Sunday, 9 November 2014

Finally completed! The 'Camberwell Beauty' Box-Pleat Midi Skirt

Hello everyone! Hope you've all had good weekends. Today I share with you the 'Camberwell Beauty' skirt, which is a lengthened version of the Box Pleat Skirt from the Great British Sewing Bee Book 2. I'm wearing it with the Simple T-Shirt, also from the GBSB book, which I debuted in my last post. The t-shirt is not a great make in terms of quality, but it has seen a bit of wear despite having a massive neckline that is prone to falling off the shoulder, and I think it looks much better tucked in as seen in these pics. Both of these makes were supposed to be an outfit for holiday wear, but I only got round to the cutting stage before I realised I wouldn't be able to get it done in time.


So, why Camberwell Beauty? The fabric was actually bought with the Ultimate Trouser pattern in mind, which I won from Dolly Clackett. Once the season turned though I decided to earmark the navy colourway of this 'cravat-print' stretch woven fabric for those (still unmade!) and make a box-pleat skirt with this. I think Dolly would approve! Anyway, the pale blue colour of the fabric reminded me of the markings of the Camberwell Beauty butterfly which I'm familiar with because of a park mosaic which I pass by most days (never seen one in real life though). In a roundabout way this also links back to Dolly as I used to live in Camberwell Terrace (where we had one of those free newspaper posters of the Camberwell Beauty on the wall) when I was a student which is in Leamington Spa, or 'Leam' as we students used to call it, where Dolly resides (her photos with Jephson Gardens in make me nostalgic).

I decided to make this skirt on a bit of a whim - I was actually inspired by a fashion magazine that my mum passed on to me last time I went to visit and decided that I needed a box-pleat midi for my holiday and that no way was I going to spend anywhere near the £70-£400 range that they had featured in the 'edit' from the high street.

 I made this pretty cheaply as I had everything I needed in my stash- including the pattern.  The fabric was from Mermaid Fabrics on Mare Street's Narrow Way and cost me £4 a metre I think. I found a bunch of zips in the sewing stuff I inherited and decided to use one of those, but I think this may have been a mistake as it was a little warped as I realised afterwards and this cost me two shattered needles! So a bit of a false economy there. 

It was a pretty simple make, but I had a bit of trouble in the beginning getting my box pleats balanced against the print of the fabric at the beginning, and in my eagerness to print-match I managed to make my box pleats at the back much closer than those at the front, which for some reason I only realised after I'd sewn up the side seams. So I had to spend some time redoing those to balance out, and I had to put the zip in twice. It's a lapped zip and first time came out totally curved as I'd followed the warp of the second-hand zip I was using. Second time I just blundered on straight over the zip so although it looks neat from the outside, and is totally functional, if you look closely at the bottom of the zip you can see I've sewn over the teeth! The zip is in the side seam and isn't too noticeable, but it does give a little extra stiffness as you may be able to see here, and the pull shows at the top as my wasitband isn't quite as neaty inserted as it should be (due to redistribution of pleats), but I don't really mind. 


I reckon you could probably cobble a similar skirt together from the By Hand London Elisalex Dress if you modified it to hang straight instead of curving under into a tulip and drafted up a waistband. 

Here's the back view, not that you can see much! I wore this skirt all yesterday which involved long train journeys in foul weather, and didn't get a chance to press it again for these photos so I think I've 'sat out' the box pleats at the back a little.

Here's me with a tree, just to mix things up a bit! And with my boyfriend's bike, below (much nicer than mine!). While I think this skirt is very flattering and comfortable, I don't think I'll be able to cycle in it without catching the length in the brakes (I learnt this the hard way with my Heartache Sweetheart dress which is a similar length and now has a slight tear in the hem, but luckily any grease stains don't show!) so I'll have to plan when I wear it, as I'm too lazy to switch between outfits when cycling.

So, having finally finished my Summer sewing, which of my many projects to tackle next? And how many will I get done before the season changes again?!  Enjoy the rest of your Sundays folks, and I'll leave you with this out-take of me realising I've left my glasses on and dashing to out them aside!

NorseOtter xxx