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the Good Times Skirt | the inspiration

Enjoy to the Good Times | the inspiration

As always it started with a conversation with a friend. This one was about how clothes and fabrics remind us of points in our lives, how they become part of our history and our identity.  The clothes you remember having a good time in. This skirt became one of those items. I have been wearing this skirt for over a year, more like 18 months, road testing and tweaking as I always do. Slow fashion at it’s finest and of course, it continues our ethos of making well thought out practical patterns to fill a need in your wardrobe for many years to come.

I was inspired to make a denim skirt based on my original favourite that I bought from the gap in 2001 (still wearing it – just – ’tis a smidge snug), and the fear that it would wear out and then ‘WHAT WOULD I DO?’. It is a traditional 5 pocket western style (like jeans) but it was very long, to the ground (on me) and straight with a big slit in the front to just above the knee so it was possible to walk. Very dark, unwashed denim. In the sale £9.99. It went in the drawer, came out, went back, it just wasn’t quite right. Eventually, I chopped it off to knee length, used the spare fabric from the bottom and put godets in the side to give a bit of flare so it’s now a very gentle, slim, A-line. And I have worn and worn and worn this skirt. In true jeans tradition, you can’t get much in the pockets. And I really wished it had a bit of stretch for extra comfort, you know? But of course, we can always improve a favourite, so say hello BIG GINORMOUS pockets!

Its very first official outing was a trip to Paris in January 2018 with friends to see the original Dior exhibition – last year was the year we all turned 50.

Then it came on a trip to New York – still celebrating turning 50 – with Mr.M. I’m actually wearing the same skirt/boot combo right now as I type this, a whole year later.

Then it sneaked into my case to visit Berlin. This has been one well-worn and well-loved skirt.

I should mention that at 5’2″ I’m on the shorter side for modelling, so I chopped my skirt off. I encourage you to do the same and make your skirt the way you like it, so you’ll keep wearing it. There are shorten/lengthen lines on the pattern if you are finishing your hem with the contrast facing, but for the raw edge hem option I just cut it off after making (you can trim the frayed white threads if you prefer).

My Good Times skirt has made several city trips, London, Birmingham … Ikea, Coventry. It’s done a shift at Sewing for Pleasure back in March because I needed to use those pockets and I see many more sewing shows in its future! This is a good practical skirt with pockets that can hold a big mobile phone and a travelcard and keeps your hands free. All without fear that they will fall out of your pocket and be lost forever on the underground. What a relief. Every time I wear this skirt, I do indeed have a good time.


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A Little Inspiration and Philosophy

Do you ever wonder where the inspiration behind a sewing pattern comes from? Ideas can literally come from anywhere and everywhere. I mean, who hasn’t followed someone around a supermarket to get a better look at an interesting pocket or seam? Old films from the 50’s and 60’s are a constant source of joy for details and silhouettes. All of the little ideas just get tucked away subconsciously until it’s time for them to come into the daylight. You see, to be creative you have to put something in for something to come out. You have to take notice of the small stuff, the unusual colour combinations in the most random place, a shape, a silhouette of a shadow. Don’t just look at clothes, just look. Once you start looking at things with the eyes of a Maker, everything becomes a potential.

And then, of course, you find a fabric. Designs for me are often a response to a fabric…what does that cloth need to become? How will it drape? And this stripe was just begging to be made into a chevron. I made this skirt way back in 2014, when only the idea of Maven existed (the fabric was from John Lewis, but sadly no longer available). The skirt eventually developed into our Barcelona dress pattern. The Barcelona pattern was only released this year but she actually became a dress pattern in 2015 and gained her name when I did the classic make a last minute dress for a trip to Barcelona. I like to give the patterns time to develop naturally. We personally wearer trial everything so we know it works in the real world. I want garments in my wardrobe that are flexible and solve problems, not create them, not just for today but for years.

But above all for me, this quote by William Morris has resonated within my design work from the moment I first heard it. It made sense of my natural desire to make for purpose and practicality. I believe a garment has to meet the criteria of longevity and to function well within a wardrobe and within a lifestyle if we are to put the effort and time into making something. If we are going to use resources, we need to make consciously with a view to loving each garment for a lifetime. Here at Maven, that really is at the core of what we believe. 

The French Dart pattern as a top | The Barcelona pattern as a skirt

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Inspiration – The Kitty Dress

inspiration | the kitty dress

inspiration | the kitty dressinspiration-the-kitty-dress

Inspiration | The Kitty Dress

Just the loveliest little bit of sewing inspiration for the Bank Holiday Monday .

Mandy has embroidered roses on her Kitty Peter Pan collar….and they are so perfect!

I have had a plan to embroider a Kitty collar for months, so I’m basically living through someone else’s sewing right now!

Thanks to Mandy for sharing her work in progress, I can’t wait to see the finished collar.

Follow Mandy’s progress through her Instagram @mandycan42

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Pattern Magic – an experiment



“Garments we design ourselves appeal to the emotions as well as the eye.

Unexpected shapes and forms can be converted into flat patterns and ultimately into garments. From this new ideas develop, making the process a rewarding one.

I want to copy forms and details that I create unexpectedly onto a flat surface to understand their structure as a pattern.

Patterns are like documents that describe a garment, conveying its structure more eloquently than words. They can even convey the thoughts of its creator.”


Author and creator of Pattern Magic | Professor at Bunka Fashion College

Inspiring and thoughtful words.

The following samples are the result of a workshop in 3D pattern cutting that I attended a while back, and taken from the cult Japanese book Pattern Magic 2.

I’ve had the Pattern Magic books for a few years, and looked but had not really given them the time they deserve. These shapes have played on my mind for the last few weeks, a pattern cutters mind is always trying to find a parallel between creativity and practicality. I’m curious now as to how this little experiment will inform future designs. I’ve found, over the years, patience is usually the key for me. Ideas tend to fight their way to the top and escape when they’re ready and when I’ve made a little space for them.

In the mean time I’m happy with these little toiles and the time taken to play.


NYOKITTO | at the front


NYOKITTO | at the front


NYOKITTO | at the back

further links:

Pattern Magic Community

Pattern Magic: the books