Upcycled Flambards Pencil Skirt

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I must have been about 11 when I first read the Flambards series by K.M. Peyton. I say first, the series has since been read on an almost yearly basis. This was followed by the 1979 TV drama, watched on repeat with my brothers and the children of one of mum’s close friends. I was obsessed; we even had an elaborate game based on Flambards, the point of which I can’t quite remember, but which involved much crawling around the next door hay fields. I won’t bore you with the plot details but think horses, crumbling country houses, pre and post WW1 rural England, family drama, heiresses, a touch of romance, more horses.. and you should have the basic gist of it. Basically my idea of heaven in a book (and in 12 years my taste really hasn’t changed all that much).
There is a sewing related point to this rambling nostalgia. The fabric for this skirt is, in short, Flambards in fabric form, and for this I love it completely and utterly.
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Strictly speaking this skirt isn’t entirely me-made. It started out life as a Joules dress I bought years ago in one of their sales. It was a navy close fitting knee length style with long sleeves and an exposed central back zip, the pattern running around the hemline alone. I loved it immediately and bought it, despite the dress not being in a style I generally wear. As such I wore it all of 2 or 3 times and it has sat in my wardrobe ever since. I do like this style and, when the occasion requires, am more than happy to wear a dress with a simple, close fitting shape. However, as it’s not a style I wear a lot and, as I love the fabric so much, it seemed a shame not to get more use out of it. And so, in a fit of wardrobe blitzing and before I could give myself time to change my mind, I pulled the dress out and chopped it in half.
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Adding front and back darts following the dart placements from the By Hand London Charlotte skirt, I interfaced around the top and created a simple rolled waistband. Using the same central back opening where the dress’ zip had been I added an 8” exposed zip and, voila the skirt was done.
1 evening + 1 under-worn dress = a very wearable short pencil skirt.
And so there we have it; my ode to one of my favourite series of books all wrapped up in a good dose of nostalgia, in the form of a skirt.
Hannah x

Chilly Days Tartan Tunic and some thoughts on the making process

Pattern: Sew Liberated Esme Tunic

Fabric: Tartan Brushed Cotton from
Backstitch (bought ages ago)

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I’ve been on a bit of a stash busting mission lately, using up fabric I’ve had piled up for ages rather than always buying more. (Read:- this is in reality a money saving drive more than anything..) I bought this fabric last year with several makes in mind – a classic shirt, a slouchy cardi-coat, my stand by style boxy tee, a shirt dress… and eventually, last weekend settled on pairing it up with the Sew Liberated Esme Tunic. Despite this being one of the first patterns I ever bought well over two years ago, and despite loving the style of the top, it had never jumped out at me as something which I simply must make right now. I guess that happens sometimes, you buy a pattern, love it completely, but don’t actually want to make it. Well, in this patterns case, it’s position in my pattern pile has risen. I really really love it. So naturally I really really love this top.

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Excuse my dreadful tangly hair – my only excuse is the wind..

It was a breeze to sew up – one of those makes which I got a huge amount of satisfaction out of finishing the seams perfectly, making the innards as beautiful as the outer. And of course the fabric, as can only be expected with brushed cotton, was a delight to work with; soft, smooth, very little fraying… perfect.

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I love the placket detail on this top. The button detail is just that: a detail, with no real buttonholes.
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The sleeve and cuff detail also makes this top the perfect style in my eyes.

However, do you ever find – and this happens with virtually every make I complete – that there is a period, shortly after finishing a piece, when you’re just a bit ‘meh’ about the whole thing. I tend to follow the same pattern with my projects; initial flurry of planning excitement, concentration phase with the cutting and fitting, initial ‘I really love this’ phase as it starts to come together, and then the final it’s finished and I love it but… I’m not so excited about it anymore. Maybe that’s just normal? This top was no different but this sequence of feelings towards a project seemed somehow sharper, more distinct. My feelings towards my paintings are exactly the same – it is in fact an important part of my creative process; being able to look at something with a hyper critical eye helps to give perspective. This I guess is no different with sewing.
I’d be really interested to hear if any fellow sewers feel this way about their makes.

Anyway, I do love this top now and, as the months draw in, getting colder, it’s going to get a lot of wear. I’m not generally big into wearing shirts, but this style is definitely the exception to the rule – perfect for wearing with jeans as a cosy layer when working in my very cold studio.

That’s all for now – I’m off to have a properly cosy Sunday night – bath, pjs and a lit fire = perfection.

Hannah x