Have you ever found one pattern that you love so much that you just want to keep on making it, forever and ever and ever? As well as the Kielo by Named Patterns (which I have a genuine, concerning addiction to) it’s also happened to me with the Charlotte Skirt from Republique Du Chiffon. This is my third version – fourth, if you count the practice run that I made where the zip is too short and I can’t actually get the skirt over my bum.
As they say on Blue Peter – Here’s One (in fact, two) I Made Earlier:
(I’ve cut a matching cropped By Hand London Victoria Blazer to go with the red leopard skirt – YAS ?)
I scored this uber-luxurious piece of 100% cashmere from Holland and Sherry at the Great British Sewing Bee Live show (eugh, what a mouthful) last year – its 1m 20cm long and it cost me £65… which I know is more than a little extravagant, but I really, REALLY loved the colours in it. And it felt SO soft. (Though there is obvs some ethical questions to be asked as to the origins of the fibres and the current status of a probably very cold goat). After a little bit of deliberating and some encouragement from the Husbeast I bought the fabric and worried about the credit card bill later ?♀️ Full price, the fabric retailed at over £400 a metre (yep, I asked – I work in finance, what do you expect?!), so let’s not think about the price I paid – let’s focus on how much I SAVED, yah? ?
As if I hadn’t already done enough monetary damage, I spied a nice silky remnant in a coordinating colour for £25. It was a couple of metres long, and was actually ‘jacketing’ material but in my mind I saw it as lining for my cashmere skirt. Inspecting the fabric further, I saw that it was a jacquard-type fabric, made from wool and silk. At £125 per metre full price. Hmm. Was it a crime to put such luxurious fabric as a lining? I came to the conclusion that I didn’t care whether it was right or wrong, I was doing it. This skirt was quickly becoming the most expensive (at full price, let’s remember ?) and posh thing I’d ever made.
The Charlotte is a panelled skirt, three pieces for the front (centre and two sides) and four for the back. Closure is a centre back invisible zip. The waistband is slightly curved, so that you don’t get that annoying weird gap at the top of the waistband. It actually took me a VERY long time to figure out that this is why they curve waistbands. When I first started sewing I assumed that a waistband would be a big long skinny rectangle. Because, why wouldn’t you? Because that would only fit snugly around something that’s consistently the same width, that’s why. And natural waists tend to have a curve to them, so if you put a straight waistband around your waist you’ll probably find that there’s only one point at which it fits perfectly, and as you move up from that (ie heading to the narrower part of your waist) it’ll get looser and looser. It’s not until I really sat down to think about this that I understood, and of course once it dawned on me I wondered why on earth I hadn’t realised this before. That’s why my gathered skirts with the straight waistbands don’t actually fit me really well around the waist ? Prime example here:
It fits at the bottom of the waistband, but not at the top ? And here we have the wonderful curved waistband, snug as a bug in a rug:
My makes so far from the Charlotte pattern have been ‘winter’ versions from wool fabrics, without the pockets. I’ll be making some lighter weight and longer length (because I won’t be wearing tights) versions for the summer. I’ve already bought some black denim to make one from but am currently debating whether the fabric is too heavy for the invisible zip… the pattern does suggest denim as a suitable fabric, so I think I’ll probably give it a go and see if the zip is strong enough to keep my stomach contained.
As well as leaving off the pockets for all my winter versions, I’ve left off the topstitching too – but I’ll be putting this on the denim version though, along with the pockets. Denim and topstitching go together like peas and carrots, amirite?
The pattern as written doesn’t have a lining, but if you’re wanting to put a lining in to this skirt it’s real easy – just trace all the skirt pieces again (but cut both sets of waistbands from your main fabric), remembering to cut an inch or so off the hem to make the lining pieces shorter. Then assemble the lining pieces in exactly the same way as the skirt, and attach the lining to the bottom of your waistband facing. All that’s left to do is catch the lining down either side of the zip. Simples!
Talking of zips, the pattern calls for a 22cm zip but on my first version I found that this was too short to actually get the skirt over my (larger than I realised) bum. A 25cm zip works like a charm though.
Mini wave in celebration of my amazeballs seam matching ?? ??
Even though this is the third version of this skirt I’ve made, I’m nowhere near getting tired of this pattern. It’s definitely more of a ‘winter’ pattern for me as I don’t tend to wear shorter skirts in the summer (I get a bit braver with thick tights, lol). There is a longer length version in the pattern but I feel like it looks a little bit ‘mumsy’. I’ll give a couple of twill/denim versions a try to see how they work out as summer wear, but I do think this pattern looks really lovely in winter woollens.
It works really well with a lot of my wardrobe (because it’s burgundy, and pink/purple/red forms the basis of pretty much my entire closet), and it also coordinates perfectly with this super cool jumper that I snaffled from the Husbeast. Luckily we’re pretty much the same size – except I have boobs and he actually has some muscle to his upper arms – so what’s mine is mine and also what’s HIS is mine too when it comes to clothing.
This is the last make I photographed in Paris (so no more chic architecture pics – soz), it’ll be back to London pics for a while… we have an all-day photography sesh planned for a week’s time – there’s a couple of Kielo’s (yes – more than one), my Republique Du Chiffon Jolaine shirt (THE PIPING, OH THE PIPING), my first Ogden Cami of the year and even MY FIRST PAIR OF TROUSERS EVER. Exciting times, peeps.
It feels a bit weird to be posting a cold-weather outfit on a weekend when it’s actually proper warm here in London (for once) – but our weather has been SO cray-cray lately I’ve literally worn summer dresses and winter jumpers in the same week. Which is probably how I ended up with this wonderful cold I’ve had for most of the week, chugging Lemsip Max at my desk everyday. Never mind, it’s a bank holiday weekend and that means THREE DAY WEEKEND ??
Do you guys have lots of sewing planned? Is your summer sewing in full swing now? Are you participating in Me Made May? Chat to me in the comments!
Coming up next week on the Wanderstitch blog… my musings and ramblings on sustainability, finding time to sew, and the future of the Wanderstitch blog ? Subscribe below to make sure you don’t miss out!