Did you know that ‘ahoy’ could have been the standard greeting used for answering the phone? Alexander Graham Bell suggested it, but Thomas Edison’s ‘hello’ proved more popular (and let’s face it, Lionel Richie singing ‘Ahoy! Is it me you’re looking for’ wouldn’t have had the same ring). This evening I’ve got a couple of skirts to show you, one with a nautical theme, that I’m entering into the Monthly Stitch’s Indie Pattern Month New to Me competition.

Green chardon front

I’ve admired Deer & Doe’s patterns for a while and I bought the Chardon skirt and Datura blouse patterns last year, but I’ve only just got round to having a go at them. With the summer fast approaching, I wanted some new skirts that I could wear for work. The Chardon is perfect – it’s a simple design with inverted box pleats and optional belt loops that looks great in a variety of fabrics. So of course, I made two.

My first attempt is in a mint green cherry blossom print cotton I got from John Lewis which was part of its 150th anniversary range. I bought three metres at the time, thinking I’d make a flouncy dress with it, then changed my mind as I thought it was a bit too girly-girly for my tastes. Less is definitely more so using it for a summer skirt seemed a better option.

Green chardon back

I think I made the right decision turning this into a skirt rather than a dress. Girly, yes, but a dress would have been a bit too much for me.

I cut a straight size 42 and started to sew it up. For a beginners’ skirt, I thought the instructions were really clear, though a printing error in my English booklet meant that the steps appeared out of order. Luckily I could put my French degree into practice and work out what was going where (I don’t get to use my degree that often so this excited me quite a bit). However, I felt the instructions missed some things that would help take the skirt to the next level. For example, I understitched the waistline facing and the pockets so they wouldn’t peek out. I don’t think it’s so much of a problem with the pockets, but I could see the facing popping out all the time.


Here’s the understitching on the facing. I love the finish here – oh so neat and crisp!

I made a couple of other changes to the construction. I used an invisible zip as that’s what I had in and I couldn’t be bothered to make the bias binding required by the pattern, so I did a normal turned and stitch hem. Since I’m tiny it worked out well – turning the hem up by an inch or so took it up to the perfect length for me.

For my second attempt, I used an anchor print chambray that’s been sitting in the stash for about a year. I love this stuff – it’s super soft, but presses really nicely and holds the pleats really well. It also looks really nice from the inside – overlocked edges look crisp and neat, which just pleases me no end.

Anchor chardon front

A nautical skirt needs a Breton top to go with it, obvs. Here you can see that the pockets are sitting a bit higher. Much more comfy.

I made a couple of changes from my first attempt. I sewed the belt loops a bit too low down on the waist, so I moved these ones up a bit, and I also felt that the pockets were too low. With my arms straight by my sides I could just get my hands in them which didn’t feel comfortable. I moved them up by two inches and now they feel much more comfortable.

Anchor chardon back

The Chardon is a lovely skirt that I’m really going to enjoy wearing throughout the summer. The blossom print one will be great for work and the chambray version is a bit more casual so more of a weekend/holiday skirt. I’m particularly chuffed that I’ve managed to turn two fabrics from the stash into something I’ll get a lot of wear from. As a first taste of Deer & Doe, I’m pretty chuffed. Next stop, the Datura!

Belt loops and pleat tops

The pleats are stitched down to keep them in place.


A more general shot of the innards.

Anchor chardon salute

Yes. Well…


16 thoughts on “Ahoy-hoy!

  1. Leigh says:

    Both versions are lovely. I am in love with the chambray one though and it does go perfectly with your stripes.

    I’ve got some purple gaberchino in the stash that I think would make a love chardon but I’ve only got a metre of it so probably not doable.

    • Jo Laycock says:

      Might be worth laying your pattern pieces out on the fabric just to check – could be doable with the skirt pieces but you might have to do the facings and pockets in different colours.

  2. Caroline says:

    Hey these are superb. My favourite is your nautical chambray version and I suspect you will get a lot of wear out of these this summer (hopefully without the need for tights).
    I too have the Datura in my pattern stash and need to pair it with the perfect fabric for a top that isn’t a Scout tee!

  3. Jo Laycock says:

    Thanks! I wore the green one to work today without tights and I didn’t freeze!! Looking forward to having a go at the Datura – as you say, it’s nice to get a bit of variety from the Scout, and I have some small bits of lawn that would be perfect for a contrast version!

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