It’s Alice here – not to regale you with my latest style crisis but with a bit of backstory to our latest ClothSpot Kit.
Our Winter Wrap Skirt Kit didn’t just appear out of nowhere. As you might imagine, there was plenty of research and discussion of fabrics and patterns, all leading up to its appearance last week.
We thought you might like to hear about some of the influences which contributed to its ‘style story’.
It all started with the early autumn crop of fashion magazines. One of many joys of running ClothSpot is that our fashion magazine subscriptions count as legitimate business expenses – a fact that never fails to delight me. Settling down to a pile of them back in late August, I discovered that a prevailing AW19 trend is one dubbed variously as ‘bourgeois’, ‘bourgeois heritage’ and ’bourgeois seventies’, all topped off with a sprinkling of ‘retro sobriety’.
Embodied in these designs from Celine echoing its Parisian 70s comfort zone, it’s a look that features many shades of camel, biscuit and buttery caramel. (Beige being a colour that we never ever use here).
This Vogue article explains the key points of Hedi Slimane’s collection for Celine. The collection was unexpected to say the least, with lashings of brown checked tweed; culottes featuring heavily. Personally I couldn’t quite bring myself to contemplate culottes; it’s been a while since 1976 but the memories are still painful.
The visual shorthand for the look that stuck fast in my mind was ‘wool A-line skirt over boots’; an image I couldn’t shake off.
I’m not a great one for skirts, but one I knocked up in desperation on my way out a couple of years back, involved a cotton barkcloth curtain. I’d spotted the fabulous colours at the bottom of a pile of household fabrics in a junk shop somewhere in the depths of the Lincolnshire Wolds. Once dragged out, I had to have it – yet it’d since waited a long time for its moment. With the aid of two safety pins, opaque tights and tall black boots, I stepped out bravely and quite unexpectedly, loved wearing it.
The simplicity and the sharpness of its angles appealed – there was no fuss and the fabric was showcased. ‘Wrap skirt’ was therefore in my head as a skirt I could cope with – and a pattern hunt ensued. First up – the ‘Annetta’ Skirt from Style Arc.
This would have been perfect – especially given Style Arc’s admirable sizing range. However at present this pattern’s only available as a single size hard copy which meant the supply logistics weren’t going to work for our kit.
Kerry joined us on our pattern hunt and she turned up the ‘Agave’ Skirt from Deer & Doe.
Again, the asymmetry was just what we were looking for – however we were concerned that it might require some tricky alterations to work as a lined winter skirt for our customers so again, we reluctantly moved on.
These are both great patterns though – and I’d recommend either if you’re interested in going your own way on the wrap skirt front.
At that point we tracked back to Simplicity 8699 and decided to take the plunge.
(Extra stocks of 8699 are due in – we hope to make it available on the site next week!)
We decided that View B was very much the one for our kit – although since none of the views incorporated a lining, we knew we’d want to offer a lining as a pattern hack.
As we explain in the Pattern Hack page for the Winter Wrap Skirt Kit, I created a couple of toile versions, at which point it became clear that the cut of this pattern was closer to that of a pencil skirt than we’d imagined. I decided to widen and lengthen the skirt to emphasise the structural A-line angles that had first enthused me with my ‘curtain skirt’.
It was at that point that we realised that there was a zeitgeist at work here – as so often happens. Just take a look at these…
There are three distinct looks here – and I love the idea that this is a skirt that can be styled over different boots or with hosiery and heels. Look too at the range of fastenings on offer – ‘D’ rings, neat buttons or utility-style clips and tape.
Here in ClothSpot, our original quest was spurred on by the arrival of the ombré-striped British tweed fabrics we used for our three wool versions.
However when we were offered these stunning Italian velvets we knew immediately that here were some very special alternatives for the upcoming party season.
Seeing how retailers had taken very different routes with their fabric choices, inspired us to be inventive too. This is a skirt style that works with any well-structured fabric. We think it’s a great illustration of how a fairly straightforward pattern can be transformed to reflect your own personal style.
If you like the look of those retail versions, then fabrics you might want to consider for this style of skirt include our ‘Ennismore’ deep navy blue wool venetian fabric…
…or indeed a corduroy like this Norbury muted red colourway.
If you’ve a favourite winter skirt pattern then please post a comment and let us know. Researching patterns is great fun – but very time-consuming so we’re always keen to pick up suggestions! Meanwhile I’m returning to my personal challenge of creating a top or two to go with all these bottoms…