Monday, July 1, 2013

Finished: Pencil Skirt

I joined a newbie sewing group a few months ago called Stitch Once, Rip Twice, created by Diane of VintageZest. It's supposed to be for newbies to work on basics and challenges and encourage each other in our sewing since sewing can be incredibly frustrating at times.

The Black & White Challenge was up first, and I was a terrible member because I didn't have time to complete it. If I remember correctly, I was finishing up my Mad Men dress when my machine broke and so I didn't have time to refashion my old ball gown from 10 years ago.

Now my machine is fixed and I have more free time so I was planning on refashioning it, but then I put it on and decided it was much too fun to wear. So I still haven't finished it. But isn't my ball gown beautiful?

But it doesn't matter because I HAVE completed the second challenge: the pencil skirt.

I had this heavier cotton fabric that I bought to make a lightweight dress out of it, which clearly wouldn't work, so the fabric has been sitting in my bin just waiting for the opportunity to become something beautiful.

I sort of used Butterick B5566 as my guide. I was going to make the skirt on the bottom with the folds, but after I cut it out, I realized that it would create an extra layer of fabric rather than creating folds on just the one layer, and it's so hot here than an extra layer of fabric just won't work.

So I scrapped that idea and just used the basic pattern I had already cut. I also added 4 inches onto the pattern because I wanted a longer skirt, not something above the knees. I debated having a pencil skirt start at the waist due to the belly bump (fat, not baby) but decided I didn't care.

The strange thing about this pattern is that it's not actually a pencil skirt, despite it looking exactly like a pencil skirt in the drawings and on the model. It's an a-line skirt, which looked good on me, if a bit old fashioned, but definitely not the challenge. I took it in an inch on both sides to give it more shape.
Back darts and vent.
Because I made it longer and took it in, I made a back vent to make walking easier. Now, it's only a problem going up stairs (which is a problem - perhaps if I hiked the skirt up first?).
I toyed around with the idea of not having darts and taking the excess material in the waist out at the side seams, but then I realized that the skirts I had seen that done on were jersey and it would probably tug at my material in an undignified manner so I relented and added 2 darts in the front and 2 in the back.

I don't have any up-close pictures of this, but I think you can tell in the pictures (er, you know, the lack of noticing in the pictures, I mean) but I finally mastered the blind hem stitch! I attempted it on my last dress and had problems with it because it still looked like there was a hem. For those who aren't sure, a blind hem stitch is when the fabric appears to just fold under on its own and you can't see any stitching or lines or anything.

The secret, for me at least, was pulling out my manual and the blind hem stitch foot and following instructions. Who knew it would be that easy? It's still a lot of work though. I really prefer doing a baby hem on everything, but it just doesn't always look that great, you know?

My "model" pose.
Generally I really love this skirt. I think it looks pretty good and most importantly, I feel great in it. I need to make a crisp button down shirt, perhaps with a neck tie, to go along with it so I can impress at work. Or I can just keep it super casual. It works with everything!

My next skirt will be jersey though. I hope.

And for those of you doing the Show Off Your Skivvies Challenge, go enter my giveaway! And stay tuned because Ashley and I have some posts coming up that we're really excited about!


  1. high waisted really suits you! great colour on you too.

  2. Nice skirt! I agree with the first comment - that colour looks great on you!

  3. Fantastic skirt. You look awesome in it.

  4. Great skirt, it's very flattering on you! And, yay, blind hem mastery!!! I have not attempted a blind hem, yet, but the day will come!

  5. I love your skirt (and your model pose LOL)
    It's a great color and shape and... you can always use elevators, instead of stairs!!!
    MammaNene (newest follower)

  6. I love the skirt - great fit and great colour!

  7. I love that the skirt looks great casual, but could easily be dressed up too! Yes, I agree with Irene that you can use elevators OR be carried everywhere on a chaise lounge by four men, while striking your model pose. :)