Clothes making British style

While we have found some great clothing manufactures in the UK it is becoming obvious that the skills that I have with a sewing machine are going to be useful this year. As a teacher the work that I do involves a lot more than sitting at a desk all day and my clothes work hard. It means I go through quite a lot of clothes in a year and I am in constant need of stuff to wear for work!

When we were in Dorset we found a great sewing shop who were incredibly helpful when it came to working out which fabrics were printed or made in the UK, and they came up trumps with a lovely Liberty print fabric. With this in hand I started yesterday to create a pattern and make a 3/4 circle skirt for work.

After some research online about how to make the skirt to fit me I came up with a plan. Just to help I found this super guide where the whole process is far better explained than I could manage. If you use the calculator on the website and then use this to create a pattern this is what you will roughly come up with.

As I say the description on the website is far better than any I could give, but make sure that as you sew the seams that you press them flat as it makes the whole construction a lot easier. The difference I made was to add a thick waistband by cutting a rectangle of fabric the length of my waist plus 2″ for seam allowance and then folded it in half before adding it to the top of the skirt.

Here is my finished article. Its not perfect but it will certainly be good enough for work.



  1. Jenny jemison says

    Brilliant, let’s hope you & the Great British Sewing Bee can re introduce interest in making clothes etc

  2. Have you checked out the Clothkits company in Chichester? They design and print their own fabric and put together sew-it-yourself kits for women and children’s clothes, home items and soft toys. They also offer sewing classes occasionally.

  3. Well done! I started sewing more years ago than I care to remember and turned it into a business ( it’s a very useful skill.

  4. Even better why don’t you use fabric that has already had one life. For example curtains often become faded in parts but there is usually plenty of decent material that you can turn into something else. For inspiration look at

    The Stead McAlpin factory in Carlisle has been printing fabric for many years and they even source the plain fabric from Lancashire as it is better and cheaper than from China – hurray! I’ve been on a tour of the factory and it was fascinating. Go to

  5. I was going to suggest that you browsed the Personal/clothes category on but I decided to do that myself and found that I haven’t found many companies that make everyday women’s clothes (in the UK). Most of what is listed for women is along the lines of bridal dresses, knitwear, lingerie and more niche (read latex!) items. So it seems as though the likes of Primark, New Look and H&M have managed to obliterate that sector of UK manufacturing.

    On the plus side, you’ve done a brilliant job – will James now have a go at making his own trousers?

  6. Cute skirt 🙂 Well done!

    I’ve found that making my own clothes is far more satisfying than buying, although I’ve yet to start questioning the origin of patterns and cloth. Have fun experimenting 🙂

  7. !
    As if!
    When I was a child I remember my Mum making my Dad and me matching t-shirts from Clothkits! I haven’t heard that name for nearly four decades! Such memories!

  8. Wow- fab skirt, well done! I’ve yet to venture into dressmaking. My sewing is a little more… basic than that!
    Tilly from the GBSB blogs at and has a blouse and a skirt pattern with step by step instructions- I especially like the skirt. Might be useful?

  9. Well done, we like the skirt!

    In the early 1970’s our company sold lengths of crimplene fabric by mail order to home dressmakers. In recent years we have started selling our British Made sweatshirt fabric by the metre through our site. People are increasingly interested in this fabric and making garments themselves.

    We have also just completed an overhaul of our British Made garment web site for those who don’t have a sewing machine! There are T-Shirts, hoodies and polo shirts for men, ladies and children, all made here in Nottingham.

  10. Paula loves vintage 45 says

    Hello ATBF,
    Wondering if you guys read or have come across Best of British magazine?…I’ve only just remembered to purchase the magazine again, mainly for it’s yearly listing in April’s edition of all the 1940s events….all a very British affair and great fun…you can buy many British made items at the stalls albeit mostly objects or clothing (true vintage) are 70-80 years old.
    Going back to the magazine there are many adverts selling British made goods, but the main objective of the magazine is to celebrate our Britishness and its history.

    As with most mags they have a website and Facebook/Twitter account

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