Pattern Review: BHL Charlotte Skirt and Simplicity 1665 [Sailboat Suit]

sailboat outfit 1

SkirtBy Hand London Charlotte; size US 8
Bolero Simplicity 1665; size 10
Fabric: Dear Stella home dec fabric from Fabric Place Basement (also available here)

Tee: Alternative Apparel
Flats: Sperry

Maybe it was the sudden turn in the temperatures recently that had me feeling like it was finally summer, but I finished my sailboat suit!  In case you haven’t been following along, the idea came to me back in April when I saw the promo pics of the BHL Victoria Blazer. I immediately coveted a cropped version of the blazer paired with the Charlotte skirt made up in a flamingo print cotton.  Since “impatient” is my middle name, I couldn’t wait for the pattern to be released and ran out to find a pattern similar to the blazer as well as a funky fabric to pair with it.  What could be more appropriate to wear in New England than sailboats???

sailboat outfit 4

The Bolero

When it came down to it, I was essentially looking for a bolero-type jacket pattern for my suit.  What I love about Simplicity 1665 is the interesting two-piece neckband and hem band that makes the bolero more special than other simple cropped jackets.  It was really easy to sew and I could have finished it a lot faster had I not been distracted by other sewing projects – I swear I’m a magpie when it comes to sewing; something else catches my eye and I end up jumping to another project mid-construction.

sailboat outfit 3

For a fun pop of color, I used green bias tape for a Hong Kong seam finish along most of the seams of the bolero since it’s unlined – when there’s a breeze, the inside of the jacket is visible.  I was afraid that the bias tape would make the underarm/side seams a little bulky, so I just pinked them instead.

sailboat outfit 2

The Skirt

Actually, this was the second time I made the BHL Charlotte skirt; the first version I have yet to blog.  From my first version, which I shortened to be a mini-skirt (it’s a little too mini for my liking), I had an idea of how much to shorten the skirt so that I could get a length that wouldn’t be too short to sit in.  I have to admit: this still hikes up quite a bit when I sit.  Technically, according to the pattern measurements, I should have cut out an 8 for the waist and a 6 for the hips.  But what I like about the fit of the straight 8 skirt is that even though it’s fitted, it’s still roomy in the hips and quite comfortable to sit in because of the ease in the hips.  There’s a little bit of pooling of fabric in the abdomen, which wouldn’t have been as present if I cut a 6 for the hips, but I don’t notice it that much.

The waistband is a simple rectangle that overlaps in the back; I used a snap to attach the waistband piece together but it probably would have been more prudent to use two large hooks and eyes instead.  Eh, it’s what I had kicking around.  Maybe in future renditions I’ll interface the waistband to make it stand up a little better.

Seriously, BHL ladies, how is it that you created something so simple that fits so well?!  I love me a high waisted skirt, and this is now my go-to pencil skirt pattern in my closet.

sailboat outfit 5

The Fabric

Seriously, this has been my favorite find to date at my local fabric haunt, Fabric Place Basement.  I went in looking for fabric for a Sultry Sheath dress and as I wandered through some of the home dec aisles, I came across this sailboat print by Dear Stella that was too perfect to pass up.  I worked with home dec fabric in the past for garments, (skirts I have yet to post, yeesh) and what I liked about this particular weave is the soft drape that wasn’t like other stiff home dec fabrics.  I threw a test swatch into the wash before I laundered the yardage and measured only minimal shrinkage.  I’m thinking this isn’t going to be an outfit that gets washed a lot, at least not the jacket, but I’m not too worried about it holding up in cold water in the machine (hang dry).

All in all, if you haven’t made the Charlotte skirt, run over to and get a copy now!  Those ladies are freakin’ brilliant.



  1. July 5, 2013 / 9:49 pm

    Cute cute cute! Love the sail boats – it has a polka dot quality but more interesting! You did a great job! =)

  2. July 5, 2013 / 10:29 pm

    This is a fantastic outfit! Summery yet so classic and smart. Love it!

  3. July 5, 2013 / 11:42 pm

    Wow! The fabric, eye-catching colors, and style are a winning combination for you. Awesome job on your ensemble. Wow again!

  4. July 6, 2013 / 11:02 am

    You look great in it! The suit is awesome.

  5. July 6, 2013 / 3:29 pm

    SO AMAZING!! I really, really love it. You nailed the proportions – I love the cropped jacket with that skirt.

    • July 8, 2013 / 10:44 pm

      Thank you! I wasn't so sure if the length of the skirt would throw off the proportions but I really like it!

  6. July 6, 2013 / 3:58 pm

    What a cute suit! How fun! I bet you'll be wearing this all summer long!

  7. July 7, 2013 / 12:59 pm

    I'm loving the sailboat print. I recently made a skirt with a sailboat print. It's so perfect for summer. 🙂

    • July 8, 2013 / 10:44 pm

      There's something about summer that makes me crave nautical prints and colors!

  8. July 8, 2013 / 9:48 am

    have just read about some other BHL patterns and think I need to make some soon especially Charlotte.

    • July 8, 2013 / 10:45 pm

      It will be a staple in your closet for sure, I swear

  9. July 12, 2013 / 7:35 am

    Lucinda, thank you for blogging this excellent ensemble! We particularly love seeing the Charlotte Skirt with a few inches chopped off to make her a little racier. I shall actually be spending part of the summer wandering around wooden boat yards with my man (he's a wooden boat builder), so think a similar look needs to be on my list! x

  10. July 13, 2013 / 1:23 pm

    What a cute outfit! I'm new to your blog (I found it looking for photos of made Colette Ginger skirts–I just made my first one last week, and it won't be my last) AND new to garment sewing. AND I'm in the Boston area, North Shore. I'll be sticking around here for awhile! I covet every single one of the By Hand London patterns (the new Anna dress!) and it's good to see your encouragement to yes, pay in pounds, and yes, have it shipped from England. 🙂

    • July 13, 2013 / 1:54 pm

      Welcome to Boston! I'm in the metro west area currently, but I've lived in the state for five years and love it. And you don't need to order By Hand London patterns online, we are lucky enough that Sara of Grey's Fabric and Notions in Boston stocks the whole line of patterns – that's where I pickup mine 🙂

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