By Hand London Charlotte Skirt


It’s true what they say on The Great British Sewing Bee about solid colours showing up all the tiny faults. I was so pleased with this when I’d finished it, but trying to photograph it really did show up every small flaw… Oh well, it wasn’t made for photographing, but for wearing…

This is the second of my wardrobe gaps projects. I’m trying to be far more focused this year on ensuring that whatever I make actually gets worn. I’m not doing too badly so far, but then again, it’s only February…

I knew that this was going to get lots of wear, so I spent a little more (Β£11 per metre) on my fabric than usual (although I’m unfortunately getting a real taste for nicer fabrics). It’s from John Lewis and is labelled as ‘stretch suiting’ which sounded perfect for creating a little more ‘wiggle-room’ in this pattern. It wasn’t Β the most exciting fabric purchase, but I knew that it would earn its keep in my work wardrobe.

I cut a size 10 as I’ve sewn twice before. Because it was half term this week I was forced to make this skirt up piecemeal-style, in between getting jobs done, days out with the kids and just relaxing. I was itching to spend a whole afternoon on it, but it wasn’t to be…

I sewed in the darts (twice, first time they ended up totally mismatching, grr…) and attached the front to the backs on my regular machine, before switching to my overlocker to finish the seams. This is the first time I’ve done this on a woven make, and I was ridiculously chuffed with the professional finish it produced πŸ™‚ The invisible zip went in easily enough, but I had to unpick the back seam, as I’d created a bubble just under the bottom of the zip.

The lining came together just fine. I’d forgotten how much hand sewing was involved in this make, but my new sewing wax made this a much less frustrating process πŸ™‚ However when it came to sewing the inner waist band, I just couldn’t muster up the energy, so I carefully pinned it and stitched in the ditch instead. This was so much quicker and easier, and to be honest, both looked fine and felt a whole lot more secure than my hand stitching ever does! I hemmed it, added the fastening: a fancy, large, furred hook and eye. But of course I sewed it on the wrong way round… Second time lucky!

I then stood back and admired my handiwork. I felt so pleased with this, even promising myself that I’d never need buy a RTW pencil skirt again…

But then I tried to take my photos… On the hanger at first, but my second attempt at getting my darts to match, although better than my first, clearly still didn’t entirely match. And on the back, my second attempt to rid myself of that annoying bubble, again although better than my first, still didn’t look entirely neat 😦 Once on, it looked a whole lot better, I guess we look at the ‘whole’, rather than the smaller details of an outfit. It’s not perfect, and now I know all this, I’m not quite so convinced that I won’t ever need to buy a RTW pencil skirt again, but it’s pretty close. And at least I have a nice outfit planned for the first day back at work, which goes some way to ridding myself of the back-to-school-blues…




30 thoughts on “By Hand London Charlotte Skirt

  1. Very nice! Charlotte really seems to be a cracking pattern! And rest assured, nobody apart from you will see all the “faults” you see! And by the way: Even on the Sewing bee the judges aren’t what they once were, don’t you think? They even passed a decidedly wonky seam as “almost very straight” the other day. Shocking! πŸ˜‰

  2. We can’t see the minor faults, it looks like a classy RTW skirt, buying better quality fabric has really paid off. Have you had a look at the free zip Craftsy class? Everytime I insert an invisible zip i always have a quick peak at the lesson just to make sure I do it right, especially the bit at the end of the zip where you got your bobble. Now you need a little jacket to match – what about the free pattern that’s come with this month’s love sewing mag?? βœ‚οΈπŸ˜€βœ‚οΈ

      • I did consider using a shorter zip, but think it probably wouldn’t show half as much with a more ‘patterned’ fabric. It’ll still get worn lots though and no fellow sewers at school, so who’s going to notice? πŸ™‚

  3. Such a great fit on you which more than makes up for tiny errors which only you would notice anyway – when was the last time you checked someone’s darts to see if they were perfect? There’s nothing wrong with adapting pattern instructions to your way of working. Stitching in the ditch is a professional finish – RTW waistbands aren’t stitched by hand!

  4. You are very sensible making something so…. boring. Not that I don’t like it – I hope you know what I mean. You will get a lot of wear out of it so well done you!

    • I know exactly what you mean, and it was the least interesting fabric purchase I’ve ever made πŸ˜‰ But I did look closely and get something with a little stretch, it’s not just any old black, don’t you know! πŸ™‚

  5. It looks very professional – well done you. How did you find sewing in black on your eyesight? I have some black twill I was going to use for some Ultimate trousers for work but each time I pick it up I put it away again because I can’t see it properly. That is either down to old age or imagined because I would really rather be sewing with patterned fabric!

    • It wasn’t the most exciting of makes, but satisfying putting the lining in and stitching in the ditch. To be honest, I only really sew in natural daylight as my eyesight so bad these days. Might be worth investing in one of the special lamps… Next Christmas?

  6. It looks great – I certainly can’t see any flaws! I’ve got this pattern but haven’t given it a go yet. It would probably be a really good pattern to practice fitting with (something I’m trying to work on this year) but I don’t really have an occasion to wear it! Might try it just for fun anyway!

  7. Despite your alleged ‘issues’ it looks really good on you! I love the length on it as well, just covers the knee but yet quite an alluring silhouette! Right i am off to look at the Charlotte pattern…..

  8. It’s such a lovely shape on you – really suits your figure, and I think it looks very professional too. Have to agree with your comment above about the BHL instructions for invisible zips – I have to refer to my Anna instructions every time I put one in. They’re the only ones I’ve come across that I can get my head round!

  9. It looks great and certainly gives a lovely silhouette! Although it’s ONLY a black fabric, you can tell that it is of a decent quality. I find that a dash of piping or binding on the inside keeps me focussed when using plain fabric. I’m just a sucker for pretty fabric designs – I can’t help it!

    • Thank you, and that’s a really good idea. I think I need to get myself a book on finishing techniques. Although I’m getting a lot better, some of my items still feel a bit too ‘handmade’ πŸ˜‰

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