Friday, 7 November 2014

Cressida Skirt - the jury's out

Let's talk about circle skirts, or half circles or three-quarter circles or however much of a circle you want your circle skirt to be. Fact: I've never made a circle skirt. I've made a couple of dresses that included circle skirts (half and full) and was pleased with the results, but I'm convinced this was because the skirt was attached to the dress, which makes a world of difference. I do like the look of circle skirts, I like pinning pictures of them on Pinterest and reading about them and there are some sewing bloggers who just seem to carry them off with aplomb (Cashmerette made a fab plaid one and Lazy Seamstress has made trillions).  I just don't think they suit me.

This is a very roundabout way of introducing you to the Cressida Skirt which I recently pattern tested for Jennifer Lauren Vintage. As you may have guessed, Cressida is a half circle skirt with button placket, waistband and in-seam pockets. There are two design variations: one with a double breasted button placket and one with cute belt loops. When Jennifer asked if I was interested in testing, I almost declined because of the shape, it was the interesting design details that piqued my interest.  So I dived in, choosing a bright green cotton twill from Goldhawk Road to make it with for good measure.


The instructions for the Cressida skirt are clear and well explained, with lots of additional information and diagrams for tricky areas. I also like the way Jen groups the pattern pieces for each version separately, so you only need to print out the pages you need.  In terms of fit, there were a few tweaks that have now been made to the waistband following tester feedback, However, the finished waistband still has very little ease (only ½"), which is great if you like a tight fit round the waist, but not so good if you need a bit of room for pie eating. I cut a size 10, which was optimistic to say the least and, as it turns out, a grave error. The result was an uncomfortably snug waist, and an hour spent unpicking the entire waistband (after it had been top stitched...) and re-drafting a new one, I should add that this was all my own fault, I should have been truthful rather than vain with the size. My advice therefore is to look at the finished measurements and be realistic when deciding which size to sew, or add a bit of width if you're not sure.

Apart from the waistband saga, the skirt sewed together easily and was a relatively straight forward make. There's a fair bit of top stitching on the skirt waistband, button placket and belt loops, which I didn't mind at all - I'm a sucker for a nice bit of top stitching and I love how it looks. I would also re-iterate what Mary emphasised in her review here, which is to stay-stitch the waist of your skirt immediately after cutting to prevent the curved waistline stretching.

Avert your eyes from that top buttonhole...
So, what do I think about the finished Cressida skirt? Well, it's not every day I have the patience to unpick a waistband AND sew on 11 buttons, which is a measure of how much I wanted this skirt to work for me. The sad truth is, I'm not sure it does. I can't quite pinpoint what it is, maybe I'm not used to having so much width around my hips or maybe it's just sheer volume of fabric? Whatever it is, I don't like how it looks on me and if you're not happy yourself with the look of a garment, then you're not going to wear it. Which is such a shame because I really do think it's a lovely skirt and I adore the bright green fabric.

I have to point out that the colour in these photos isn't anywhere near as bright as the actual fabric - it's actually a bright, pea green. In fact it's the exact same colour as a pair of culottes I had when I was about 11. I can't remember if they were my mum's culottes that she cut down, or an old skirt of hers that she converted (if you're reading this mummy, can you phone me and let me know please?!) Whatever their origin, I loved them, and was hoping I'd feel the same way about my Cressida skirt. It's not looking too hopeful so far, but never say never eh? I was very ambiguous about my Kelly skirt when I first made it and now I wear it all the time!

As with all these things, this is merely my own personal opinion. If you do like the cut of its jib and can totally rock a half circle skirt, then the Cressida PDF skirt pattern is available to purchase here.

Have a good weekend! x

The Cressida pattern was given to me free of charge for pattern testing. All views my own.

89 comments:

  1. I think it really suits you! And I love the button loop details xx

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    1. Thank you! I like the button loops too, that's definitely the detail that lured me in! x

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  2. WOW this skirt is perfect!!! Really amazing :)

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  3. I actually think it looks really good and I wonder if part of your ambivalence is just because it's a new look for you. I reckon there will be some days where you're in the mood to just not give a hoot what's 'your look' and you'll wear it and feel a million dollars. I hope so anyway because I totally think if you walk out with confidence in it you'll look amazing.

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    1. I totally agree - I think my ambivalence is because it's such a different look. I won't give up on it just yet - we'll see! x

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    2. Don't give up on it, Jane! It looks very lovely on you.

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  4. I really like this skirt on you! It's a great colour too. I agree with Amy, I think that it may be because it's a new look for you. Maybe you'll grow to love it!

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    1. Maybe! I'll put it aside for a while and see how I feel about it. Thank you! x

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  5. Isn't it funny how different you can see yourself vs. how others see you? To me, this skirt looks fab, but I totally believe you that you don't think so! I had the same thing happen on my blog once: made something, hated it, said that, and everyone said "no it looks awesome!". Funny times! I would say though: why not put it in the back of your wardrobe and see what you think of it in 6 months? It's weird how sometimes a bit of time makes you change your mind about things.

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    1. I know, I'm amazed at all these compliments as to me it just looks bleurgh! Good advice though, thanks Jenny! I'll put it away for a while and see what I think in a few weeks, you never know! x

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  6. This is my favorite item that I've seen on your blog. I have seen this pattern in the blogosphere and have not really been all that excited about it. It tends to look okay on people. But your version looks so good on you! (Now I might just buy this pattern if it can look this nice on someone)

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    1. Thank you so much. I'm pleased my review has tempted you! x

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  7. I have the same feelings as you when it comes to circle skirts. I also love them on everyone else, you including! I tested the pattern as well and was rather wishy washy about my results. At first I loved the look but the more I wore it I felt like the fullness was swallowing me plus my fabric was just bad. I'm hoping to make it up again in a better quality fabric and see how those results fair. I think it looks great on you!

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    1. Thanks Shannon! I agree, it's the fullness that takes some getting used to. x

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  8. I love the colour of this skirt! I also think amy is right though -the fact that something is a different style to one you are more familiar with can cause you to feel unsure of it. I like how the topstitching really gives the skirt an edge too :-) xx

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    1. Ah, the real colour is just so lovely, I wish the photos were a bit more accurate! I think the top stitching is a great detail too! x

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  9. I agree with Jenny - I think this skirt looks amazing on you. I love the shape and the colour and it seems like it would fit so nicely into your wardrobe, with a nice stripey top.
    But I know how you feel, I like the look of the pattern but know that I wouldn't wear it. I just don't think skirts are ever flattering on me.

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    1. I was really hoping it would work for that reason too - it would pair so well with lots of other things in my wardrobe! x

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  10. I love it on you! It's adorable! Maybe even better than the Kell Skirt.

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    1. Thank you! The Kelly skirt totally won me round in the end, so there's hope yet! x

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  11. Love, love, love the colour, the style, the fit. This green skirt looks fab on you. I do share your feelings about circle skirts, but your take on this new pattern really makes me want to try it again.

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    1. Oh good, I'm glad it's made you rethink circle skirts. I think they're a very individual style! x

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  12. I think the skirt is very flattering on you. And the colour looks gorgeous too! x

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    1. Thank you! I do love the colour! x

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  13. I completely understand feeling odd about looking at new shapes on yourself, but this really is a lovely cut for you. It's a fairly universally flattering shape, really, and looks great on you. I'd give it one more chance before you decide to give up on the demi-circle entirely ;)

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    1. Thanks Evie! I won't dismiss it out of hand just yet, I'm going to put it away for a bit and see if my mind is changed! x

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  14. I agree with everyone who says this really suits you. Actually I think it's very flattering but it might take some getting used to for you as it is a bit different from your usual style. I LOOOOOOOVE the colour and the quality of the make looks fab! Give it a bit of time and style it in a few ways and see how you feel about it. You might grow to love it!

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    1. It's totally different from my usual look and I think that's where the problem lies. The proper colour is much brighter than this - really gorgeous. Thank you love, I'm definitely going to give it a bit of time based on all this positive feedback! x

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  15. I completely understand how wearing a new shape can take some time to get used to, but I'd day give it a chance - I agree with everyone else that it looks really great on you. In fact, I think this is my favourite version of the Cressida that I've seen. I absolutely love that colour as well. I'm hoping that it will grow on you because I think it looks fab.

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    1. Thank you so much - I'm hoping it will grow on me too! x

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  16. Don't believe I've ever commented, and I'm at least your mom's age or older... so this is like a mom opinion. You look great in this skirt! The color, shape, and length are all working for your lovely figure. After all that work, you should wear it and try to love it. Sometimes when I'm not sure about a make, I dress it up and wear it for a day or two at home. That gives me a chance to look at it in different lighting, different moods, check the comfort factor, etc. Hope you grow to like it!

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    1. Although my mum looks fab and is only 20 years older than me, there's no WAY you're the same age! But thank you for the mum opinion anyway! I really do want it to work as I LOVE the fabric and the colour and yes, I did put a lot of work into it. I'll certainly give it another chance. x

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  17. Honestly, I think it looks really fantastic on you! The colour is so lovely as well - you're making me want to make one too....

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    1. Oh that's good to know, thank you! x

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  18. Personally I love how this looks, but maybe you could take in the sides and make it more of a Delphine if you are unhappy with the volume! Retain the button detail though!

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    1. Thanks! I did think of taking the sides in but I think it would mess with the fabric grain too much. X

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  19. Jane, I think the skirt balances out your shape beautifully. Maybe something more blousy/adventurous on the top half?

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  20. I like the skirt! it think it fits your beautifully. I can see it a denim and a khaki. I really like it.

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    1. Thanks Sabrina! Yes, I think it would work wonderfully in denim too. x

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  21. I think it looks great on you! But I know what you mean about feeling "ugly." I've had a couple of garments like that...some of them I've just decided to get rid of because I never feel good in them, but some of them have made a comeback! Maybe give it a bit of time and see?

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    1. Yes, you're right, that's happened to me too. Which is why I'll leave it a bit and see! Thanks! x

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  22. Hi! I don't think I've ever commented before, though I've admired from afar (!) as I'm new to sewing, but I had to say that though it may not be a style you're used to wearing it does really suit you. I love the look of both versions, but having lived in jeans for years prior to my resolution for a handmade wardrobe I think, perhaps like you, that I'm used to a tighter feeling around the hip, so I'm grateful you've made me think about that. I do think I'll go for it, though, as I love the style. Very flattering on you! Jen

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    1. Aw thank you so much for commenting Jen! I'm totally used to a tighter fit around the hips which is probably what's throwing me. I'll give it another chance! x

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  23. Love the shape on you. It emphasizes your waistline, and makes you look slim. I think once you get used to the shape and the color, you'll be quite thrilled.

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    1. Thank you very much, I hope so! x

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  24. Jane, I love this skirt! I hope you can come back to it and see how great it looks on you. x

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    1. Ah thanks Jeanette, I hope so too, all these encouraging comments are making me re-think it! x

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  25. Ooh, I do think it looks fabulous, but I completely understand that feeling of "is this me or not?!" Given that I went through that with the Gertie Butterick trousers, and I waxed on about how nope, they're not me, and then several months later decided to give them a try again and have now sewn two more pair, never say never. I agree with everyone else who said to put it away for awhile and let it simmer. Who knows, maybe someday you'll find the right pairing for it. I could totally see you wearing it with a cute navy striped sailor-type top!

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    1. Absolutely right Tasha, never say never! That's very good to know about the Gertie trousers (which I think look fab on you by the way!) And the more a striped navy top gets mentioned, the more I want to put the two together! Definitely going to let this skirt simmer, thank you! x

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  26. You look wonderful in this. It gives you a lovely hour glass shape. Great job!

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    1. I like nothing better than a lovely hourglass shape, so thank you very much! x

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  27. I think it looks great too - I made one circle skirt and binned it immediately after trying it on because I just felt like it made me look really 'hippy' and enormous but I think we just focus in on what we perceive as our 'worst' features. I prefer this to the Kelly skirt because of the waist definition it gives you and the fitted top shows your slimness which means we see your skirt as 'skirt' and we don't assume the skirt shape is your shape! I think if you wear fitted skirts/ pencil then you get used to the garment describing your figure so when you wear something less structured you see it as equally describing your shape. I think I have learned something myself from seeing you in this lovely skirt!

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    1. .... and I've just learnt something from your comment, thank you! x

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  28. Oooh, I like it! It really defines your waistline. I've seen a few other versions, I was like "meh." And then I saw yours and and now I WANT IT. I could see it made up in a nice wool suiting for work wear or a chambray for summertime picnics. Maybe even a shortish version in a floral.

    Perhaps it's the color that's throwing you off? When I first saw it, it was a lot of green - and although you are not one to shy away from color (admittedly I love sewing all the colors), it's a bold statement. But the line is gorgeous and very figure flattering for you. And thank you for your tips on the measurements. If I get the pattern, I definitely will bookmark this page!

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    1. Thank you, I also think it would look great in wool or chambray. Funnily enough, the colour is the one thing about the skirt I really love! x

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  29. I think it looks fantastic on you and I think it suits you, that jazzy tp stitching detail etc is very much the sort of thing I expect to see you love! I also really like it styled with navy as you have, and the navy buttons mean you were expecting to go that way.
    Don't give up on it!! :)

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    1. Thanks MrsC, as usual you've hit the nail on the head. I DID have navy in mind to style it with when I made it - hence the buttons! I won't give up on it just yet! x

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  30. I love it. I think it's really flattering.

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  31. Hi Jane, I have never commented on your blog before either. I just normally lurk around each week ;) I absolutely love this on you!! The colour, the style and the workmanship are fantastic. I am actually surprised that you think it is so different to your other makes. As soon as I saw this I thought "this is so Jane". Hope it does grow on your because we all think it's a winner!

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    1. Aw thank you for commenting, it really means a lot! I thought it was very me too whilst I was making it, which is why I was so disappointed when I tried it on. I'm hoping it will grow on me, everyone is certainly rooting for it which is encouraging! x

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  32. This is a lovely skirt. The color is so fun. I will say the proportions do look pleasing on you. You don't look unbalanced in it. I say give it a try..

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    1. Thanks Emily! That's good to hear about the proportions - it's difficult to know if it looks balanced with such a different shape! x

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  33. I think it looks awesome on you! The colour is superb. And your top stitching is perfect. I suck at stitching an even line so top stitching scares me.

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    1. Thank you, I love the colour too! And my top stitching is hit and miss! x

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  34. Personally I think it looks fab on you! I love the colour, especially if it is brighter than the pics, and I think the shape is really flattering. I am very tempted by this pattern but having just revisited your Kelly post I think I might go for that instead! (all day dreaming though, I have a list longer than my arm at the moment!!)

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    1. Thanks Jenna, I'm tempted to make another Kelly skirt too, I wear the denim one a lot! x

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  35. I am always in two minds when I first make something. I think I need more confidence in what I sew to be honest. Love the colour. :)

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    1. I'm hardly ever in two minds when I make something, it usually goes straight to the top of my favourites list! Hopefully I'll learn to like this skirt though! x

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  36. I too have never commented before, but I think this skirt looks lovely on you, especially paired with navy. I myself have avoided circle skirts for years as they do no favours to a short waist combined with a pot belly, but the vertical line of the button placket is very flattering so I might think again. Do give it a chance; so many positive commentators can't be wrong!

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    1. Thank you so much for commenting! I'm in total agreement about green and navy - it's such a lovely combination. The positive comments are definitely working! x

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  37. I like the way it looks on you! But I can totally understand not being comfortable in it and therefore not wearing it. You have now made me want to go make a bright green skirt :)

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    1. Haha, thanks! I love the thought of a bright green skirt! x

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  38. From where I am standing this shape looks great on you! I love circle skirts and this one is a really nice pattern, but skirts with waistbands do not work on me - I need yoked skirts, so I won't be adding this one to my collection. I get where you are coming from though, I do not like straight or pencil skirts on me and even a barrage of positive comments would not get me to change my mind on that!

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    1. Thank you! The positive comments have totally made me re-think this skirt. I'm going to wait a while and see! x

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  39. I really like it on you, but you have to be comfortable and happy. I say give it time.... Fingers cross you like it more!

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    1. You're right, but fingers crossed anyway! x

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  40. I love the fabric/button combo! This is cute cute cute on you!

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    1. Thank you! I LOVE the fabric/button combo, which is why it's such a blow that I don't love it! Maybe give it time! x

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  41. Personally I would have added 6-10 " on the length to make it less "egg timer" shaped on you. But I am a long skirt wearer generally and also take a larger dress size than you do, so please do not take this as an unkind comment.

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    1. I didn't take it as an unkind comment at all Gill! You're right, it does look a bit egg timer shaped at the length it is, but being short, anything below the knee doesn't looks that flattering on me! x

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  42. I really like this on you! I like the color very much, too. I feel like we usually see you in A-line skirts, so maybe it just feels funny to wear a different silhouette? I know I often feel weird trying something new. I hope you give this some time because it really is cute!

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    1. Thanks Sonja, I also like the colour very much. I'm a total A-line skirt girl (which are not everybody's cup of tea) so I definitely think my uncertainty is because it's such a different silhouette. x

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  43. When I read the title I was expecting to see something really unflattering on you but it is the opposite. It think it really suits you. The colour and the detailing are great. I have always loved a circle skirt or a half circle skirt. Finding the right length for yourself really helps. For me it is just above the knee.

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    1. Thanks Helen! I thinking getting the length right is critical! We'll see…! x

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