As soon as I laid eyes on this floral needlecord I knew it was destined to become a Tilly and the Buttons Ness skirt. It was super soft, had a nice amount of stretch and would be a fun new fabric for me to sew with. Find out my top tips for sewing with needlecord and why I LOVE the Ness skirt. And I mean LOVE.
The Pattern and Fabric
In my world the Ness skirt ticks all the boxes. A classic denim skirt style it is casual enough to wear every day and is a nice alternative to jeans.
There is a mini option and a midi option - the midi has a small slit at the centre front seam.
Both options have generous front pockets, back pockets and a back yoke.
You can also add belt loops if you wish, although I decided they were unnecessary since I wouldn't be wearing a belt. Plus there was enough going on with the printed fabric that I didn't need any additional design features.
The fabric is an absolute delight: super soft with a sheen.
Needlecord Top Tips
When cutting out it is important to bear in mind the direction of the pile. You will notice the fabric will look different depending on which way up you hold it. There are no rules here it is down to personal preference. Once you've decided just make sure all of your pattern pieces are facing the same way.
I found I got the best results by hand washing and pressing without any steam. Application of a hot, dry iron was enough to achieve nicely pressed seams. I also used a scrap of the fabric, right side up on my ironing board and ham when pressing so that the pile of my garment fabric was supported, not crushed.
You may also need to adjust your presser foot pressure (try saying that quickly!) to avoid flattening the pile when sewing. Alternatively you can try using our best friend the walking foot. You can find our range of walking feet here. Always check the compatibility charts to make sure they are suitable for your machine.
Adjustments and Sizing
The number one reason why I am SO in love with the Ness skirt...drum roll...I didn't need to make any adjustments! This is unheard of for me! I couldn't believe my luck.
I made a toile of a size four initially, which was way too generous. The size three fit straight out of the packet. Can I get a whoop whoop?!
My waist is 29" and my hips are 38". The size three was listed for a 28" waist and 37" hips.
I did think perhaps the requirement to size down might be born out of the nice amount of stretch in the needlecord. However, I had a quick scan of reviews and Instagram posts, many of which agreed the sizes seemed generous on this pattern.
The second reason I love the Ness skirt - lots of fun and clever construction details.
The Fly Front Zip
Sewing a fly front zip is a great technique to add to your sewing repertoire and always feels very satisfying to me.
Tilly and the team have provided a brilliant video on their YouTube channel that takes you step by step through an approach to this technique I've never seen before. The link to the video is included in the lovely, colourful and detailed instruction booklet.
I was rather glad to have spoken to one of our lovely customers who had already made the skirt before sewing the zip. She pointed out that if you followed the video exactly, the zipper teeth between the zip guard and the left hand side of the skirt seemed too close to the edge of the skirt. This meant they would be slightly visible when wearing. Following this tip off I positioned the zip teeth slightly further away from the edge of the skirt and it worked a dream.
The Faux Flat Felled Seams
If you've ever sewn flat felled seams you probably found out the hard way how easy it is to fail to catch all of the fabric when sewing. This can mean you end up with raw edges poking out where they shouldn't.
Tilly offers a simple solution - trim one seam allowance narrower than the other. Finish the edge of the wider seam allowance, press it over the narrower one, then top stitch in place. Lovely and neat inside and out with zero hassle. My kind of sewing.
There were lots of opportunities for lovely top stitching. I chose a matching thread colour to the fabric base colour due to the busy pattern, but I've seen lots of examples of bright contrasting threads on plain fabrics that look great too.
A super pattern and fabric!
Size wise it was lovely to find a pattern that fits straight out of the packet. Bear in mind this won't be the case for everyone since we are all different shapes and sizes.
It was fun and easy, relatively quick and easy to sew thanks to the fantastic instructions.
This needlecord version also looks great with a pale grey top and will see me right through the Spring. It would also look fantastic in one of our lovely denim fabrics too.
- Ness Skirt Sewing Pattern
- Needlecord fabric
- Kona cotton for pocket bags
- Metal trouser zip colour 577 (I had to shorten this one by 1" by removing the excess teeth with some pliers)
- Gutermann top stitching thread colour 701
- Gutermann sew all thread colour number 701
Have fun sewing!
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