A few months back I mentioned this great find Dressmaking, the Compete Guide to Making Your Own Clothes by Allison Smith. The book is a wealth of knowledge with step by step pictures. There are also several free patterns available for download on the DK website. The book then shows you how to make several variations from the patterns. I used the A-Line skirt pattern to make a skirt for each of my daughters and now used the pencil skirt pattern to make a skirt for myself.
I was very pleased with the pattern and do plan to use it again. I love that it has a very modern look (or maybe I should say retro) with a hollywood waist instead of a waistband. As I wore the skirt throughout the day I did feel the front waist was creeping up a bit. A comparison with a ready to wear skirt that I own whose waist fits perfectly, showed that the pencil skirt’s waistband could be shaped slightly lower at the center front. Or it could just be that I need to do a few more sit-ups! At this point, I am blaming the waistband and will shape it slightly differently for the next skirt. I don’t consider that a negative of the pattern – I am just trying to tweak the pattern and get the perfect pencil skirt fit for me! Do take a look at Dressmaking by Alison Smith, you won’t be disappointed.
My daughter’s birthday was in November and I wanted to whip her up a quick corduroy skirt to wear with tights and boots. Simplicity 2152 came to the rescue! She loves pockets and this skirt delivers. The skirt is a basic A line but has several cute variations including a fun ruffle down the front which I am going to have to try. The pieces fit together like a glove. The skirt sits slightly below the waist but you can adjust it to sit where ever you would like. Taking pictures in the bathroom on Betty is not the best way to show off this skirt, but I wanted some pictures before I mailed it out to her and Betty in the bathroom was the only way it was going to happen! The skirt went together with no problems, looks adorable on her, and in green finewale cord from Pink Hollybush is perfect for the Christmas season!
This is the second of the skirts I spent my January sewing. This is a gray wool skirt made from a tightly woven suiting fabric from B&J fabrics and Simplicity 2226 for my daughter. She wanted a gray wool skirt but didn’t want it to look too corporate so she came up with the idea to add lace to the bottom of the skirt.
I love the way the lace turned out. I simply stitched it in place through the lace heading once the skirt was hemmed. I then added a running stitch by hand through the paisley motif so it wouldn’t flip up.
The lace was plan B after we tried an exposed metal zipper down the center back. Which brings me to what did I learn from making this skirt? Metal zippers don’t bend! They don’t even curve – which means that if your body has a curve and the zipper needs to softly skim that curve – it won’t. In other words if you don’t want the zipper sticking out in weird and unattractive positions, it is best to have the zipper stop before any curves start. Most skirt zippers don’t stop before the curves start which is why center back zippers should be made from a material that likes to curve!
As for Simplicity 2226, this is a great basic skirt pattern. The directions are easy to follow, and it went together with no problems other than the aforementioned zipper. I did eliminate the waist facings and added a lining since it is a wool skirt. The pattern is drafted to rest one inch below your waist and of course my daughter wanted it on her waist, so I had to take it in quite a bit. It is also a bit fuller and has more gathers than I thought from the pattern schematic. My suiting wool was quite tightly woven and difficult to gather and for a moment or two I thought I was going to have to rip out and reduce the fullness, but wool being the wonderful fabric that it is, a good pressing and the gathers fell right into place and behaved themselves. I think it would be a great pattern made up in a cotton lawn or broadcloth, but would hesitate to make it up in a cotton/lycra blend or another fabric with a lot of body without eliminating some of the fullness. I hope your sewing plans are going well!