Fitting the Charlotte Skirt

Saturday, May 25

I enjoyed working with the Elisalex pattern from By Hand London so much that I decided to give the Charlotte skirt a go. During the recent Goldhawk road meet-up, I had spoken about my straight skirt problems with Charlotte of By Hand London, and she said I should try the Charlotte skirt because it had a really generous amount of ease at the hips. So here I am, giving it a go.

I have never been successful with straight skirts. I know it might be easy to draft one myself, but like I mentioned before, I am not very good with drafting. Claire even came over to help me draft one, using the draping method. She fitted the skirt on my body, and transferred the pattern to paper. I never used it, and then I put on some extra kilos, and now, I really can't use it.  I did take on board what she did though, so with the Charlotte skirt, I decided not to choose a particular size, but cut the biggest size, and sew the skirt up, without sewing the darts.

I used a 1/4 inch seam allowance,and what do you know? My hips are the biggest size, size 20. That fit just fine on the hips. I think I need to run more, and diet more. I then sewed the size 14 darts, and it fit a bit better at the waist. The area between my waist and my hips though, is another matter. The way my body is, the fullest part of my hips is down at the top of my thighs, so I have that indentation at the hips. 8 inches below my waist is where it is deepest, and then from 10" down, it starts filling out again. So I do not have that curve that many people have, which of course, results in excess fabric in that area. I pinned some of it away, but there's still some work to be done.

The front is not too bad at the waist, probably because my tummy is not exactly small. The back has alot of excess fabric.I pinned out the excess as well, and decided to add two extra darts at the back.

The back does not look too bad ( after massive pinning of course)

This is after I basted the bits I had pinned before. The kangaroo pouch seems to have gone. Yay!

I sewed the extra darts at the back, but there is still some excess fabric. I was hitting my head, trying to understand why there was still so much fabric at the back. Then I remembered I had sew size 14 darts in a size 20 waist. So I need to do another muslin, using a size 14 waist, and then grade up to size 20 about 10" below the waist.

I am really pleased with myself for taking the time to get a proper fit. I think I have reached the point in my sewing where I just don't want to sew clothes for the sake of sewing. I want to make things that fit me properly, so I need to actually take the time to face the fitting challenges my body presents.

The sun seems to be out today in London. Unfortunately I am not going to be around this weekend. Mr.Dibs is running the Edinburgh marathon tomorrow, so we are going up to Edinburgh this afternoon.
What about you? Anything fun planned?


  1. I'm still at the "new to sewing, want to finish things as soon as possible" phase. Fitting and darts still really baffle me but it all comes with practice I guess! Good luck to Mr Dibs in his run!

  2. Hey Dibs! The new skirt is starting to look really good hun. And, anytime you're up for more sewing/pattern making fun I'm free for more :) I've got lots of free time on ny hands now LOL!

  3. Its looking great! I get the same excess at the front and it really made a difference with it all pinned out. I really struggle with fitting skirts but that's down to laziness of not wanting to make a muslin or two! Think I need to get over that because yours looks awesome!

  4. It looks fantastic! Hope it's worth all the effort, I'm sure it'll be gorgeous.

  5. I am so impressed with the fit you have managed to achieve by fiddling round an pinning. The Charlotte skirt is a cracker, so it will be worth the effort I promise! Have a lovely time in Edinburgh and good luck to Mr Dibs. We've got a trip to Hever Castle planned tomorrow and I'm really excited!

  6. Thank you for posting this Dibs!! I too have similar body proportions from the waist down and it has been a real pain to fit, garments like skirts and don't even get me started on the fit regarding trousers!! So reading this your post has been an eye opener and realise that my darts should be the size of my waist, but grade out to the size of my hips and top of thighs.

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  8. Looking good! I'm working on the same skirt right now, too, and my waist is a size larger than my hips (or so I thought) and now I can barely zip it up over my lower butt! It's indecently tight! So I'm working up the nerve to go down to minimal seam allowances and see if I can eke out a little more room for my poor suffocating butt! Isn't fitting hard? I still feel like I'm flailing in the dark when it comes to fitting. :(

  9. This is looking so good! I totally agree with you about taking the time to fit your garments correctly so that you 'll actually wear them, rather than just for the sake of sewing.

    I'm trying to make my very first pair of pants and am onto my 2nd muslin, but I think we are getting there!

  10. I Like the fabric. cant wait to see the finished product!

  11. My pencil skirts always rides above my hips, so I decided to put boning on the sides. That way I can still get a tight fit but i don't have to worry about the riding up problem as much. I also underline my skirts to give them more structure.

    1. Alexis you may need more ease in the hip OR raise the hips. Your hip depth may be shorter than the pattern and the skirt moves around to it's comfortable spot.

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