TEA PARTY SKIRT aka Tilly’s Picnic Blanket Skirt

Sometimes a simple patternless project is just the ticket.
I’ve made three simple gathered skirts for my girls but decided to make Tilly’s Picnic Blanket Skirt – Tilly’s lovely skirt has a button-up front and I thought that was a cute finish.

Tilly's Picnic Blanket Skirt - my Tea Party Skirt

Tilly’s Picnic Blanket Skirt – my Tea Party Skirt

My previous skirts have been a twist on Gertie’s Gathered Skirt for my little person – the Happy Twirling Whirling Skirt.I love these skirts. They are simple feminine and you can easily play with the length, the fullness and add fun little finishes.

I woke up yesterday and decided to make Tilly’s Picnic Blanket Skirt. After all I figured that I was blogging to met other stitchers online – however part of that is about doing projects and activities in the online community. So I have decided to participate in a few online sew-alongs. I know these will throw my own sewing plans into chaos – but a little chaos is good for the soul. And you never know just who you might meet! My biggest problem with sew-alongs is they are often originating in the Northern hemisphere – and that’s fine. But while everyone ‘up there’ is madly sewing summer dresses and skirts, our winter is descending and the sew-alongs just don’t match my wardrobe needs. Our winters are not particularly fierce but this year it is much wetter and colder than usual so it’s a real challenge.

Teapot fabric
Potty about Teapots, destined for a Picnic Blanket Skirt

I would love the Picnic Blanket skirt in Tilly’s large gingham check but decided to make do and use my ‘teapot’ fabric. When I came home with teapot fabric my family asked if it was going to be a tablecloth or an apron. I was horrified – no way it was too cute. Then the more I looked at it in the sewing room I could not decide what to do with it – pajama pants? Maybe it should be a tablecloth? It was just a bit OTT for a dress (but I was seriously tempted!).

So rather than a ‘Picnic Blanket Skirt’ I decided to make a ‘Tea Party Skirt’. In the spirit of ‘making-do’ when I found I did not have thread to match I decided to use up some pink thread instead so my placket stitching, buttonholes, top stitching and hemming is all in pink thread.My skirt is a little fuller than Tilly’s skirt as I decided to use the whole width of the fabric as it seemed a shame not to. So it’s not quite as mathematically precise as Tilly’s but the effect is the same.

The finished Tea Party Skirt

The Finished Tea Party Skirt – can you tell I’m freezing to death?

The finished Tea Party Skirt - pockets!

The finished Tea Party Skirt – pockets! And my precious Limoges tea cup…

The finished Tea Party Skirt - back view

The finished Tea Party Skirt – back view. It’s ‘cutesy’ but I think I like this skirt!

You can’t tell (thanks to our stellar camera) but I have a pink singlet under the white wrap top, so it was a pink/white/blue tea party.

Things I did differently…

  • The finished Tea Party Skirt - waist buttonsI used the full width of the fabric, taking into account the seam allowances when I cut the skirt fronts.
  • I used a contrasting thread for all the sewing – mainly because the thread cupboard was bare but it ties in with the pink buttons and ribbon.
  • I placed a button directly under the waistband and then spaced the rest of the buttons 3 inches apart as instructed by Tilly.
  • Even though Tilly recommended doing the gathering in sections I ran three rows od gathering stitches all the way along the skirt. I decided to risk this as the fabric was lovely smooth cotton and it slid easily along the thread. I did mark the centre back on the skirt before I started though.
  • I used Simplicity 2444 pocket piece for my pockets.

    Tea Party Skirt - the trimmed hem

    Hem trimming

  • I added a cotton lace trim to the hem. I am not sure if I attached the hem trim in the ‘technically’ correct way but it looks cute!
    I finished the raw edge of the hem. Then I placed the trim right side down on the right side of the fabric with the raw edges matching. Then I stitched it down. Then then pressed the raw edges under, and finished it with top stitching 1/4 inch from the fabric edge to secure the raw edges under the skirt. Does that make sense??
  • I finished the waistband with a pink grosgrain ribbon.

Tilly’s instructions are excellent. She explains how to calculate the measurements to cut the fabric – and importantly she explains why. I think this is great as you can apply some of the calculations to other projects,

She has illustrated the steps with great clear photos and broken the construction process down into simple steps. I sat at the machine with the iPad (and then the iPhone once the girls took away the iPad) and never put a foot wrong.

If you are looking for a simple feminine skirt – Tilly and the Buttons Picnic Blanket Skirt is it.

Ta da! All done in about three hours!

Cup of tea anyone?

16 thoughts on “TEA PARTY SKIRT aka Tilly’s Picnic Blanket Skirt

  1. It’s lovely! And I’m so glad to hear that you found the instructions clear (I always feel paranoid that I’ve made a mistake somewhere). The hem trimming is so cute.

    • Thank you! I think this is going to be the perfect outfit for taking the girls to the park. I love teapots, I suspect this quirky skirt is going to generate lots of comments when I wear it.

  2. I love that fabric. I am doing a Mad Hatter inspired collection for Fall and that fabric would be perfection. I was wondering where I may find some. Thanks.

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