Seeing Red


I found this simple dark red skirt in the Trinity House Hospice Shop in Streatham last spring. Dark red (what was ‘burgundy’ is now called ‘oxblood’ but I’ll stick with ‘dark red’ for now) was in fashion last autumn and happily for me, it’s coming back. I believe this is one colour that flatters me, so I’m pleased to see it’s back this season. I was a bit slow off the mark last year but this year (spoiler alert!) I am planning an autumn wardrobe in which dark red features heavily.

This Country Casuals skirt is 100% Pure New Wool and as such I paid £8 for it, perhaps a little steep but the colour is perfect.


First thing to address was the size. The thing was 2 sizes too big. I took the opportunity to custom-fit it to my frame by taking it in by a substantial amount at the back seam. Removing fullness only at the back seam meant I didn’t have to touch the (more complex) zip area at the side seam, but it did mean the side seams would sit a lot further towards the back. Not ideal, but I’m gambling no-one will notice.

This meant cutting the waistband down the centre back and unpicking both the back skirt and back lining seams. The back lining seam was off-centre because of the vent.


I cut off about 20cm from the length (the whole vent) and then I took it in 5 cm at the waist tapering quickly to 8 cm at the hip. You can see how much I pinned out below. I did the same with the lining.


After reassembling the back waistband, the seams don’t quite match up, but it’s good enough.


To add some visual interest, I am using red lace fabric. I searched high and low for some red lace trim but couldn’t find any, so I’m making my own. I cut the scalloped edge from the fabric, following the lines of the pattern, and pinned it to my skirt.


Applique-ing the lace was fairly straightforward, using a small, narrow zig zag.


Here’s how it looks on the reverse side.


You can then cut off the hem of the skirt as close as you dare to the zig zags, being very careful not to cut the lace.


Any joins in the lace fabric can be carefully joined using the same zig zag stitch and then trimming any excess (below).


This new red skirt with added visual interest was perfect for a night out on the South Bank. I paired it with a white shirt, dark red and diamante necklace, red gem and string bracelet, fierce dark red nails (this colour is Essie ‘Fishnet Stockings’ in case you’re interested), and newly-acquired dark red patent shoes. I think this one will be getting a lot of wear over the winter.

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  1. sewamysew

    I loooove this colour! I think you got the length of the skirt fabric so perfect, the lace sits at just the right spot. Looks so good with that shirt and jewels. So lovely.

  2. Prfctlildvl

    Beautiful! I have never appliqued lace to anything before as it looked so hard to do but you’ve made it seem so simple and inspired me to give it a try. I think this could easily become a new sewing obsession for me!

    • charityshopchic

      Thank you for the comment! I’m a bit obsessed with lace (and dark red) at the moment. This technique is actually a really easy way to jazz up something plain. Just be careful with the scissors! I do hope you give this a try.

  3. Kelley

    Love this one, too. You always inspire me. Now, when I’m out thrifting, instead of just looking for things I can wear “as is”, I also look for things that can be done over.

  4. Heather Lou

    I love your brain. Adding the lace is inspired – totally pinning this and will copy the idea somewhere down the road. I also just finished an oxblood skirt – it’s such a perfect fall colour!

  5. JJ

    WooHoo smart transformation. I love the shape of the white blouse. Is it too one of your refashions? I don’t remember it???

  6. Zoe

    Wow! You made a Country Casual’s garment sexy!!! That’s a tall order and this skirt looks wonderful! xxx

    • charityshopchic

      It’s a really old Reiss one. I love it because it has all the darts going into the neckline – I have not seen that anywhere before or since! Thanks for commenting.

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