Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Naked Pencil Skirt - (Mostly) Finished

Lest you think I haven't been up to anything, I thought I'd share the (mostly) finished pencil skirt. I still haven't hemmed it... and now, you'll see why! (Beware: the lack of pressing may reveal my general apathy toward this garment!)

You see, it had potential:


However, the slightest movement caused this to happen:


Basically, it seems the "problem" here is that the area around the level of my hip sockets is shallower than my stomach and my thighs. As you can see, this "problem" extends all the way around to the back:


(I say "problem" with quotation marks because the real problem, of course, is not my body, but rather my inexperience with fitting/sewing!)

You might remember that I originally posted that it was too small. Well, that was actually mostly the result of my attempt to fix this wrinkling issue. I tried taking in the extra fabric at the side seams, but mainly it just made the skirt too tight without properly resolving the issue. However, after letting that back out, the thighs are still a tad snug at the top.

Anyway, so it's not exactly a winner. That makes me a little sad, because I really did love this fabric. But then again, as I said in my previous post, I'm kind of proud of all the little details I learned while making this skirt. For example...

Invisible zip (not perfect, but not bad!):


(I mostly followed the Cupcake Goddess's tutorial for this, but I omitted the stabilizer. However, her suggestion to press the seam allowance over was exactly what all the other tutorials were missing. Genius.)



(Tasia's tutorial was extremely helpful.)

Adding a lining/facing:


(I used this tutorial from Threads for adding the facing/lining as I did, although if I were to do this skirt again I would omit the facing and just understitch the lining so it didn't show. The facing definitely shows through the front of the skirt in this fabric. Also, I couldn't find a single tutorial that mentioned how the heck to sew the facing/lining down on the inside next to the invisible zip... so I made up my own way, and it worked!)

Adding a back vent:


(I used this tutorial, and this tutorial, both from the Cupcake Goddess.)

And that's that. My little skills-sampler of an ill-fitting skirt. Perhaps one day I'll try tackling the pencil skirt again, but for now I think I'm going to say goodbye to pencil skirts and silk charmeuse and focus on simpler and more gratifying beginner projects. I think "go big or go home" was a good attitude to jump in with, but at this point I'm dying for a finished garment that I'm enthusiastic about!

With that in mind, I'm going to start the Crescent Skirt sew-along. It won't be boring, but it's an easier fabric and a more forgiving style, don't you think?

(Also, for those of you who saw my deleted post about wedding dress size selection, which I'm told was cached in some people's RSS readers after I deleted it: I figured it out. I decided to stop the cycle of anxiety and just go straight to my trusted neighbour/surrogate mom/seamstress and ask her expert opinion. She recommended the smaller size. Done and done!)


  1. I'm not a fashion-fit pro but y'know, I don't think that I've ever seen anyone in a pencil skirt where that kind of wrinkling didn't happen. Do you know for a fact that it shouldn't wrinkle or are you setting overly high expectations for your skirt?

    After all, people move so fabric will gather and wrinkle as they move and sit down? Else it wouldn't fit when they were standing up? A bit like those very skinny people who get upset when they bend over and their tummy skin wrinkles - but the excess needs to be there else they wouldn't be able to stand up straight again afterwards?

    Either way, it shouldn't make the skirt a write off completely - surely? It looks like it would make an excellent summer work skirt.

    Bottom line - iron and hem it and give it a whirl in your summer wardrobe! See how you feel after you've worn it a few times.


  2. The trouble with photographs on blogs is that they're static... I should probably take video, to show how the clothes behave when I move, but I don't have a tripod for my iPhone!

    I think you're right in general, that pencil skirts tend to wrinkle in that area, but in this case, it NEVER goes away. Like how you're saying it should wrinkle when you bend over so that it can lie flat when you're standing up? It doesn't lie flat when standing up. That first photo was the best I could manage and it was painstakingly arranged. The wrinkles you see the the second two photos appear pretty much the second I move in any direction and don't go away, at all.

    I'm sure getting it to fit right isn't rocket science, but I'm at a loss and just a bit tired of the project. You may have to trust me when I say it's not fit well enough to be wearable at this point!

  3. i think your sewing looks exquisite! beginner!? whatever!!!

    i think that the tightness might be in mid-thigh, which i think might be causing the skirt to ride up and wrinkle a bit (and not want to come back down). i wonder if the contour waistband, which is so wide, might make it harder to fit the thighs than with a pattern with a narrower waistband (and where the body of the skirt starts higher).

    nevertheless, bravo on gorgeous work! i hope to get my zips and such looking so good!

  4. Alice - I think you might be right! Once I get over my feelings of being thoroughly annoyed with fitting this project, I think I might try letting it out at the thighs rather than taking it in anywhere. Maybe that will help the fabric "fall" a little more nicely?

    As to the waistband, it's totally possible that's made things more difficult, as I did change it from the original pattern. The pattern called for a narrow, separate waistband, which I simply omitted because I didn't want the skirt sitting so high on my waist. But ultimately I think the skirt overall still fits about the same way it was intended, it just seems to sit lower as it's missing the waistband?

    And thank you! I've been sewing since I was a kid but not much clothing other than pajamas, so I'm sort of beginner in some ways and intermediate in others, but with LOTS of gaps in my knowledge and abilities!

  5. I think your skirt is wonderful - especially the close up shots. By the way thank you for the Threads tutorial. I am making my first lined and faced skirt and couldn't find a tutorial anywhere. I was a bit confused because when I checked my RTW skirts the lining only joined at the lower edge of the facing. I now know that this is because it's quick lining!

  6. It's a great method! So easy and neat. I'm wondering if the facing will still be so visible if the skirt is a little looser once I let it out?

  7. Your work is excellent - well done! I do think you could resolve the pulling with one of my "5-part muslin sessions" :-) With each try on, make changes to the pattern, recut and try again until the hips fit as well as the waist. But I do understand you're kind of mentally finished with this garment...

    Let me say, the colour is challenging. Anything in light beige is going to show everything in high relief. I bet you'd love this in a charcoal grey. By all means though, keep the orange lining. It's great.

  8. Totally challenging colour! For some reason it didn't even occur to me until I went to try it on. Oops! Although, I still kind of love it. I think it could have maybe used a thicker lining, actually, but oh well! I do love the orange. I'm still going to put some work into fitting this... I'm not hating it, I'm just impatient to try something new! I think your 5 part muslin is actually a great idea... provided it's a pattern you'll want to use more than once! :D