SWAP #1 Copying a Jigsaw skirt

Let’s get started.

I have decided to start with my grey fabric collection. I have had most of these pieces for a while, especially the heavy silks. I have always resisted a grey or beige collection, alhtough I find these wearable colours. The SWAP this year will be a spur for me. In my mind I have a grey boiled wool skirt, a Chanel jacket, and either a top or an evening skirt from the grey silk.

SWAP 2018
Beautiful grey fabrics

First up is a pencil skirt. Most days I wear trousers or a plain skirt for work, with a shirt and jacket, and (in this cold weather) a jersey or cardigan. So a plain skirt in a neutral colour is a good basic for me.

There is a skirt I like the look of from Jigsaw. It is made from boiled wool and has some nice features. Because this fabric does not unravel you can use unfinished seams. I liked the effect of this on the CF seam and back darts. Also the front darts are transferred to the side seam and arranged to point downwards towards the tip of the pelvic bone which I found rather attractive. I even like the colour. The only thing that put me off was the price tag – almost £100, although it is now in the sale.


I decided to make it up in a piece of boiled wool I got for £4 a metre from Simply Fabrics in Brixton (there was only 80cms left on the roll). It is fairly heavy weight, perhaps a bit too heavy for a skirt really. In fact I have a Zara coat in exactly this light grey fabric and I thought they might look good together. And I love wearing light grey.


I prepared a pattern.

As I don’t store too many patterns and my size changes over time I started with Winifred Aldrich, drafted her basic tailored skirt and then moved the darts from the traditional position to the side seams at the front.


In order to give a bit of pizzazz to a plain skirt Jigsaw have used external darts and an overlapped raw edge CF seam. This was new to me and the boiled wool was ideal as it doesn’t fray at all. I stitched the front darts on the outside so I could clearly see what I was doing and to make sure that the join was good. I trimmed them back on the underside as they are rather thick. I used iron-on interfacing on the CB seam before inserting a white invisible zip.

The Jigsaw skirt has a seam at the waist line. I found this a bit crude so instead I attached a piece of curved Petersham, turned it in and stitched it down inside.  This worked perfectly.

The hem on the other hand was not satisfactory. It was very bulky, especially at the CB split as the fabric is turned over and this creates four layers. I also thought the skirt may be a bit long. Although I wanted to keep my knees warm in this cold weather it makes the skirt look a bit dowdy, especially with the flat shoes. I think I will alter it to make it shorter and do something about flattening the hem.

Copying a Jigsaw skirt
Jigsaw copy (first attempt)

My jersey

The jumper is made with the Elizabeth Zimmermann raglan sleeve pattern. If you made the colourful yoke pattern of knitting three cylinders you can do this too. The body and two sleeves are put onto one circular needle and two stitches are decreased at the sleeve and front section every other row. This creates the “raglan” seam.

I am very pleased with it because it is comfortable and it goes with just about everything in my wardrobe. It is made in Colourmart merino yarns. Nick and I went to an interesting event arranged by students at Central St Martins last week at the Tate Modern. The students show how digital technology and the loss of traditional studios in the capital forces artists to consider where and how they make their art. The use of coffee shops, the kitchen, the pub or a park bench can be more public places where the act of creation can be shared. In my day job I am pleased and proud to include artists spaces in some of our new developments. I certainly enjoyed talking to the young artists who also allowed members of the public to join in and consider their role in society at a temporary project staged at the Bankside gallery’s Tate Exchange arm. It certainly revealed the many ways we can make our lives more beautiful.


21 Responses

  1. The Demented Fairy

    The darts are fab, agree with you about the length though. Would lighter weight fabric used as a facing fix the bulk issue at the hem? Or you could be very brave, and have unfinished hem edges to go with the CF seam. Or fringe it a little?

    • fabrickated

      Ha! Yep. I am going to try for the unfinished hem. I will just do a line of stitches, just in case. In fact I will do it at the current length, then if that doesn’t look good I will cut it shorter. Just best to go with longer first as it is irreversible… thanks for your patience yesterday!

  2. Kim

    I love your sweater (jersey) but agree that the skirt is too long. I think it would be more flattering, if less warm, shorter. Might bashing with a clapper help with the bulk?

  3. indigotiger

    I was going to suggest using a thin facing for the hemline, but see that you are instead planning on using an unfinished edge, which seems even more suitable, based on the other parts of the skirt where you have also used raw edges… (I never think first of all of leaving edges raw, or of putting zippers where they will be on the outside, since when I learned to sew, that sort of thing would have been anathema. But times and styles change, and greater variety allows for new solutions!) I hope that your re-do of the hemline will give you the desired results. It does look very cozy, and if you end up shortening it for a balance you like better, perhaps you could wear it with tall boots for extra warmth?

  4. Ruth

    Possibly (and only a suggestion) angle the skirt hem for an asymmetrical finish. That way when you hem up your seam allowances will lie at an angle to each other, not on top of one another.

    On the other hand if the wool doesn’t fray just cut it and leave it. No point in making life difficult.
    You know I love my greys, so I’ll love your SWAP.

  5. SewRuthie

    I was going to to suggest an unfinished edge with a single line of straight stitching ( stops it bagging out at the hemline) as I’ve seen this on RTW boiled wool jackets.

  6. Sewingelle

    I left the hem on my boiled wool skirt completely raw and it’s held up really well. It does tend to stretch a little and get a little bit fluted after a couple of wears but after a gentle wash, all is well. A line of straight stitching is a good idea.
    Love the idea of a soft grey SWAP and love your fabrics.

  7. ceci

    I too wondered about an unfinished stay stitched edge to go along with the seaming etc. I’ve had good luck with faced hems too, especially in shirts and jackets – is the light silk too tender to use that way?

    Lovely collection of grey fabrics!


  8. Chris

    Using lots of neutrals will work well with your lovely knits. I’m in agreement on a raw edge hem. Maybe using a length of thin ribbon on the inside to stop it from stretching out.

  9. Elle

    Beautiful skirt. The raw center seam and angled darts really makes a difference. I’m a fan of facing the hem with a lighter fabric as well. I think that striding and sitting may tax a raw hem in the boiled wool. Love the texture and color.

  10. Annieloveslinen

    Clever style lines on your skirt, funnily enough I was looking at a pattern yesterday that is pretty similar. Oska use boiled wool a lot and overlapped seams and stitched raw hems are common in jackets. I reckon it’s worth taking a chance on the raw look rather than having a clunky hem, on the whole I would opt shorter but before you do try pegging the hem, that might be the answer for that length.

    Love your colourful sweater.

  11. Joan

    Good to see you are working with Bow Arts. They are local to us (we live in Stratford) and a couple of years back my daughter (now 16) had a good time doing work experience with them. Along with a schoolfriend she spent one afternoon a week for some months measuring each of the studios at Bow, interviewing the artists and coming up with plans for how the spaces might be reconfigured to suit those using them. I often walk past the Notting Hill Chobham Farm/New Garden Quarter development as it is on the 15 minute walk from my house to John Lewis in Westfield. It is good to see so much development around here since goodness knows we need the housing.

Leave a Reply