Tom & Jerry Skirt

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I have just completed the creation of a circle skirt using a duvet cover from my childhood and I’m really pleased with the results!

Though I knew it was old, interestingly, the label gave a copyright year of 1986!

notes on the construction of a circle skirt including measurements in centimeters
Calculations for a circle skirt

I was intending to use the skirt pattern from the galaxy dress but I remembered that I had watched a circle skirt tutorial a few months back so I loaded that up instead.

The tutorial was really easy to follow and, paired up with what I had learnt from the galaxy dress, went very smoothly even with the bit of maths I had to do.

I did have to change the pattern slightly because I wanted to add pockets, and the tutorial didn’t allow for this. I therefore made the skirt from three pieces of fabric (one half circle and two quarter circles) rather than one piece as the tutorial instructed. With three pieces, the pockets could go along the side seams, and the zip could go on the back.

the difference in where the fabric of a tom & jerry duvet cover has faded over the years
The difference in the fabric where it has faded

As the duvet cover was a well-loved piece, there was some fading on the fabric and a few cuts and snags. I tried to get around the fading by placing the pattern pieces further towards the bottom of the duvet cover, and positioning the pattern away from the larger tears, but a few small ones have made it into the skirt. I could probably darn them if they start to get bigger, but that’s a whole separate skill to learn!

There was also a large red stain, which I think was paint. I managed to fade this with the use of some carpet cleaner but it didn’t go away completely. Also, the carpet cleaner did start to fade the pattern around the stain as well so I had to wash it off before it made things worse rather than better.

Final Thoughts

Things to Improve

I forgot to pre-wash the lining fabric before I cut the pieces out. I did wash the pieces afterwards, but they shrunk some in the wash. This didn’t turn out to be a huge issue in the end, but I think that was more by luck than judgement.

Though they are probably not noticeable unless you’re looking for them, there are several areas I could have done better with.

I used bias binding to finish some of the seams (those near the zip and pockets specifically), and although this did tidy those areas, it wasn’t exactly the neatest job. I think I need to leave a larger seam allowance in these areas so that I can finish them more neatly.

Speaking of pockets, I did do these with French seams but I forgot to clip the seam allowance down on one of them so some frayed edges are peeking through.

The hem took four attempts to get right, and even then it still looks wrinkly in some places. The main issue stems from the fact that I’d sewn the lining to the fashion fabric – treating them as one. The problem was the bits for the hem were separate so they didn’t quite match up. I partially solved this by laying the skirt flat on my table and pinning the two pieces together in various parts. This made them mostly act as one, but still led to some wrinkling in places. I don’t think that it’s too noticeable on the final skirt though. In future I will either have to treat the lining and the outer skirt as separate items or baste both pieces together before sewing the seams.

Things I don’t Like

I don’t think there is anything about this skirt that I do not like.

I would like to have used more of the material though. There are a lot of offcuts and I didn’t touch the pillow case (though these areas are very worn).

Things I Like

I love that I have turned something that I so cherished as a child into an item that I can use as an adult. This duvet cover has followed me from home to university, being in heavy rotation until the end of my first year where it has since just sat in a cupboard or a box out of sight.

It’s amazing how soft it is. The lining fabric really adds to that feeling too.

I’m proud of myself for doing french seams. They’re bulky but they do look neat and tidy.

Next Project

For my next project I have another old duvet cover to remake into something useful. This one poses its own problems in that duvet cover is not one piece folded in half as the previous one was, but two pieces sewn together. The fabric pattern is also problematic in that it only repeats on the back piece, the front does not repeat at all. So some even more creative positioning is going to be required for this one!

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