Oh, Oh, Oh! I’m so excited to have a little sew along! Hip Hip Hooray!
So, the whole goal of this is to get you all involved and let us all in on your secrets for pencil skirts too! I’ll be working with the Jenny Skirt Pattern from Burda Style, but really you could bring any pencil skirt pattern to the table for this. I plan to create “lessons” (yes, this is my flute teacher side coming out) for you to follow along with. I plan to give you the low-down on how I fit a pencil skirt, create a kick pleat on a pattern that does not have one, insert an invisible zipper and some of the finishing details of skirt making that I find rather nice. I’ll be getting these pencil skirt lessons going next week, so keep it bookmarked here. I’ve made up a little list of things you’re going to need for this sew-along:
- muslin – as much as you would need to make your size pencil skirt; be sure to look at your pattern requirements
- a choice fabric for your finished pencil skirt – look at the pattern requirements and add at least a 1/2 yard to your order to ensure that you’ll have enough length
- lining fabric – again use the pattern requirements for this and add at least a 1/2 yard to your order
- interfacing – enough for the waistband, 1/2 – 1 yard should do it
- a 12-14 inch invisible zipper
- 1/4 yard of silk or polyester organza
- a permanant marker
- a straight edge ruler
- a french curve or hip curve
I also wanted to give you some inspiration from fellow stitchers around the web for other ways to try a pencil skirt. I mean what about a lower waisted pencil skirt, like Selfish Seamstress has here:
How about a side zip and pleats along the bottom, from Pretty Ditty:
What about with a bow, from Casey and Gertie:
Pockets anyone, maybe with a button-up front? Courtesy of Stephanie Hillberry:
Perhaps a ruffle down the side, from Erica B.:
You can create princess seams, or give it a hidden waistband. There are hundreds of things you can do with a pencil skirt. Hundreds. I plan to give a few tutorials on some of these. Oh what fun!
Here is number 1 of three pencil skirts fit to be made for my Self Stitched September-ness. This is the Jenny Skirt Pattern from Burda Style. Can I just say, Love at first stitch. As per usual with Burda Style patterns, this pattern did not come with great instructions. No problem, as pencil skirts aren’t really that complex.
Onto specifics. I made this from a navy blue polyester wool blend. Not my favorite fabric to work with, but it was on sale and that does the trick sometimes. I needed a skirt in a basic neutral color too. This definitely fit the bill. It’s lined in silk charmeuse, which was a thrifted skirt from just a little while ago.
Things I love: The shape is superb on this skirt. I’ll admit, I got this one just a bit snug, but you might be surprised to find out that not only can I walk, I can sit! Ha! And talk about comfort. For something that does not really look comfortable, it is. Especially lined with the luscious silk. Pajamas, more like. Pencil Skirt Pajama. I also love the zipper. For those of you who’ve been visiting here for awhile, you know I simply abhore invisible zips. I’ve never had good luck with them. NEVER! But I did some digging around in some of my old mags and found this article for putting them in. It was back in a Sew Stylish issue which is apart of the Threads empire. (I can’t find the article on the Threads website, I’ll keep looking, but maybe I’ll just give you my version of the zipper insertion) Ummm…have you ever seen a zipper look so beautiful? Yeah, me neither. I’ll admit, it is warping just a bit and I think this is because in general, I got the skirt a bit on the snug side. But this takes the cake as the most gorgeous invisible zipper insertion I’ve ever attempted. I also love the bias cut waistband. Normally I don’t take too kindly to bias cut parts to garments. I would rather have the whole dress, not just the silly lining cut on the bias, if you know what I mean. This waistband is different. The bias part of it hugs that curve at your waist, making you appear even thinner that you would think.
Things I don’t love: This brings me to the parts I’m not so crazy about. I do love the bias waistband, however the downside of this is the slight puckering at the back. This is caused from the bias. I know this for sure, because I’ve attempted this sort of look on a few other garments before and always had the same result. Drag. I also do not love the slit at the back. It cheapens the look of the whole thing and it was a little on the high side. It was a bit too friendly on the “hello” side of things, if you know what I mean. It really should be a vent or kick pleat, which for pencil skirt #2, you’ll definitely see.
And that, dear friends, is that. A seriously dangerous skirt, with more curves than I even knew I had! I was thinking it might be kind of fun to do one of these skirts together. Giving you some fitting tips and sewing tips that you wouldn’t normally get from the pattern and not to mention, it would be like a collective little sewing league where we could all share our problems, issues and tips. What do you say? Maybe a little flickr pool to boot. Come on, come on, it’ll be fun, it’ll be fun!
I’ve been doing some heavy duty cleaning out, which is why the delayed posts. The latest spritzer upper was going through my jewels. What a mess! I spent two hours unknotting and detangling some 20 odd necklaces. I’m rather terrible with jewelry and throw it all in a box, so it gets tangled and knotted and then I don’t wear it. Every few years or so, it’s time to clean it up. This time for good.
I made this handy dandy cork board jewel keeper. Rather simple. Bought a frame, some cork board and covered the cork board in blue silk, which matches my bedroom. I’ve seen this idea floating around the net these days and felt it was such a good idea because it keeps things detangled and you can hang up your jewels for inspiration and to remind you to add that necklace to your outfit on any given day.
I also made the top drawer of my dresser into a jewel keeper as well. The cork board can’t hold everything now. I made a blue mat from the same blue silk, cotton batting and printed cotton fabric and put some bias tape around the edges. Easy, easy. Surprisingly, the jewels really don’t slide anywhere. And it makes opening this drawer such a treat, kind of like going to a department store and getting some jewels out of the glass case.
I found that my silver pieces needed some real cleaning too. I didn’t want to mess with that silver cleaner garbage and so looked up some recipes for homemade silver cleaner online. I had no idea it would be so easy. I lined a bowl in tinfoil. Boiled some water, added that to the bowl. Sprinkled some baking soda and salt in the bowl and Voila! Silver Cleaner. Soaked my silver jewels in that solution for a bit, gave them a rinse and now they are silver again. Ha ha ha! This method works super well, would recommend anytime!
Also considering buying this book. Got the recommendation from Casey’s blog and though I have made some of my own jewelry, it’s definitely nothing fabulous. I feel I could use a little “training.”
I realize this is more of a jewelry spotlight than a stitching spotlight, but hey, us ladies need something to accessorize with them handmade clothes right?
Wishing you a fabulous weekend!
A smattering of different ideas to fuss up a pencil along the top row of images
I decided to tackle a couple of pencil skirts for Self Stitched September. I had purchased the Jenny pattern from Burda Style awhile back and thought it was time to stitch it up. I just got rid of two ready-to-wear pencil skirts, boring black and brown ones, that had definitely seen better days. I’m always amazed at some of the things that I’ve chosen to buy over the years and how poor quality they really are. The brown skirt had this awful polyester nylon lining that clung to anything and everything. And the black one was completely unlined, made from some awful polyester junk. Both had side zips, both dug into my waist, and both were too baggy in the hips. Do you have that problem? I simply can’t STAND it. By the end of the day, I want to cut myself out of the thing. Uggghh….
I’m in love with the pencil skirt in the middle, that olive color is to die for and it looks beautifully fit
Well, onto more pleasant things. I needed some inspiration. Nothing like flying by the seat of your pants without a road map. I keep a creative inspiration journal with me and when I find clippings of things I like I cut them out and paste them in it. Surprisingly, I have a thing for pencil skirts. I find the silhouette they create rather clean, sexy and up town. And they are so feminine. They bring out all those curves. Bring out the firetrucks!
The two bottom images are fabulous, a mini pencil skirt and that gorgeous blue traditional pencil skirt
Tried making a pencil skirt lately? I’m also in love with the fact that something so sleek and sexy comes from 1 – 1.5 yards of fabric. That’s definitely something to write home about. Not to mention, you get to line it (or not, depending on your preference) in something you want to line it in, like silk. Or maybe even that bemberg rayon lining. Oh, the lush!
The image in the middle is a great idea, adding a border along the bottom to spice it up and bring it out of the ordinary
Just a little pencil skirt love for your Thursday morning perusal.
Most of the time, when my sewing adventures don’t quite work out I don’t usually say anything. And I definitely don’t show you anything. Usually it doesn’t happen that often. I do try to keep a chin up and move on, not get too depressed about ruining an acre of fabric, but this past weekend was different. I was up for making my second, dark colored half slip out of this gorgeous navy blue silk charmeuse I found. And then I thought, “Let’s move onto the full version instead.” I had tested the pattern, because this is silk you know, not cheap and definitely not worth ruining. Surprisingly for a slip, there were quite a few alterations that needed to be made to the pattern. I felt rather impressed with myself that I took such care in testing the pattern actually.
Then, it was time to move onto cutting the blue silk. I made the mistake of cutting out the bra portion first and then turned my attention to the skirt only to find that there wasn’t enough fabric. I had bought the last of the bolt and was rather unhappy with only the yard and a half I got, but I was quite sure I could make the most of it. I determinedly cut out the back portion of the skirt and found that there was absolutely no way to cut out the front. I had purchased this silk from Hancock’s and since we have two locations here, I thought I could get lucky and find some more silk at the other location. Of course, they didn’t have any. Of course.
the very sad pieces of navy silk
So I came home, empty handed, and decided that the half slip version was going to have to work. I proceeded to cut out the back of the slip from the back I had cut for the full slip and again found that there was not enough fabric for the front half, even though this was the half slip. I tried cutting it out anyway, a little off grain, thinking this wouldn’t matter much. Ha ha ha. After cutting out the front and finding that it hung completely wrong, I’m here to tell you, I’ve completely destroyed an entire yard and a half of beautiful silk charmeuse. The loveliest part is that I’ve cut it up into little pieces that couldn’t possibly make their way into anything else garment wise.
It’s a pretty sad story, I must admit. There were no tears, which is surprising, but even worse, there is disappointment. Silly, silly girl. Tricks are definitely for people like Houdini. (I know you thought I was going to say “kids” huh. But I’m not a rabbit so what’s the fun in that?) Possibly even worse than all this, is that I actually “fff-ed up” on something so silly, a slip. A SLIPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!
Believe me when I tell you, all of us have our moments of utter shame and complete ineptitude on a very easy project. So, if you are having one of those moments, I’m here to say, you ain’t alone Sister! I recommend that you bookmark this post for future reference when those moments come along. Just remember, I messed up on a SLIP!
This heart wrenching story has been brought to you by:
- $16 a yard navy blue silk charmeuse, which had the most beautiful purple tint to it
- a very easy vintage slip pattern
- Gingher shears, the likes of which you’ve never seen cut into silk
- last, but not least, a silly disappointed red-headed girl