By Hand London Flora...Skirt


So, I finally put my money where my mouth is by making Charlotte something other than pyjama bottoms! Firstly, can I just extend my condolences to all you tall girls out there? Before I lived with one, I never quite appreciated how limited the RTW tall ranges are and how hard it is to find clothes that are both stylish and affordable. You ethereal creatures deserve so much more! 




Anyway, Charlotte is still working on building a robust wardrobe for herself and like most girls she is discovering her fair share of gaps. One such gap is slightly smarter items that she can wear to work meetings, so she asked if I could make her a skirt. Like me, she's not a huge fan of densely-gathered waistlines, but does like a fuller shape. 

As I don't really do skirts myself, I turned to my plentiful dress patterns and By Hand London's Flora Dress seemed to be just the ticket! The dramatic pleats maintain a streamlined waist adding volume exactly where Charlotte wants it, and drafting a waistband was nice and easy.



This little project was a rude reminder of how little ease By Hand London patterns have. It's a good thing of course, because the sizes really are true to the finished measurements, but it would have helped me had I remembered this. 

As a result the skirt was a little tight at first, so I unpicked the waistband and let the front pleats out a bit. I guess I got overzealous because the skirt ended up just a smidge too loose in the end, but I really couldn't face unpicking it again. The good news is that Charlotte prefers wearing her skirts / dresses belted, so this is still wearable...woohoo!



Even though Charlotte was after a smart skirt, she still wanted it to be cute with a subtle print. She chose a beautifully textured jacquard from Minerva Crafts, which is sadly no longer in stock.


In a moment of pure giddiness following my semi-success I may have offered to make a dress for her birthday in November. I hope I don't live to regret my generosity, because sewing for someone with such different proportions to your own is a real challenge!

Do you do much selfless sewing? I'd say mine is done begrudgingly - it's rewarding, but with precious little time I hate loosing sight of my own priorities.

66 comments:

  1. Ooh, this is lovely! Charlotte has a good eye for fabric as it's perfect for the skirt. I'm glad you were able to rescue it with some pleat modifications.

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  2. Being a tall girl (6ft) is the main reason I started to sew. It's so great to have tops that cover my stomach and come down to my wrists. And thankfully, buying shoes (though still not great) is much less horrific now than when I was younger.

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    1. I'm trying to convince Charlotte that she needs to learn to sew too ;o)

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  3. Gorgeous - both the skirt and Charlotte!

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  4. Glory be, but she's gorgeous. I don't pretend that I am not envious of Charlotte's height, but she also has a calm elegance about her. I love the skirt too!

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    1. Sue, you hit the nail on the head! She really does have an enviable calm elegance about her, and don't worry, I'm jealous of her height/long legs too!

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  5. This turned out so well! Sewing for Charlotte could be viewed as the ultimate in selfish sewing -- you'll get to see your gorgeous makes a lot more than if you were wearing them yourself! ;)

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    1. Oooh, I love your way of thinking Helene!!!

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  6. Oh I love Charlottes skirt. Get you for sewing selflessly I need to sew my daughters some more skirts as they have all grown over summer.

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    1. Aaaw, what a lovely mummy you are :o)

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  7. Charlotte looks gorgeous in that skirt! I absolutely love love love the pattern of the fabric, it would work for so many smart and casual occasions dressed up or down, very clever!

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  8. this is lovely! i wondered if you ever sewed for her and i guess this answers it! as a tall person i really wish i sewed when i was younger - i would have worn far more skirts if i had.

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    1. Well...I've only just started sewing for her...hehe!

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  9. Charlotte looks fantastic! Love the complete outfit, the fabric and the color palette. I sew for me, my daughters, my husband, my parents, my dog you name it!

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    1. Wow Raquel...that's a lot of selfless sewing...go you!!!

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  10. Beautiful skirt! It's so classy and stylish. I'm having a bit of long-leg envy!

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    1. Hehe...welcome to my world of envy ;o)

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  11. that skirt is DOPE. well chosen, charlotte!

    lately i've been in a weird spurt of sewing for others. careful, it gets addictive ;)

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    1. Thanks Marcy! And...erm...not sure I'm too selfish for it to become an addiction...I think/hope ;o)

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  12. Charlotte looks fantastic! That fabric is stunning - it's perfect with the pleats!

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  13. Beautiful skirt, it's lovely on Charlotte! That gorgeous fabric seems perfect for exactly what she was looking for, too. I never ever do un-selfish sewing, and the first thing I ever offered Mel was jeans... having finished them recently we'll see if I ever make an offer again, ha ha! You're totally right about doing different proportions than you're used to, it's a whole different game sewing for another body! (Oh crap, I did offer a shirt too, now that I think about it... )

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    1. OMG, Tasha! Mel's jeans are perfection...truly!!! Talk about throwing yourself in the deep end of sewing for someone else! Can't wait to see Mel's shirt soon :o)

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  14. As a tall gal, I find sewing for others confusing - I have to remove inches from the pattern to make it fit!? What?

    Charlotte's skirt is lovely!

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    1. Haha, Erin! I'm finding it weird having to add length!!!

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  15. Gorgeous skirt! Charlotte looks lovely as ever! I am always full of empty promises when it comes to sewing for others. Unless there's a deadline, you'll probably never see it!

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    1. Haha...I'm usually the same! Though you've made some very lovely shirts for your hubby ;o)

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  16. Ooh, that's lovely and Charlotte looks great in it. Good luck with the dress... I think I might have offered to make a tweed waistcoat for my husband for his birthday, also in November. Eeek!

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    1. Yikes!!! A tweed waistcoat...good luck, even though I know it'll turn out beautifully!

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  17. So pretty! It looks like a perfect skirt for Charlotte's meetings.

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  18. Oh, lovely! I think we all have our fit challenges,ugh. Thank goodness for sewing and customization! I have a few girlfriends who are leggy and over 6ft. and they have mentioned having great luck finding skirts/pants/jeans from this site: https://www.longtallsally.com/

    It looks like they're international, so it might be worth a try.

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    1. Thanks Michelle! There's a UK branch of LTS and one that Charlotte keeps an eye on. It's just frustrating that tall ranges often seem so limited (or dare I say it, 'mumsy') and over-priced :o(

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    2. Completely share your frustration with tall ranges in the shops. ASOS Tall is less mumsy than LTS but the quality's patchy. Yet another reason so many tall women make things..! As a teenager, lots of my petite friends would lop an inch or two off the hem and they were good to go, but us tall girls were stuck unless we learnt to sew.

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  19. LOL, thank you for the condolences! My height is why I learned to sew-- I got so tired of looking like I'd grown out my clothes! The skirt looks lovely on Charlotte, well done! If you'd like, I can send you a list of patterns that work well for tall girls with minimal alterations 😊

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    1. Oh Denise, yes please! I'd love a list of patterns that work well for tall girls please :o)

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    2. I'll send an email with some. :)

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    3. *whimpers feebly* Oh, please do share with us all!

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  20. What a beautiful skirt. I bet that it moves beautifully. Charlotte has very good taste in fabric and looks gorgeous. Those legs! I never indulge in selfless sewing but am getting pestered to make some cosplay costumes for my daughter who is now a couple of inches taller than me and I am 6ft. Being tall and three different dress sizes in one was the reason that I started sewing. :) Xx

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    1. Wowsers...you and your daughter sound like models :o) Good luck with the cosplay outfits...fun!!!

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  21. I do selfless sewing but I try not to with a deadline... but that skirt is lovely!

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    1. Yeah, setting ourselves deadlines sucks!

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  22. Oh how I sympathise - I'm tall too and it's one of the reasons I sew.

    Lovely skirt. I had some of that fabric too and made an a-line dress with it. It really lends itself to anything that needs a bit of body.

    Charlotte, you look great!

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    1. Aaaw, thanks Catherine! We love your style by the way, you're very cool...and congrats on your baby news :o)

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  23. Charlotte's entire outfit looks just beautiful - so stylish! I must admit to being a selfish sewer.....until almost 2 years ago when my sweet little granddaughter was born. Now I can't STOP sewing for her! And no matter what she's wearing, she tells everyone that Nanna (me) made it for her. :)

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    1. Oh, how lovely! I can't think of a better way to selflessly sew :o)

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  24. Longtime reader, first time commenter here. Hello!
    Anyway, in my experience, sewing for others with different proportions is really very hard at first, *especially* when that other is your partner. There's just that much more psychological pressure involved. But keep at it, you'll get the hang of it. And trust me, when you do, you'll get completely hooked on how happy it makes her!

    The skirt looks really great, btw. Very nice save. 😊

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  25. Love that fabric, what a sweet skirt. As a tall person, it's great being able to sew (or equally to have a sewing slave, haha!), it's really demoralising when you try on rtw skirts that are way too short and dresses where the proportions are off, and the waistband hits the bottom of your rib cage.

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    1. Yup, you've summed it up perfectly! Yay for sewing!!!

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  26. Fantastic matching of the zip/waistband area and I love the fabric. Charlotte looks fab in it! I too am a belted waist kind of girl so never worry too much if it a skirt turns out a little big.
    I used to professionally make bespoke wedding dresses for other people but this completely put me off making anything for anyone else, so refuse to do it now as I know what goes into it.

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    1. Wow! I can totally get why you don't want to sew for others after making wedding dresses!!! I just think time is so precious, so I wouldn't want to compromise my own projects too much!

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  27. Love the line and drape of the skirt, and the fabric as well. Charlotte looks stunning.

    I used to make costumes for the dance troupe I was in; sewing (and pattern drafting) for people ranging from 5 foot to 6 foot tall, and a variety of sizes, did sometimes fry my brain!

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    1. Gosh, no mean feat there! I bet you've developed invaluable skills though!!!

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  28. Lovely skirt, I have this pattern and couldn't get the bodice to fit right, I might copy and make a skirt so the pattern is wasted.

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    1. Oh yes, it makes a lovely skirt :o)

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  29. What a great skirt! I'm feeling Charlotte's pain re finding clothes that fit, but I'm at the other end in the petite department where there are about 12 things to choose from. I'm guessing tall departments are the same. I hope she doesn't have too much trouble finding shoes, and good luck with her dress!

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    1. I'm petite too and I think despite our limited choice, we still have much more than tall ranges...which is very telling! Yeah, shoes can be an issue too...but lucky as she's tall she's not bothered about heels ;o)

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  30. What a lovely skirt! The fabric is a perfect choice! Like you I don't really wear skirts (I'm so bad at matching outfits that I prefer tops that go with jeans or dresses that are a complete outfit in one piece!) but this outfit looks like just the thing for work.

    I haven't done much sewing at all this year between a bout of overemployment, packing, two moves, and school, but the bit that I've done has mostly been selfless sewing, mainly because of two sort of ambitious for me costumes for friends. I find it very stressful to sew for others because I want things to turn out perfectly and I worry so much about fit and finishing when it's for someone else! I'm much less picky about things for myself!

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  31. Well done Marie, you look great Charlotte.

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  32. Love the fabric and she looks great in her skirt!

    As I'm new to this dressmaking lark I want to get to grips with making stuff for myself before anyone else! If I do start feeling generous I like to do quick, simple projects. I made pencil cases for some teacher friends at the start of the school year. Judging by how impressed they were, they might faint with happiness if I actually made them something to wear!

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  33. Did you use a brocade? I want to try it with this, but I am worried, it'll be to bulky... http://www.moodfabrics.com/black-beige-ikat-brocade-111321.html

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