Back when the first Sewing Bee was launched, I declared that I would begin making my own clothes and before long, I would have my own handmade wardrobe. It started well; I eagerly ordered an A-line skirt pattern and dedicated an afternoon to making up a sample. I patiently inserted a zip, and followed the instructions to the letter. My finished skirt was rubbish and quickly discarded to the rubbish pile.
My experience with sewing patterns hasn’t always been great. At this point, I should say that I haven’t tried out every range of patterns; this is just my limited experience. I’m not a fan of the ultra-thin pattern paper, which so easily rips. I’m also not keen of the massive instruction sheets, which are too big to sit alongside you, and never seem to be that simple to understand.
Then came Tilly and the Buttons. A contestant from the first Sewing Bee, I am in love with Tilly's style. I first bought a couple of her patterns last year at The Handmade Fair, Tilly herself assured me that they were simple to follow and she was right! And of all the patterns, the Dominique skirt that was released earlier this year is possibly the simplest of all her patterns, if not all of the sewing patterns in the world. It comes with a detailed step-by-step instructions booklet, and the pattern itself is printed on some nice and thick white paper.
I often have people tell me that they want to sew but they can’t. The Dominique is the perfect starter project for anyone getting into sewing. No fiddly zips, minimal fabric required (for the basic skirt, a metre is enough), and you end up with a garment that is actually wearable.
My first Dominique skirt was in a thin denim remnant that I picked up in the Fabric Godmother sale (this skirt is made for bargain finds!), and I fell in love instantly. It’s comfy to wear, and fits really well. The nature of this skirt means that it is really easy to make a custom-fit garment with minimal effort.
A couple of weeks ago, I stopped by my local fabric shop, Darn it and Stitch and fell in love with this green cotton. As soon as I saw it, I knew that it was destined to be a Dominique. I pictured wearing it with a navy striped top and brogues on a warm summer day.
Construction of the Dominique skirt is really straightforward and can easily be achieved in an afternoon’s sewing. The pattern is four easy pieces (excluding pockets) with no fiddly curves or complex techniques. For a pattern so simple, the finished product looks so impressive!
As with many of Tilly’s patterns, there are a number of simple additions/tweaks you can make, including a longer flared skirt, adding a sash, or some all-important pockets. I opted for the pockets on both of my skirts, as I had enough fabric left over. They also add a bit of interest to an otherwise plain skirt.
My top tips for the Dominique pattern:
- If you are an absolute beginner, you could try making your first skirt in a cheaper fabric. Although the pattern is so simple, that I don’t think this is needed.
- This is the perfect pattern for those ‘I like this fabric, so I’ll just pick up a metre of it’ purchases! I may be making more with my fabric stash.
- As with all handmade clothes, prewash your fabric to avoid any shrinkage.
Next on my sewing list is to attempt the Miette skirt, which I picked up in Tilly’s seconds sale. I can’t wait to get going with it!