Domestic Goddess

Advance warning: this post features pictures of me in a skirt, with bare legs. I can assure you, this doesn’t happen very often. In fact, hardly ever.

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I dunno whether it’s because I’m really just not a skirt person, or if it’s because all the weight I’ve put on over the last year has gone to my legs (yep, for real), but I just feel meh every time I put on a skirt. I see the appeal – cooler in summer, your thighs can be free rather than squeezed into jeans that have ridiculously small legs, and it’s just something a bit different to jeans. But I just struggle to find ones that I like. Pencil skirts are too corporate. Mini skirts are just indecent for someone with my thighs. Longer skirts make me look like my mother. Floaty summer skirts aren’t really my style. And let’s not forget the fact that any comfy skirts (that is, ones with an elasticated waist) WITHOUT FAIL will ride up to the narrowest point of my waist – just below my boobs – making me look like a frumpy grandma. And it’s for all those reasons that I don’t wear skirts (oh – and one more reason that I forgot: RTW skirts that fit my waist do not fit the aforementioned thunder thighs. And vice versa).

But this one, this one, has jumped all of those hurdles and made its way onto my body. In public, as well 😱

It’s the Republique Du Chiffon ‘Jupe Charlotte’. (Disclaimer: The pattern is only available in French. but if you’ve got a basic knowledge of how a skirt goes together you’ll be fine. Scouts honour.)

I’d made a few of these skirts in the shorter length, for winter. They’ve all been made from gorgeous autumnal woollens so far, but as I like the cut of the shorter skirt so much I wanted to make some that could be worn throughout the rest of the year. As in, without tights – which means CONSIDERABLY LONGER.

Blog posts for these skirts here, here and here 👀

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I don’t very often make things in plain black fabrics. In fact, I almost never do that. But sometimes, you have to bow down to the Gods Of Coordinating Separates. Patterns do not go with other patterns All. The. Time. Sometimes you need a plain top or bottom to balance things out. (Balance? What’s that? I live by ‘more is more’)

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I bought a couple of metres of black stretch denim from Fabric Godmother to batch-make a few plain black items. While the fabric itself was a good thick, hard wearing denim, after I pre-washed it, it came out with loads of white crease lines on it 😒 After being told by some lovely Ladies Of Experience that this was due to a variety of factors around the washing process (too high a spin, washing machine too overloaded, drying with creases in it, not ironing it as soon as it comes out of the machine) I decided not to complain to Fabric Godmother – as it seemed to have possibly been my fault – but I was still a bit miffed over the whole thing because basically, my entire piece of fabric was now useless because it looked shite.

I mean, look at those big ol’ ones running diagonally down the left hand side of the zip 👀

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But, I had planned to make the skirt, so I was gonna make the skirt. This girl ain’t a quitter.

You get three different length options in the Charlotte pattern, but because the skirt sits so high on me (it sits on my natural waist, but that is pretty high) the shortest length is just indecent and I won’t ever be making that one. It’s basically a pole dancer’s belt.

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The middle length is what I’ve used so far for the woollen versions (and even that’s pretty short), and I wanted somewhere in between this one and the longest version so I traced the longer version and lopped off 1.5 inches, hoping it would be about right. It was 🙌🏻

Looking at the aforementioned (and super obvs) white streaks on the fabric, I wondered what I could do about them. I thought about making a ‘vintage design feature’ out of them, y’know, like a ‘worn denim’ kinda thang, but there wasn’t really enough of them to carry that off. The best option seemed to re-dye the fabric, but before I resorted to that I thought I’d piece the rest of the main body of the skirt together and bung it back in the machine. I may have been clutching at straws, but I was kind of hoping that there was still a bit of dye to come out, and if I washed it again, this dye would leak out and cover the white bits. I promise, there really was logic in there 🤪

So back in the machine it went. When the cycle had finished, I immediately slapped the fabric on the ironing board, whacked the iron up to the max and got those creases out. I then hung it on the line to dry out.

I noticed two things when I went back out later to get it in:

  1. The white creases remained the same, so that second wash achieved absolutely nothing 😒
  2. The hem of the skirt, which was unfinished when it went into the machine, had frayed itself and looked pretty damn cool.

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I decided to finish the skirt, still clinging on to the hope that it would have a ‘vintage’ look to it with the creases (ha, FOOL) 🤦🏻‍♀️

The skirt pattern goes together really easily (and pretty quickly, too). Plus it has a slightly curved waistband, which fits us curvy gals SO much better than a rectangular one. You just gotta remember to identify – and label – those skirt pieces correctly (they’re in French, remember 🇫🇷) so that you get all seven pieces in the correct place 😳

There’s plenty of opportunity for topstitching, if that’s your thang. Usually, it’s mine, but I haven’t actually gone for much on this one – I think I was too preoccupied with scowling at those bloody white lines on the denim.

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(if you get the joke, we need to be friends in real life 🤪)

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This is the first version of the skirt that I’ve put the pockets on – they went on pretty easy (they are overlaid on the skirt body), and that curve in the corner looked ok, but when it came to doing the first line of topstitching, well the whole thing looked a bit crap after that 🙈 Turns out my curve *wasn’t* so good after all 😖 Ah well, I wasn’t gonna unpick it. I feel like maybe I should have traced it/chalked it/basted it or something but to be honest it just felt like a massive faff and winging it seemed much more appealing. That’ll learn me 🤦🏻‍♀️ The second line of topstitching went on ok (I followed the curve of the first one) so I decided to just roll with it. I’m proper critical of the wobbliness of my topstitching, but let’s be real – who in real life is actually going to inspect it and go ‘oh – your stitching’s all over the gaff’ 👀🤷🏻‍♀️

Nobody, that’s who.

And if somebody does, they will just be shot down with THE STARE.

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I put a lining into this skirt – as I’ve done with all the others – but FYI the pattern isn’t written with one.

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It’s super easy to add one though – just recut all of the skirt pieces in your lining fabric (except a little bit shorter) and instead of stitching down the waistband on the inside, attach the lining shell. Then all you need to do is anchor down the lining either side of the zip and  – SHAZAM! – lining complete 🙌🏻

I managed to squeeze into the skirt for these pictures in NYC (despite the many, MANY large meals I’d eaten since our arrival) but after a few wears on that holiday, the invisible zip has started pulling away from the seam. And I haven’t worn it since, because I’m even heavier now than I was then. I tried it on the other day, just to see if I could get in it – and I couldn’t. I could get it on, if I wiggled my bum at the same time as pulling it up, and could get the zip done up most of the way, but it wouldn’t go that last couple of inches. To be honest, the skirt is PROPER tight at the waist and I really should have made a size (or two) bigger, and I also just don’t feel that an invisible zip is quite the right weight for a heavy denim skirt, even if it fitted properly… it just feels so flimsy in comparison to the weight of the fabric. I think I’d look at either a lapped zip for the next one or even an exposed metal zip. Probably the metal one 🤔

We’ll call it a toile. Not a wearable one, because my fat ass doesn’t fit into it anymore, but a toile. I like the style and shape of the skirt. Even if, one day, I actually manage to lose some weight and get back into it, I wouldn’t want to wear it because of the zip issues, and those bloody white lines all over the show. Plus the belt loops were a shambles – I made the mistake of not including enough slack in the belt loops to actually fit a belt in (or indeed allow them to lay flat, the waistband is a little bit folded because they’re so tight 🙄), something I realised when it was way too late in the process. The loops are sewn (as per the instructions or not, I can’t quite remember now) into both seams on the waistband – whereas they are usually sewn into just one of those seams and then bar-tacked down at the other end.

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I’d like to put a bit more topstitching on the skirt the next time around – I feel that the waistband is just a tad bare. Same for the belt loops. I want it to be a bit more jeans-y. The pockets are a bit baggy at the top opening as well – perhaps I should have stretched them a bit when sewing them down.

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It’s a shame that the skirt didn’t quite make the grade, because I got the waistband seams on point 🧐

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But all is not lost –  this skirt has helped me figure out that I don’t mind so much the heavier weight skirts – I’m not really into floaty, lightweight skirts (especially ones with gathers), but it seems that a firm, structured skirt (as in a denim skirt) has more chance of being okay. I feel like maybe this one is a tad… plain though, so I’m looking at other options.

I’ve just bought the Salida Skirt from True Bias, in the hope of using it as a base to make something successful. I really like the triangular yoke –  I’m thinking of maybe a leather yoke, or perhaps some embroidered fabric instead… dunno yet 🤔Screenshot 2019 06 14 at 20.08.31

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It has a back vent, which I’m not keen on (reminds me of those awful wool pencil skirts that women in corporate offices seem to adopt as their uniform, usually with low-height square block heels, eugh excuse me while I vomit 🤮) so that will probably have to go. But I think it’s got potential – I’ll give it a go, at least. I want to make another one of these longer Charlotte skirts, but I need to find some good denim first (as in, NOT BLUE, not slubby denim, and not lightweight chambray – proper jeans denim). And I need to retrace the pattern pieces (and then add on the seam allowance because it doesn’t come with it, KILL ME NOW) for a couple of sizes bigger.

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So we’ve now been cycling to work for four weeks, and I’ve lost a grand total of three pounds. THREE POUNDS. I feel this is in no way representative of my effort levels with regards to the actual exercise or my diet. We live up a damn great hill, so the journey home from work is basically like cycling up Everest. And I do that four days a week. Plus I’ve been sidestepping the curries and pizza and all the other stuff that smells really good in the canteen at work and heading for the chicken and salad. I’ve been eating such things like leaves, and colourful vegetables, and all those other things that they tell you are healthy and good for weight loss. Yeah, my arse they are – THREE SODDING POUNDS is all I’ve got to show for my efforts. Plus I’ve still been doing two weights classes a week at the gym in which I lift really heavy things, sweat out a good litre of fluid, and spend an hour feeling like I’m on the verge of cardiac arrest. Clearly, I have a medical problem somewhere because obvs I should be looking like an elite athlete by now. My legs are usually ruined by Wednesday morning, but I soldier on and get my bum on the bike and cry my way to work thinking about the weight loss I’m not getting despite adding six hours of cycling into my week. Dunno why I bother, I may as well sit my fat ass on the train and inhale a croissant – seems I’d get the same result 😒😒😒

I’m sure it never used to be this hard – I used to cycle five days a week a few years back and don’t remember it being this savage. Well, I guess I’m heavier now so maybe that’s a factor. Or maybe it’s my age (it’s downhill after 30, right?). Or maybe I should just quit my whining and be ‘patient’ 🤣

One thing that’s a bit – unfortunate shall we say – about having this blog is that when you put on weight, you’re reminded about how much lighter you used to be both by All. The. Photos. that are on here, and the fact that when you go to put on those same clothes now that you see yourself wearing in photos from last year, they don’t fit 😫 Those bastard Clothes Shrinking Imps have snuck in during the night and made everything smaller. I’d wait up overnight to kill ’em, but y’know, I’m too tired from my Tour De France training 🤣

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So please excuse me, but it’s nap time now.

Laters ✌🏻

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Next week on the blog is my version of the controversial Bionic Gear Bag… Subscribe below to have it drop straight into your inbox! 🙌🏻

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20 Comments

  1. Haikine Natacha
    June 16, 2019 / 8:04 am

    Shaun of the Dead, is it? Love this movie! Feels like you need a big hug right now so am sending you a virtual one with a kiss 💋
    And if you are wondering about a possible medical problem, why not go to the doctor and have some blood tests?
    I know what it feels like to not feel entirely positive about our body so hope you find your balance soon.
    And I love the skirt!

    • Sarah
      Author
      June 18, 2019 / 7:54 pm

      Yes! It is Shaun of the Dead! The bit where they are singing the tune from ‘White Lines’ by Grandmaster Flash 😂
      Thank you for the virtual hug 🥰 Ahh I’m just so annoyed that I seem to be putting in all this effort and not seeing results from it 😫 weight loss is harrrrrrrd.
      Thank you so much for the positive vibes 😘 I am actually really happy with how the skirt turned out, I just need to remake without the lines and in a bigger size!
      💕

  2. Fiona in Aberdeen
    June 16, 2019 / 8:20 am

    Well done! It’s a great length of skirt on you & the shape does suit you well. Your legs look very presentable too. I have cyclists’ calves though I never get on my bike at all. I’m very short so I need to keep all my muscles in a very small space!
    As regards weight, my sister tried a no-sugar/ no-flour diet which seemed a bit extreme (alcohol contains sugar, so…!) and a TON of veg at every meal. It really worked and we’re both a good bit older than you, but think of it this way, if you are exercising you have probably exchanged a load of fat for muscle which weighs more, as we all know. So you are probably on the right track and so much healthier for it. Also, what the heck, you make your own clothes and are not bound by shop sizes anyway!
    Loved this week’s insights into how not everything always goes right. Thanks for that wee dose of reality!

    • Sarah
      Author
      June 18, 2019 / 8:02 pm

      Ahh thanks Fiona! 😘 I do really love this skirt and will defo be making another – it’s a rare thing for me to find a skirt that I like! I think about 90% of my weight is in my legs 🤔😂 They’re proper chunky!
      I did the low carb diet for a bit a couple of years ago (so no sugar or flour either) and it was actually really successful – so much so that I’m thinking of going back on it, because it was the only diet I’ve tried where I wasn’t hungry as well! Usually I’m hungry like ALL. THE. TIME. 😨😂
      I think it’s important to share the fails as well as the successes – nobody’s perfect, after all! Sewing is just one continuous learning process for me. In fact, I’ve almost finished a jacket for the husbeast, for which I cut out those little tab-things that attach around the wrists and on the shoulders. I sewed them together, put in buttonholes and everything – and then forgot to attach them into the seams before sewing the coat together 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️ Ah well. I weren’t gonna unpick it 🤷🏻‍♀️😂 I’m just gonna leave them off – they were optional anyway, so I’ll just pretend I never intended to add them on in the first place 😂😂😂

  3. June 16, 2019 / 8:45 am

    You’ve probably converted fat into (heavier) muscle especially with the weights. It will also cause your body to change shape so don’t despair! You’ve probably got some powerful ass muscle going on now. I’ve had that experience with denim, and it has put me off it a bit. The skirt does look great on you so just put your big girl pants on and make a larger size that will show off that powerful ass!

    • Sarah
      Author
      June 18, 2019 / 8:04 pm

      Well that’s what I was thinking, perhaps I’m swapping fat for muscle, but my clothes aren’t any looser 🤷🏻‍♀️😂😂😂 I think about 90% of my weight is in the muscle in my legs and bum 😨 In fact, my massive arse is probably why my jeans aren’t getting any looser, come to think of it 🤔 I am defo gonna remake the skirt in a bigger size though, don’t worry about that 💪🏻 (might have to do a full bum adjustment at this rate though 😂)

  4. Bren Holmes
    June 16, 2019 / 9:45 am

    Three pounds off in 4 weeks with all that muscle building exercise is simply MARVELLOUS darling! You look good now, even if you don’t feel it.
    I love your skirt and am tempted to make the Salida and put some embroidery on the yoke. I like sewing with and wearing denim, but have had the same experience with the streaky lines at times. I’m not convinced as to the laundry techniques being responsible.
    I’ve made several Bionic Gear Bags, one for myself and a few for gifts, which were well received. I’m interested in your take on it. Roll on next Sunday.

    • Sarah
      Author
      June 18, 2019 / 8:07 pm

      Ahhh thanks Bren 😘 I was kinda hoping for like seven pounds in four weeks though 😂 Hmm perhaps it was (in part) the fabric then – I was totally cross about it though! Ooh you’ve made a few Bionic bags? It’ll be good to get your insights on it! I’m thinking of making the Sew Together bag as well, just to see how they compare…

  5. June 16, 2019 / 10:39 am

    The shape of the skirt really suits you. Call this a trial run and have a go at it again. The weight thing? Don’t obsess about it. You look really nice and don’t stress about what the weight scales say. I always say it’s a good day if I can get out of bed and get my trousers on! I do enjoy your blog, you encourage me to keep plugging along with my makes. When things don’t go quite right we can call in a learning experience and we will do a better job next time. Practice makes perfect and all that sort of thing. Look at the stuff in the shops, I see lots of sewing “boo-boos” there too! Trouble is, when we make stuff ourselves we are too hard on ourselves. Happy sewing!

    • Sarah
      Author
      June 18, 2019 / 8:14 pm

      Thanks Susan! I’ve think I’ve actually finally a skirt shape that I like! That’s a big thing for me 😂 I think I will call this a trial run, I definitely want to make another one as I often think about wearing it (but can’t get my massive ass in it 😒).
      You’re so right, some of the stuff in the shops is a right shambles – yet I’m so hard on a bit of my own wobbly topstitching 🤷🏻‍♀️😂
      I’ll keep plodding along at the weight loss, I’m sure it’s heading in the right direction (albeit at a snail’s pace!). And if I can’t get my trousers on, I’ll just wear a Kielo 😂😂😂

    • Sarah
      Author
      June 18, 2019 / 8:15 pm

      😁😘

  6. Miriana
    June 16, 2019 / 6:03 pm

    If you’re trying to get smaller, don’t weigh, measure.

    • Sarah
      Author
      June 18, 2019 / 8:15 pm

      This is true… I was trying to measure on how much looser my jeans are fitting, but they are still just as tight 🤷🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️😂

  7. June 16, 2019 / 6:27 pm

    I’ve had that happen to denim fabric as well! Washing the finished garments inside out really helps, and if you want to avoid this during prewashing you can always run a basting stitch along the selvedge with right sides together and throw it in the wash like that.

    The skirt looks good on you! And I agree with what others are saying, you’re probably gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time, so while the numbers on the scale might not be amazingly impressive you’re actually doing really well. Keep it up, and I hope you feel better about yourself soon!

  8. Rebecca
    June 17, 2019 / 2:29 am

    Girl I’m happy when I can heave my bodacious behind out of bed never mind get on a bicycle & pedal anywhere so your definitely ahead of the pack & body wise you look great. If mine looked as good as yours I’d be amazed & tickled pink.
    I add a cup of white vinegar to my fabric wash, then shake out each fabric before tossing in dryer – dry to just damp stage remove it then shake & press. If it’s a dark fabric I add an old ( odd ) white sock or white face cloth along with the vinegar.
    Prevents bleed thru, running, fade & softens the water. My grandma used vinegar in her wash so I do to. I also use it in with sheets, towels & unmentionables

  9. Elizabeth
    June 17, 2019 / 4:00 am

    Hey Sarah you look great in your skirt. I agree with others fat to muscle plus you’ve got a brilliant waistline

    • Sarah
      Author
      June 18, 2019 / 8:19 pm

      Ahh thank you Elizabeth! I’m definitely going to make another, this one is destined for the recycle pile but I do really like the style. My waistline in these pics is being aided by the really tight skirt waistband 😂😂😂

  10. Elisabet
    June 18, 2019 / 12:35 pm

    Perfect lenght! And as sewists we know that it is not the weight that matters, it is the measurments. Will go and take mine now, 4 months after giving birth and I bave high hopes of being closer to my fave pattern company standard measurments!

    • Sarah
      Author
      June 18, 2019 / 8:24 pm

      Thanks Elisabet! That was what I was kind of taking heart in, but my jeans don’t actually feel any looser either 🤷🏻‍♀️😫😂 I’ll keep plodding on with it, I’m sure that on some level it’s working 🤞🏻 Congrats on your little one, and I’m sure there’s no doubt you’ll be back where you want to be soon 🙌🏻😘

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