Completed: The Charlotte Skirt

21 Jan

I always keep an on-going list of wardrobe staples (Cake, if you will) that I would like to get my sew on with. Knit dresses, a lightweight denim skirt, that cycling jacket, red straight-leg trousers (Sunni, I love you but I REALLY love your pants and I’m going to copy you aaand I hope that’s ok!), white tshirts… to name a few. One of the pieces that’s been on the list for the very longest was a red pencil skirt. I dunno why I’ve put this off for so long – red is basically a neutral as far as I’m concerned, and my wardrobe is quite lacking in pencil skirts these days. Sewing boring clothes can be, well, boring – but ain’t nothing boring about a handmade staple that gets the hell worn out of it all the time, amirite.

Charlotte Skirt
I did finally make that red pencil skirt, though.

This is the Charlotte skirt I was telling y’all about last week. It’s generously sized through the hips, so those of us whose hips don’t lie can still rock our pencil skirts with minimal size futzing and fretting. It’s like, living the dream. Oh yeah.

Charlotte Skirt
I went with the plain jane, no frills view as I really just wanted a plain ol’ red pencil skirt. I based my sizing experience off the Elisalex dress and cut a 6/10, which ended up being quite a bit too big and needed some shaving down the sides. Now that I’m looking at the pictures, I might need to adjust the darts for future skirts are there is definitely some slack chilling at the front. DAMMIT. It really doesn’t look that obvious in real life.

This is a very simple pattern to construct – there are only 3 pieces! I did make a few changes – shortened the hem by several inches (I think around 4″? Ladies, watch your petite selves – this skirt is long!), added a 4″ slit for walkability, and dropped in a full lining. Adding the lining was SUPER easy, by the way – I just cut out an extra front and back piece from the lining, sewed the darts and side seams as normal, and then dropped it in the shell of the skirt before attaching the waistband. As the skirt is wool (from the flea market, yeah!), it’s limited to winter wear which means tights – which means lining is a necessity.

Charlotte Skirt
I did have a little snafu with the sizing, once I put the waistband in. And by “little snafu,” I mean the skirt was too damn small and it measured out to like 2″ smaller than my actual waist measurement. WTF?! Fortunately, my zipper had giant seam allowances just hiding beneath the lining – as well as the waistband having a nice generous overlap for snaps – so 15 minutes of quality time with my seam ripper meant the skirt was saved. !!!

Charlotte Skirt
It does have a nice rear view.
Shit, I hope I don’t attract the Flickr weirdos with this picture.

Charlotte Skirt
It seems I have run out of things to say. Here is an artsy photograph for your consideration.

What’s on your staples-to-sew list?

65 Responses to “Completed: The Charlotte Skirt”

  1. Red Point Tailor January 21, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

    Wow! You are so creating and with so much energy! Great job! Keep on going. Maybe I will get some energy from you as well.. very needed during this long dark night πŸ˜‰

  2. Helen Made January 21, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

    This looks great – I’m with you about red being a neutral! I love a pencil skirt but they’re not the most practical for teaching elementary kids in, so more bias cut skirts and jersey dresses are on my ‘to sew’ cake list at the moment.

    • LLADYBIRD January 21, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

      Oh, I hear ya on that! Pencil skirts like this aren’t really much cake except for a job where you sit down all day… which fortunately, I do πŸ™‚ Jersey dresses are the best!!

  3. Bridget von Hammersnark January 21, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    How do you store all your clothes? I want to lurk your storage system o.o you sew so often and it seems like it’s all for yourself most of the time, so.. How do you not run out of space?! :O

    • LLADYBIRD January 21, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

      Hahaha weeell I have a dresser, an armoire, and a closet that holds everything in season. Off-season clothes are stored in boxes under the bed. I also purge my clothing quite frequently and I’m very relentless about what goes out!

  4. Sabs January 21, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

    Wow, that skirt is bloody gorgeous! I think it’s cake but WITH icing… Love, love, love. I need to make more pencil skirts too (and more basic work tops to wear with them). Can I copycat your red version pretty please? Thanking you!

    • LLADYBIRD January 21, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

      As long as Sunni lets me copy her red pants!! πŸ˜‰ HAHA kidding! Go! Go make a beautiful red pencil skirt of your own!

      • Fashionable Stitcher January 21, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

        Of course you can copy my red pants! In fact, I’m quite sure you’ll do a much better job than I and they’ll look sooooooo cute on you! Red pants – pffewww! They go with everything! I love them!

        Your skirt is darling and I love the high waist, red and all around “cake-ness” of this make. Making cake is good, especially when you know you’ll wear it all the time. Fabulous make!

        • LLADYBIRD January 23, 2013 at 9:11 am #

          OHHHH, you have no idea how excited I am to get your blessing πŸ™‚ Red pants twins, yeah!!

  5. Mary Elizabeth January 21, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

    Fab! I like and look good in pencil skirts, but they’re very much frosting in my life. I do a lot of swing dancing and ballroom dancing, so I almost always evaluate the danceability of potential clothing acquisitions. I recently made a Tiramisu dress with a full skirt and it was pretty damn perfect for dancing, so I can see more of those in my future. 40s and 50s vintage are totally cake for me. When I get back into teaching, 60s Joan and Peggy-esque stuff will be (and have been in the past) my professional cake.

  6. symondezyn January 21, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    I swear I’m not copying you, I SWEAR!! lol but a red wool pencil skirt is on my list too!! In fact it’s part of my current Sewing Plan (I have blog posts for proof!! LOL) I really love the pattern you chose; it has such a pretty shape, and I love the width (height?) of the waistband – lovely!! πŸ™‚

  7. gingermakes January 21, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

    Haha, I may or may not have a red version of this skirt cut out, but it’s a rusty, orange-y red, so no twinsy action here. I love this shape on you!

    • LLADYBIRD January 21, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

      Whatever, rusty/orange-y red sounds awesome so maybe I’ll just copy you! πŸ™‚

  8. Fwaire January 21, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    Wow it looks great! Aren’t seam rippers the greatest thing ever?

    You seem to make your pieces so quickly! How do you keep yourself motivated? I tend to get distracted and wander off to do other things xD

    Hopefully soon I can make some things as well as you.

    • LLADYBIRD January 21, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

      Forreal, my biggest motivation is the thought of actually wearing it! Haha! That definitely kicks me in the pants (sometimes too hard, as I get all caught up in wanting to finish and find myself cutting corners… I have to force myself to slow down). I also won’t let myself start a new project until I’ve finished the current one, so I don’t fall into the trap of having half-finished projects all over my sewing room πŸ™‚

      • Fwaire January 22, 2013 at 5:14 am #

        Ah that’s a good idea! I think I will definitely have to make more for myself, I went through a slump and have suddenly managed to drag myself out of it by starting a coat for myself.
        I do have far too many half finished projects though, I really must finish them :/

  9. twirldesigns January 21, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    Anything that is a knit! Skirts, wide leg pants, dresses and I really need to tackle some tops. Long sleeve tops since I always have trouble with sleeves being to short for my arms! I love pencil skirts and I have one that I’ll be making out of a knit.

  10. CherryPix January 21, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

    I’m whipping one of these up right this very minute! Some Black cake for me…then perhaps some Yellow…and oh, what the heck, some red cake (not red velvet cake …though that could be spectacular in this style…) Tasty πŸ˜‰

  11. Neeno - Sew Me Love January 21, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

    Stunning, absolutely stunning!

  12. Stephanie Hull January 21, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    A staple that I’m hoping I can sew for myself is a button-down shirt… I always have severe gapping problems with off-the-rack button downs because I, well, have outsized knockers, haha. I’m working on my first button downβ€”just cut all of the pieces out the other night!

    • LLADYBIRD January 23, 2013 at 9:03 am #

      Dude… once you get a good button-down fit (because I totally hear ya, RTW never fits me right either!), you will never ever go back. It will change your life!

  13. Aleksandra January 21, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    I’ve got a nice navy a-line skirt to sew. After that, I really want to make a denim skirt. My old one’s cut just isn’t doing it for me anymore. I think I might copy the denim skirt you did (hope you don’t mind!) I’ve got some solid-colored blouses to make, too.

  14. Jane January 21, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    Wow you are so fast! Every time I get a new post it’s like bam, another great piece of clothing. On my long list are a grainline moss skirt and 2 pairs of pants.

  15. Lizzie January 21, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

    Great skirt!
    I have just finished a denim patch pocket skirt, to be blogged later in the week and have cut out two more tiramisus, a black and a grey one. Good winter staples.

  16. Amanda January 21, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

    Dude- this is epic! Every lady needs some fierce pencil skirts in their collection. And By Hand London patterns are rad!

  17. Tugba January 21, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    Gorgeous! Love the colour especially. I actually bought some fabric of similar colour to this with the intention of making some trousers. I started second guessing my decision to opt for such a bright colour, but after seeing this skirt, I am definitely going to go for it! Thanks! πŸ™‚

  18. macstabby January 21, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

    Sooooo cute! I love pencil skirts; they make everyone’s ass look awesome, even if they have approximately zero ass (as I do). I’m currently making one of my own; you can NEVER have too many clothes that make one’s bumper look amazing. I’d also like one in red (copy-cat and not sorry) and leopard…and blue…

  19. CarolinasCallin January 21, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

    Nothing better than a great looking pencil skirt! Such a wardrobe staple – you can never have too many πŸ™‚ Love the red, and it looks great on you. Well done, and entertaining post, as usual!

  20. crystalpleats January 21, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    Lovely skirt, and the whole outfit is just perfect.

  21. Shar January 21, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    I’m making the Charlotte skirt right now. I was so excited to put in my first invisible zip! It was my second zip ever (my first one was during your Thurlow sew along). I love the skirt in red – very classy!

  22. six and a quarter January 21, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

    That skirt is perfect! I also have red wool waiting to be made into a fantastic pencil skirt, but since I currently can get away with jeans and sneakers at work, my staples-to-sew list includes middle of the road pieces that can be dressed up or down to (slowly) ramp up my work wardrobe. I’d feel like a fool showing up one day in a pencil skirt – let alone going back to jeans the next day because that’s all I have! haha πŸ™‚ working on it!

    • KristiEllKay January 24, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

      I want to make a denim pencil skirt for this exact reason! Ramping up the wardrobe, in baby steps =D

  23. Susan January 21, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

    I love the red pencil skirt! On top of my staples list is pants…I don’t care if their red, purple or green, I just have to get over my fear of making them! And seeing Sunni’s red pants did provide further motivation.

  24. Scruffybadger January 22, 2013 at 1:10 am #

    Another awesome make ( I feel I may over use that adjective with everything you make, need thesaurus clearly….next time, I promise you novelty, but it’s your fault clearly for making such lush clothing) anyway, I’ve made 2 charlottes now but not the plain one, so I LOVE seeing your longer version. I had to cut heaps off the length of mine as being a bit short I feel long pencils need heels, and I rarely wear them ( practical walk to work), so am really enjoying the longer length. I have to say, on red as basic, I wear my red trousers to death ( when it’s warm enough). It was a revolution appreciating that red a. Goes with so much and b. doesn’t make you feel ‘look at me I’m wearing something really bright’. Looking forward to yours….thurlow or clover?

    • LLADYBIRD January 23, 2013 at 9:05 am #

      Thurlows! I am going to try to merge the legs with the shape of the Clovers, tho, so we’ll see how that turns out πŸ™‚

  25. Anne W January 22, 2013 at 2:33 am #

    Love the colour! And actually like the shape of the skirt, now that there are no frills in the way. Good job!

  26. Joelle January 22, 2013 at 3:28 am #

    Girl, look at your amazing curves!!! That skirt really brings out the sexy in you, in a totally lady-like way. I would make that skirt in a second, without thinking twice, had I not found the perfect pencil skirt pattern (for me) in gerties book. Serious curves there too!

  27. Kay January 22, 2013 at 3:39 am #

    I am working on adding more Thurlows into my wardrobe, along w/ some nice skirts, and tops. I work in a very conservative office environment, so I cannot get too crazy πŸ™‚

    Your skirt is very pretty. I do have several pieces of red clothing.

  28. Lynne January 22, 2013 at 3:39 am #

    This is gorgeous!! I think this is the first Charlotte I’ve seen without the peplum or frill. I like the frill, but as someone else who’s hips don’t lie (love that!), a peplum is not for me. And why cover up the lovely double darts?!

    • LLADYBIRD January 23, 2013 at 9:06 am #

      Right? The double darts are my favorite part!

  29. Elisalex - By Hand London January 22, 2013 at 4:13 am #

    It looks great! That red is absolutely perfect – I might have to copy you too! I can’t even tell you how many of these I’m racking up, and Sabs is right – a good pencil skirt is cake and icing all in one.

  30. sewbusylizzy January 22, 2013 at 4:49 am #

    Sensational! I love this – does it really use up as much fabric as the pattern states?

    • Shar January 22, 2013 at 10:53 am #

      I found that it didn’t. I was originally going to make the plain version for my muslin and got the yardage for that, but was able to cut the ruffle as well.

    • LLADYBIRD January 23, 2013 at 9:08 am #

      Not if you’re cutting a smaller size and hacking off the length, it doesn’t! I did cut my wool in the original size and length, but didn’t cut the lining until after I adjusted the length and side seams. I only used about 5/8 yard of lining, so yeah! Pretty economical! I reckon the waistband does eat up it’s own bit of fabric (and the waistband wasn’t part of my cutting layout), but do play around with the pieces to see how much fabric you’ll actually need. Definitely not 2 yards, though.

  31. Casey January 22, 2013 at 6:35 am #

    Woah–hot stuff! πŸ˜‰ lol. Love the pencil skirt and in RED! I so often just daydream about making colorful “basics” like that, and instead end up with black and grey. :p Need to get my butt in gear post-baby and make a bright pencil skirt for next winter. πŸ˜‰

  32. Maggie January 22, 2013 at 7:03 am #

    A pencil skirt for curves?! Yes, please! I have to say that the pictures from their website didn’t do the basic skirt version justice (or maybe I did not like the fabric they used?), but your version definitely makes me think again! Great job!

  33. angela January 22, 2013 at 8:03 am #

    Love the red skirt! I may have to add that to my list of staples. It is just so damn cute! I think I need one. Great job. It looks amazing.

  34. katieinthemuseum January 22, 2013 at 8:35 am #

    I love the pencil skirt. I don’t usually wear skirts, but my housemate wears them all of the time. Maybe I will suggest the pattern for her.
    I usually sew casual dresses, which I wear all of the time. It’s casual tops (to go with jeans) that are on my staples-to-sew list. I was thinking of making the Printed Tunic from the Jan 2013 Burda as my first foray into these. I think I am a bit scared to dive into the world of knits, especially since I have a cheap ass sewing machine (Go Ikea!). More things to attempt this year!

  35. kelli January 22, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

    looks really great on you. i have the pattern and want to make it, but am scared that it won’t flatter my boxy frame.

  36. tracy January 22, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    Lovely skirt, looks good on you x

  37. Law January 22, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    This skirt is awesome! This may be the perfect pencil skirt for me as i have curves in spades!

  38. Toni January 22, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

    Question on the darts – do you just lengthen them to get rid of the puckering? I just did that on a brick red pencil skirt I just made and it seemed to work but I wasn’t sure if that was the technically correct thing to do. Also, didn’t line it and now I’m thinking I will have to go back and do just that! Being lazy in the beginning makes more work at the end!

    • LLADYBIRD January 23, 2013 at 9:10 am #

      Yes, you are correct. The puckering is there because there is extra skirt fabric fullness that my body doesn’t actually fill out… so lengthening the darts takes some of that fullness out. And I hear ya on being lazy! That’s kind of my mantra, when I catch myself trying to cut corners πŸ™‚

  39. landgirl January 22, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    Yes I would really like to ask about getting rid of that excess fabric too, please post if you manage to fix it. I did a grading for a pencil skirt adding around 4 inches to the vintage 50s pattern. I have the same issue as you with more fabric than I need to the lower front. I am thinking it needs to be taken in a the sides but perhaps the darts are the issue. It is three pieces and has two darts front and back with a side zip.

  40. Jane January 22, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

    That skirt is gorgeous! I was planning to make a winter-weight pencil skirt in corduroy to go with my summer pencil skirt, but I find I don’t wear skirts often enough in the winter to justify it.

    My wardrobe staples list is a lot of tanks to layer under cardigans. I also want to learn how to start making my own work pants, someday.

  41. Sewing Princess January 23, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    I want to make that skirt too! Looks great on you. Thanks for the petite advice!

  42. Susie Homemaker, MD January 23, 2013 at 11:57 pm #

    Love your skirt! And thanks for the info on the pattern fit. I agree that red is a neutral — I would wear it everyday if I could get away with it. I am hanging on to some red wool crepe and think I might make up Gertie’s Wiggle Dress out of it…

  43. Tasha @ By gum, by golly! January 24, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    Yes yes! This is a great red and perfect cake! And the shape looks great on you! I totally agree that red is a neutral (I think yellow is too). I need more red since I claim it’s my favorite color. lol On my to-sew-very-soon-rather-boringly-staple list is a red wool skirt (need fabric) and a brown wool skirt (also need fabric, drat). And blue cord trousers with fabric I bought when you were here! πŸ˜€

  44. kit9957 January 25, 2013 at 11:21 pm #

    its adorable! And i love the color!


  45. missjoiedevivre January 31, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    Wow, beautiful!

  46. Stacy @ Stacyverb February 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    Fantastic silhouette for a skirt, and definitely a staple. I agree, red is totally a neutral! I’m gradually making my way through my list of staples I want to sew. Up next will be a snake-print pencil skirt. Snake is a neutral, right?


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