First of many pencil skirts

I. Love. This. Skirt!’d been meaning to make this skirt for a wee while now, and had the fabric in my stash to do so (a black twill/denim – more on that one to come). Then, when I had leftover fabric from this dress I decided to make a polka-dot pencil skirt (ohhhhh yes). The pattern is Gertie’s high waisted skirt from her book – so it meets my November challenge for The Monthly Stitch to “sew from a book” – which, if I’m honest, is the main reason why I actually got around to making the skirt.

I didn’t have to do very much fitting; I traced off the pattern, grading between size 12 in the waist and size 14 in the hips (I think. I’ve leant my book to Jo from Making It Well so can’t be sure which sizes I did). I had to take a touch more out of the waistband, and took off about 1.5cm off each side seam, all the way down – so maybe I could have done a size 12 for the whole thing and stuff the measurements.

The construction went well. The insides are all overlocked, the hem is done using my coverstitch machine, and I followed her instructions for the majority, including inserting a lapped zipper (using her tutorial). I understand now why so many people like these! It’s actually way easier to do than a standard centered zipper (no basting involved), is easier to keep tidy, and hides the zip better. I’m pretty sure this is how my mother first taught me to do zips but I obviously forgot. Now I have the choice of lapped or invisible zips which have been my favourite ever since I got the foot for my machine.

Speaking of things I’ve forgotten; how is it that I forget really crucial skills that I had once learned – and have to have an “ah ha” moment all over again. Take this example:

This tangle of threads happens when you don’t pull the loose threads taut before starting stitching; the bobbin thread gets all caught up with itself and gets stuck. I learned this about a year ago (after years of having unexplained messes) and yet I still occasionally get lazy.

This top is not one of my own; it’s a poly chiffon thing I bought on sale several years ago. Rather shapeless number with one dart and kimono sleeves but looks good tucked in and I wear it quite a lot.

Silly sausage

As mentioned above, I followed most of Gertie’s construction steps, but I sewed curved darts and added a vent – I’m not a fan of slits, I feel they’re more dangerous.. that is, more likely to rip up the back seam, and more likely to show too much leg. I didn’t have any black zips so it has a pink zip which occasionally peeks its head out from behind the lap.

All in all, this is one hellovah skirt. It’s very fitted in the waist (tick), fits nicely over the hips (tick) and is an excellent length for me (tick tick) – I’m reasonably tall and have problems with almost all RTW being too short. My preferred skirt length is right below my knees. The one (one!) problem I have is that it’s a bit baggy under the bum (probably partly due to the sateen, after sitting for a while) which can… accentuate my generous behind, but not enough to worry about.


Pattern: Gertie’s high waisted skirt

Fabric: Polka-dot cotton sateen (3% lycra) from The Fabric Warehouse/leftover from other dress. Approx $10

Notions: Thread, button and zip, stash

Total: $10! Suck it!


12 thoughts on “First of many pencil skirts

  1. yes here I am again liking this skirt very mucho !
    it looks real good from all angles , and fits you perfectly .
    i like that you opted for a pleat/vent instead of just a split. ( I agree the splits are way more likely to , well , SPLIT , and can look a bit cheap )
    high waists are cool and this looks so great on you !

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  5. If you have a thread trimmer on your machine put the loose ends of the top and bobbin thread on that little hook and that will hold them for a stitch or two. No tangles. I just leave the ends there after cutting each time so now I don’t even think about it.

    • I have a thread cutter on the left of the machine but rarely use it (I think it might be a bit blunt because it takes a bit off effort to cut the threads), but that’s a really good idea!

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