Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Patchwork Clothes


When you hear that phrase, what do you think of?

Tree huggers and hippies? Charlie Chaplin and the Kid?

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Maybe the 1970s –

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Late ’90s flirt with bohemia –


YSL and Giorgio Sant’Angelo again 1970


6a01156f47abbe970c014e8be876b5970d-800wi1970spatchworkprinttietop1_grandeCertainly colourful, flowing, full skirted and wide bell-bottomed trousers – oh the things we wore!

Everything comes around and this year, patchwork is back! Albeit a little more refined perhaps and with a 2015 price tag.


Gucci patchwork S/S 2015



Gucci silk patchwork joggers














Gucci silk patchwork jacket $7,200

The late, great Koos van der Akker shared many of his design with us via Vogue but I have never been brave enough to try one.
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And catwalk trends this year are harking back to the 1970 vibe – which ultimately means patchwork and colour.

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Now to my quilting class and my idea to sew a patchwork scarf. Scarf made, and a skirt, and a bag!


I believe this is called a French braid and the fabric selection is designed by Minnick & Simpson for Moda and called Lexington: the colours include whites, creams, tans, and blues.. Do you really want to know about strip sizes and patchwork techniques? Nah, we’ll just look at the pictures…….

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I bought an extra 1.5m of the large flower design and made the best skirt in the world – V1247, lengthened, as always. I used up every scrap of my fabric: the skirt has a patchwork inset around the hem. It is lined with a heavy muslin and the patchwork bit is lightly quilted to it.


And with all the bits left over, you sew these together and create another 1/2m of fabric and I got a matching bag – Japanese Knot, downloaded from here.



So far I’ve worn the skirt and scarf with a big tough Ziggi biker jacket and navy boots to make it seem a little less twee and because it is winter and cotton skirts in February are really not such a good idea. So while Lizzy is making winter clothes in summer, I’m making summer clothes in winter.


Now, I know this isn’t actually possible…..but…..I buy little bitty bits of fabric, sew them together and end up with more yardage than I started with!?


See, I knew those quilters had the dark forces on their side and now I have the proof.




40 thoughts on “Patchwork Clothes

  1. Excellent Ruth! I almost emailed you recently when I saw a coat in Bazaar magazine that was patchwork – possibly Prada. Looks like you have it all well in hand 😉

  2. Such an interesting new range of opportunities that open up with the patchwork and quilt idea! I think it’s proof that it’s worth fighting the human inclination to stay in a comfortable rut. And the indigo/shades-of-white colorway is cool.

    I like how Ziggi toughens up the look and makes it grown-up. If it were my outfit, I’d do one more thing: I’d turn the scarf into an obi belt or a belt of some kind. I might miter the ends and extend the binding into rope at both ends; add a buttonhole for passing the rope through on one side; wrap. Or if wraps aren’t wanted, then use it single length and somehow attach leather trim and buckle at the ends.

    Alternatively I might turn the quilted scarf into a decorative band traveling vertically down and around the center of a large black denim tote bag.

    Apparently I see that pretty patchwork as being underutilized as a scarf! Full of “helpful” opinions, this backseat driver is.

  3. Such a darling outfit! You really have taken this piecing scraps of fabric together in a big way! I think skirts with borders are wonderful and can really highlight a great pair of shoes too! The bag with the leftover scraps is super!

  4. funny how those little itty bitty pieces of fabric turn into larger ones. Great outfit, and I love the edge your biker jacket lends to the ensemble!

  5. Oh I love your skirt, scarf and bag….very pretty!!!! I do love patchwork and I sure enjoyed this post…thank you!!!

  6. I agree this is most successful, as is wearing light colours in winter – why ever not? I love the individuality that patchwork brings to a garment, and all the historical pictures are really interesting. Mixing fabrics is such fun and with the new fabrics especially designed for patchwork you can get some great effects. It’s a far cry from making do, recycling old cloth and using up the scraps and left overs.

    • Thought you’d like those 1970s photos Kate. I’m still trying to get my head around the fact that you buy perfectly good fabric and then cut it and sew it back together again – certainly not making do, rather extravagant really. Thanks

  7. Thanks for such a colourful post and a trip down memory lane. Oh those 70s patchwork coats, they weighed a ton. Your take on the patchwork theme looks great too; well constructed (nothing worse than a malfunction in the patchwork department); and good for wearing even in winter. Thanks for your always interesting posts.

  8. Patchwork clothes..not feeling it myself, too much a child of the 70s! Some of the Koos v.d.A. stuff is intriguing, but tend to be so big and voluminous. I did venture into one last year though, [this interesting skirt ] and made it up for my lovely wife in a mix of grey,black and white fabrics], then made one for myself in more vibrant purple oddments from stash. It gets worn way more than I expected!

    • So sorry DF, your links aren’t working, or at least I don’t have permission to view – shame. I’ve seen some of your gorgeous work on Kate’s blog. Patchwork – keep it simple unless you want that ’70s look.

  9. Such fun! I seriously want the tree hugger coat …

  10. Another great job! Alabama Channin, patchwork, I’m excited to see what you will take up next:)

  11. Errr Ruth? I thought doing patchwork was to get way from making clothes, seeing as you have so many already !!
    But still – loving it. Did you make the bag this week?
    How long do you think it would take you to make that coat? Coupla days perhaps!! Looking forward to it already.

  12. You never cease to amaze me Ruth. Love your fabric combinations and that biker jacket certainly eliminates any hint of “twee”.

  13. Wow. Excellent outfits! And you remind me that I must make that Vogue 1247 skirt. I want to stand there with my hands casually and very coolly in the pockets, just like you.

  14. Brilliant! I love your skirt, what a great idea, and there is certainly some witchcraft going on with those quilters!

  15. Ii like your interpretation the best.

  16. Thanks for sharing those beautifull pictures an ideas.i think you made a good work with thé blue fabrics,and the frames match fine.You are able to wear the same in bright colors for spring or summer.I hope you’ll make one piece.
    I like to follow you.
    To next post.

  17. I have envy- you scrapped it up and stopped right when you should have. You got off the train at styletown not the next exit- Craftyville!

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  20. I won’t one of this marvelous velvet patchwork coat it’s possible ?

  21. U give me the Idea to Keep m’y clothes instead of giving those away

  22. Stunning and inspiring xx

  23. where can I buy that patchwork jacket where the lady looks like stevie nicks

  24. How can I get this welvet patchwork coat?
    I want it

  25. I love the long flowing patch work coat at the top of the page. Where can I buy one?

  26. Hi, of u are the lady that made the lovely mystic cloak, there is a fraud site on Facebook using that pic to sell them cheap.

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