Saturday Sewing Session Blog

Pencils – and not the ones you write with!


I hope you all enjoyed the sewing bee  - wasn’t it good!

So I had a spare hour the other day and really wanted to try out a pattern by the brilliant By Hand London Girls.

They are a couple of lovely girls who stared drawing up more on trend patterns and the packaging is totally beautiful.

The beautiful Charlotte Skirt from the girls behind By Hand London

The beautiful Charlotte Skirt from the girls behind By Hand London

The packaging is so well thought out and attractive, that alone was enough to tempt me, plus I had heard great things.  I also wanted to try this pencil pattern hoping this would become the one that we would use in our sessions… so here goes!

I went for a faux leather – mainly because I had some but also I was after a really similar leather pencil that I had seen from ASOS, so I thought, I will make myself one and kill 2 birds to also test the pattern. As a seamstress I make and mend for my career and I forget to run myself up some lovely things for myself – so its a real treat to have the time.

It tells you very clearly what you need to make this cracking garment and there are options with the peplum – around the waist, on the hem or without – I went without.

I am so use to making my own patterns that this felt like a royal treat!

I used sandbags to hold the pattern in place, being from Cornwall, its a little bit of home…

Tip… If you are heading to the sea side anytime soon, fill up a little bag with sand – empty them into little calico hand stitched bags when you get back, secure the top and voila – brilliant weights!

Alternatively, any weight or anything heavy will do, pins puncture leather so if you do pin, stay inside the SA (Seam Allowance). I extended the pattern about 2″ to make it more of a midi. It s a very slim skirt so I took the sides out a little too.

Once it was all cut out, I needed to mark the darts -now, there are loads of different ways to mark darts, tailor tacking, chalking, using a spiky roller aka a tracing wheel – as long at you mark where you need to mark, while being aware of your fabric choice, thats fine. In this case I used a tracing wheel and carbon paper to transfer the markings, whilst popping a pin at the head of the dart for accuracy. (Its OK to use pins here as we are going to stitch there anyway!)

Follow the lines of your chosen size, this can look like dotted line mayhem but rolling up against a ruler really helps! Once you have your lines transferred onto the fabric, pinch the right sides together and sew down your drawn lines and off the edge – tie the ends in a knot – as if you are putting a knot in your gift wrap ribbon.


It should look a bit like this from the outside… remember, I chose a faux leather so it looks a little bumpy, even when carefully pressed with a pressing cloth on a low heat. To be honest, I think I took this before I went anywhere near the iron!

If you are using a lovely cotton or something similar, press darts to the side and it will look sharp and polished. Once you have sewn something, press as you go. It really makes a difference to the finished result.

After that, it was sewing the side seams up and I used a white invisible zip to close. Although invisible means invisible I quite liked the idea of perhaps seeing  a flash of white zip so I sewed it a little further away. Its one of the privileges of making your own things – Artistic Licence I think they call it!

Then after attaching the waistband around the top edge of the skirt I fastened the top with a metal popper to secure. Ta Darr my skirt was done and I loves it!

Ta Darrr

Ta Darrr

Excuse the selfie!! So I teamed my new leather pencil skirt with a simple T and, what looks like really scruffy boots!

I thought the pattern was great, easy to use, easy to read, a lovely shape. Next time I think I will pop a vent in the back and will definitely make another with the peplum, perfect for Summer in a bright colour or floral pattern.


This will be our Miss Moneypenny Pencil skirt. A perfect intro to dressmaking covering really great techniques, darts, zips and waistbands.

We would love to see any pics of your makes or if you have any sewing questions let us know and if we can help we will.

Have a wonderful Easter everyone – oohh imagine a skirt made of chocolate!

Thanks for listening and hopefully see you soon.





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