Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Make a Pencil Skirt

So being unemployed does have its compensations, more time for sewing - yippee! I have made a bit of headway with my unfinished objects basket (finished off a denim pinafore for my daughter) been knitting squares for a blanket, plus getting costumes ready for World Book Day. So now time to start blogging about what I've been making...

I made this pencil skirt for my birthday night out in half term. These are definitely *not* the shoes I wore for the night out, that was a plenty of pints on the sticky floor kinda venue. But they look good with it I think.

So I started off by googling 'make a pencil skirt' and there are lots of great tutorials, this one on What the Craft particularly appealed to me How to make a Pencil Skirt.  Then I took my measurements. First my 'natural' waist - bend sideways as if you were singing 'I'm a little teapot' and that's where your natural waist is, seems quite high doesn't it? Then 'low' waist, which is sort of level with your belly button. Then hips, at the very widest part. Then I measured around my knees and added a little as I didn't want to be actually hobbled by this thing (more on that story later). Final measurement was from natural waist down to the point I wanted the skirt to finish, for the length of the skirt.

I made a basic paper pattern using these measurements (adding generous seam allowance) and then used this to make a practice skirt out of cheap lining material. Which was very fortunate, as the prototype turned out a little too snug (translation: it wouldn't go over my arse). So I let out all the seams equally (thanks to the generous seam allowance) and had something that basically fitted. I ended up needing to adjust it again over the hips as they then came out too big. But finally I was happy with it.  I then ripped the seams of this skirt and used them as pattern pieces for my real skirt. I found that I didn't need to add any darts.

The front is one piece and the back is in two pieces, as I needed to put a zip in as my fabric wasn't stretchy. I also planned a slit in the back for walkability reasons.

There is an invisible zip in the back of the skirt. I don't have an invisible zip foot for my machine, and although Youtube tutorials told me confidently that I could use a normal zipper foot, it didn't seem to work for me, so I ended up sewing the zip in by hand so that it truly was 'invisible'. I also machine hemmed, which I wouldn't normally do on clothes I make, because I think hand-hemmed looks nicer. But time was getting short and that red fabric frayed like a bastard...

To make the slit at the back I simply stitched around the seam that ran up the centre of the back of the skirt, up to the point I wanted the slit. Then I popped the seam up to that point with my seam ripper and removed any loose threads.

And there we have it, one party skirt, that I can walk in, and dance in.*

*but not as it turned out, go to the loo in, stairs also presented a bit of a challenge

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