A New Pencil Skirt, Fabric Haul!

So this week hasn’t been as productive as I wanted it to be. I had planned on sewing up a skirt and top set, but I only got the skirt done. Thankfully it fits really well so I plan on making the skirt over and over again, as it is a simple staple piece that can be done in either a soft cotton or swishy rayon, even a stiff polyester! The styling options are really limitless and I love that about a pattern.

View A, sans bodice is my choice!

View A, sans bodice is my choice!

The pattern in question in Butterick 5984. It is originally a pattern for a dress, but I like separates so I figured what the hell. The skirt transitioned to a separate piece easily. However, this pattern only goes down to a size 8, and I have typically been using size 6. Sure enough, the size 8 was too big…but not to worry! I was able to get the perfect fit by making the seam allowance just a tad bit bigger, and huzzah it didn’t affect the shape.

The inside, with the darts sewn and everything pressed.

The inside, with the darts sewn and everything pressed.

When it comes to changing pattern sizes, the biggest worry is how it changes the shape. When you look at a pattern, you can see that it isn’t as simple as adding or taking away from the seam allowance, there are angles to consider than don’t transfer so easily. The size difference I needed was small enough that I could just add an 1/8th of an inch to the seam allowance and it worked perfectly. The shaping is created by 8 darts. That’s right, 8! 4 on the front panel of the skirt, 2 on each back panel. It has a zipper closure and a kickback slit (if that’s the technical term) to help make walking easier. This meant that sewing everything together was incredibly simple. Now that I’ve made it once, each successive skirt will take no time at all to whip up.

This is the little 'kick-back slit' I mentioned. It's really just a cute detail, the fabric stretches enough that it doesn't impede my walking.

This is the little ‘kick-back slit’ I mentioned. It’s really just a cute detail, the fabric stretches enough that it doesn’t impede my walking.

Speaking of walking, it’s easy! I tested out the pattern before sewing it up and walked around in it for a while, and even sat down and stood up a few times to make sure it was comfortable. Hint hint, it is, I even sat through a movie wearing it without discomfort. Even after all the walking and sitting, I didn’t have to adjust the skirt, it just stayed put. It’s hard to step up into the SUV I’ve been driving lately, but I’ll allow that.

The zipper was perfect, yes!

The zipper was perfect, yes! And yes, I did re-do those shoddy top-stitches you see, no worries!

I did shorten the skirt so that it came to just above my knee because otherwise it would have hit me mid-calf. I don’t mind that length, but I like shorter skirts in general because I’m already short enough as it is. Wearing longer skirts just makes that more obvious. To finish it, I did bias binding at the waist and hemmed it as I would any other skirt. The bias binding was a little thick to give the waist a tad bit more support and depending on the fabric of future skirts I’ll add a waistband or interfacing to make it more stable. For a quilting cotton though the bias tape was perfect. I also did an overlocking stitch on all of my seams to help the inside look more professional and neat. You’ll notice my top stitching is less than stellar though, and after thinking about it I’ve decided to re-do it. Might as well.

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This was a great simple project that I’ll be repeating often, because I doubt you can ever have too many pencil skirts. Now on to the fabric haul! Over the weekend I was gifted a Hancock Fabrics gift card by my lovely boyfriend and put it to good use right away. This time around I stayed away from the quilting cotton because even though I love the prints, I want to start working with more ‘apparel friendly’ fabric. I’m really proud of what I got, so here’s some pictures! Not included are the 1/2 inch bias tape maker and new rotary blade I also purchased. I’m excited to start making my own bias tape now and the new rotary blade means I can start cutting fiddly fabrics without worrying about my scissors making things uneven.

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I got two swiss dots, one in white and the other is this gorgeous teal floral. I’ve never sewn with swiss dot before so this will be interesting!

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This stained-glass like polyester has been on my list for months, so I finally got it while it was on mega-sale. I’m really pleased I finally have it.

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This is my attempt at getting solid neutrals to mix and match stuff. A nice gray rayon that will make the perfect swishy circle skirt.

Well that’s all for now, feel free to tell me about your own hauls and sewing projects in the comments!

Until next time,

—Bethany Out

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