Chilly Seagulls Skirt -1. The Prep

My first ever competition!

I don’t know what possessed me, but I signed up for the Simplicity Sewing Challenge! I think I was enticed by the free patterns – so I signed up for “Best Newcomer” and “Children’s wear”. When the patterns came, I soon realised that the dress pattern for my little girl will be a mammoth test of my limited skills – so that one will wait until later! But the skirt seems simple enough. So here begins my first attempt at making something for a competition…


The Competition Patterns

I have to admit, the package image isn’t particularly inspiring. The main choice is a mid length button fronted A-line skirt. It was a khaki green and despite being worn by a 20 something beauty, to be honest, it seems dowdy. I don’t think I would ever choose to buy or wear a skirt with buttons all down the front. So on closer inspection I saw that there was an option to just have a short invisible zip at the back instead. Plain, yes, but at least that seemed more like something I would wear. So the next decision was to choose the fabric.

chilly seagull fabric

Chilly Seagulls Poplin Slate Grey


Confession. This cotton poplin is marketed as children’s fabric. But I think the irony of seagulls wearing sunglasses and woolly hats is wasted on the youth. I’ve got a bit of a thing about grey fabric at the moment and fabric with birds. Which is weird because I don’t really like birds. So that’s how this fabric ended up finding its way to me from

I was a bit shocked by the measurements I took and the corresponding sizes on the skirt pattern. I was even more shocked when the toile I made actually fitted. I was secretly hoping that I’d have to shrink it down. I know it’s all nonsense, but I think we are hard wired to want the smallest number possible on the sizing chart.


After looking at a couple of other skirts that I have, I decided that I should make a lining for it. I don’t really know how to do this, but it made my horses dress feel much more luxurious so I thought I’d give it a go.

As part of my grey fabric attraction I had ordered some light grey cotton, hoping I could make a simple summer dress. Unfortunately, it was an internet shopping mishap. It’s so light grey that it reminded me of an over-washed school boys shirt. Annoyed, because it was expensive, I stored it away thinking it’d do for a lining at some point – and as luck would have it, it is the perfect colour to line my skirt. It’s as if I planned it.



I was a good girl and pressed my fabric before pinning. I made sure I had the best looking seagulls running down the front in the middle. I tried my hand at pattern matching. But then I realised I had pattern matched right side to wrong side. So it wouldn’t have worked. It took me bloody ages to line all that up. Then I realised that I should have concentrated on pattern matching where the zip will go – and by that point it was all too late. Durr. But, in my defence, I had just painted a wooden playhouse that day. Maybe I should have waited until I wasn’t so tired, but then the deadline is September.

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