London-Auckland Charlotte Skirt Experience

Once I met the real Charlotte in person. It was great. I was staying in London with my sister, Kim, and thought I’d save on postage by ordering the patterns to her house. However Charlotte kindly offered to let me pick the patterns up from her appartment. I stayed for over an hour, we drank tea and chatted about indie patterns. It was a lovely afternoon. She really is a kind and generous person.


This is of course, the Charlotte Skirt by By Hand London. I’d be lying if I said that *just* made this. I actually began it when I was in London, not long after I picked up the patterns from Charlotte, but I did just finish hemming and fastening it this week. Even though I wasn’t going to sewing anything for ages I was still buying fabric… Once an addict, always an addict… I bought this fabric from a shop on the famous Goldhawk Road which is basically the sewing lover’s Mecca. It is a stretch with approx 500 fabric stores all side by side (only a small exaggeration). For an Aucklander like me this just about took my breath away. I mean a garment district in Auckland? Please, we can barely string together a few fabric shops in the same suburb!

I really like the fit of this skirt. It sits perfectly on my waist and hips but (because I’m only 5′ 2″) I did need to take 12cm of the hem. However, now that I look at it I think I would like it to hit *at* the knee. But that’s just being pedantic and I like to think I’m a bigger picture kinda person.


So will I make another Charlotte? I sure will! I’ve got it lined up in both a coffee-caramel wool and a black, red and yellow plaid wool. The only adjustment I’ll make for my next Charlotte is to add a vent in the back. This skirt is perfect for a night out but when I’m at uni or work I need to be able to hoof it up the stairs or run to something that I’m late to. Practicality prevails.


So if I was in London without my sewing machine, where did I make this skirt? At Sew Over It sewing cafe. It’s a sweet little store with sewing supplies, their own pattern range, sewing machines that you can hire and, of course, endless tea and coffee. I had my pattern all cut out and ready to go, with tailor’s tacks and everything, when I arrived so I go this skirt most done in two hours. This includes inserting the invisible zipper into the hem of this skirt, unpicking it and re-inserting it into the waistline … Sometimes I wonder how I exist.

So, my questions for the day:
1. Where are they best sewing cafes in the world?
2. Are there any sewing cafes in Auckland? Or even in New Zealand? I’m very interested to know.


25 thoughts on “London-Auckland Charlotte Skirt Experience”

  1. Penny – I just saw on Sew Love Tea Dos website that she’s opening a sewing cafe (or similar) in central Auckland. Exciting!


  2. Bernina Tauranga, while not a sewing cafe does have machines that they let you use. IMHO this is the best Bernina shop in NZ – worth checking out in Cameron Road if you are ever there. No association just a really happy customer.


  3. When I win lotto I’ll open a sewing cafe and you can come visit and sew with us. Your skirt is beautiful, I love the fabric, I can hear Nina saying, “It looks very expensive”.

    I have a top I started just before we left Australia and finished here in Wellington after my sewing machines arrived, my “Across the Ditch” top, makes it kind of more special.


    1. YAYAYAYYAYAY! That would be amazing! Haha it would have been under 10 pounds I’m guessing but I’m glad it looks expensive – that’s what’s important! Yes it does make it a bit more special doesn’t it?


  4. Penny – so gorgeous 🙂 Ive always wanted to go over to Sew Over It and how fab you got to meet Charlotte. There is The Make Cafe in Chch, as for Auckland…there is one coming soon 😉 wink wink xx


  5. Nice skirt! In Christchurch, we are lucky enough to have The Make Cafe, which is gorgeous and offers sewing project classes (they do a lovely cuppa and a slice, too!) 🙂


  6. Cute skirt!! The other day I was actually thinking of what I’d like to do when I return to the workforce and was dreaming about opening a sewing cafe. It feels like it would be a risky thing to do here.. are there enough sewing people? It’d be so much cooler than an office job though and Auckland could definitely do with a few more sewing options!


  7. I have never heard of a sewing cafe anywhere, but I think it’s a fab idea! There was a “hacker space” in San Francisco when I lived there that had overlockers and machines you could come in to use, but it wasn’t a cafe, just a shared space where people could work on whatever – they also had electronics stuff, carpentry, etc etc.


  8. I love Goldhawk Road. I managed to get there three times before we left the UK. It is amazing! Your Charlotte skirt is fabulous. I love the sheen to the fabric. It’s perfect for a day at work and straight out in the evening.
    As for sewing cafes in NZ. We have Made on Marion here where she runs classes and if you’re really nice to her, you can go in and use the machines if you ask first. I’m not sure how much she’d charge and there isn’t tea and coffee on the go, but the classes are really good.


    1. Really? I’ll be sure to have a look at Made on Marion next time I’m in Welly! Goldhawk road really is the best ever! I really wish I’d had more cash so I could have gone wild buying fabric. I had three trips to those shops and only bought about three pieces – SUCH RESTRAINT!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s