My Minerva outfit reveal: floral crop top and pencil skirt

So it’s taken me FOREVER to write this post, and you’ve probably already heard about the Minerva meetup on a million blogs.

You know about the Raiders Of the Lost Ark style craft warehouse, the amazing dinner at Blackburn Rovers FC, and the red carpet line-up, as well as the realisation that the £3 taxi ride exists when you leave London.

So this post is just about my outfit. Thanks to Katie for taking some of the photos (you’ll be able to spot them, they’re the good ones).

The outfit

I knew I wanted to make something different, and in the end I came up with the idea of a pencil skirt and crop top:


Originally I was going to sew some kind of crazy one-shouldered 60s pencil dress, but when the fabric arrived (this beautiful John Kaldor stretch cotton) I knew I had to do something simpler. The print is huge! And I didn’t really fancy a shift dress. So co-ordinates it was.

The pencil skirt

It’s a By Hand London Charlotte skirt, which is really straightforward to sew. I made these changes to the pattern:

  • Cut a size 12 but added length to the waistband, which I interfaced.
  • Lengthened the darts 1.5cm each at the front, as I was getting a strange fold of extra fabric there.
  • Interfaced the edges of the invisible zip.
  • Added a back vent using this tutorial.
  • Lined it with this stretch mesh.

Stretch cotton is absolutely perfect for this pattern, I’ll be looking for some more to make another one. Although you need to add a vent – not sure how you could walk in it without one!

Minerva outfit 2The crop top

It’s a Burda pattern – 05/2012 #131.

I cut out a size 34 and had to make some serious changes as it was huge. I took the sides in a lot, cut about 4 inches off the bottom, added back darts and neck darts, and swapped out the button band for a zip.

Here’s how it looks on the back:

Minerva outfit backI did make an effort to match the pattern on the back pieces, but I didn’t bother with the sides. You’ve got to pick your battles.

Everything else

Cutting out was an enormous pain. I did it all on a single layer as the print is so huge. I didn’t really want to end up with a massive flower over an anatomical feature.

My inspiration was this outfit from Jonathan Saunders which is slightly more classy:

Jonathan SaundersIt’s pretty tricky to know exactly how much midriff to expose, but I was limited due to zip size.

The separating plastic zipper is from Jaycotts, and I had to choose between the 14 and 16 inch variations without knowing exactly how long the top would be. In the end I went with the 14 inch, which worked as the skirt was so high waisted.

crop top zip close-upZIP ENHANCE

Will I wear it again?

The acid test. As a whole, I reckon the outfit works, and I might get it out for a wedding this summer. It turned out slightly more cartoonish than I intended, but I think I rocked it anyway.

It seems highly unlikely that I’ll wear the crop top with another skirt – the Charlotte is the most high-waisted skirt I own.

I did try the top on with another skirt, but it was all a bit 90s looking. I distinctly remember wearing a tie-dye crop top to a school disco in about 1996, so I think I’ll leave that style the second time round.

The skirt is a different issue. I’ve already re-worn it loads! It looks really good with a denim shirt, if I say so myself:

pencil skirt and denim shirt

Thank you Minerva!

Huge thanks to Vicki and everyone at Minerva for organising such an amazing day. I’ve been a terrible network member lately, massively behind with projects and blog posts, but I really enjoy being part of it all, and I sincerely hope I’ve managed to shift some fabric for them. They deserve it!

Also a big thank you goes out to all the ladies of the online sewing community, for being awesome.  I’d be living a much sadder life if I’d never met all these amazing women. Although I’d probably have spent less money on fabric.

Picture 3
Spoolettes forever

32 thoughts on “My Minerva outfit reveal: floral crop top and pencil skirt

  1. Miss J September 2, 2014 / 7:15 PM

    I’m a bit late on this, but love, love, love!
    Wish more women dressed like this, suits your shape and is so well made.
    The photos with you all together is fab.

  2. Rosie Martin July 28, 2014 / 9:11 AM

    THIS OUTFIT IS INCREDIBLE. You look amazing! I love a bit of matchy matchy. I actually think your outfit is better than the Jonathan Saunders inspiration : ) Super sewing xx

  3. gingermakes July 23, 2014 / 1:56 AM

    Ahhhhh, this looks so great on you! Lovely!

  4. Jenny Clark July 21, 2014 / 9:10 AM

    Oooh Kathryn, I’ve been meaning to say to you, ever since I saw the first pics of you in this outfit, how much I love it. You really rock it! I love how the two pieces look together, and I totally agree the skirt looks great with that shirt.

  5. Nancy July 19, 2014 / 4:15 PM

    You need a new mirror. This outfit is really good, not cartoonish at all. Pull up your confidence, wear it again and enjoy all the compliments you will get.

  6. Tine July 18, 2014 / 2:32 PM

    Love this outfit. You totally rock it!

  7. Kathryn July 17, 2014 / 6:28 AM

    This is such a lovely outfit! The length of the top looks perfect, maybe if you made another Charlotte in a plain colour you’d get more chances to wear it? I just love the denim shirt paired with the skirt!

  8. velosewer July 16, 2014 / 11:48 PM

    You did an amazing job with this floral. It’s so lovely and every flower was strategically ‘spot on’. Great style too.

  9. nicoleneedles July 16, 2014 / 6:40 PM

    It was a great day, wasn’t it?! You’re outfits a brilliant interpretation of the original, and I prefer the sleeves on your top. Love the skirt with the denim shirt!

  10. Caroline Joynson July 16, 2014 / 6:02 PM

    Super outfit. I love the matching ensemble and the great thing is you can use them as seperates too – inspired! The print is so flattering on you too. Nice one ; )

  11. Jenna July 16, 2014 / 5:57 PM

    I love this outfit, you totally rocked it!! The fabric works really well with the skirt and top, and the skirt does look great with that denim shirt too.

    • yesilikethat July 16, 2014 / 6:44 PM

      Thank you Jenna – love that denim shirt so much, sadly it’s from Gap rather than being homemade…

  12. Dani Malloy July 16, 2014 / 3:22 PM

    That is one classy outfit. I think you nailed the crop top length!

    • yesilikethat July 16, 2014 / 6:44 PM

      Thanks! It’s so hard to judge. I think the best way is to make the skirt first, otherwise it’s really hard to work out the correct length of the top.

  13. helen July 16, 2014 / 11:53 AM

    love the pattern match up the back of the skir! I don’t have the confidence to wear a crop top but the outfit looks great on you.

    • yesilikethat July 16, 2014 / 6:43 PM

      Thanks! I wasn’t sure if I’d like wearing it but it was actually really fun. Built in air-conditioning.

  14. fabrictragic July 16, 2014 / 10:48 AM

    Such a great outfit, and I agree with the others, yours is better than the inspiration outfit. Maybe a plain black charlotte would work with the top as a less ‘suity’ option….

    • yesilikethat July 16, 2014 / 6:43 PM

      That’s a good idea, a black pencil skirt is definitely a wardrobe staple.

  15. Bellbird July 16, 2014 / 10:35 AM

    Great twinset! Judging by your photos, you definitely rocked it. You’re right, the skirt looks amazing with the denim shirt. Those loafers aren’t half bad either!

    • yesilikethat July 16, 2014 / 6:43 PM

      Thanks! 28 quid from Topshop. They’re getting a bit battered though as I’ve been wearing them every day.

  16. sewlittletime July 16, 2014 / 10:05 AM

    i love this outfit – it’s very cool. i wondered if it was the Martini when i saw the pics. it looks fab and not cartoonish at all!

    • yesilikethat July 16, 2014 / 6:42 PM

      I love the Martini – would love to sew that one next.

  17. Chris July 16, 2014 / 9:32 AM

    You look stunning in this ensemble! I absolutely love this crop top with pencil skirt trend, though I will be admiring it from afar as I don’t like the way my midriff looks in this. But yours is absolutely great!

    • yesilikethat July 16, 2014 / 6:42 PM

      Aw thanks Chris. The good thing about this style of crop top is that it only reveals your lower ribcage, so it’s more flattering than you’d think.

  18. sewamysew July 16, 2014 / 4:14 AM

    Such a good reproduction of your inspiration image, and the skirt with the denim shirt is all kinds of awesome. Love Love Love this make, so different for you but you look amazing in it.

    • yesilikethat July 16, 2014 / 6:42 PM

      Thanks Amy! It is pretty different. Nice to make something crazy every now and then.

  19. Summerflies July 15, 2014 / 11:44 PM

    I have to disagree… I think your outfit is much more classy than the inspiration one and not cartoony at all. I think it can be dressed up or down and I think the crop top would look great with some skinny jeans. It is beautiful and a lovely summer outfit… wear it lots as it looks great.

    • yesilikethat July 16, 2014 / 6:42 PM

      Thank you! I might try the top with some jeans. Not sure if I’m a bit too past it to pull that off though, ha ha.

  20. thesecretlifeofseams July 15, 2014 / 11:00 PM

    I love the crop top and skirt, fashionable but classic shape as well! And the skirt looks really useful as a separate too.
    Are those Topshop blue suede shoes btw? Shoes of the summer!

    • yesilikethat July 16, 2014 / 6:41 PM

      Dude I admit it – I copied your shoes! Unfortunately they look much better on your small feet, they sort of resemble canoes in a size 8. Love them anyway though.

  21. Carolyn July 15, 2014 / 10:54 PM

    Wow, I love this outfit! I agree that the trick is figuring out *where* to wear it, but I’m glad that it made its debut at such a fun sewing-themed event. 🙂 Tall women can definitely pull of this look – you rocked it!

    • yesilikethat July 16, 2014 / 6:41 PM

      Thanks! I think I will wear it again for a wedding this weekend and see what non-sewers think 🙂

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