The 70s Clemence Skirt

I came across this fabric whilst browsing in a local charity shop. It’s a bit graphic and a bit 70s in a browny-rusty-orangey kind of way. It’s not my usual type of print, but I thought it might just be useful for something. And at the princely sum of just one British pound, I couldn’t leave it there for that! Had I known the grief it would cause me, I wouldn’t have paid one British penny for it…. Boy, did it make me curse and fume!

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I’ve been slowly working my way through Tilly’s ‘Love At First Stitch’ (starting with the Brigitte scarf, here, and then a couple of versions of the Delphine skirt, here and here), and this week it was the turn of the Clemence Skirt. My very expensive 70s fabric might prove a very wearable muslin (my very first attempt at one), or so I foolishly thought. The first new skill this skirt demanded was making a simple pattern. This was, as Tilly promised, really straight forward. Being rubbish at maths, Tilly’s worked sums really helped me work out my dimensions (did anyone else find this, even though it’s probably pretty basic?) The only paper in our house large enough to accommodate the pattern was a roll of last Christmas’ wrapping paper, that somehow escaped being put back in the garage in January. It worked reasonably enough, but it’s probably not that durable…

My bargain fabric was some kind of nylon-y horror, lacking, according to my husband, any kind of stretch whatsoever. Thus, even pinning my pattern pieces to the fabric proved problematic. I resorted to forcibly stabbing my pins into it. Possibly this should have been a hint to stop right there…

My machine hated, veritably loathed this fabric from the outset. The needle did not want to go through it. I changed to a new, slightly sharper needle, which helped a little, but not that much! I ended up having to sew each section of my French seams (a skill I’d only previously used on napkins) several times as there were big gaps that the needle just didn’t catch. Sewing the three rows of contrast colour that were to form the gathering, almost caused me to throw the blasted thing across the room. Time for an overnight break, and a whole lot of unpicking…

Turning up the speed the next day somehow seemed to help a little more, I guess it gave my poor machine more of a run at it? Another new skill involved in the making of this skirt was ‘stitching in the ditch’ which again, I had to do several times to stitch up the gaps, grrr…. I didn’t bother with any pattern matching as I figured the gathers would be kind in disguising any blips, although I did attempt to select an appropriate run of the pattern for the waistband, which kind of worked. Here’s a close up the 70s print in all its garishness…


Overall making this skirt up was a royal pain in the backside, but only because of the fabric I used. The pattern itself is great, and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on some nice, ‘normal’ fabric to run one up in. Tilly’s instructions were clear at all stages, and the detailed ‘technique’ sections were especially helpful. Much though I hated the process of making this, it is actually very wearable. As with the Delphine, the wide waistband is really flattering. I’m only hoping, that despite all the pain it caused me, it will prove to be the most useful item in my wardrobe, here’s hoping…


23 thoughts on “The 70s Clemence Skirt

  1. Oh dear, I feel your pain! Kudos to you for seeing it through and not giving up halfway. Amazing luck to find an original vintage print like this though, and it looks great made up into a pretty little skirt.

  2. This fabric sounds like it was a nightmare to work with, but it looks great! I love the pattern and the colours are perfect for autumn.

  3. Despite the fabric being a bugger to work with, you’ve ended up with a gorgeous skirt! I love the print, it’s like something you’d see in Orla Kiely for about £200! x

  4. You and your skirts! It’s a shame you had a struggle (understatement?) with the fabric because the end result suits you, it looks great! You should definitely wear it, especially because you stuck with it through the hard times!

  5. Well done for persevering with it- it looks great despite the stress it caused! It definitely looks like a good pattern to try out and love the colour of the fabric.

    • Thank you! Yes, the pattern itself was great and would be pretty flattering for most figures I should think, adjusting the fullness accordingly. Looking forward to attempting it with some decent fabric 🙂

  6. Love that skirt! Curious, did you get my email about the blog hop? If not, my email is madebyjaime at gmail dot com. I would love to include you if you are interested! Let me know! 🙂

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