Friday, 23 September 2011

Two skirts in two days!

Ok so I promised more sewing and then I got a summer job where I was working mad shifts (and really not enjoying the job either unfortunately, not due to the people but the way the company treated their staff was abysmal!) so more sewing didn't happen. I go back to university tomorrow and I've managed to get myself a weekend job at a very well known department store with a strict dress code! I needed more office wear and skirts which are on the knee or below (I barely own any skirts and the ones I do fall above the knee) so had been hunting round the shops but everything either fit really badly, was awful fabric or was really expensive! So I decided to put my sewing skills to use now I've left my job and went to the fabric shop and picked up some fabric which was a black polyester/viscose/elastane mix - which is what stores like Warehouse and Oasis use for their expensive workwear! I bought 1.7m because the pattern I was using said I needed 1.7m for the longer version - I was only expecting to make one skirt but with a bit of creativity I ended up with two! Click to read on to see what I came up with!

1st skirt
I whipped this one up in a few hours, I have yet to hem it because I'm going to do a blind hem by hand and so I'm saving it for when I'm back at uni and inevitably bored and in need of something to do! I have a week til my first work shift so I have plenty of time to do it. I'm really pleased with how it turned out, especially as last time I attempted this pattern the first skirt was too small and then when I adjusted it it was too big! This time round I drafted my own waistband and it fits perfectly. It's purposely high waisted because I love that style with a blouse!

Let's say that 1.7m of fabric for this skirt was an over estimation, I had a massive long strip left, probably about 0.2m by 1.7m and so I was wondering if I could do something with it and came up with...

2nd skirt (Really awful photo of it (was just trying to show the panels!) scroll down for better ones!!)

This 2nd skirt I'm really proud of! Why? Because it's completely self drafted! And it's not even a simple two pieces sewn together jobby, there's 6 panels to this pencil skirt. The main reason for the panels was because my left over fabric was long and thin and I didn't want to make a pencil skirt with a seam right down the middle and these panel ones look more professional (I think)! When I was planning this I did some googling and came up with a photo of a pencil skirt that Kate Middleton wore on her travels which was a similar style to what I had in mind and I liked the slits in the front so this was my inspiration for the shape:
Having read a tutorial for a really basic 2/3 piece self drafted pencil skirt a while ago I grabbed my measuring tape, a pen and some newspaper and got to work! I measured around my waist, hips and around my knees when my legs were a little bit apart (so it wasn't too tight to walk in!), added a couple of inches to each for a bit of roominess and then the seam allowances (6 panels = lots of seam allowance!). I also measured the distance between my waist and my hips and then the distance between my hips and where I wanted the skirt to end. I was aiming to make a template for the whole of the front/back of the skirt and then add the panels in, so I drew lines on my newspaper, the first for my waist (half of my final waist measurement after I'd added seam allowances etc), then measured 8 inches down (the distance between my waist and my hips) and drew the line for my hips, then measured 19 inches down (the distance between my hips and the bottom of the skirt) and drew the line for my knee measurement. I then joined up the lines to make the basic shape and then drew the panels on afterwards so there was a rectangular panel in the middle of the skirt and a panel on either side. Here's what my pattern pieces looked like (not pretty!):
It was then onto the usual stuff; pinned them onto fabric and cut out (2 of each piece), pinned, basted and sewed all the panels together, I left 4 inches unsewn at the bottom of the front two panels for the slits and space for the zip on one of the side seams. Pressed all the seams. Didn't want a waistband on this occasion so used bias binding along the waist. Put in the zip and did a blind hem and voila!! Didn't require any adjustments or darts and have plenty of room without it being baggy and not clinging to me to the point that I can't move like some pencil skirts I've tried on in shops!
Pics (unfortunately you can't see the slits that well):

Can you see the reason why I can't get pencil skirts in the shop to fit?! ;-)
I'm so chuffed with it, usually if I try pencil skirts on they cling to my bum and make it look absolutely ginormous or lumpy or just horrible but as this was made to my measurements, it works! Next time I would make the front slits bigger (not for practicality, just for aesthetic reasons) and I'd like to make a military style one like Kate's or maybe with different colour panels, but for work I need to be sensible!

So, I got 2 skirts out of 1.7m of fabric, so two work appropriate skirts in a reasonably good quality fabric for £15! A skirt made of similar fabric composition in Oasis is £45-50, ok mine aren't the same quality of workmanship but they fit my requirements and I don't want to pay £50! :-) They were both really quick to make as well, the pencil skirt took longer as I had to draft out the pattern pieces but they were both super quick and easy!


  1. Wow, you got both of those out of 1.7m?! Now that's impressive! I love them both!
    I hope this job is nicer :)
    Ashley x

  2. great looking skirts, well done.Good luck at your new job, and uni.xx

  3. Bonito blog, gracias por compartir, me gusta.