Sunday 10 February 2013

A Charlotte Skirt

I've been following (as closely as possible!) the By Hand London Charlotte Skirt Sewalong and just about finished my trial version in time for Tuesday's press night of the show I've been working on. The fact that I wore it to press night kind of proves how happy I was with how it turned out!

I really enjoyed the step by step process of the sewalong, it slowed me down and stopped me from making the silly mistakes I make when I'm just trying to get something done as quickly as possible. The girls at By Hand London included some great tips and tricks in their posts and explained each step in just enough detail to be helpful. I can't wait for the Elisalex dress one now, I've got fabric ready and waiting!

I chose to use some stash fabric for my first attempt; even though I was itching to use a beautiful brocade. It's a fairly fine teal denim with a little bit of stretch which I picked up for probably about £2 a metre on an early fabric shopping trip to Walthamstow market. I think it worked out pretty perfectly for this skirt as the pattern recommends quite a heavy weight fabric, even an upholstery fabric. It holds it's shape nicely and the darts went in like a dream. However it does also like to hold it's creases and wrinkles so excuse any you may spot in the pictures, I have pressed the life out of it really!

I cut a UK 10/US 6 based on the waist measurement; I was a little bit between sizes but decided to err on the side of caution and go bigger rather than smaller. I ended up taking it in a fair amount down the sides to get a nice shape. This may be partly due to the fact that the pattern is designed to fit a curvy lady who likes a little more ease around the hips but there is a bit of room around the waist too so I'm tempted to cut a size smaller next time. However the next bit of fabric I've got in mind I'm a bit to precious about to risk making a sizing mistake on so I'll probably stick with the 10 as taking it in was so easy to do as you went.

I absolutely love the fit of this skirt. Considering it's a pencil skirt I feel really comfortable in it and it sits really nicely. I think next time I'll try to consider more carefully as I'm taking it in down the side how i want it to fit. This time I did take care to make sure the amount was even each side but I think I should have continued this down to the hem rather than just around the hips as this version slightly looses it's pencil shape here. I do really like this on this version though as it means I can still walk easily without needing to add the back slit and that makes it slightly less dressy I think. There are also a few wrinkles across the front of the skirt due to bad fit which I think are hard to erase completely when making a pencil skirt but I'm hoping to adjust the fit slightly to reduce this affect next time. Any ideas how?!!!

This skirt was my very first attempt at inserting an invisible zip and I bought an invisible zip foot for my machine specially for the occasion; I think I knew I was going to love this skirt and be making a few! The invisible zip foot was an absolute REVELATION for me! I was really apprehensive about this technique but with the foot (and By Hand London's tutorial of course) I found it the easiest zip I'd put in so far. So neat and the sewing machine foot does all the hard work for you basically!

I added a big popper (I could probably get away with a MUCH smaller one to be honest, haha!) to fasten the flap at the back of the waistband. Initially I added a button to the top of the flap as a pretend fastening as suggested in the sewalong but then I realised in this plain fabric I really wanted the option of wearing a belt with it too so I took the button off.

Overall I absolutely love it and can see me getting a lot of wear out of it. I've already started my next one! I'd love to try a peplum or hem ruffle version and was sorely tempted this time but I just didn't think it would look right in this denim. I also think I wouldn't get as much wear out of it with these design details. It would be much more of an 'occasion' piece and I'm really trying to make more items that will get regular wear. I can't wait to see what patterns By Hand London bring out next!


  1. Your skirt is gorgeous!! And your invisible zip looks great. This pattern is on my "to buy" list along with the Elisalex dress. Good luck with your dress. :)

    1. Thank you, I think I'm going to put invisible zips in everything from now on!
      I can highly recommend the purchase of this!

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you! Got my brocade one almost finished, just need to wish for a break in the grey weather around here now!

  3. The skirt looks fantastic :)

    1. Thank you! I've just been over to your blog and am so impressed with how good you are at sewing at your age!

  4. Wow! What a fabulous skirt. It suits you so well, and it looks really nicely made, too.

    I did order the Charlotte skirt pattern before Xmas but By Hand made a mistake and sent me the Elisalex pattern instead (which I haven't made yet, though I have the fabric set aside). I would still really like to make the Charlotte skirt.

    Thank you for your comment on my dress!

  5. Thanks Alice! I've almost finished my second version in a lovely broacde, can't wait to show you all!


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