I forget to make myself the basics. It’s way more fun to sew a pretty dress or make something with the latest fabric designs. But sometimes, you just need a classic navy pencil skirt.
I searched high and low for an indie pencil skirt pattern that was similar to a store-bought skirt I love. I found Delia’s Pleated Pencil Skirt, but I didn’t think the wide waistband would be particularly flattering on me. I thought I might just have to draft one myself, but I really wanted to work with something that was already out there. Based on the ratings at Pattern Review, I decided to try McCall’s 3830. It’s a basic A-line skirt in 5 lengths. I really liked this wool flannel version by Alice. She also has a nice tutorial for adding a waistband, which I might try on my next skirt.
I bought the smaller pattern size (6-12), but when I measured myself at home the pattern told me I needed a 14! Then I remembered why I haven’t used a big 4 pattern in a couple of years. Fitting is never as simple as just measuring yourself…
The store-bought skirt I wanted to copy is a size 4. I know the patterns sizes run differently, but even with the discrepancy I’ve never needed to make anything that much bigger. I would have guessed I needed a 10. I looked for information about the ease, but couldn’t find anything. Then I checked the finished garment measurements and decided that I really couldn’t go any smaller. I even measured the pattern pieces.
I decided to cut a 14 (I just sort of eyeballed the next grade line and added it while I was cutting) and make the skirt as a wearable muslin. It was huge! Why does this happen every time! I put it on inside out, pinned it, and made some adjustments. After that, I traced the pieces so that I could compare my adjustments to the pattern. Guess what? I needed a size 10!
I had a couple of small fit changes from the size 10 pattern. I tapered the skirt in about 1/2″ on each pattern piece to fit around my thighs, so that it was more pencil skirt and less A-line skirt. The overall fit around my hips was the same, but I had about 1/2″ more in the back to accommodate my curves, and 1/2″ less in the front where there was a bit of extra fabric. I chose a length halfway between the short and knee-length options.
I followed the directions for construction, except that I added a full lining. Now that I have the fit figured out, I’m sure I’ll be making more! I recommend the pattern if you are comfortable figuring out the fit, making a muslin, and making adjustments. I’d recommend going at least one size smaller, and possibly two if you prefer a fitted skirt and your fabric has a little bit of stretch.
I used a navy stretch sateen fabric for my skirt. The weight is perfect, and slight shine on the fabric looks polished. It does pick up a lot of lint though, so if you have pet hair around the house it might not be the best choice. I’m hoping to squeeze another skirt out of some pretty spring fabric that I grabbed from the remnant section a few weeks ago.
If you missed the announcement on Imagine Gnats, it’s Selfish Sewing Week! I have one other sewing project for myself planned…but I’m also trying to get my tax time bookkeeping done. We’ll see if I can manage both!
Did you make anything for yourself this week?