Hot! Gilding the Lily

The Facts

Fabrics: 2 metres of Anna Marie Horner ‘Hugs and Kisses’ by Westminster Fibres.
Year: 2011.
Pattern: My well loved Simplicity
Notions: Interfacing thread and zip from stash.
Time to Complete:  About 7 hours.
First Worn: In these pictures.
Wear Again: Of course!
Total Cost: Fabric £25, can’t remember how much I paid for the original skirt I cut into, but it wasn’t much.

I’ve had my waterlily for 10 years.  Plenty of lily pads, but no flowers … This year, perhaps because of the incessant rain (?)  I have enormous lily pads and what’s that hiding under a pad – a flower bud!

I’ve been so excited and monitoring its progress.  The plant itself came from the museum where I used to work. There were some building works involving the removal of a pond and I was lucky to get a cutting of the waterlily that was there. Rumours were that the original came from Monet’s garden at Giverny … but I’ve no idea if that is true. Romantically, I like to think that it is! Anyway, look what’s happened …


So how does this fit in with my sewing project? … Well, given my penchant for lilies, I spotted this skirt in Monsoon a couple of years ago. It was waaaay beyond what I would consider paying for a cotton skirt, but it did come down in the sales. Only trouble was, there was just this one left when I got there, not in my size and with a broken zipper. I got it at a snip and have been wondering since how I could make it fit so I could wear those gorgeous gold embroidered flowers … I suppose they could be chrysanthemums too, but for the purposes of this project, I like to think of them as lilies.

I don’t know why I didn’t think about it before but my solution has been to make an entirely new skirt and then applique the lilies back on. I actually like it better now because the backing fabric I’ve used is a far better quality than the original and I like the style of the skirt now too. I also like the name of the fabric, ‘Hugs and Kisses’ by Anna Marie Horner for Westminster Fibres. The little round ‘O’s also look like lily pads, and along with the ‘X’s’, they are in exactly the same colour as the original backing fabric of the lilies, so they tone in nicely with it. I had to buy it new, because it would have been difficult to find such a good match by accident.

I started by cutting around all the big flower shapes.

















Then I arranged them all over the front and back pieces before sewing up the skirt.

















They were easy to machine on once I’d pinned them, tucking under surplus border fabric as I went along.















I’m really happy with the finished result …



Diane has sewn all through life but gave things a serious go at the beginning of 2011 and during the year took part in 50 Sew Weekly challenges. She now wants to expand her knowledge and learn new techniques in each project she completes, as well as develop a style of her own and a sense of quality over quantity. She studied print design some years ago and a love of unusual prints and colours underpins her work. Currently, she works full time dealing with copyright issues and previously, she managed photographic sales for a leading fine art museum. Diane is so grateful for the friendship, support and encouragement she has received from the Sew Weekly community.


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  1. Good solution to making a garment work for you! Love the flower applique.

  2. Nice job Diane. The skirt looks super cute on you. Lillie’s are gorgeous, I saw a beautiful display at the Bronx Botanical Garden, the photographers were in a frenzy to capture ashot.

  3. Diane,
    I can not tell you how beautiful this skirt is.. Looks terrific on you and what a great job on the embroidering that you put on your new skirt.Such a great idea, too.
    You really had me curious, as to what the lily pad photo [on your blog] had to do with this challenge.. That was a good one…your right..we would NEVER have guessed,ha.
    Happy sewing.. and your out fit looks great. A beautiful garden behind you too.

  4. Oh that’s a great way to make the skirt work (I know what you mean about Monsoon’s prices!) and the fabrics match so well! Beautiful lily too- at least all this rain is making someone happy…

  5. Very pretty skirt! It was very ingenious of you to cut them out of the original skirt and make a new one to display them on. Well done!

  6. What a great way to use a good idea but make it so much better! And how exciting that your waterlily bloomed – they are one of my favourite flowers.

    • I can think of all kinds of possibilities for this kind of thing now Leimomi. I’m sure there is a name for this kind of applique, but I can’t recall it at the moment. Great way of stretching out some precious fabric.

  7. The perfect lily skirt to watch your gorgeous waterlily bloom. You did a magic job!

  8. Genius thinking dianne – well done and worth the effort to use something you really love.

  9. Thanks Trish – was a bit in the doldrums and this project really cheered me up!

  10. So that’s what you were up to! It looks lovely! I remember that skirt in Monsoon and was really confused at first as thought you’d managed to find the exact same fabric to make your version!

    Your water lily is beautiful, so glad it’s finally flowered for you! Nothing worse than waiting year after year for a plant to flower!

  11. Oh that’s so pretty, what a marvellous save. That was so clever of you to take a punt on that Monsoon skirt and make something even more wonderful. And that water lily flower is lovely. I’m sure it’s from Monet’s Garden :)

  12. I’m sure it is too and guess what? There’s another flower bud come up! Thanks Tempest.

  13. I love that you ultimately got the skirt you wanted. And that it now fits you and no longer has a broken zipper. Very clever!