Crafty Ideas Designed by me Elma Family Finished Handmade Handmade for Elma Photography Sewing

A twirly princess skirt {handmade for Elma}


A few weeks ago I got an email in my inbox that practically had me bouncing off the ceiling in excitement.

It started innocently enough; would I, by any chance, be interesting in working together on a craft project? – I love craft projects, so I would, and I read on.


Would I, in fact, be interested in working with Laura Ashley to see what I could come up with to make from their packs of craft fabric fat quarters? Would I? – well never have my fingers felt so slow moving over the keys as when I typed out my ‘trying to play it cool but barely smothering the super-excitement’ reply.  We talked about ideas, I spent so long eyeing up the fat quarter packs on the website that the cookies kept advertising them to me on every other website for at least a week, and then last week a little silver parcel plopped onto the doormat and in it was treasure indeed.


Laura Ashley was, I suspect, the Cath Kidston of my mother’s generation.  The fabrics were fresh and new and sought after and I still remember the matching Laura Ashley dresses that my sister and I had as our Sunday best for a couple of years (and she had again a couple of years later – the joys of being the younger sister!).  But while I may have a serious weak spot for Cath, nothing has dimmed my affection for Laura, so to get the chance to just play in their fabric collection.  I could have made a hundred different things with such pretty fabric but in the end I knew that for a whole host of reasons, perhaps in an effort to right the balance from my childhood, it was my littlest girl who should be the beneficiary.

I’d originally thought of making some sort of sundress, but when Elma and I opened up the parcel there was just one thing she wanted; a twirly princess skirt.  It was to be long, and it was to be twirly, and that’s all she cared about.  My plan was that if I was going to make something that couldn’t be handed down to Pip then it would have to last for as long as humanely possible.  And so I planned an adjustable waistband, echoing the maternity elastic of some of my pregnancy jeans, so that for now it could be a long twirly skirt, but one with definite room to grow!



And this is the result: One almost a full circle skirt, made up of 14 panels cut from fat quarters (using all five from the duck egg pack and the two palest purple from the amethyst pack), and sewn together to create a spinning whirl of soft floral colour.  All the details on how to make it, what I used and how the waistband worked are over in my tutorial on the Laura Ashley blog (together with a fabulous tutorial for making a sewing machine cover from the very talented Esther at Inside Out & About that I really ought to try)


Elma adores it.  She wore it, newly finished, for the photos, and then all that day, and then all the next one so that she could take it to show her playgroup teacher, and I’m pretty certain it’s done duty as part of pyjamas too.20160124-DSC_0056

Her happiness with whatever I made was always the chief motivation behind the project, but I’ll admit that when on Tuesday, when my tutorial appeared actually on the actual Laura Ashley website, I was ready to burst with happiness too – twirling all round!

Joining Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday, Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm Craft On and Make Do and Push for Funky Kid Friday

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  • sustainablemum 29/01/2016 at 7:55 am

    It looks lovely. I made my daughter a skirt like that a couple of years ago. It has got shorter and shorter each year but it is still a firm favourite here ;). How wonderful to be sent fabric to make something with! I love Laura Ashley it was definitely part of my childhood. I had bedding from there on my bed as a child. Somehow Cath Kidson has never done it for me, Laura got there first!

  • Mandycharlie 29/01/2016 at 10:18 am

    I love Laura Ashley, our loo has Laura Ashley wallpaper with matching fabric I made into a curtain, I am so excited that they are making quilting fabrics. Your skirt looks very pretty and very twirly and I can see the joy it has brought to Elma, she looks radiantly happy twirling in it.

  • Bernie 29/01/2016 at 3:25 pm

    Congratulations! What a great project and you are bound to be excited and proud.
    Adorable pictures your your sweet girl and her twirly new skirt!

  • Evelyn 29/01/2016 at 4:10 pm

    That looks gorgeous, how exciting to get to make something and have it shown off on the LA website. I’m really tempted to give this a go myself, I’m not a sew-er by any stretch of the imagination but your tutorial makes it look like something I could actually attempt 🙂 Your daughter looks ever so pleased with her new skirt

  • Katie Heels and Hooves 29/01/2016 at 7:44 pm

    What a beautiful skirt – so clever to make this yourself! xx

    • Kaylin 12/10/2016 at 2:34 am

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  • Jenny Benton 29/01/2016 at 9:15 pm

    Congratulations – what a thrill to be asked to take part in something like this!

    And there is nothing better than a twirly skirt is there?

    I just had to rush over to the Laura Ashley site (never knew there was one) and there was your little one in her new skirt, looking so sweet. I do so enjoy reading your blog.

    • Darnesha 12/10/2016 at 2:37 am

      That’s a sharp way of thninikg about it.

  • Training Mummy 29/01/2016 at 10:05 pm

    Gorgeous dress and love the purple cardi too. Clothing always mean so much more when you make it yourself too. Haven’t had my sewing machine out for month or two so will have now now you have inspired me #FKF

    • Lavon 12/10/2016 at 2:45 am

      This has made my day. I wish all positngs were this good.

  • Claire @ Clarina's Comtemplations 29/01/2016 at 11:28 pm

    Wow! Gorgeous skirt, and those fabrics are TO DIE FOR!! So jealous that you’re getting to work with Laura Ashley! Enjoy!!

  • Tanya at EverAfterCottage 30/01/2016 at 3:11 am

    That is just gorgeous! I have a big soft spot for anything Laura Ashley. How did I miss that there’s a Laura Ashley blog?? I’ll bet the Laura Ashley folks are thrilled with your project!

  • Lee Cockrum 30/01/2016 at 12:23 pm

    So very exciting!! Congratulations! The skirt is fabulous, and so much fun.

  • Sally 31/01/2016 at 9:52 am

    It looks gorgeous, I love, love, love patchwork in clothes! And I can see variations on this skirt in my future!

    • Carie 01/02/2016 at 11:04 pm

      Thank you lovely 🙂

      • Roxy 12/10/2016 at 2:19 am

        Hi Betsy,I *love* your seven things lic;s#8230tin&luding your love of cooking which I bet is enhanced by your fresh produce, imagination, and love Don’t we tend to nourish in myriad ways…your list feels very nourishing![]

  • Jenni @ Chilling With Lucas 31/01/2016 at 10:09 pm

    Well done! I love Laura Ashley. I adore this skirt, absolutely beautiful x #fkf

    • Carie 01/02/2016 at 10:49 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  • Kris 03/02/2016 at 1:27 pm

    So cute! And I love her sweater!!

    • Char 12/10/2016 at 3:18 am

      that we all know people in jail who were innocent. But what are we do to about the volunteers who had confessions extracted out of them by the Brits using Scap? Is the centre's facilities to be extended to them? The ciumcrstances whereby those confessions were gained are even more dubious than the RUC extracted ones. We are not addressing the past here but mining it for the purposes of poking somebody else in the eye.

  • Hannah | MakeDo&Push 04/02/2016 at 8:26 pm

    Oh gosh! What an exciting email to receive and how beautiful is that skirt?? You are so clever!

    Thanks for linking up to #FunkyKidFriday xx

  • Sarah (@tobygoesbananas) 04/02/2016 at 9:49 pm

    She looks fabulous! Laura Ashley was definitely a big name in my childhood although I don’t think I actually had any of their clothes. Massive well done to you though for getting to work with them, that must have been so exciting! #FunkyKidFriday

  • Jeanette 07/02/2016 at 3:40 pm

    how sweet!! Those fabrics are gorgeous. I really want to learn to sew. Maybe by the time I have grandbabies 🙂

  • nicole spring 11/02/2016 at 5:03 pm

    Ack! I need to make one of these for both of my girls! They LOVE twirly skirts.

    • Carie 12/02/2016 at 9:27 pm

      Oh then they’d love it – and fat quarters makes it really easy to choose lots of lovely different fabric without having to buy vast amounts of yardage!