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…




For the Love of Leftovers!


I did originally go back and buy another metre of this lovely fabric (John Lewis January sale) with a yet anotherΒ Mabel in mind. But when I got it out again I realised that if I didn’t bother with any pattern matching, I could easily run one up with the lovely leftovers from my Megan dress, thus leaving an intact metre for something else…

In case you haven’t come across this pattern before, it’s a super easy knit pattern from Colette. I cut a size S, and version 3, but this time omitting any kind of back vent. This made for a much neater shape (kinda wishing I’d left it off my others) and an even quicker make πŸ™‚ I had a long strip of fabric left over, so rather than return it to my stash, the obvious solution was yet another infinity scarf: super cosy for the continued, cold weather we’re experiencing. And really satisfying using up every last scrap of my original purchase: there are some benefits to being a shortie and always having to cut loads off the length πŸ˜‰


Both incidentally completed on my overlocker. So used to it by now that I almost forgot to mention it, which has to be a good thing πŸ˜‰


An Overlocked Mabel


Sorry, I’m so wrapped up against the cold, (four layers and counting), that I’ve almost totally obscured the actual skirt in the first image above. We haven’t gone much above 2 degrees for about a week now and apparently it’s hanging around for a while longer yet…

This is the third Colette Mabel I’ve run up now. See here and here for the first two, but the first using my overlocker. A pattern that was simple and that I was already familiar with seemed the obvious first choice πŸ™‚ And do you know I’m now officially one of those people who can say I ran this up in under an hour?! Woo woo! Well, excluding the cutting out. I know that generally I’m trying to slow down with my sewing projects, but sometimes you just need a quick fix, and this was mine.

This is a really simple skirt to run up. Excluding the reinforced stitching along the top of the back vent and the hem, I managed to complete it all on my overlocker πŸ™‚ You can probably do these bits too if you’re prepared to switch needles or threads etc, but this was enough for me for now. And I didn’t want my sewing machine to feel too neglected…


I bought the material from Leon’s in Chorlton. It’s a very fine, dark grey stripe, which was a step up from my cheap, scarf fabric, but not too much so, just in case. As before I cut a size S and added an extra inch or so to the length. The slicing action of the blade was a little nerve-racking to begin with, but the professional look it gives your innards (which I’m attempting to show above) is really satisfying. My machine doesn’t have a ruler guide as my sewing machine has (and the overlocker I used on my course), so I will have to be careful of this on future makes.

I was interested to read Zoe’s review of this pattern, where she questioned the purpose of the back vent in a stretch skirt. My previous two did lie pretty flat once pressed, but this one (presumably because it’s a slightly thicker fabric) proved trickier. Next time, as Zoe recommends I might omit this vent totally.

And here’s one I made earlier, and have now fixed with the addition of a zip! Much more practical to get on and off… Thanks, as ever, for the great advice πŸ™‚

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