Tuesday 20 April 2010

Applying Myself To Appliqué

OK I admit it, I am really penny-pinching when it comes to buying clothes! But although I resent paying high prices to Johnnie Boden and co, I am also equally loathe to purchase things cheaply from Primark etc because I cannot believe the workers were paid a fair price for their labour, and anyway such goods are usually poor quality and do not last.

But Boden catalogues keep arriving in the post, or falling out of other magazines, and I did like these 'fun skirts' as they call them.

fun skirt

fun skirt 2

fun skirt 3


I thought the applique detailing was bright and summery and more interesting than an all over print.

But NO WAY am I going to pay


I have been giving the matter some thought, and came up with an idea...

I had two ankle length summer skirts- both about ten years old [both purchased in sales for less than £5] One a deep loganberry purple, in a heavy polycotton, the other a lilac floral in a lighter fabric.



Taking measurements from another knee length skirt, I cut off the bottom of the dark skirt. Then I made some bias strips from the floral print, using my 1" bias maker. I cut carefully to make sure the strips incorporated lots of the floral print and weren't just plain lilac.

biasbinding1 I found some scraps of plain fabric in The Great Stash and cut out some circles. Whilst I was digging about in the GS, I noticed a gift bag on the shelf, and it inspired me to make a butterfly template. I cut out a butterfly shape from more of the lilac skirt, and also some lilac voile.  [planning/cutting = 1 hour]


Then I had a bit of a play with the machine, finding out which embroidery stitches worked best. I had some lovely glossy green thread for the stems [which I did in a simple satin stitch] I decided on a variety of stitches for the butterfly.



Having prepared my applique with Bondaweb on the back, I ironed the patches onto the skirt, and then embroidered them in place. I machined the binding to the bottom edge, then turned it to the inside. [machining = 2 hours]

Finally I sat and handstitched the binding to the inside and added a few sequins to the patches. Also I carefully sewed in all loose ends. [handstitching = 1 hour - but I was also watching Flash Forward at the same time]

DSCF0010 DSCF0011

Front and back shown above. Here is the butterfly  and hem in detail

DSCF0012 DSCF0003

I still haven't got the hang of photography - the last picture is the only one which gives an accurate representation of the skirt's colour!

Skirt finished in about four hours, using stuff I had already. Result!


  1. Wow, very, very cool indeed. I am going to try some on the boys tees

  2. Brilliant! Like you , I would not pay those prices.

  3. The skirt looks brilliant. Sounds like you had fun making it too.

  4. And I like yours more than the boden ones :)

  5. Ooh they look lovely Ang, well done!

  6. Thanks everyone- planning on wearing skirt tomorrow if sun still shining!
    Applique is easy if you have Bondaweb to help anchor the patches to the base fabric!

  7. You are very clever and creative! I'm full of admiration - and no, I wouldn't pay £69 either!!

  8. I love the skirts! I've been thinking about learning to applique lately (for quilts), but skirt applique also looks fun!


  9. You did a great job!

    I never buy anything new at the store. I can't/won't pay the price that retailers want for quality things and I can't seem to bring myself to buy things when I know the workers were not treated fairly, either. Thankfully, we have a really good Goodwill here and I buy second hand garments for $1 each. Generally, I am one to two years behind on the fashion, though.

  10. Wow absolutely fabulous!!!!! I have to say I have been toying with the idea of making my clothes once again as like yourself all I can find are cheap & "nasty" or over the top prices thanks for the inspiration!!!! Marie x

  11. Fantastic! I tried something like this last year on a Primark skirt, but your results are much more creative than mine! Cx

  12. Admire your creativity and sticking to your guns about not spending that kind of money for clothes! Good 4 u !


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