By Hand London: Charlotte Skirt

I am a sucker for a pencil skirt. Always have been, might always be. They are just so sensual and elegant and impracticable, that they are hard to resist. They work for so many occasions and you can dress them up or dress them down. I have tried many different pencil skirt patterns over the years, trying to find the great oracle, so when I first saw the By Hand London Charlotte Skirt pattern, there was no doubt in my mind that I would try this baby.

Working in my Spring 2019 color palette, I found this lovely cotton poplin on Mood. When I received it, it was a little lighter weight than I was expecting, so I decided it is definitely going to need an underlining. I believe the underlining will give me just the right amount of coverage, so all my lumpy bumpy bits stay only for those a little closest to me to view. I have also lined the skirt and added a kick pleat for a little bit more modesty.

I made a second in a floral print from the Wildwood collection by Rifle Paper Co.

The directions on this skirt are great. By Hand London is a pattern company out of the UK. I appreciate that they have both the metric measurements and the imperial measurements. The pattern fit beautifully. I am on the shorter side, so I had to shorten it by 6 inches, but the circumference measurements were perfect. I took about 3/4″ in at the hip,but everything else is as out of the pattern

I lined the skirt with an old bed sheet that had a little whole in the corner. The fabric was still super soft and there was a huge amount of good fabric. I bagged the hem, for a clean finish. I hand closed the slit in the back though. As I was sewing the skirt, I got over excited and closed the slit in the back. When I tried it on, I quickly realized that walking was going to be an issue. No big deal when you have a seam ripper. With my trusty unpicker in my head, I got to work. I left a 5″ slit up the back and clean finished it by hand. I went with an invisible zipper. I also went a little crazy with the snaps. I put three in the waistband closure. I was considering four, but that felt like overkill.

Over all, I love this sew. The skirt is easy to wear and a quick little sew. This pattern, without a doubt, will be a stable in my sewing wardrobe.

Happy Sewing!

xoxo Kathryn

Sew Over It: Betty

The other day, I was in an Instagram rabbit hole, where I stumbled upon a fellow sewing instagramer who had made the cutest summer dress. It was just the garment I was craving to fill my closet. The photo is tagged as a “SOIBetty”, so I did what any reasonable person would do and binge watched the Sew Over It You Tube channel. I feel a little late to the Sew Over It Party. I did not know what I was missing! After watching video after video of Lisa Comfort do everything from introducing her new patterns, to walking to work, I decided this little lady was so adorable I had to try one of her creations.

The Pattern

I downloaded the .pdf Sew Over It Betty dress and put the pattern together as soon as my two children, Queen B and Little Coyote, would allow. I cut out the what I would call the size 11. I was between the size 10 and the size 12. At the first muslin fitting, I made my standard fitting updates to the bodice. I usually have to narrow the shoulder, shorten the front armhole, adjust for a fuller bust and length the front body. I also took off about 7 inches from the skirt. These are all standard updates for my body shape.

 I made one additional change to the pattern, by adding a cut seam at center front of the skirt. I chose one of the Rifle Paper Co. fabrics with a subtle directional print. Due to the circumference of skirt the layout would have had the flowers growing sideways at center front. I typically don’t read the instructions, but as I was waiting for the pattern to print, I gave them a read through. They were all very clear and the pictures were detailed. I loved working with this pattern. With the basic body fit changes I made, it fit very well. It is also a lot of fun to wear. I feel feminine, summery and fun.

The Fabric

The fabric I chose for this make is Cotton + Steel Rifle Paper Co Amalfi Herb Garden Navy. At the time of writing this, there is still some more available. In the description, the fabric says that it is a “navy”, but I see a lot more green in it than you would see in a true navy.

The Process

I decided to do an underlining in a basic cotton muslin. I like the feeling that an underlining gives a garment. It just makes the body feel more substantial and durable. I did not line the bodice, but instead finished it with the facings included in the pattern. Since I was not lining the garment I added a large facing to the hem. Since the skirt is so full, there is a lot more opportunity to see in inside of the skirt as I walk or even just sit. This gave it a much cleaner look and added a fun, secret pop of color.

This dress is a little different than most that I have made or purchased, but I love it. I can see myself wearing it summer after summer.

Happy Sewing!

xoxo Kathryn