversible skirts ( bought of course) but will make one of these for next summer. Thanks for fabric tips…one of my big challenges seems to be finding the ” right” ones

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  17. Great tutorial! I love White Stuff and could spend a fortune there. I haven’t sewn for quite a few years but I’m looking at the basic patterns of some of their stuff, especially the skirts, and thinking I could definitely make that. I used to be able to make a pattern by eye so I’ll have a go with some very cheap fabric to begin with. Do you have recommendations for any on-line fabric sites?

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