Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pencil Skirt Draft & Sew Along: Next week's plan and Q&A

Readers, yay, this is our first Pencil Skirt Draft- & Sew Along post. For the start, let's look at the upcoming week schedule

on Monday (Nov 19), 
we will look at the available pattern choices (thanks for your suggestions) and briefly discuss the basics of the skirt drafting process. I will also blog about the tools and notions I use for pattern-drafting. The new Flickr discussion threads are already up, so you can ask questions and make suggestions.  

on Tuesday (Nov 20), 
as a teaser for the hands-on work, we will take measurements and make preliminary calculations for the drafting. This will be the only 'homework' for this week, so our US participants can relax and enjoy Thanksgiving.

on Wednesday - for the rest of the week,
- only pleasant activities involved! We will start looking for pencil skirts with unusual details (whatever you think fits into this category - it's your creative process!). The idea is to train our eye and to go beyond limited options offered by commercial patterns.

Now, let's move to


What exactly will we do?

In the first part of the Draft & Sew Along (before the New Year), we will draft a skirt sloper and then make design adjustments for a pencil skirt with princess lines and a flounce, similar to our Burberry inspiration skirt. In the second part (January), we will sew the skirt.

Is it too late to join the Sew-Along?

It is never too late. However, if you want to do it as a part of the group join as early as possible so you can participate in discussion and, if needed, ask for help.

Do I need to have a blog?

No, absolutely not. But do register at Flickr to participate in discussions and upload pictures.

I don't think the skirt style will work for me, but I want to follow the drafting. Is it possible?

You can draft the sloper only, or the pencil skirt, as you like. And, why not making a trial garment - maybe the style suits you after all? If not, drop the flounce and make a princess seam pencil skirt!

Will we make a trial garment?

Yes, we will! We want to draft a fail-proof skirt sloper, so a trial garment is the way to go. Why draft a custom pattern otherwise?

What fabric do you recommend for this skirt?

We will discuss fabric choices in detail after we finish the muslin. Tweed is my favorite. Further choices include herringbone or small-scale houndstooth, for example. Make sure the fabric is not too heavy. The flounce is made of two layers of fabric, and at the seam, you will have even four (graded) layers. We will also underline the wool with silk organza, so, before you commit try all these layers together.

Gabardine? Yes, but be prepared to spend more time at the ironing board than at the sewing machine. Gabardine is not easy to press and it takes a lot of patience to get the seams look polished.

Check out wool satin. Also not easy to handle (yet easier than gabardine), prone to snagging (no seam ripping!), but very-very dressy! Beautiful fabric if you like the subtle sheen.

If you have a good men's fabric store around, check out their suiting fabrics (pricey!). You will most likely have a limited color choice, but the quality will often be amazing. One of the fabrics worth looking at as well is worsted flannel (as opposed to woolen flannel). Whatever fabric you will be drawn to, make sure it has a compact weave and smooth face.

By the way, if you don't have a swatch book by now, start collecting swatches, note composition, origin, price and the store for future reference. I am sure you will visit a store or two before we are ready to cut, so that may be something to consider.

How much fabric shall I buy?

A knee-length pencil skirt with princess seams will require about a 0.90 cm (1 yd) fabric, 150 cm (60") wide for hips up to 120cm (47"). For a wider hip circumference you will need to double the length.

Attention! This doesn't include the flounce, which will require additional length and needs to be calculated based on your final pencil skirt pattern. I would suggest, purchase the fabric after you fitted the muslin (with the flounce). If you are impatient, get some swatches.

Here, I hope I answered all questions. If not, please post a comment, or go to our Flickr discussion board.  Enjoy!


  1. Thanks so much for hosting the sew along! I'm going to follow along for at least the basic skirt. I'm thinking of inserting a godet instead of the flounce, will that work with the princess seam pencil skirt? (following your godet insertion tutorial of course ;) )

    1. Godet will work perfectly. In fact Burdastyle had a princess seam pattern with assymetrical godet in their August issue. I made it, and posted godet tutorial here. But you can draft-along nevertheless :)

  2. What about wool crepe? It's not too thick and it has the requisite drape. Oh, I googled wool sateen and the price was $60. I wonder if you can find it cheaper in the city.

    1. Nancy, I bought mine at Mood at appr. $35. Ask Tarek from their men's suiting section - he knows those fabrics best. The one I bought was black and had some stretch that I tamed with silk organza underlining, but maybe they have more colors.

  3. After seeing this post, my wish to have a skirt with vertical flounces has come back to surface and i am off to take my basic skirt sloper and twist to get a flouncy front skirt. Thanks for urging me to do this. all the best for the sew along.

  4. Hi Marina,
    I was looking at the skirt on the Burberry website - and I have to go snoop shopping tomorrow! We've got a Burberry store a couple blocks from the office, so a visit is in order.

    I'm not going to be making a skirt for myself at the moment - my measurements are changing too quickly with the weight loss - but, I may try drafting / sewing up a quarter scale model for practice!

  5. Hello Marina,
    first: I love your blog and thanks for this brilliant idea and the work and time you will spend on that! The first time several weeks ago I saw that skirt on I was in love and was thinking of doing it myself (but not sure how to do the flounces). And now I realised that I am not the only one with this idea...
    Although I am very busy with knitting presents for christmas and sewing a jacket at the moment I would like to participate, because I love this garment. I am thinking of integrating the flounces in a dress, but I am not sure.
    I will follow your sew-along, thanks and best regards from Germany

  6. Just decided today to join in! Looking forward to following along but may be a bit behind due to the upcoming holidays!

  7. This should be fun. Not sure what pattern to go for. I do have Gertie's new book and rather like the highwaisted detail?? Decisions, decisions.
    Can you share with us...............what pattern will you be using. I think I would rather like to follow your lead.

  8. I was thinking of trying the pencil skirt with a bow like the one shown here on an A-line skirt. What do you think?

  9. good afternoon, ik love your site and can learn much about this, especially I am interested in pattern making by myself. My question: how to draft a vertical flounce? Thans in anticipation with kind regards,



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...