The Perfect Length

One of the best things about learning to sew your own clothes is finally getting clothes that fit you. Well, most of the time! I’m clearing choosing to overlook my last make 😉 Being five foot two and a very important half inch, never is this more true than with length.

I forced myself to do a mini-wardrobe-clearout over the weekend. I do a full one every six months or so when I swap over from my Winter to Summer wardrobe (or vice versa). I always have to assure my husband that this is perfectly normal behaviour, the half of my wardrobe not in use being carefully stowed away in airtight boxes in our garage. He’s not convinced, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who couldn’t possibly have everything out at once, unless anyone’s lucky enough to have a walk in wardrobe or dedicated spare room for just this purpose. Sigh, maybe one day….

Anyway I came across three skirts that I hesitate over every time. All RTW, here they are…


From left to right we have vintage Boden (I’m emotionally attached to this as I wore it to my wedding rehearsal and I remember the vicar commenting on the print. It’s our tenth anniversary this week so it’s pretty darn old). Second up is a never-been-worn M and S pencil skirt which I love, but just haven’t got round to altering as it’s clearly much more fun creating something new from scratch 🙂 And lastly a vintage Reiss skirt I purchased from eBay, which much though I love the heavy fabric and tie detail, is also seriously unflattering.

All they each needed was shortening. I seriously can’t believe I wore the first, it’s such an unflattering length on me! Anyway I forced myself, and them, for the chop! The most flattering skirt length on me is about an inch above the knee. I can go a bit shorter in Winter with the aid of opaque tights, but anything shorter on me for Summer I know, just won’t get worn.

Sticking carefully to my ‘I must sew slower’ mantra, I carefully pinned each skirt to the correct length, measured, chalked, cut, then copying the original hemline technique, finally hemmed. All three were lined and two involved handsewing to create a blind hem, so the overall effort required was pretty time consuming, but worth it to get three perfectly wearable skirts for free. And handsewing in the afternoon sun is surely not the worst  way of spending an hour or so?



And here they are post-chop! Not the most exciting of sews, but I’m sure I’m still learning something just examining and then duplicating different hemming techniques. I’m also seriously loving using my recently discovered ‘over edge foot’ which I now feel I’ve mastered. The Boden ‘Bon Voyage’ print was just too pretty to get rid of, so I sewed up a quick headscarf for my daughter, loosely based on Tilly’s Brigitte scarf.



She was clearly pretty pleased with it 🙂 What’s your perfect skirt length?


13 thoughts on “The Perfect Length

  1. At 5.2 myself just above the knee works for me best. Great idea to save those skirts, they are all lovely and even though like you I prefer to make from scratch, a hem is still a bit of work but the outcome is worth it. Your daughters scarf looks lovely.

    • Thank you. Certainly not as much fun, but more practical and very ‘green’. Pleased with Wren’s scarf, she’s worn it again this morning. A great way to use up leftover fabric.

  2. I did this exact thing last year with two skirts. One was given a whole new lease of life, one still remained unworn, so this year it was culled! It’s really satisfying isn’t it?! x

  3. I do the summer/winter switchover!! There’s just no space for it all!
    I love that you will now wear all three skirts. Boring jobs but fantastic results! I’m 5ft 6″ so would rather wear skirts longer… Not such a straightforward alteration!

  4. What a simple but brilliant post!

    My (as yet unblogged) experience of Sarai’s Wardrobe Architect series revealed that, at the exact same height as you, I love really full or dirndl skirts either on/just below my knee or mid thigh, but really fitted skirts need to be on my knee or preferably just below!

    I really think the fit and flare of a skirt influences my preferred length 🙂 x

    PS Great to see you on page 21 of the latest Love Sewing!

  5. You are definitely not alone with the clothes switch. I do exactly the same but store my alternative clothes in my son’s wardrobe, my daughter’s wardrobe and my husband’s – which of course makes me very unpopular but as I do all the laundry round here I think I’m entitled! Great work on your skirts as well. Sewing isnt all about new stuff from scratch and having clothes that fit just right is a great self confidence boost I think. Happy sewing!

    • Love your line of argument on this one! I also do all the washing, although strangely it’s one of the few household chores I actually enjoy! And emboldened by your admission, I’m going to admit that I actually have a whole wardrobe full of clothes, my ‘work’ wardrobe housed in my son’s room. At the grand old age of eight, even he already shakes his head, raises his eyebrows and admonishes ‘Mummy…’ at this 😉

  6. Pingback: ‘Making it a lifestyle’ | navybluethreads

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