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.