Wrapping it Up, with Pretty Pockets

Following the kind comments on the wrap skirt I made last month, and in response to a couple of requests, this post is about how I made my wrap skirt without a pattern, using just my own measurements. It's really easy and quick to do, but I must say that I did not invent this method myself but took it from the book Sew What! Skirts by Francesca Denhartog & Carole Ann Camp, with some alterations. As such, I wouldn't be comfortable featuring a proper tutorial, since it is based on one of the skirts in the book. Sorry, I know that's a bit of a cop out since I said I would be doing a tutorial, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought I would need to really make some diagrams to show the process properly, and that's what the book does. Instead I've done an overview of what I did, hopefully to show how easy it was!

I've had the Sew What! Skirts book for ages, well before I started sewing properly, and had never used it as I was a bit put off by some of the slightly weird and dated skirts pictured in the book. However I was encouraged to return to it when I saw the lovely skirt Handmade Jane had made with the help of the book. Another reason that I was attracted to the book again was that I was wanting to make a skirt which was inspired by these two skirts, but I couldn't find the right pattern:

So what did I do then?

1. I got 2 metres of material (chambray) plus matching thread and smaller scrap pieces of material (cotton shirting) for the insides of the pockets. I didn't use the whole 2 metres.

2. All you need to know is;
  • Your waist measurement
  • Your hip measurement
  • The distance between your waist and hips
  • The length that you want the skirt to be.
Once you have these measurements, you have to add a little bit (a couple of inches) for ease and seam allowance then divide the hip and waist measurements by 4 to allow for cutting the front and back separately on folded fabric.

For example - Waist measurement of 29" plus 2" divided by 4 = 7 3/4"

Hip measurement of 36" plus 2" divided by 4 = 9.5"

At the start of the book you are shown how to make basic patterns for a straight skirt with a fitted waist, an A-Line skirt with a fitted waist (which I used) and an A-Line skirt with an elastic waist. This shows you how to create the A-Line shape. You'll need a long ruler or similar to draw this out on your fabric or on pattern paper.

3. Using your own measurements and the instructions given in the book, you can draw straight onto the fabric you're using, or make a pattern. I made a pattern for the skirt (not the ties, since they were just straight lines) using greaseproof paper but newspaper would work just as well. You need to cut one of these pieces on the fold to make the front of the skirt, then flip the pattern piece over and cut 2 pieces with a 6" gap from the edge of the fabric to create the 2 pieces that wrap over at the back. This is what I ended up with:

4. For the waist ties and waistband you just need to cut strips across the width of the fabric - I made 4" wide strips, a bit wider than the example in the book, as I wanted a wider waistband and ties. These strips get folded in half and sewn together lengthwise, with the seam being at the centre front. You'll need to keep in mind that the waistband width will also add to the overall length of your skirt

5. Pockets! You will also see the template that I used for the pockets, which I CAN share because it is available online, and you've probably already seen it if you've read the much-talked-about Mollie Makes! An article in issue 2 about adding pockets to a plain skirt includes templates for different designs of skirt pocket, and I chose the one with long bits at the top which can be tied in a knot.

In the magazine, they use bright Amy Butler fabric pockets on a white skirt, but I went with a subtle pattern of cotton shirting inside the pockets instead. I'm not very well versed in using patterns/templates of any kind from magazines, and I think you're supposed to add a seam allowance on when you cut out the piece. The magazine doesn't explain (or if it does explain, I didn't see it!), but I decided to add a bit onto the bottom of the pocket anyway, to make the shape a bit deeper.

Thinking about it now, I'm not sure about my decision to put the pockets halfway down the skirt. I had originally planned to draft some large rectangular pockets, like the patterned skirt I was using for inspiration, but when I saw the Mollie Makes pockets I loved how unusual they were. As I was still in the mind set of the pockets being half way down the skirt, I put them there without thinking about it too much. Still, I think it's a bit different anyway!

5. Sew it all together!

I would definitely recommend the book to give you a bit of confidence for making your own skirts from scratch. The next time I make this skirt I am going to use a different type of pockets, integrated ones rather than patch pockets, probably using the pattern pieces from the Beignet skirt or Crepe dress to work from.

So that's how I put together my skirt! Again, I apologise that it wasn't a 'How To' as much of an overview of what I did. 

I'd be interested to know - What's your policy about sharing things like tutorials (which are influenced by books) on your own blog? I'm very aware of intellectual copyright and wouldn't want anyone to think I was stealing their ideas on my blog, or wouldn't want it to lead to someone not buying the book I was referencing. Am I being paranoid about this? It's a tricky one!

Have a good weekend all

K x


  1. So simple! Can't wait to try it, thank you!

  2. I had to wait a little bit to think on your question.I believe as long you reference the book you are highlighting how good the book is. No one would not by a book because 1 of 2 ideas. If the book is never mention on good sewing blogs like yours, people that sew/blog would not want to but it.


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