Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

2 Piece Leftover Skirt


With little bits of leftover fabric I’ve made knickers, wrapped scraps around cheap bangles for matching accessories, made flowery brooches, sewn up scarves in all shapes and lengths, made belts and if I have enough (0.5 – 0.75m) then a sleeveless T-shirt / vest.



I hate to hoard cut offs and love to use them instead, so when I finished the latest Merchant and Mills outfit I had absolutely tonnes of fabric left over (well, relatively speaking, of course).

Because the Curlew dress is bias cut I had all the corners of the denim coloured wool/linen/cotton but only a little bit of the super soft Haremere coat alpaca – still, it’s too good not to use. But what to do?

One day quite recently I sat in Carnaby Street and watched the world go by.

What struck me was the confidence, individualist and independent dressing styles of the people passing by. Admittedly, some of the ‘styles’ would not suit everyone but on my return to provincial Belfast I noticed how ‘same’ we all dress: nothing shocking or unique; nothing that stands out. There’s not a Wow! factor. I also recently wrote about wearing a dress that I seldom wear because it’s ever so slightly ‘out there’ but have now decided I shall hereafter actually wear what I sew  – The Over 40 (50!) and not dead yet approach. So the other day I dug out a dress made a couple of years ago, hardly ever worn and put it on. It’s not an unusual or weird garment, just a dress and therefore, dressy and sometimes, I need a little bit of extra confidence to wear such an item.

V2401DSC00359Vintage Vogue 2401. The interesting thing is the skirt – a swishy back and sides that wrap over the front panel. Ah-ha! A front panel and separate skirt…….

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?  Maybe not, so here’s what I did…….

With total disregard for grain lines, nap and weave I patched the bits and pieces together of the cotton/linen until I had big enough bits to (almost) fit the dress skirt pattern – back and sides. The seams were overlocked to stop fraying. The alpaca scrap was squared off and extra panels in cotton/linen added at the edges.




Folded pleat in pattern piece to fit the fabric

I removed 3″ from the top of the skirt when cutting out and the length was dependent on the amount of fabric I had.

Sew the back to the sides and finish the front edges: make some shaping darts in the flat front panel: wrap the back over the panel and tack in place.

When I made son’s Letterless Letterman jacket I bought way too much 1X1 cotton rib so this became the waistband.


Sew the 1X1 rib to the top of the skirt and overlock for neatness and extra security. Now there are three different fabrics.


And the final product is a very wearable skirt that fits right in my navy A/W ’15 wardrobe plans.


The sides are longer than the front but that doesn’t bother me in the slightest – only adds to the wrap-around look.


I have to step into the skirt instead of pulling over my head because of the restriction of the woven fabrics at hip length but hey! it’s my skirt, I made and I know its flaws and weaknesses and I know how to put it on.


There’s the wrap or rather the overlap of side to front. In real life I’ll be wearing navy opaques.

The off-grain, not quite bias gussets at the sides. As with all half-circle, full circle or bias cut skirts, let it hang overnight before hemming to let gravity do her job and let the bias drop to get an even hem.


And with the matching coat….

DSCN5740The scarf is made, of course, from leftovers from a recently made blouse which is nearly finished – just have a few more buttons to sew on. Soon…….


The rib waistband can be worn high or folded down, depending on how fat I feel on any given day.


Don’t throw those scraps away


42 thoughts on “2 Piece Leftover Skirt

  1. Very good and bonus points for an unusual result. How annoying those leftovers we insist on keeping can be. I found out that in ‘the olden days’, tailors were entitled to keep the scraps and they (the scraps) were referred to as cabbage. Some tailors used them for collage but that’s just more clutter. A dramatic skirt is much better.

  2. I love your skirt, and love your creativity. I’ve just finished a spell of working with patterns, obediently following the rules, and am now dying to do some of just what you described in this post. Let the creativity out, throw away the colouring book and colour outside the lines 🙂 And, er, those panties are something else!

  3. What a darling and kooky skirt and such a good use for leftover M&M triangles. Funny how some cities almost have a uniform of bland clothes that we get used to until we visit somewhere else for inspiration. We all need to get out more, obviously. Great job, Ruth!

  4. Divine design 🙂

  5. I love it. I give all my scraps to a tame art teacher but maybe I should be ‘re thinking that.

  6. Love love it Ruth! I know what you are thinking about the sheer sameness – try Nuw Zild (thats our accent!!) black predominates and in rural towns if you wear a dress or something colourful they all want to know, whats the occasion? where are you going? or whats the job interview for? It takes a brave women to wear something different!

    • That’s exactly what I get asked too…..all I see here are skinny jeans mostly worn by women who should not be wearing skinny jeans and tracksuits worn by people who don’t do any training. Thanks Jacqui

  7. Such a stylish skirt and to think it’s sewn from scraps. You have a real knack for design Ruth and your are really developing your own signature style. Loving the scarf too, it gives the whole outfit a lift and brings everything together. Love your work!

  8. Fabulous! PS I adore your boots.

  9. Brava for your creative use of scraps!!! I love the result!

  10. I like this – A LOT. Great look and excellent way to use up those gorgeous fabrics.
    A couple of years ago I had leftover denim in different shades from some failed project. I sewed them together randomly until I had a length of fabric that I was able to use to make a casual sheath dress. I wear it often in the summer and always get compliments. It makes me smile.
    You are inspiring me to try something else with some wool. Thanks!

    • Hi Bernice, I’ve done a bit of patching with denim too (old jeans). It always makes you feel better doesn’t it when you can make something out of nothing? Thank you.

  11. Oh what a great skirt- you rock in it and love those boots.

  12. Absolute genius ………..looks great on you Ruth.

  13. Great skirt – and looks wonderful on you. I like patchworked things as well, keep thinking I’ll do a Koos something with scraps. Your make is inspiring!

  14. Brilliant and a very cool skirt as well.

  15. I love this! A lovely outfit with gorgeous fabrics. I hate throwing scraps away, especially if I love the fabric. I might end up with a quit of many scraps someday though. I am not sure I could come up with something so lovely!

  16. Absolutely love it. Was the vogue pattern for a dress? Or top and skirt? This looks like the kinda skirt shape I was looking for a while back but never found.
    Hard to know what to put on at this time of year . Pumps in the middle of the day and boots at night with the same outfit. Next month it will be boots day and night which gets round the issue.

  17. I really like this look. Looking at your design got me thinking about about a layering overskirt to wear over my ponte pencil skirts for a more relaxed look. One good idea sparks another Ruth.

  18. WOW, I love it! I can relate to your feelings about wanting to wear things a bit more adventurous, as I am feeling the same way. Thanks for inspiring!!

  19. Fabulous! You are a creative genius….you’ll certainly not find this skirt in any store. Love what you can do with all your “scraps”.

  20. I love it. It’s a great skirt and i imagine it’ll get loads of use. Great way of engaging your creativity and using up remnants

  21. Bravo Ruth. This is a great skirt. I love the uneven hem, and the tone on tone of the different fabrics. It is brilliant, and it really suits you – classic with a twist. (still looks like forest green to me!). I am designing a draped skirt at the moment and this is completely inspirational. Well done.

  22. What wonderful creativity! Love that coat, too! Great ensemble! I’m one of those stuck in a rut people. Every once in awhile just a little jump out of it. Love your inspiration! 🙂

  23. totally love this. Classic, the fabric, and very creative, the design. But a question … Does the fact that it is not on grain make a difference? I am obsessive about grain and would love a reason not to be quite so contained by it.

  24. wow. I found your blog doing a search for the Merchant and Mills Workbook and love it. I find it very hard to get rid of scraps – the influence of parents and the sewing aunt who were all adults during WWII and thus hoarders….. this was inspirational. Thank you.

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