What animal is THAT?


I had originally intended to post this skirt and top as my January New Year Resewlutions but…well, that’s about how well I manage to stick to resolutions! So when Flora and Fauna was announced as a theme for this month, I thought that this could do double duty…because, really, what animal is that skirt??!

The fabric for the skirt is a mohair, wool and synthetic blend that I saw a few years ago at a fabric store in Graz, Austria. It was only a small shop but it had a covetous selection of fabulous fabrics – all rather beyond my price point (I couldn’t justify the double-backed cashmere in blue and grey, sigh!) – but this fabric was in the window and I couldn’t resist. I bought just enough (80cm) to make a skirt, brought it home, and then spent a couple of years not wanting to cut into it.

Which brings me to my Resewlution for 2018 – which was to sew with a goal in mind, aiming to use the fabrics I already have, filling gaps in my wardrobe. Now, clearly my wardrobe did NOT have a hot pink furry mohair skirt! To be fair to myself, I love wearing fun, bright clothes to work (it cheers both me and the patients up), and the work skirts I have were starting to look a bit tired. But the second make of this month WAS practical – a top to match the skirt. I have many me-made work skirts, but very few me-made work tops – despite the countless simple, plain patterns for woven tops out there, I had never warmed to any of them. I have wanted to find a top pattern to make as my TNT time and again – and I think I stumbled on it by accident!




A hot pink top for work! It matches the skirt but will also be handy with a black skirt or trousers.

And, as luck would have it, both the skirt and the top came from the same pattern – Simplicity K1202 – which was a free pattern from Sew Magazine, I’m not sure when. I really liked the tulip shape of the skirt – close fitting at the waist, with a nice puff of fabric below the hips – it suited the stiffness of the mohair so well!

The top in this pattern is a basic raglan t-shirt style with a button closure at the back – simple, but I liked the shape of the sleeves and the smaller pattern pieces meant that I could reduce the amount of fabric needed.


The fabric for the top was another find at the bottom of my stash – who knows how long it had been there for? It was a silk crepe with elastane – interestingly, a woven, not knit, fabric, with quite a lot of stretch, and very sheer! I doubled up the fabric at the front for modesty, but left a single layer of fabric for the sleeves and back – it isn’t as sheer as I thought but I’m glad I have two layers for the front part! I haven’t worn it with this skirt as yet (it is -4 outside today!) but the colours match perfectly.

Sewing the pattern was very easy and the pattern instructions were short but straightforward. I made a few changes – I used a silk habotai lining for the skirt (and drafted my own lining pattern without the pleats) and used a Hong Kong seam finish for the skirt edges – probably not strictly necessary given the skirt was lined, but it did make it look neat and I like to know that it’s there even if no-one else ever does! I also used horsehair braid for the hem – using this tutorial (Megan Nielsen How to Sew a Horsehair Braid Hem) – wow, what a revelation that stuff is! It is so easy to use and it seriously reduced the bulk in the hem.


On the inside – just for you guys – horsehair braid hem and Hong Kong seam finishes!

For the top, I used French seams throughout (because of the construction, even using a French seam for the sleeves is easy) so that it looks as lovely on the inside as on the outside. I really struggled to find a matching thread for this silk – the hot pink has tones of blue in it as well – so in the end I used a silver thread as a contrast. I ended up handsewing the hem using backstitch to really accentuate the contrast – it was just impossible to sew this fabric with a rolled hem on the machine! I used a pearl button for the back.


I think this is furry animal is friendly!

I’m really pleased with these two makes – first of all the skirt got lots of happy compliments from people at work – everyone wanted to stroke it! Although that could have been a bit weird, I think the hilarious nature of this fabric meant that we could all have a laugh about it. I love the bright colours and I’m really pleased to have found a top pattern that fits well and that uses a minimum amount of fabric. I can see many of these tops appearing in my work wardrobe in the months ahead. I enjoyed the challenge of sewing with difficult fabrics (the mohair was really thick and bulky, and the silk was entirely the opposite!) and I love that I have two new work pieces that will get lots of wear.

I’m following along with the Seamwork Design Your Wardrobe program this month – are you? It has been a very refreshing exercise in deciding on a collection of items to sew to fill a particular need in your wardrobe – making you think like a designer! It’s great – do sign up for the next round if you didn’t manage it this time.

So, monthly stitchers, happy new year (albeit two months late) and I hope you don’t mind me slotting this make into the flora and fauna challenge as well!

x veuvestitches

PS are you on Instagram? I’m @veuve_makes if you want to find me!




6 thoughts on “What animal is THAT?

  1. I’ve been following the Seamwork’s program too! Love the whole process. What I really love here is your skirt! I’m not typically a skirt person but when summer rolls around I’m reaching for them and the couple I own gets loads of wear! This mohair fabric is truly a work of art and I think you’ve set it off so nicely with this style of skirt. Good for you for putting all that loving care into its construction because I’m sure it’s a garment you’ll be wearing for many years. Nice top too! It can be challenging to find just that perfect top and before you begin making some silk tops you need just the right pattern. I feel like that’s what I’ve been doing for a couple of years – finding just the right pattern for a number of items that I tend to wear all the time. Thank you for that tutorial of Megan’s on horsehair braid hemming. I always skipped over the whole idea because I never make circle skirts but reading her tutorial I can see a multitude of uses on various hems for this notion.

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    • Thank you so much! I do have lots of silk that I’ve been carefully hoarding until I find the right top and I think I’ve found it!
      The horsehair braid is a revelation and I think I’ll be using it on all my skirts from now on!


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