MIY Fishtail skirt in denim

So it started in Brighton. I was lucky enough to meet some of the local sewing crew at the Fabric Godmother’s open day and amongst them was the very lovely @Diannebowles (on Instagram).

Fishtail skirt

As is often the case with sewer meet ups, we were talking fabric and sewing plans and ogling each other’s outfits and Dianne was wearing the most impressive skirt.  I’d go so far as to describe it as a super hero skirt- with secret magic powers. From the front it looks like a well fitting A line denim skirt, but get behind ( Ie give it a phonebox) and POW you’ve got something awesome going in  the way of a fishtail!

Fishtail skirt

Upon further discussion I drew a comparison with the Tapton skirt I’ve made in jersey  (top tip – it’s available with the current issue of Love Sewing Magazine!) and wondered how I could translate that pattern to make with a woven….it turned out that this skirt is also from Wendy Ward, the creator of the MIY wardrobe patterns (Make It Yourself).  Therefore I got in touch with Wendy to ask her my question……

She came back to me with the offer to let me have a copy of her book, The Beginner’s Guide to dressmaking by Wendy Ward, from which the skirt pattern comes from, to giveaway to a lucky reader ( *more on that in blog post next week*) plus a review of this book and the patterns within will follow as part of the giveaway.  But this is how I managed to make my very own fishtail skirt…

fishtail skirt

The principle is much the same as the jersey version- the front is in fact your standard A line, and the back is cut twice, as mirror images, as it is wide.  The skirt also has waist facings- the  Tapton has a yoga style waistband.

fishtail skirt

SORRY! Blubber ahoy

So constructing this skirt is a bit counter intuitive- you think you know which seam you’re sewing, but actually you might be creating part of the fishtail and leaving the hole that becomes your waist … It’s all dependent on sewing to the large dot. Get that right and you’re ok.  A beautifully draped fishtail results at the centre back of your waist.

fishtail skirt

Looks not very much like a skirt doesn’t it?

The skirt is fastened with an invisible side zip and I have to say, it’s pretty invisible.  I ALWAYS line the seam allowances of my zips with a strip of fusible interfacing and I swear this helps with a better finish…

So the waist facing brings the waist under control- with the extra weight and bulk of the fishtail, the waist facing succeeds in smoothing it all out and helping it to stay as a regular waist oval.

fishtail skirt

All of the sewing up to this point took next to no time.  What took me a couple of hours was the hem.  Wendy suggests a bias faced hem as some of the hem is visible in the fishtail and this is the perfect opportunity to flourish the odd peek of something purty ( or ‘party’ as spell check wants me to write and it’s quite an intelligent suggestion. )

I made my own bias binding out of an old IKEA Rosalie pillow case, which took some time, granted. The attaching of it around quite a long hem took even longer, with two passes – first to attach the bias to the right side, second to secure it to the wrong side.  And with a couple of right angle corners to negotiate as well.

fishtail skirt


But ain’t it just the bomb? I love it.  Dianne was looking at other types of fabric for another very same skirt at the Fabric Godmother open day.  It was a printed denim. That would be so cool.  But it’s the kind of pattern that suits all sorts of fabrics by my reckoning, fabrics with a little bit of weight as this is an a line skirt you’re making. But what a secret superhero.

fishtail skirt

Come on, did you spot the cat mirroring my poses?  Did you also enjoy seeing that my washing line is usually full of stripes ….and the garden chairs are in odd places propping up fencing that has been blown down by the winds …

Catch more about the Beginners Guide to Dressmaking next week when I’ll be running a giveaway. Check out Wendy’s blog at where you can get more MIY (Make It Yourself) news, fixes, tips and inspirations.

6 thoughts on “MIY Fishtail skirt in denim

  1. PsychicSewerKathleen

    Love your skirt! It’s so cute but that CAT was really the crowning glory of your pics 🙂 I’m always on the lookout for something different which I’m sure a lot of sewers are and this skirt wins the day. It looks very cool with your leggings and flats. It’s all a fashion statement I love.


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