A Little Luxury

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 ?)

Red Leopard wool Republique Du Chiffon Charlotte Skirt

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? ?

Great British Sewing Bee Live GBSB London Excel 2017

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!  

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31 thoughts on “A Little Luxury

  1. As always wonderful makes from you, nothing more than I expect , you’re a top seamstress if ever there was one.
    I sincerely hope the future of the blog is not in decline as it my only guilty Sunday coffee in bed pleasure. It must continue please, though i would understand, as it must take many hours to complete, and that’s valuable sewing time to a full time working girlie.


    1. Hey Cindy!
      Ahh thank you for your comments, that’s made my day 🙂
      The future isn’t in decline, but I’m thinking of ways of expanding the content, and will also be discussing the very broad idea of sustainability – in terms of time, and materials, and the environment.
      I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on next week’s post 🙂


  2. Very nice- especially that lining! I love making simple garments from luxury fabrics, secret self-indulgence yay! Question- why all that overlocking on inside seams [especially the waistband]? If it’s fully enclosed, doesn’t it just add bulk?
    Anyway- back to your question- I don’t ‘participate’ in me made may exactly, as I wear me-made all the time, all year round, and it seems a bit odd to bother to document it. Before I managed to get my wardrobe to that point, I tried once, but got out of step after just five days. Disorganised? Moi?


    1. It’s a little guilty pleasure isn’t it! I’ve just finished an Ogden Cami from some really posh silk, and it’s so lovely. I managed to squeeze it out of 75cm of fabric which is just as well because it was bloody expensive lol!
      Re the overlocking, as I was making the skirt the edges began to fray in a couple of places so I just thought NOPE and overlocked the whole thing to within an inch of it’s life, just in case. The last thing I wanted was the cashmere to start unravelling with wear :O No noticeable bulk, thankfully 🙂
      Believe it or not, I don’t actually have enough things to do Me Made May, as I make more autumn/winter garments because it’s always so cold!!


  3. Wow, what a saving ?! It’s great to find a pattern you can keep on making, and those skirts look ?
    Looking forward to your next makes, especially the trousers ?? and I’ve enjoyed the Paris season, but looking forward to seeing your cool london locations again! ???


    1. Yes let’s focus on the saving not the spend 😉
      The trousers are… ok. For a first attempt anyway! They are much easier than I thought they would be, I think I was expecting something mental complicated :/ Just need to get over ‘The Fear’ haha 😀


  4. Looks very well made, and fits you perfectly. If you make clothes with good quality material it will look good and last long time. But be careful when you put it away for the summer… Make sure to put moth repellent with it. As you don’t want it eaten over the summer.


    1. Thanks Nancy! That’s my thinking too… good quality will last, and I find that I’m more likely to take greater care over things that are made from quality materials.
      Thanks for the tip on the moth repellent – noted! I’d be gutted if I went back to it next winter and it had been chomped 😦


    1. Thank you Elizabeth! 🙂 It really is lovely to use nice fabrics, isn’t it! I could definitely get used to it 😉


  5. I wouldn’t THINK of missing one of your posts Sarah 🙂 I love your skirts! ooh cashmere and wool! I’ll have some of that and I do think you scooped quite a bargain. Can you imagine how much your skirt would cost in one of those snazzy design houses in Paris? Can’t even imagine….that style does suit you so perfectly but of course you got the fit just perfect and the sewing details are beautiful as always. I’m making a Grainline Farrow dress (sleeveless) right now but I had do SO much work to make this pattern work for me – full bust adjustment, taking in those rather huge sides, all-in-one facing…I know why bother? I like it – it’s unusual, well drafted and the style suits me…well NOW it does 🙂 I have some gorgeous navy striped (with little gold threads subtly running through) linen that I bought from True Bias in the US. This fabric turned out to be much more beautiful than it looked online.


    1. Ahh thank you Kathleen! I’m glad you enjoy the posts 🙂 Yes this skirt is quite the little bit of luxury isn’t it! I reckon it cost me under £60 in materials actually used, and if I was to buy it from a shop it would be in the hundreds of pounds I’m sure. And plus this one fits *me* and not the designers idea of what I should be shaped like!
      Ooh I’m not familiar with the Farrow dress so I’m going to check it out 🙂 I know it may seem like a lot of alterations, but it’s worth it to get something that you really love! Have you traced the altered pattern pieces so that you can make it again?
      I love it when you receive a fabric and it’s so much more amazing in real life than you were expecting! I bet you wish you’d have bought more of it now! I can’t resist a bit of metallic 🙂


    1. Thank you! I do love this fabric… I have a little bit left over, but not enough to make a full garment with – I haven’t yet decided what I’ll use it for, I definitely don’t want it to go to waste 🙂


  6. Stunning skirt!! And I love the fabric – worth every penny! You could make a matching waistcoat with the remains?


    1. Thank you Astrid! The fabric is absolutely gorgeous 🙂 Yes! I think there would be just enough for a waistcoat!


    1. Thanks Frances! 🙂
      I don’t have anything dry cleaned, I’m not sure that the dry-cleaning process in itself is particularly good for fabrics.
      Instead, I cold wash everything, in a special wool detergent – usually in the washing machine (I know, I know!). Wools, cashmeres and silks mostly go in the machine, unless I’m particularly worried about garment – in which case I will wash it by hand.
      I tend not to wash that kind of stuff too often, but when my store-bought winter coat needed a refresh (wool/cashmere blend) it was obviously too big for the sink so I washed it in the bathtub!! I hung it to dry, it took a few days to drip dry (should have really done it in summer, NOT in winter lol) but it was no worse off for it!


  7. Oh I love you skirt ! I actually got same fabric then too at the GBSB Live show – in a royal blue which I’m sewing into a dress. While I don’t have a serger I’m trying to decide which seam finish to use (on a regular sewing machine) – any recommendations? Even though I only just cut the fabric its fraying pretty quick!


    1. ahh thank you! They really had a fab selection of fabrics there didn’t they! In the absence of a serger I would recommend a zig zag stitch – or French seams if your fabric/garment will allow it?


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