Pattern Review

The Kelly Triplets

I bought the Kelly Skirt pattern back in August when it first came out. I was attracted to the styling and versatility of the pattern and I have not been disappointed!

Creative Counselor: The Kelly Triplets

This skirt is super flattering on so many body types. I see pictures of Kelly Skirts on women of all shapes and sizes and every one of them looks good. The high waist and pleats make is pretty much universally flattering and slimming.

Needless to say, I love my Kellys! This first one is really my muslin. It’s made in an uber soft denim that I picked up at Joann’s last spring.

Because this was my muslin, I had the most sizing issues with this skirt. I originally cut the pattern pieces in a size small (either because my waist measurement was off or I was being overly optimistic–not sure which). After I attached the waistband, I realized there was no way I could comfortably fasten it, so I ripped it off and cut a new waistband that was 2 inches longer. The new waistband fit perfectly!

Creative Counselor: Kelly muslin
Pink pearl snaps on the Kelly muslin

I do not particularly like the snaps on this skirt. In practice at least. Maybe it’s because I lengthened the waistband but just eased in my skirt pieces, but the front tends to gap a bit between snaps. This might also be because the snaps allow for no movement up and down in the skirt pieces as I move. Not great with a skirt–I’d rather not flash anyone!

This green one was my first “official” Kelly skirt after the wearable muslin. I love everything about it!

The fabric is just a kelly green cotton twill from Hancock Fabrics. I bought it with a different project in mind, but I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a kelly green Kelly skirt! I lengthened the waistband piece by 2 inches from the small (it’s basically a medium, I just didn’t feel like tracing new pattern pieces), and added 1/2 inch to each skirt piece. I also used buttons instead of snaps on this one, which I like much better.

Creative Counselor: Kelly green Kelly
First “official” Kelly skirt

My only issue was on the top skirt (ie not waistband) buttonhole. All the folded fabric was so thick that it didn’t move we’ll under my buttonhole foot so it’s not pretty. But it works!

Creative Counselor: Kelly skirt
Kelly back view

As soon as I finished the Green Kelly, I started on this Plaid Kelly. This one I totally changed up.

First, the main fabric is a wool blend, so to avoid scratching my legs all day long, I made this skirt fully lined. It’s bulkier than the others, but so comfy and silky smooth against my skin. The main is a brown plaid tartain poly-wool blend that I got on Etsy. I actually purchased the fabric to make Albert a new Christmas stocking (and I will get around to that!), but the piece was large and I knew it would make a fantastic skirt! The lining is a vintage cotton lawn from my mom’s old fabric stash. It’s really, really soft, and I swear I remember this fabric from my childhood.

Creative Counselor: Plaid Kelly
Lining and snaps on the plaid Kelly

I also changed up the opening, as you can see. I cut the front skirt piece on the fold and cut two back pieces. Instead of a button placket, I installed an invisible zipper in the back, which is very nicely sandwiched between my main fabric and lining for a clean finish.

I also lengthened the waistband by an extra inch and added a button to keep the waist closed. I realized after I’d worn it a few times that while I adjusted the skirt pieces to omit the button placket, I failed to adjust the length of the waistband in the same way, so the waist is a tad loose on me. Oh well, I still love the finished look!

My original plan was to make the Plaid Kelly midi length, but it was very obvious that wouldn’t work. The skirt is too full and I am too short for a midi length Kelly Skirt. Rather than looking cool and stylish, as I had envisioned, it looked like a dumpy librarian skirt.

Nothing against librarians (I know several very well), but Marian the Librarian before Harold Hill showed up is NOT what I was going for.

I shortened the skirt by 5 inches from what I had originally planned (making it only 1 inch longer than the pattern as drafted) and the effect was more Catholic School Girl rather than Marian the Librarian. Much better.

Pattern: Kelly Skirt by Megan Nielsen

Size: M (see above)

My Current Measurements: Waist — 29.5; Hip — 38″

Modifications: Varied with each skirt. See above for details.

Physical pattern: Megan Nielsen’s physical patterns are the BEST EV-AH! The art is darling, she includes variation ideas at the end of each pattern booklet along with a place for notes on each version you make, and … there is no tissue paper! The pattern is on a lovely, thick, sturdy white paper. That is great for those, like me, who trace their patterns because the lines are really easy to see and trace, and makes for a much sturdier and more durable pattern for those who cut their patterns.


  • Very flattering silhouette. Works on pretty much any body type.
  • Quick, easy sew.
  • Easy to fit — get the proper waist measurement and you’re good to go.
  • Easy modifications give a totally different look.
  • Pattern paper and booklet are really easy to work with.
  • Instructions are great.
  • I love the method for attaching the waistband — really easy with a great result.
  • Nice, big pocket. I love pockets.


  • Lots of buttonholes. I finally figured out my buttonhole foot, so I didn’t have too many problems. But the fabric at the top of the placket near the waistband is pretty thick so that buttonhole is a little funky.

Overall grade: A+. This has all my requirements for a great pattern–flattering on all body types, great physical pattern, easily and effectively modified, and a quick and easy sew. This is already a staple, go-to pattern for me!

** You may notice that I generally tend to give patterns pretty high overall grades. I rarely use “big 4” patterns (though I have a ton), and I don’t buy patterns that I don’t anticipate loving, so I doubt I will give low grades very often. And if I can see I’m going to hate something, I don’t finish it. I don’t have nearly enough sewing time to waste it on garments I’m not going to like or wear.

4 thoughts on “The Kelly Triplets

  1. Ack! Why didn’t I know you had a sewing blog as well?! I love your Kelly skirt minus the placket. Looks so good in plaid. The other ones are great too, goes without saying 🙂

    1. I haven’t linked here from the other blog in awhile. I probably should. Glad you found me though! The plaid is my favorite Kelly too. I might just wear it tomorrow!

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