Moneypenny chic

wool tartan pencil skirt

Some time ago. Like a very long time ago. Like I’m too ashamed to admit how long ago, I was approached by one of the mums at the school gates who asked me if I’d like to contribute something to the school auction fundraiser. ‘Of course. I’d love to’, I said. ‘If I could only think of something of worth that anyone would want to bid on!’

The auction happens once every two years and for a school as tiny as ours, it raises an astronomical amount of spondoolies for much-needed improvements in and around the school.

A holiday for four, in Sardinia; Two tickets for the Tennis Championships at Queen’s Club; An Aston Martin Photoshoot and Drive; a John Broadwood upright piano… this is the level of contribution. So you can sympathise with my dilemma!

‘Oh,’ I said ‘Argghhh!’ I said. ‘I’m afraid I’m clean out of anything like that.’ But the clever mum, with a tilty head and a cute face pleaded,'”But could you not make something?’ Uh oh. Here we go, I thought. What could I make without knowing who I’m making for?
‘I guess I could make a made-to measure-skirt.’ I said. Apologetically and realising how dull that sounded up against all else.

The theme was Bond with the opening lot announced as a James Bond goodie bag. Mine was listed at no. 17: Miss Moneypenny Chic

catalogue entry for skirt

Oh how very clever. However just a little bit scary. Of course I had no idea who was going to be bidding on my skirt. I couldn’t even be at the event so I was keen to know who bid and for how much the following morning.  £20, £50? Are you kidding? My friend Katy bid – after a proper fiesty bid-off with another mum – a stonking £300!

Pressure or what! This skirt had to be bloody good. Not only because Katy is my dear friend but it had to reflect the quality to match that price.

First things first. I took some measurements and drafted the skirt. No ready-made patterns going on this time. It had to fit good and proper.

I made a test skirt in a cheap fabric. Which incidentally she really loved too so I must finish that off… at some point!

We went fabric shopping together – perks of the job! – and came out with this beautiful Westwoodesque wool fabric and some beautiful two tone lining to match.

wool tartan and lining

One of the great things about pencil skirts is that they only take a metre of fabric. So you can afford a better quality of cloth. This gorgeous wool was from my favourite, A-One Fabrics. In the Goldhawk Road, of course!

I took my time with this skirt as is clear from the start! I made sure the pattern was centralised and so the front darts were incorporated symmetrically. I’ve learnt by experience and plenty of dogs’ dinners! The design follows through from the centre-front of the waist band too. If you don’t look too close!

pencil skirt front darts

I inserted a hand-picked, lapped zipper. I didn’t want any wonky machine stitching going on! And amazingly enough I got the overlap of the lap matching the fabric pattern on the other side too!

hand picked lapped zipper

Asides from attaching the lining to the vent – which always scares me but always works out somehow – I mitred the corner of the hemmed vents. So much neater and to be honest, the only way I’m ever going to do it from now on. I also hand made the inside button loop. I did this to stop the pull on the waistband which happens if you just rely on a hook and bar.

mitred corner and handmade button loop

And of course the icing on the cake was having the first ooobop label sewn in. I have made my own rule about only inserting one when the garment deserves it. And in this case I think it does!

ooobop label in skirt

I hope soon to be sharing some photos of this skirt with the lucky winner wearing it. Mr ooobop is poised and ready with his camera!

21 Replies to “Moneypenny chic”

    1. Thank you Wendy. Yes I agree… it’s amazing what appears in the catalogue. Amazing what people bid too, especially after a cocktail or two!

  1. Wowsers, Janene that skirt is most definitely worth the money. You are a highly skilled seamstress to be able to knock this out for someone else without a pattern. Most certainly deserves your lovely label. Well done!

    1. Thank you everso MrsC! Did you get my last couple of Emails. I’ve been a bit worried they’ve not got through x

  2. Janene, this is seriously and simply stunning. The fabric is beautiful and your construction is just top notch. Worth the 300 pounds and beyond! The pattern matching and where you decided to place the darts all show off beautifully for a wonderfully couture and well tailored garment! I love how you pegged in the sides, such a sexy look. Beautiful work, as usual and very inspirational for me and all of us 🙂 BTW, LOVE the blog look.

  3. WOW! It must feel incredible to know that your skills and skirt received such an outstanding amount of money! The skirt is really gorgeous. I’m positive your friend feels her bid was well worth the experience of having a garment custom tailored to her!

  4. Such a lovely story and well done for raising so much. But as the others have said, it looks like that skirt was well worth the £300 raised. It looks exqusite. I have tried a few times to line a vented skirt, but it never works out for me. And I have never seen a mitered vent, so that was very interesting – I must go and investigate those. Thank you for the tip about adding a button and loop to stop the pull on the waistband. I’ve just made a pencil skirt, with just a hook and bar, and have a little bit of pulling going on, so I may have to add a button!

  5. Wowzers! It looks like you did an amazing job on this beauty. Fantastic pattern matching especially the layout around those darts! I don’t know why on earth you would suggest that sheepishly I think that’s an awesome prize!

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