Three and a half Ilsley Skirts

I’ve been sitting on these photos for months, but seeing the lovely Marilla recently made me realise it was time to share them with the world. This post is a tribute to her Ilsley Skirt, one of my favourite patterns ever.

It’s incredibly versatile. Not to mention, completely free. Can’t say fairer than that. I’ve made three (and a half) versions so far. Read on for the full thrilling details.

Skirt no 1: Made from some cheap viscose from Fabricland (who have an all new website!! :O :O :O :O :O I can’t lie, I am in mourning for the old one, crazy gifs and all).

geometric skirt

So when I printed out the pattern I didn’t check the tension square (oops) and accidentally made it about 30% bigger than it’s supposed to be. Hence I was puzzled when this skirt turned out to be enormous. However, an elasticated waist solves everything, and it still looks okay.

The ribbon at the front is entirely non-functional, although I did make buttonholes for it and everything. I actually matched the print on the side seams too, not that I remembered to take a photo to prove this. You’ll just have to trust me, alright? Honestly, so suspicious.

Skirt no 2: Dyed cotton.

navy skirt

I bought this fabric many years ago at a Peter Jensen sample sale, and made this shirt out of. It was beige and I dyed the leftovers navy, because I realised that beige is an awful, awful colour (I also rarely wear the shirt for the same reason).

By this point I’d twigged that I’d printed out the pattern wrong, so I cut down the sides and the waistband to make it a more sensible size.

This was a great summer skirt but unfortunately, it’s been the victim of some mystery grease staining (I suspect a kebab in Berlin was involved) so it may not be long for this world. It has served nobly and deserves a ceremonial burial.

I made the top too, it’s a Grainline hemlock from some mystery Fabricland jersey and I wear it all the time.

Skirt no 3: Black crepe from Sew Over It (link is to the navy version, they seem to have run out of black at the moment). 


black skirt

I made this skirt after realising that I didn’t own any black clothing, and that I had a metre of black crepe that I didn’t know what to do with.

Yes, black is boring to sew (and even worse to photograph) but this skirt has been very useful and you can even wear it with tights. Amazing.


illsley skirt

So this was inspired by a skirt I bought from Other Stories, and wear all the time – a short, pleated skirt made out of a navy printed viscose fabric.

My version is made of a tiny remnant I had left over from making these trousers.

I measured the waistband of the ready-to-wear skirt and cut mine to be the same length. I then just used a shortened version of the Illsley pattern for the skirt pieces, and gathered them to match the waistband, putting an invisible zipper on one side. I didn’t have to buy anything for this project which makes it a winner in my eyes.

I only have this bad Instagram photo of it though, sorry 😦 Also you can see that my ‘smiling in photos’ skill is a bit limited. I’m working on it.


Go right now and download the Ilsley skirt, and donate some money to charity as a thank you to Marilla while you’re there, if you can 🙂