Sunday, 22 July 2018

The pom-pom skirt

Being able to make your own clothes is mostly a good thing. Your clothes fit. Things like sleeves and pockets can be added. You know exactly where items were made, and under what circumstances. But for me at least, there is one disadvantage.

On my recent London trip I came across a lovely skirt, with a trim of different coloured tiny pom-poms around the bottom and two rows of ric-rac in matching colours above. Much as I liked it, it seemed very expensive (I'm a terrible cheapskate when it comes to buying clothes!) and it was black, which I don't wear.

Then I remembered that my local fabric shop sells pom-pom trim. So naturally I thought, "I could make one of those". This despite not exactly being short of other things to do at present. (This is the disadvantage; if I see something which I could make, I almost always want to have a go at making it!)

Making one turned out to be easier said than done. Despite the pom-pom trim being available in several colourways, it was impossible to find matching ric-rac. But eventually I came home with pom-poms, satin bias tape, two types of leaf-shaped trim, and a remnant of plain green cotton for the skirt.


I planned to make a ¾ circle skirt, but realised that if I made the pieces a little narrower then I could cut them with the grain running lengthways rather than across. So what I ended up with was more or less a ⅔ circle skirt, with a seam and zip at the back and two more seams at the front.

Of course I wanted pockets, and inspired by this 1950s Bruyère couture summer dress which I saw at the most recent Kerry Taylor auction, I decided to make them curved.

Pocket inspiration 1, image © Kerry Taylor Auctions

I based the pocket shape on Butterick 6055, but altered to make them flat instead of standing out from the skirt.

Pocket inspiration 2 - Butterick 6055

I overlocked the inner and outer curves and pressed the seam allowances under. Then I did two rows of top-stitching around the inner curve.

Pocket ready to be applied to skirt

The pockets were then pinned to the skirt, and sewn into place with a futher two rows of top-stitching. The skirt waistband covers the upper edge.

Completed pocket

The skirt hem was just overlocked, as it was covered by the trim. I machine stitched along the top of the pom-pom tape, and overcast along the bottom. A word of advice to anyone thinking of making something similar - do not sew the pom-pom trim on first. Otherwise sewing the other trims in place will involve 10% sewing and 90% disentangling the thread from the pom-poms. Ask me how I know!

The satin bias was wider than I wanted, so I machine stitched along the centre, then folded it over and hand sewed the bottom edge.

The bias trim machined and pinned in place

The leaf trims were both attached by hand, with each leaf having to be sewn down separately. Suddenly the cost of the bought skirt didn't seem so excessive!

All the trims in place - finally!

The end result is worth all the work though. Initially I paired it with a white shirt and a wide belt, but then I realised that the colours made it perfect to wear with Butterick 6620.

The completed skirt

So now I'm keeping away from ready-to-wear clothing, in case I get any more ideas!


  1. Wow, super cute! I especially like it with the green blouse--perfection!

  2. I love this skirt just right to go dancing in/ballroom I have a pattern for a circular skirt but I think it would turn out very expensive for the trimmings etc and I had to have help getting the hem right I have a hollow back but Im thinking I could trim up the plain green one I have already made Im off to look in the wardrobe

  3. Very nice! And great shoes too. I always read your blog posts but can't always think of anything interesting to say, or the moment goes. However - I am eagerly awaiting news on the dissertation and maybe a future publication? I do hope it's all going well.

    1. Thank you Kate. The hand-in date for the dissertation is early October, so it's starting to feel horribly close. Fortunately I have a couple of friends, fondly known as the Dissertation Police, who are on hand with encouragement/suggestions/nagging as required.