Sew over it: Ultimate Pencil Skirt

Sew over it: Ultimate Pencil Skirt

Here’s to finishing my first make of 2016! I believe it’s possible to sew up a pencil skirt in a few hours but I’ve been working on this one since Boxing Day! Mainly because, between Toddler Boy and Baby Boy, I don’t have the use of my hands for most of my waking hours – it took a couple of 2a.m. sewing sessions to get this done, but it was well worth it. I’m in love.

Pattern: Sew Over It’s Ultimate Pencil Skirt

Fabric: this wool/polyester mix, also from Sew Over It.

Cost: I went for the printed pattern (£14), to save myself some time, but there’s also a digital pattern at £8.50. I’m already planning to make more (and my aunt has asked me to make her one) so this was a good addition to my fledgling pattern library. The fabric was £13/metre and I ordered 2m but seem to have loads left over. I’m tempted to try a cropped cardigan/Chanel-inspired jacket as a practice run before I try to make one in tweed – but I’ll need a bit more experience first!

Alterations: I shortened the pattern by the full length of the “shorten/lengthen here” lines. From memory I think it was about 2-3 inches in total, as I wanted it to hit immediately below my knee and the pattern seemed rather long. I graded from a size 12 waist to size 10 from the hips down, as I’m still carrying a few post-baby inches around my waist. Perhaps I should have been optimistic and just cut a size 10 as there’s plenty of room in the waist. I found that the hips fit perfectly but I seemed to have a lot of excess fabric from the hips down. (Do I have abnormally skinny thighs and a big bum?) I pinned it to fit a bit better from the hips down, drew a new side seam along my pins using a hip curve, traced it back to my pattern for next time, and sewed the new narrower seam. My first bit of pattern alteration/drafting went surprisingly well and the fit was much better! Next time I will widen the back darts to take out about an inch in the back and it should be perfect!

Fit: I got a good fit, with the alterations above, but I do wonder how much of that is because of the nice chunky, forgiving, wool covering up any cutting/sewing errors. Good thing I like tweeds and boucles!

Difficulty: I found the instructions nice and clear, for the most part. I accidentally attached the waistband facing upside down, but that didn’t seem to cause a significant problem so I left it. 

The fabric was actually rather chunky but has a nice drape. It was a bit difficult to cut through, I had to use shears instead of my rotary cutter, but sewing it up was surprisingly easy. It does feel a bit bulky at the side seams of the waistband though – when I make up my tweed versions I might try and cut the waistband in one piece instead to avoid the additional side seam.

For my first time fitting a concealed zip, which I did with a regular zipper foot as I couldn’t find my invisible one (sod’s law!), I think it turned out well enough! Practice will make perfect..

I followed this Colette Patterns blog post on matching patterns, to try to cut all my pieces such that the horizontal lines in my tartan could be matched up. I wasn’t 100% in the end but it was a good enough job for me! 

I really love how the kick pleat turned out, I think it’s a nice professional touch they’ve included in the pattern, and the instructions made it nice and easy to sew.  

While I was looking for my invisible zipper foot, I found some labels I had ordered years ago when I first decided to learn to sew, and never used because I never actually sewed anything. So I resolved to use them in all my makes now. Here’s to the very first one!:

Update with some real life pictures:

 – Michelle –

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