Sometimes you find a pattern and it just works and you can make it again and again and it’s wonderful. Nina Lee’s Kew dress and skirt is up there as one of my most made patterns (although the Kielo is a worthy contender for top place), and it turns out it’s the perfect ‘base pattern’ to work from and hack. I’ve shared photos on my Instagram account of my gathered skirt hack and had a few messages asking how I did it, so here’s a step-by-step to create your own!
Use all the pattern pieces as if you were making version 3, the skirt. Pin the skirt front piece down on your fabric, and fold down the top curved edge of the pattern piece. Square out from the front edge of the skirt, i.e. at a 90-degree angle and draw a long line with tailors chalk. Now go to the hem of the pattern piece; keep the lower curve as it is and draw a straight line up from the corner so it meets the other line you drew:
Now do the same for the skirt back. The back has a gorgeous big dipped hem feature, which I kept on my other gathered skirt but decided to shorten for this version:
Cut out both pieces where you drew the lines, and cut the waistband and facings as per the pattern. These are the shapes you’ll end up with:
Once everything is cut and interfaced, start by following the instructions on page 12; skip the darts because we don’t have any so just sew the side seams. Attach the facings as per the instructions, although I actually like to finish the open edge of my facings with a tiny turn rather than overlocking/zigzagging/pinking shearsing, so it looks lovely and neat like this when it’s been understitched:
The next step is to attach the waistband so this is where we need to gather the top edge of the skirt. If you’re adding patch pockets it may be easier to do this now while the fabric is flat, it can be a bit tricky once it’s all gathered!
Run two rows of long stitches along the top seam, making sure to stay within the seam allowance, then gather gather gather so that it’s 1.5cm shorter than the waistband at each end. Try not to gather too much above the area where your buttons will go so it’s nice and smooth.
Then just follow the instruction booklet for the waistband, add your buttons and you’re done!