Beware of the A-Line skirt: making the Delphine skirt from Tilly Walnes

An A-Line skirt is perfect: Easy to make, will flatter every figure and is a great addition to a capsule wardrobe.

I have read these lines many times on blogs, magazines and recently in a sewing book I got for my birthday. And guess what: it’s a lie. These A-line skirts are from hell, or another unpleasant dimension. Strangely I seem to forget this inside every time I look at another photo of a beautiful model wearing one of these torture-devices A-Line skirts. My latest deceiving photo was the cover of Tilly Walnes book „Love at first stitch“. So beautiful!!!!! I wanted this skirt (read: I want to look like Tilly on the cover) I may have forgotten that my body looks a tiny bit different ???

Beware of the A-Line skirt

Some weeks ago, I found a wonderful mustard corduroy fabric in the bargain box of my favourite fabric store and I could not resist and bought it. The amount was much to little for my typical skirt pattern, the half circle skirt. So, I thought the before mentioned A-Line skirt the perfect alternative. It needed much less fabric and I would learn again how to insert a zipper into a waistband. Besides I would learn from scratch to work with woven fabric which I untill today seldom used.

Beware of the A-Line skirt tilly walnes

Tracing the pattern was easy but deciding on the size not. This may be one of the problems I had with this skirt. My natural waist measures 80 cm but sits so high up it is nearly beneath my bust. Not the perfect place for a skirt to sit, in my view. Normally I wear my (stretchy) skirts on my hips, which measure about 98 cm. But from my other experiments with skirts made from woven fabrics, I already knew the skirt will not stay on my hips, it will crawl upwards to the smallest point of my torso. So, which size to choose… There are some more parameters to consider: I do not like tight waistbands and my body gets even wider at my bottom and my thighs.
Finally, I decided to use size 6 as a middle course (when I am writing it like this, it should be clear, dear reader, it did not work out).

Beware of the A-Line skirt

Getting size 6 to fit on the fabric was a bit like Tetris, but I managed. But while cutting I already sensed that the waistband was unusually high (ca. 10 cm). I went on and did everything as the instructions told me. By the way, the instructions are very clear and the photos and design of the book lovely. I started with closing the side seams and trying the skirt on. As expected after the problem with the size-choosing it didn’t fit. Not only was the skirt too wide it also gaped above my behind. Not a new problem for me, so I decided to insert two back darts which are each 5 cm wide. This helped the fit immensely. The next step was ironing on the interfacing on the waistband. Then sewing the waistband together and pinning it right sides together on the skirt and sewing it. Tada… it still didn’t fit. The waistband was so high it reached up to my smaller parts of the torso and gaped everywhere. My solution was to cut it down to a height of 6 cm (I did the same with the inner parts of the waistbands) and to make the waistband and the skirt smaller. This meant, I had to unpick the whole skirt… yeah… fun… This looked better, but not good.

Beware of the A-Line skirt

I accepted the okeyish fit and inserted the zipper while holding my breath. The instruction of the book requires a completely different sewing foot, so I had to look elsewhere for an explanation. I found it in my brain; remnants of zipper instruction floated around, and I just picked one. I basted the complete middle seam of the back parts and then put the zipper on this seam. I pinned the zipper with needles and sewed it in. Afterwards I cut the basted stitches, so that I could use the zipper and made a proper seam for the rest of the back parts.

Beware of the A-Line skirt

The zipper worked out ok, but the skirt ‘s fit got worse. It now was too wide at my thighs and had folds and creases everywhere. I decided to sew the sides anew without unpicking the whole skirt again. I guess I was devastated at this moment and only wanted to get it done. So, I pinned the inner parts of the waistband on the the right side of the actual waistband, folded the sides and sewed the damned beast facing in.

Beware of the A-Line skirt

Last step was sewing the hem. I folded the hem two times, ironed it vigorously and again seeeewwwwing. This was no problem, but the skirt – sigh – what shall I say – I like the color.

Beware of the A-Line skirt

I guess a classic A-Line skirt is not for me – maybe because of my curves or because of my lacking skills regarding pattern adaption. I am still searching for a nice skirt pattern for woven fabrics, which will fit me in the waist area. Do you have any recommendations? I am thinking about this pleated skirt or this gathered skirt which could perhaps fit on my hips. But I am very unsure if these designs will add too much bulk… I also found this vintage style skirt, which is a free pattern and this buttoned and gathered skirt, also free. But after this A-Line experience I am super unsure what to try next.


Thank you @crosheille for iniciating and @muscara, @shanibeer, @marblely for hosting the #needleworkmonday. If you want to see more beautiful projects with yarn, fabric and most of all needles, follow @needleworkmonday on steemit. Or even better grab your needles and keyboard and join the #needleworkmonday community. You can read more comments on this post on my steemit blog.

8 thoughts on “Beware of the A-Line skirt: making the Delphine skirt from Tilly Walnes

  • Just about to try the Delphine skirt, it does say to mix and match the sizes will try one in one size then will try the second in mix and match as marked if your waist and hip measurements are not the same. My fingers are very crosssed…A new sewer.

    • I am so sorry!!! I seem to not get notified about comments and so I never answered. Now its one ear later and Ihope you had success with the Delphine skirt <3

  • You expressed my feelings about the Delphine skirt exactly 😀 I am just before finishing it and I already know it will not be the favourite piece of my wardrobe… I am slim but with curves and this cut is definitely not the most flattering one – the waistband is just below my breasts, the hips look super wide and the bottom cant fit properly inside. Well, I suppose I should rather try sewing from knitted materials 🙂

    • I am so sorry!!! I seem to not get notified about comments and so I never answered.
      I am so with you. I never wear the Delphine skirt and just recently put it on my “to rip” pile. Hopefully I can make something nicer with this fabric. The pattern seems to be for people without back curves or any curves… I hope you have found a pattern which fits you better.

  • I’m a size 5 and the fit of the skirt on me looks just like yours! I might add darts like you did. I’m wondering if there’s something about this silhouette that makes it always either too small or too large.

    • I am so sorry!!! I seem to not get notified about comments and so I never answered.
      I really hope you found a mystery cure for the skirt. Sadly I did not and so the skirt is on the “to rip” pile and I will try to use the farbic for something else.
      I am still unsure why we have the pproblem, perhaps the waistband is not fitted enough and the skirt needs more fullness at the back and front instead of the sides. BUt these are only musings…

  • I like the colour too! I think maybe the fabric is a bit too soft for the skirt, as it has a lovely drape to it, but Tilly’s looks very stiff. I made this in a cotton drill and had success, but graded out at the hips and lengthened the pattern. It worked well but I haven’t had much success with this book as a whole. I think the patterns are more complex than they seem as they are all tailored/fitted, and are designed for a very petite figure. The Mimi blouse was a complete disaster on me!

    • I had a big smile on my face after reading your comment… because I have a nearly finished Mimi blouse hidden away in the box of shame. I think I have written several blog post about the sewing process, but I never got it finished and fitting. I think you are right, the book works much better for less curvy shapes (than mine). The design of the book is lovely and the fan base a bit deceiving I guess 🙂
      But it is good to know you could get the skirt to work for you. Mine is still in a cupboard and waiting to be modified or unpicked.

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