A Fashionable Stitch » sartorial sewing

How to: Sewing a Vent Lining

Hey friends! Please note that as of 4/6/2012, this tutorial has been refashioned. The instructions and photos have all been updated to produce a much more professional result. If this is your first time visiting this tutorial, read on, if this is your second or third time (or 4th or 5th) give a read through the material as some of it has changed a bit.

This is the 3rd installment of creating a vent in a skirt. For the first two posts in this series, click here and then here. Once you’ve drafted the lining for a vented skirt, we now come to the sewing up of it! Yay! For clarity, I’m going to start from the very beginning of the sewing process. I’ll include tips and tricks so, definitely read instead of just following along with the photos. Ok? Ok.

Step 1 ✂ You’ll need to cut out your cloth to begin with. Make sure you only cut 1 of each of the lining back pieces. From there, stitch in the tucks to the lining and the darts to the skirt shell. In the above photo I’ve stitched the tucks in the lining pieces and then pressed the tucks to towards the centers. No biggie, right?

Step 2 ✂ These instructions are going to look awfully similar to the ones in How to: Create a Vent, but for a few minor differences. Stitch from the bottom of the zipper opening/stop to within 5/8″ (1.6 centimeters) of the edge of the vent extension (make a notch for this), pivoting where the center back seam of the skirt and the vent extension meet. Please note that as per the Jenny Skirt pattern via BurdaStyle, this pattern has 5/8″ (1.6 centimeter) seams. Click here to view the full post »

  • Seemane - Brilliant work Sunni on deciphering the mysteries of linings and vented skirts! Thank you so much for doing all the hardwork for us, I shall be printing this tutorial off & filing it with the other pencil-skirts tutes you’ve made :)

  • Sandra - I love the vent tutorial! I’m still undecided whether I will be putting a lining into my skirt. I made the muslin with the vent to just try it out and love it. Too easy.

  • Miss Shigatsu - i wish i had you to sit next to me and walk me through this… i must have read the tutorial a hundred times and i simply don’t get it.

  • glow - this is just wonderful,i,ve been trying to put lining to my vents for ages but just couldn,t get the trick. with this , i am good to go. thank you so much.

  • Emma - ohhhh what a wonderful tutorial. The cutting of the lining finally makes total sense for me!

  • WallDruggie - I’ve been puzzling over this for several hours and can’t make it work. I have stopped my back seam sewing 5/8″ before the first 45 degree angle and tried basting up my skirt shell and lining vent extensions for alignment. I can’t make the short angled seam align. It’s like I should have added a seam allowance when I cut along the folded back extension.

  • Rosesred - Thanks so much for this tut, it’s great and I’ve never seen an explanation of this anywhere else. My new dress looks great with this finish, I just love how the lining and the shell fold around eachother. Very cool that you decided to check that RTW skirt out, I’d have never thought of that.

  • BonnieJ - This is brilliant, it has been so long since I made lined clothes with vents that I’d forgotten the construction. When you made the cut on one of the linings everything clicked. It is ashame patterns no longer provide lining options or instructions, but I love the web and generous people like you that are willing to share their experiences with others. For those that cannot relate your words to the process. Make a couple of sample pieces; trial and error will work itself out. I promise…you must go through the process several times before it will appear.

  • Candy - Thanks for taking the time to do this tutorial, it has helped me out.


  • Nancy Winningham - Great Tuturial! I have never done a vent lining like this before, but am going to bookmark this page for the next time I make a vented skirt.ReplyCancel

  • Victoria - Thanks for the tutorial. I am so pleased with how my pencil skirt turned out. Though I do have a question. I haven’t figured out how to hem it yet. I would like to hem the lining and fashion fabric so they hang separately, but with the vent they are sewn together down the back. Can you tell me if this is possible? and how to do it?


  • Barbara Mourand - I have struggled for years with lining a lapped vent. These instructions are good up to a point. I can make it work when using just a small sample. However….when the skirt and lining is put together I cannot get it to work. Are you suppose finish the vent lining on the skirt before sewing up the side seams on the skirt or lining? What am I doing wrong? Thanks for your help.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Hi Barbara!

      I’ll be reworking this tutorial soon and giving much easier and better instructions on how to line a vented skirt. It’s such a struggle, I know! Hopefully you can wait just a little while longer and I’ll get the new instructions up soon! Thanks a bunch!ReplyCancel

    • Darlene - You can actually complete the skirt including your hem leaving off the waistband. Since the lining is an inch or two above your skirt hem, it is uneffected. I personally prefer to attached the lining with hem in place. It a little bit of manuevering to work in a circle. I struggled w/ this tutorial because she doesn’t state that you don’t cut all the way to top. Thus I could figure out to join the two angled pieces of lining; and you can’t determine from looking at her photos. However, I came across an excellent Youtube video where the construction is demonstrated. Once viewing this, everything clicked! I was able to finish my skirt w/ great results. Hope this helps.

  • Rob - What happens if you want the center back seam allowance to be 3cm? the vent allowance cannot be more than 1cm for it would be too big and there has to be a point where the seam allowance will go down from 3cm to 1cm. or do you simply just stop somewhere and draw a straight horizontal line from 3cm to 1cm and then go down to the vent and hem with 1cm allowance?

    thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Grace - I’m so glad this tutorial exists, however I agree with Barbara that the instructions are good up to a point. For me that point is the lining hem. As shown in these photos the lining is not hemmed. I think I can assume that my lining must be hemmed before attaching to the vent, but for a anyone following blindly this omission might be a real problem.ReplyCancel

  • lakaribane - Something is not quite clear to me, Sunni. So I will sew the hem of the fashion fabric OVER the lining? Or will the lining be free and clear of the fashion fabric hem?ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - The lining is clear and free of the fashion fabric hem – basically a free hanging lining. Great question!ReplyCancel

      • lakaribane - Thank you for clearing that up! My vented linings are usually messes but free-hanging.ReplyCancel

  • K-Line - Oooh, this is kind of making my head swim. I guess, as I am going to do this (as well as doing a petersham waist facing on the lining) I’ll have to stitch the petersham to the waist before sewing the vent, or I won’t have a way to do the sewing of the waistband afterwards. Can this actually be done? In your pics you show the waistband still unsewn while you work on the vent – particularly in step 7 where the shell and lining are side by each. Can one do the waist FIRST (including stitching the zipper to both lining and skirt shell) and then still accomplish what needs to be done in step 7? Sorry if this is a totally stupid question but these are a lot of new steps for me to try to put together.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - That’s the way I usually do it – waistband and zipper first and then onto the vent. Finish your waistband and zipper insertions before step 7 and when you get to step 7, your skirt will attach in the same way but look a bit messier than my photos (I left that part out for the sake of the photos). Just flip the lining over the top of the skirt and assemble. It looks alot harder than it really is and it will probably feel contrary to normal. I find that its also easier to grab the extension ends that go together – lining and fashion fabric – pull them out and stitch them one at a time. I promise though that once you get to this step, you’ll see that its easier than it looks too! No stupid questions either! This particular type of lining is one that took me forever to figure out, but its so worth the effort in my opinion. I do hope you’ll agree! I can’t wait to see your finished skirt!ReplyCancel

      • K-Line - I spent the evening drafting the lining pieces and reviewing what petersham I can use (I’m going to go with the fuchsia 2″ I got from you, not the 1.25 inch mossy-purple (which would be the ideal colour – but which isn’t long enough). Turns out I do have JUST enough of that lining (egad!). Wish me luck in this. PS: Going to put up a post about this sometime soon.ReplyCancel

Keep Sewing

Ok, so I know that I promised the second installment of the Back Vent Tutorial today. It will be ready for you tomorrow. Promise. In the meantime, I wanted to mention a few things for more fun! Here’s the play-by-play for the next few days. I plan to give you the second Back Vent Tutorial, complete with photos and instructions for doing the back vent with a lining AND giving you a view of what I mean by stabilizing the seams with the organza. After that, it’s onto the invisible zipper and then I’ll give you a post about finishing details. I also wanted to do a post or two on a few different variations of the pencil skirt, with easy alterations and that should finish up this little sew-a-long. I know it’s a little crazy, but here’s a schedule:

Saturday (8/21/2010) – Back Vent Tutorial Part II

Sunday (8/22/2010) – Invisible Zipper Tutorial

Monday (8/23/2010) – Finishing Details

At least this gives you an idea of what’s coming up and what to plan for next. I mean there’s nothing like waiting for instructions, going off on your own and then come to find out it might have been better to try this or that, you know.  So that’s the deal.

Need me? Questions? I’m trying to answer the questions that have been posted in the comments, in the comments, so if you’ve asked about something try looking back in the comments. I’ll keep doing that, but I’m also going to email you an answer too now. You’re more than welcome to email too! I love to hear about progress and try to help solve problems.

And the Flickr Group is now up and running!!! Yay! Please jump over, have a look and add stuff. I hope you post your finished creations, but also give us some muslin fitting shots and details, progress, problems and everything and anything about the sew-a-long. I want to do more sew-a-longs, so make sure you join and give us some photos! Add sew-a-long stuff whenever you like. I’ve added my navy pencil skirt to get started.

Keep Sewing! I’ll be back with more tomorrow!

  • Suzie - Awww…I am so GUTTED that I’m not able to join in in the sew-along!!! But I’m loving your Lessons/Tutorials so I’m definately going to sew-along when I have the chance!!!

  • Elle - I finished my muslin yesterday, and discovered that not every pencil skirt style fits every body. I’m going to try again next week, but this is turning into more of a “read and then sew after” than a true sew along.
    One muslin tip I did do was that I sewed it wrong sides together so that I could easily adjust the side seams, but because my hips are uneven, I wanted the right hip skirt side to match my right hip. I also hand basted in a zipper. I find that makes it easier to “see” what it really will look like.

  • Alexandra Mason - I finished my muslin and its way too small :( so i’m going to make another one tomorrow.

  • jayne - ok so I’m still working on finding a French curve-haha-will order Amazon tonight. I actually washed the dry clean only wool and am still loving it. I really didn’t want to rack up drycleaning bills w this venture. Planning to work with the muslin Sat. a.m. Still loving the sew-a-long; keeps me accountable :D thanks for the tutorials AND the delay as it affords me some catch-up time.

  • Erica - Oh my god! I am still working on taping the pattern together! The tutorials are AWESOME and I am going to spend the rest of this Sunday trying to catch up.

How to: Create a Vent

Hey friends! Please note that as of 4/6/2012, this tutorial has been refashioned. The instructions and photos have all been updated to produce a much more professional result. If this is your first time visiting this tutorial, read on, if this is your second or third time (or 4th or 5th) give a read through the material as some of it has changed a bit.
One thing I found when making my navy blue pencil skirt from the Jenny Pattern from BurdaStyle is that the back had a slit and not a vent or kick pleat. I have strong feelings about slits. Slits, for skirts, belong in the front along one leg, if they belong anywhere at all. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it. I really feel that adding a back vent or even a kick pleat (kick pleats are closed back vents) adds real value and durability to a garment. Slits are much more likely to tear or distort over time from wear.
You might also be surprised that though this little tutorial brings your skirt up a notch, its very easy to do. Weird huh? Usually things that look better on garments are much harder to do. I mean don’t you find it a relief to know that this is easy peasy? Come now, let’s cheer! OK enough silliness, down to brass tacks.

Click here to view the full post »

  • Suzanne - That is SO TRUE about them tearing! My plus size Burda pencil skirt had this happen TWICE! This is a better way to go!

  • karen - Yay, that’s great! One thing: when you say ‘give’ the seam allowances strips of organza do you mean add the strips of organza to the edges of the seam allowance once they’re pressed open ie as a type of hong kong finish?

  • A Sewn Wardrobe - This tut is psycho helpful. Thanks so much for taking the time to post it! I’m totally going to use this in a pencil skirt I have planned for fall.

  • Revival - Thanks for the tutorial but could you please add with pictures how to do the lining part please?

  • jayne - ditto on the organza to seam allowance question and the lining part request :D loving this sew-a-long idea.

  • Sandra - I LOVE this! Thanks for this tutorial, I’ve always thought the seam vent was a bit dodgy but didn’t ever take the effort to find out how to change it. This looks so much better. And that’s what the organza is for!

  • The Cupcake Goddess - No, actually I add strips of organza to the wrong side of the skirt where you would actually sew the seam. I’m going to do a follow up tutorial for this hopefully by Friday.

  • The Cupcake Goddess - Yes, I hope to have this up by Friday. It will be much more clear with photos. So sorry!

  • Ellen - I’m a little behind. I have my muslin cut out. Luckily for me, my pattern actually has a back vent, but this looks very easy. I’ll be interested to see the pictures with the lining. And hopefully, I’ll get my muslin fitted tomorrow. :P

  • Kennis - Thanks for posting the tutorial! I am making a pencil skirt out of McCall 5590 and am trying to decide how much ease I should add to the waist and hip. Could you share how much ease you have on yours?
    Thanks again and keep up the good work!

  • The Cupcake Goddess - I like to have about 2 inches of ease in the skirt and 1 inch in the waist. The 2 inches in the skirt gives me room to walk and sit and the 1 inch in the waist makes the skirt sit right and not slide around too much.

  • Carrauntoohil - Wonderful tutorial! Lots of clear pictures plus great descriptive text make this one of the best I’ve seen. Thank you so much for putting it together — I’m definitely bookmarking it!
    BTW, I don’t have any organza strips… would twill tape work the same?

  • The Cupcake Goddess - I think that twill tape would work just fine down the length of the back seam. It would give it good strength and durability. I would get a thinner twill tape, I think the thicker it is the more you are likely to see a bulge on the right side of the skirt.
    Thanks so much! I’m glad you like the tutorial!

  • srkeeler - Thank you so much! I am going to try a straight skirt from my first attempt at a skirt sloper. I knew I wanted to do a back vent, but couldn’t get a straight answer on how to go about it. You are awesome!

  • rachel - i like the inverted kickpleat in my gab and khaki skirt
    easy to walk and classy
    always put dart on the pleat

  • Natalie | FrizzyDizzy - This is brilliant. I spent forever looking at a Simplicity pattern’s instructions trying to figure this out. Those pictures are tricky sometimes. This tutorial is perfect! Wish I had it sooner though :PReplyCancel

  • Ibeth Dellemann - Hallelujah, I got it!
    Thank you so much, I hate to admit it, but I could not comprehend the instructions from the pattern.


  • Genevieve - Thank you this was very helpful! I am planning to refashion an old pair of jeans into a pencil jean skirt, but needed to know how to add a kick slit. Thanks once again!ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca Beil - Question: how do you attach the lining of a french vent to the skirt with a single lapped zipper? I would like it to look like the lining in the Pendleton skirts where the wool shows ,then you see the lining. Do you have a book on sewing for sale in the book stores ,or to order from you? Thank you.

    Rebecca BeilReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Hi Rebecca!
      I’ve actually not written a book – just my musings here on my blog. For a skirt with a french vent – or slit, in my opinion – I tack the zipper to the lining by hand with a slip stitch. Hopefully that helps.ReplyCancel

Pencil Skirt Sewalong – the Fitting

So, here we go. Tackling a basic pencil skirt. All together now.

These collective gatherings (that’s what I’m calling them) are going to be about things that the pattern doesn’t tell you. I think it’s a great idea to start with something really basic, but also flattering. Hence why we are creating a pencil skirt. As you know, I’m using the Jenny Skirt pattern from Burda Style, however you are welcome to follow along with any pencil skirt pattern you might have. This is a fairly basic skirt and so the principles should be able to translate to another pencil skirt pattern without any problem.

In this first little lesson, I’m going to tackle the fitting. Now before you go cutting into that expensive fabric you just bought, it’s good to whip up a toile or commonly known as a muslin. This way we get a perfect fit. A perfect fit for you. And that’s exactly what you want in a pencil skirt. What could be worse than a baggy or too tight, shapeless, ill-fitting pencil skirt? That’s right, nothing! Ha ha ha!

From the list I gave you in my last post, you’ll be using the following for the fitting.

  • muslin – the yardage required for your skirt
  • permanent marker
  • enough elastic to go around your waist
  • straight ruler
  • french curve or hip curve – this tool is optional, in fact you might not even require it, unless your hip needs a big adjustment.

To start, cut out your pattern pieces for your size. Make sure you measure yourself and pick the correct size. Now cut out the muslin. I only cut the basics. For a skirt like this, I cut the outer shell, and one layer of the waistband. Mark your pattern pieces, especially the darts with the permanent marker (I use the straight edge ruler on the darts to make them nice and poker straight). Stitch up your muslin according to the directions from your pattern. Leave the back open, where the zipper would be inserted open, but mark the seam allowance with your permanent marker.

OK, now we’re ready to give the skirt a try on. I find that it’s best not to try and complicate a fitting. There are many different methods for going about this, but most important is that you fit a garment so that it is easy for you to wear. With a pencil skirt there’s a few things to keep in mind. A pencil skirt, should fit close, but not tight, through the hip and waist. From the widest part of the hip, the skirt should hang straight, with enough room to walk and sit. And don’t forget to press this muslin as you go along. That also will affect the fit.

To try on your muslin – wear the undergarments you would normally wear and I find it’s very helpful to know where my natural waistline falls. This is where the elastic comes in. Tie the elastic around your natural waistline (the thinnest part of your waist) and move around for a minute to let it settle. Even if you plan to make a lower waisted skirt, this is helpful to find out where in relation to your natural waistline you want the waistline of your skirt to fall. Also try the skirt on inside out. It’s much easier to pin out seams and such when it’s inside out.

Try on the skirt muslin. Pin up the back, where the zipper should be and give it a good hard look in the mirror. What to look for – bulges in the fabric. And no, I’m not talking about the bulges in our body, we all have those, specifically you are looking for parts in the garment where there are wrinkles in the fabric, because it’s hanging wrong. Even more specifically, look for these in the waist through the hip. Now, the skirt might be altogether too big, and therefore have no bulges, so take this into consideration too. This was my issue. It felt like it was about to fall off. I wanted just a bit more snugness.

Specific points to consider – take a good look at the darts. Don’t be afraid to lengthen or shorten the darts if they fall at a strange point on your body. You’ll find that they are too long if they create little divets at the bottom. If they are too short, you’ll see that there is a bulge in the fabric between the bottom of the dart and the hip. To fix either of these, unpick the darts, try on the garment, and pin out the darts that fit your body, making sure to create symmetry for either side. You’ll find it easier to pin your skirt tight at the hip for this alteration and then pin out over darts you’ve marked with permanent marker. Once your finished, take off the skirt and remark the darts on your sewing pattern. Another point to consider – the darts might be just fine, but the sides might need to be taken in. This is the case for me. Pin out the sides, take off the skirt and adjust your sewing pattern. Make sure you pin out the same amount on each side of the garment for symmetry. You might need the french or hip curve here, especially if you only need to take in the waist. When marking your pattern, you’ll need to adjust and blend the new line for your skirt side.

It also might be that the fit widthwise seems fine, but the hip is a little off. For this, you’ll need to cut along the top “cut here to lengthen or shorten line” and lengthen or shorten. (Every commercial skirt pattern typical has these. It’s those double lines that say, “cut here to lengthen or shorten” and usually there is one near the top of the skirt and near the bottom) Make sure if you need the hem longer, that you cut along the bottom “lengthen or shorten” line. You’ll need to blend the lines with your straight ruler or french curve afterwards.

It’s also a good idea to sew the new adjustments into your muslin and try it on again. Walk around in it and sit down. Also start looking at things like the back vent, is it too high, too low? What about the hem? Too short, too long? Make sure you make the adjustments for those as well.

Hopefully this gives you a general idea of what to look for when fitting your skirt. Just remember, it should be comfortable. If it’s not comfortable you probably won’t wear the final garment. And who wants that when you’ve pored so much work into the thing?

Happy Fitting! If you have questions, I will try to stay on top of answering them in the comments section. And don’t worry, this is just muslin, right? You’ll do marvelously!

And don’t forget, this is collective. If you fit differently, give us your opinion. What helps you when you are fitting a garment? How do you go about the fitting process? Books, websites, resources that you recommend?

  • Jen - This is going in the vault. I tried one pencil skirt last year, and it was such a debacle. I’m pregnant now so it will be a while before I’m pencil-skirt-ready, but I can’t wait to try!

  • Debi - Fabulous! Thanks so much for this!!!

  • Jayne - ok ok, I’ll get that magenta fabric out of the closet and try this. A well-fitting pencil skirt is exactly what my wardrobe needs.

  • Amy - Aha, this is what I needed when I made my first pencil skirt! I’ll be keeping your tips in mind when I attempt another, thanks :D

  • Ellen - I’m ready! I found some black crepe-y stuff in my stash. I meant to get the muslin at least cut out today, but alas, it didn’t happen.

  • Alexandra Mason - This is great :)…thank you!

  • Sarah - When I pin-fit, I have to do it right side out because my hips are wildly uneven. But other than that, this is very clear and sounds quite helpful.
    (darts still give me pain….)

  • Alana - Alrighty – I am all muslined up now (after some serious anomalies in the pattern measurements) and I’m going to work on the fitting more tomorrow.
    I seem to be getting a bit of a poufy uterus thing happening at the front that I’m not sure how to tackle. Could it be the lengths of the darts do you think?

  • The Cupcake Goddess - Yes, I think you should unpick the front darts and pin them out to your personal preference. It might also be the dart and hip combo. It’s possible that you have a long waist to hip measurement and that the hip line needs to be lengthened too. This would be where you cut that “shorten or lengthen” line and add a little length.

  • Sandra - Great tips. I’m lengthening mine about 3-4 cm I think. I have some puckering going on at the hips and not sure if this means I need to cut a larger size on the bottom or whether I need to lengthen at the hip line. Ideas?

  • Sandra - Actually, the puckering is right across the front at the hips. It doesn’t feel too small though, can sit and bend happily.

  • The Cupcake Goddess - Hey Sandra,
    It sounds like a little length at the hip line would be just the ticket. I have found that for a number of skirts I need to lengthen this area just a tad, and I don’t think it’s because I have weird hips. I think it’s just that the hip curve which would have been used to draft the pattern is again, made for that one person’s hip.

  • frk.bustad - I can’t wait to go through this tutorial! Looks supergreat, and perfect as I’m planning to make a Jenny in red/black houndstooth wool mix!

  • Tasia - This is fantastic, great fitting tips!
    One thing I’d suggest would be when picking your size, cut out the size for the widest part of you.
    For me, I have to pick the size for my HIP, which is usually two sizes larger than it would be if I’d chosen a size based on my WAIST. It’s easy to pin in, when it needs to be tighter like you’ve shown. But if it’s too small it’s a lot harder to let it out and figure out how much to add.
    It’s super late, this comment, but perhaps it will still be helpful for the late starters!

  • Liz - I’m pretty late for this project, but I just put up my muslin pictures on flickr. Something is not quite right, and I’m not sure what.
    My butt looks slim from the side, but in the front there is a bit of poofing around the darts. In my pics I had to fold down the waistband to my true waist. And as a side note, I usually always have to shorten my waist in tops and dresses by 1″, since I’m only 4’11”.
    The hem on this muslin is pretty long, so I’ll have to take that up.
    What are your thoughts?

  • Libby - Thats my 21st birthday!

Pencil Skirt Sew Along & A Gazillion Ways to Build a Better Pencil Skirt

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
  • thread
  • 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!

  • AnaJan - I’m in the middle of sewing a pencil skirt. I wanted to make a skirt for me, but I didn’t like the way it looked on me, so I’m going to finish it for my brother’s girlfriend. This means I’ll have to alter the pattern a bit, since there’s almost 2 sizes difference between her hips and mine (ahem – I’m the big one here).
    I’m using the Leko pattern #5681:
    available for free at:
    I made the front and back blocks, and I pinned them together according to her measurements. Now I have to sew them together, insert a zipper and a lining, attach a waist band, and hem it.

  • Jennifer - Yay! This sounds like fun! I have the PERFECT wool I have been dying to make into a pencil skirt! I want to cut it on the bias though, which I have never done before. Any tips for that would be greatly appreciated!

  • Eithne - I’m about to make a pencil skirt so the timing of the sew along is perfect for me! Especially looking forward to the kick pleat tutorial.

  • Marybeth - Check out this link for instructions on how to draft all different kinds of skirts…

  • Erica - Awesome! Can’t wait to get started. Thanks for posting all of the variations, that’s fantastic. I realize now I should probably follow the lower-waisted version. Now all I have to do is choose the color and fabric…

  • Sandra - Great! I’m going to make the Jenny in black linen for a wardrobe staple. I’ve already cut the pattern and made adjustments for my size. I have my fabric and I may have some lining lying around. So I’m ready to go!! Curious about the organza in the list…

  • Alexandra Mason - I’m excited, can’t wait to get started….going material shopping tomorrow :)

  • Carlotta - I’d love to make a pencil skirt sew along! Especially as my very first sew along (summer sessentials) hasn’t been very successful so far (5 garments were somewhat a big goal for a sort of beginner like me), I’d be curious to try the formula with only one garment. Moreover, I already have the pattern : Vogue 8640, whom I love the double darts…
    I can’t remember wether I saw it on the internet, but I happen to find back circle ruffle a great detail, too.

  • Ellen - I’m an experienced sewist that has not be able to sew a satisfactory skirt at all this year, much to my dismay. Perhaps, participating in a sew-along is the inspiration I need. I’m in!

  • Jennifer - I have been eyeing the Jenny skirt for a while! I am in!

  • Pattern Junkie - Ooh, fun! Count me in!

  • Alana - Super exciting – I bought all the bits and pieces this weekend. Well except or the french curve – the fabric store had sold out!

  • Jayne - ok I just got back from sewing back to school dresses for the grandaughters. Time for me :-) I just bought the Jenny skirt pattern, now off to find fabric-yikes! here we go

  • Jayne - ….and I’m stuck already…where’s the yardage requirements on these downloadable (Jenny Skirt) patterns? I bet I’m looking right at it :D

  • The Cupcake Goddess - Actually the yardage requirements were not listed on the pattern directions. I just looked. I’m sorry I didn’t mention that before. They have the yardage requirements listed on the Burda Style Jenny Skirt page. It says a flat 1.5 yards. Doesn’t give fabric widths either! I would say 2 yards for 45″ fabric just to be on the safe side.