Chloe's Ness Skirt

Chloe's Ness Skirt

Denim midi skirts are trending, and while I don’t want to look like I’ve stepped out of the 90s, I think they can be a great alternative to jeans as the weather (finally) gets warmer! Hoping I could make a skirt that suited me and that didn’t look dated, I started this project with some trepidation, but I must admit that I am beyond pleased with the outcome and wore my new skirt twice in four days on a recent trip to Paris. The denim I chose is Jenny’s 7.5 oz denim in indigo and it has the perfect weight and drape for this pattern - it’s light enough to be easy to handle and my machine had no problems even sewing through multiple layers, but it’s heavy enough to be appropriate for bottoms.The pattern I used is the Ness Skirt from Tilly and the Buttons, but made quite a few modifications which I’ve detailed in this blog post so read on if you’re interested in recreating your own version!

I fall between sizes 4 and 5 on the TATB size chart, but considering the finished garment measurements, I graded from a 4 at the waist to between 4 and 5 at the hips. However, after sewing the side seams, I decided that there was too much ease at the hip and so took in the side seams by about 0.5 cm on each side, which was essentially the size 4 stitch line - so I needn’t have graded in the first place. The only problem I have is that it is a bit of a wiggle to get the skirt on over my hips, so in the future I would extend the length of the zipper fly by 2 cm (my zipper actually had the extra length, but I didn’t know I would need to do this until it was too late!). As a consequence, I haven’t added the bartack that would usually be used to attach the fly shield to the front skirt to stop it flapping about because I need the extra space, but I don’t find this to be a problem when the skirt is on.


The pattern comes with cut lines for mini and below-the-knee lengths so to make it midi length, I added approximately 15 cm to the below-the-knee version (I am 167 cm tall, for reference). I also decided on a raw fringed hem because I felt that a regular hem with contrast topstitching would create a harsh horizontal line at the bottom of the skirt. To create the fringed hem, I sewed a straight line with a short stitch length in matching thread about 2 cm above the bottom edge. Then I pulled out all the horizontal undyed (white) weft threads below the stitched line, snipping them off when necessary. After a run through the wash, the vertical indigo warp threads left behind are beginning to fade nicely and I’m happy with the effect.


I constructed the back skirt in a different order because I think it’s easier: the pattern says to sew the yoke together at the centre back, and the back skirt pieces together at the centre back, and then sew the yoke to the back skirt along the curved horizontal seam. But this method requires a pivot at the centre back pointy bit, which can be tricky. Instead I used the order I’ve done on jeans before: first sew each yoke to its respective back skirt piece along the horizontal seam (and topstitch) and then sew the centre back vertical seam all the way down (and topstitch).


The curved waistband on this pattern is great - the skirt is super comfortable even with non-stretch denim and I don’t have any gaping at the centre back waist. I loved the floral cotton lawn that I used for the pockets so I decided to finish the inner waistband with bias tape made from the cotton lawn instead of folding it under. This also serves to reduce bulk along the waist seam, and makes the stitch-in-the-ditch to secure the waistband before topstitching so much easier. I also used the same bias tape to cover the end of the fly shield because when it came to attaching the waistband, I discovered that somehow the fly shield had ended up being 1.5 cm too wide (I wonder if I should have removed the seam allowance when finishing the raw edge of the fly shield?). Since the free edge of the fly shield was originally on fold, the neatest way to finish it was with the matching bias tape - and I think it actually looks great!

This pattern calls for fairly minimal topstitching in the instructions, which I think would work if using a non-denim fabric, but since I was making a denim skirt, I wanted to have more traditional jeans topstitching. This includes the centre front and back seams, partial side seams, back pockets and waistband. For something a little different, I designed a heart motif for the back pockets, and chose a lilac thread, instead of the usual gold or brown. I also added double lines of topstitching where the pattern calls for a single line, like along the back yoke and around the fly, and I changed up the front slit construction and topstitching, as described below.

The original pattern front slit is constructed by finishing the centre front edges separately, then the front is sewn together to the top of the slit (and the fly inserted etc), and the seam allowances are pressed open all the way down, with topstitching around the slit. However, since I wanted to have more traditional jeans topstitching (two parallel lines) down the centre front, as well as overlap the slit, I made the following modifications (I was figuring this out as I went and didn’t take photos but I’ve made an illustration!):

  1. Added 1.5cm (the width of the seam allowance) to the right centre front piece below the slit marking.
  2. Finished the centre front edges separately (not shown).
  3. Folded the extra bit on the right front piece from step 1 under toward the wrong side and topstitched with two parallel lines of stitching.
  4. Inserted zipper fly and sewed the centre front together down to the top of the slit.
  5. Pressed the both seam allowances to the left.
  6. Topstitched from below the fly to the top of the slit with two lines of parallel stitching.
  7. Topstitched the remaining part of the left centre front below the top of the slit separately, moving the right front out of the way to do so.
  8. Reinforced the top of the slit with a horizontal bartack (not shown).

I used the Kylie and the Machine hardware kit for this, which includes a zip, jeans button and rivets. The instructions and tools (except a hammer) are included and I found it really easy to use. I only regret not adding a coin pocket (I had meant to but forgot) so that I could use another rivet, and I should have used the full length of the zipper for the fly, as mentioned above.

Overall, I love my new skirt and see myself getting lots of wear out of it. I would definitely make this pattern again to make another midi skirt from a different fabric or a light wash denim, as well as the mini version - and there is plenty of pattern-hacking potential too.

Inspired to make your own version? Here's what you'll need:


Pattern : Tilly and the Buttons Ness Skirt (PDF)

Fabric : 7.5oz Denim - Indigo

Alternative fabric suggestions:

8oz Mid Wash denim

Yarn Dyed Stretch Denims

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.