Pattern hacking: La Charlotte Tropicana!

Charlotte Tropicana - Pattern Hacking - By Hand London As wonderfully different as we all are here at By Hand HQ, there is one thing we can be sure to all agree on - a girl can never be overdressed. Subtlety in the wardrobe department is most definitely not something Charlotte, Victoria or I have been blessed with. As much as we see the value in "cake makes", ie. the making of everyday appropriate attire, nine times out of ten we will be a-stitchin' us some frosting! Floor sweeping party dresses, sparkly tutu's, silken smocks and statement accessories are always prioritised on our To-Make lists. It should come as no surprise then, that we are constantly thinking up ways to make our already pretty party-ish patterns even more striking and exciting.

So today girlies, we will be showing you how to turn your Charlotte Skirts into a ruffled high-lo hem Flamenco extravaganza worthy of Carmen Miranda herself.

What you need:

Altering the pattern: All we need to do is redraw the hemline on the front and back skirt pieces to create a smoothly curved high-lo shape. This can be as dramatic or subtly as you like, but we went for 14" at centre front and 29" at centre back, bearing in mind that the ruffle adds an extra 5" to the total length. Charlotte Tropicana - Pattern Hacking - By Hand London Now go about the assembling of your skirt as normal - darts, side seams, zipper, back seam, waistband etc.

The ruffle: When it comes to cutting and attaching the hem ruffle for this high-lo variation, there are two things we need to consider:

  • As the hemline is now dramatically longer than that of a regular Charlotte Skirt, the ruffle will also need to be longer. To do this, simply cut two ruffle pieces and seam them together, then gather and attach as normal.
  • Because of the high-lo hem, the innards of the skirt's back pieces will be visible from the shorter front pieces. To avoid flashing people messy un-finished seams (not that the average joe would even notice!), we recommend giving your seams the five-star treatment - ain't nothing prettier and show-offable than a bound seam.

pattern hacking - charlotte tropicana - by hand londonAs ever, you will always have access to our Charlotte Skirt Sewalong for more guidance and help during the making of your Charlotte Skirt.


  • Elisalex de Castro Peake
  • Charlotte Skirtpattern hacksewingtutorial

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