Elma Family Finished Handmade Handmade for Elma Handmade for Kitty Handmade for Pip Kitty Pip Sewing

Campervans, Campervans and more Campervans {handmade for Kitty, Elma and Pip}


The sensible part of my brain told me that I needed sleep, that we were too busy packing and organising, that the children have more than enough clothes, that I really didn’t need to, and the creativity replied “but I want to”

I wanted my girls to have their matching camper van skirts for going on our adventures, just like I’d planned way back when, especially since their auntie had given them retro t-shirts that said “happy camper”, in pink and everything.

And so it was that in the last few days before we set off on holiday, when knitting and crochet and anything too finicky was still out of bounds to let my arm and elbow recover, I measured and cut and sewed.

Space for the Butterflies - A Campervan Skirt for all Ages and shorts too

This is the fourth and fifth time that I’ve made The Purl Bee’s Skirt for all Ages; I’ve not quite got to the point where I can made them just from the measurements but we’re getting close! It’s a really clever pattern that’s so easy to make and makes such a pretty and practical skirt. The girls love them for the pockets and because the have a good twirl and you can’t ask for more than that.

Space for the Butterflies - A Campervan Skirt for all Ages and shorts too

Last summer’s skirts have been handed down so Kitty’s is in Elma’s wardrobe and Elma’s is waiting for the day someone in the family has a little girl to dress, but the winter skirt I made for Kitty is still going strong thanks to a bit of extra length (I wrote some instructions on how to add length here). For this time round I made the age 4 for Elma and the 10 for Kitty, with another inch of added length so that it might last more than five minutes. Elma’s fits to the knee and Kitty’s goes just past it.

Space for the Butterflies - A Campervan Skirt for all Ages and shorts too

Experience always makes you faster, as does working in a production line rather than making one and then the other like I did the first time, so it took me a couple of evenings before I was measuring the waist elastic on them and sewing in the final seam. They looked adorable.

Space for the Butterflies - A Campervan Skirt for all Ages and shorts too

And then I looked back at my sewing table, and the pile of fabric there. H and I had guestimated how much fabric we’d need for both skirts when we bought it on our wedding anniversary trip to Harrogate and it seemed we’d rather over-estimated. By about half a metre or so. Just enough to maybe, just maybe…

Space for the Butterflies - A Campervan Skirt for all Ages and shorts too

…to make a matching pair of shorts?!

Space for the Butterflies - Purl Bee A Skirt for all Ages

I didn’t use a pattern per se for these, I just found a pair of shorts that fit Pip at the moment, folded them in half and drew around them, then added seam allowances for a rough pattern.  I kept them as simple as possible, cutting around my pattern on the fold to create two legs, with one seam each down the inseam.

Space for the Butterflies - VW Campervan Shorts

And speaking of that inseam, I thought of using a french seam to give a nice neat soft finish that wouldn’t rub on little legs but I wasn’t 100% sure of the construction at that point so I used a seam finish I remember reading about somewhere but can’t remember what it’s called ; I cut one seam allowance down by half, folded the other one over the top, and sewed the whole thing down.  It goes you a little line of stitching next to the seam on the right hand side of the fabric but I still think it looks pretty smart, it’s a nice smooth finish so it won’t rub on baby skin, and frankly who is going to be staring at the inside leg of a fast moving toddler?


Once I had the legs finished I put one inside the other, right sides facing, and sewed around.  I couldn’t decide on a fancy seam finish here given that it was going to be going around a curve so I just zig-zagged this one (it being quite late at night at this point possibly came into it as well!) but even after been worn all over Europe it’s holding up just fine.

In an ideal world I would have cut the shorts deep enough to use the top of them folded over to form a waistband casing, but when I tried them on Pip they were only just passable, and a bit too low rise to be truly comfy, so I undid all the stitching and made a separate piece for the waistband in basically the same fashion as the ones on the girls’ skirts.


And there we have them, a finished pair of shorts that I could have made in a couple of hours (including drafting the pattern) had I not mucked up the waistband and had to do it again the next day.

Space for the Butterflies - A Campervan Skirt for all Ages and shorts too Space for the Butterflies - A Campervan Skirt for all Ages and shorts too

Pip loved them, and still loves them, he calls them his “dorts” and they were his favourite thing to wear all through our holiday and what he asked for almost every morning.  And if he’s prepared to offer that level of adoration to mama-made clothes I am certain that there can be more pairs in his future.  Although I may have to ask his opinion on the style next time because when they all got dressed up the first time and we took these photos and the girls were jumping around with their hands in their pockets the first thing he said was: “Mama! Where mine pockets!?”.

Space for the Butterflies - A Campervan Skirt for all Ages and shorts too

Pockets next time, it’s a deal.

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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  • Mandycharlie 02/09/2016 at 9:10 am

    Oh they are adorable, so cute. You could handsew some patch pockets on the shorts, maybe with a hippy styled crisscross hippy styled finish in a bright embroidery thread, over the top of just catching the seams with a fine practically invisible thread.

    • Carie 02/09/2016 at 11:08 pm

      I’ve half an idea for the next pair as to how I could make the same sort of pockets as the girls have which would make for some fun contrast fabric, but given his propensity for hoarding stones I’m wondering whether my washing machine would be better if he stays pocket free!

  • Ivona 02/09/2016 at 10:22 am

    Great fabric.

    • Carie 02/09/2016 at 11:07 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  • Tami 02/09/2016 at 12:23 pm

    Oh my goodness! How adorable!

    • Carie 02/09/2016 at 11:07 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  • Lee Cockrum 02/09/2016 at 12:35 pm

    Fabulous! I need to get some of that fabric! I looked when you first bought it, and then never purchased it!

    They all look great in their new stuff!

  • Hannah 02/09/2016 at 3:23 pm

    It’s called a flat felled seam. Wonderful!

    • Carie 02/09/2016 at 11:04 pm

      Ah I knew it had a clever name somewhere!

  • Tracy 02/09/2016 at 4:41 pm

    Wonderful job, Carrie!! I knew he would wonder about the lack of pockets! Silly Mama 😉 How sweet that he wanted to wear them so much even without that addition. The next pair he will never take off 🙂
    (all of your trip posts were fabulous. I enjoyed reading and looking at the photos (that lake!) but I didn’t comment….

    • Carie 02/09/2016 at 11:04 pm

      Thank you – and I think you may be right – I’ll have to squeeze two pairs out of my next half metre and then we can swap them around!

  • Marion 02/09/2016 at 6:43 pm

    Aww, great! The best outfits ever! 🙂

    • Carie 02/09/2016 at 11:03 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  • Penny Guglielmoni 02/09/2016 at 8:09 pm

    So cute – “Where mine pockets? ” Love his confidence and observation!

    • Carie 02/09/2016 at 11:03 pm

      Oh he’s a bright little cookie – I could have retro-fitted pockets but I thought pink polka dots crossed the line into “I’m wearing my sister’s hand me downs” – and he does that often enough as it is!

  • Donna 02/09/2016 at 10:07 pm

    Oh that fabric is gorgeous! I love how unisex it is and how they all match without matching 🙂 x

    • Carie 02/09/2016 at 11:01 pm

      Thank you – it was such a “we have to buy this” when we saw it in the shop and I love that I have enough left that it will turn up in a few quilts in years to come!

  • Jemma@listoflovelythings.com 03/09/2016 at 9:23 pm

    Oh they are so cute! I love the fabric, such a fab choice. You’re a fab modern day Maria from Sound of Music making outfits for adventures- I love it!

    • Carie 04/09/2016 at 8:55 pm

      If only I could sing like Julie Andrews! I might be a bit short on the number of children too, and as my reaction to the idea of seven is much the same as Maria’s initial thoughts, I might have to do without a few!

  • Izzy 04/09/2016 at 12:55 pm

    That fabric is adorable! And you did such a great job with everything – I’m impressed with the shorts made without a pattern! 🙂

    • Carie 04/09/2016 at 9:16 pm

      To be honest it was a lot easier than I thought it would be – I thought I’d probably muck something up horribly along the way and I was amazed when they turned out to be cute!

  • karen 09/09/2016 at 11:48 am

    These are so cute, clever you. I really need to make more skirts for my girls as really enjoyed it. The fabric is soon pretty and love how all three are matching…gorgeous xx

  • Angela from Daysinbed 11/09/2016 at 4:12 pm

    those skirsts are so cool. I love them and the shorts as well. Really cool and cute. You really are very talented. 🙂 Angela Milnes

  • Hannah | MakeDo&Push 12/09/2016 at 10:54 am

    Oh these are just perfect Carie! How absolutely gorgeous 🙂 And Pip’s shorts!!!!!!

    Thanks for linking up to #FunkyKidFriday xxx

  • Ranee @ Arabian Knits 14/09/2016 at 1:07 am

    Those are adorable! I so wish I were better at sewing. I need a dedicated place to keep my sewing machine for that, though. So I can practice more.