Just Skirting Around

“Every now and then your wardrobe needs an injection of something, new, trendy and fun.  That was the thought when we spied the pencil skirts shown in the large graphic prints and florals in the June 2009 issue of Lucky Magazine.  These skirts provide a great way to update a classic…so with that photo spread and a little conversation…we were ready to create our own versions.  Following are our individual interpretations of an updated yet classic pencil skirt.”

Inspiration:  A feature in Lucky Magazine highlighting the pencil skirt done in large scale prints/graphic prints.

The ChallengeCreate a pencil skirt that works on our own body and use a bold print.

Participants are Carolyn, Diary of a Sewing Fanatic;  Me, LindsayT, Lindsay T Sews (Again); and Marji Fiber Arts Afloat. (Marji proposed the challenge after reading Carolyn’s post of May 9 and asked a few fellow sewists she emails and talks to regularly if they wanted to participate.)

For me, the challenge is in just making a skirt. I never really made them and seemed to skip to far more complicated garments years ago. So I am generally uncomfortable with my skirt fitting and construction issues (discussed below) for skirts.

The skirt:


Pattern used: ‘vintage’ BWOF from June 2002, #104 (6-2002-104)

Fabric / Fabric source:
White waffle weave pique from the Carol Collection with graphic red and black flowers. It’s bold and graphic, but not necessarily a LARGE scale print.

Construction details:

I have loved this skirt since it first ran seven years ago. I’ve said before that I don’t make a lot of skirts. Mainly because I don’t have tops to go with them and the vicious cycle of no separates continues. I also don’t make a lot of skirts ‘cuz I think a lot of what I see is b-o-r-i-n-g. So, when I make a skirt, I do it for the details.

On this one, it was the side button placket. First, it provides visual interest and second, it prevents me from having to work with a slit which I still have not mastered.  It also appears that I need to learn the ‘my skirt hikes up in the back’ adjustment due to my swayback and my Jamaican caboose. A syndrome I see all over the streets of Baltimore.

I will be looking for some different buttons though. These blend in a bit too much. If I were making this same skirt again, I would have worked the buttonholes in a different  color than  white.

Because the skirt is white, I chose to underline with white cotton batiste and line it with a tan Bemberg Rayon — rendering it Princess Diana proof. And, I’ve finally got a handle on the blind hem function of my Kenmore!

Here’s the back (All my RTW tops look like this H&M one with pooling at my waist). My version has a CB seam so I could take a horizontal tuck for my swayback.

Skirts also sit higher on my front than on my back (another swayback issue) — which causes some not pretty pulling across the front.

** In the photo above, there are two less buttons. I took photos Monday morning,  wore the skirt to work and decided to add two more buttons after I got home. I wore the skirt to work on Monday and have compliments from the first three women I saw. A success I say! But, I really need to master some basic skills for skirts. I never like making them because of lining and fit. I want to be like my girl Trena with her 50+.

** Pay no attention to the junkyard grass in the background. I was going to mow this weekend, but cut my hand slicing that  baguette I just *had* to have on Sunday and I was too cheap to submit to the THIRTY DOLLAR extortion the kid across the street  wanted to mow my 20 sq ft of grass. That, and I hate yardwork.


  1. I came accross your blog recently when googling for something or other – can’t remember what – but I just have to tell you that I am finding it really inspiring ! I am a novice sewer, having just made bags so far (only starting my first shirt this week in sewing class!) however I love hearing about your projects, which really make me want to start making clothes!! I always feel a bit bad about reading blogs regularly without saying g’day, so ‘hello’ and thanks for all the inspiration. I have added you as a sub in google reader so hope you don’t mind me keeping up with your adventures in sewing 🙂 PS – love the fabric, and the skirt btw!

  2. Wow, that outfit looks fabulous! Great skirt. Can’t wait to see what the others come up with too. I was sorting out my “remnants” this weekend and came across a small amount of a loud print. Would be perfect for a skirt like that 🙂

  3. well, simple is always better, the fabric is very pretty so it sells itself. i love it. I am going to listen to the podcast after I settle down in work and I got my June bwof, thank you Jesus!

  4. That skirt is so pretty! As for the no separates issue, now make a top that goes with it – a quick and easy T top, or maybe two, in same colors as are in the skirt. After you do this a couple times you have separates!

  5. I love the skirt!Just wear it without tucking in your top and you’re good to go. In my neighborhood the kids get $20-30 for a 1/4 acre so that’s insane!!

  6. Love this idea that you all started with. All your skirts look so wonderful.
    Great basic skirt, love the whole outfit, the necklace is very good, as the color repeats beautiful. You should make more skirts (or am I talking to myself now?)

  7. Love that print skirt. Very nice. Maybe you’ll make more now that you know it isn’t so painful!

  8. I’m kind of the opposite– I like skirts for the quick-n’-easy factor! Though normally I have to make them in really bold prints so I don’t get bored. Your skirt looks great, I love the idea of a sewalong based on a current magazine trend, and your necklace is the perfect accessory for that skirt!

  9. Wow, that is such a pretty skirt! You did a really good job and I absolutely love the print on the fabric!

  10. Love it! You look great in this style and the colors are really wonderful. I think it works particularly well with the simple t-shirt top–those can’t be too hard to make can they? I have the same problem with the back of my skirts. When you figure out what to do about it please post 🙂

  11. Me too to what Lindsay said…I just made a skirt…you DID a project! *LOL* Great skirt…you should definitely make more!

  12. WOW! Great skirt. I absolutely love it! No really, I LOVE it!

  13. This fits you perfectly! Love the color and the button detail on the side. Very nice!!!!

  14. Cidell,
    Great skirt and I love the fabric selection! A technique that I use – I drop the front waistband 1.5 inches. I taper from the sides to 1.5 in the center front. On me, the skirt or pants hang even. You probably wouldn’t need a full 1.5 inches for your skirt. This solves the problem of the front coming up too high in the front.

    • Joyce has the right idea. I usually drop my waistband 1″ in the front and 1/2″ on the sides.

  15. All of the skirts are really great. I like Joyce’s advice on the skirt. I don’t know why you consider skirts so difficult, they are easier to fit than pants and you do that really well!

  16. I’m loving that side button detail. Cute skirt. How about next week, when I’m back home, I write a post about how to deal with that hem hiking up on the back?
    BTW, I love the buttons, and the buttonholes in white are perfect, really!
    Thanks for participating, it’s been fun.

  17. SOOOOOO frickin’ cute!!! Love the side buttons instead of a slit idea. Great job! The print is great and the skirt is really cute on you. What’s the solution for the high front waist issue? I have that too!

  18. I’m in love with the fabric! Peonies are alway graphically satisfying, non? You looked really good at the office, I can tell.

    And the side buttons remind me of short shorts I made 10 yrs ago in a grey menswear fabric. Love side buttons!

  19. Love the skirt and I may try one myself! I generally love skirts and am just this summer venturing into some probably way too advanced for me sewing. I say pay the extortion money to the kiddo. It’s totally highway robbery but since you cut your hand it’s worth it.

  20. I think it looks fabulous. I also think we are our own worst critics when it comes to fit. As in you notice things that others wouldn’t. wear it in good health – you look great. (and I wouldn’t pay that amount to mow the lawn either!) g

  21. What a great skirt – I love the red buttons! I’m on a roll tracing off WOF so I’m going to pull this one out of my stash.

  22. I love skirts and wear them all the time. I think you look absolutely adorable in this one and I’m lovin’ the buttons on the side! I shan’t rest until I make one just like it.

  23. We all fuss much more about how something looks on us than others do. I think your skirt is terrific! The fit is nice and the print is, well, “fun”! The black top is a perfect accent!

    Don’t you wish they had a roomba-like lawn mower?

  24. You better master whatever skirt-fitting-issues you think you have because that style looks fantastic on you! Love the button details.

  25. Wow, I love that fabric! I love the skirt style. I really need to be more adventurous with my skirts! You need red toenails, by the way! But you still look gorgeous.

  26. OMG!! You look fabulous Darling! I love that print! I can’t wait to see that Kimono Shirt Dress, what fabric are you going to use?

  27. I’m loving all these printed pencil skirts and this is no exception – beautifully made.

  28. LOVE your skirt! FYI if you want to make your own H&M top, S4699 looks identical. It’s one of my TNT’s and I use it constantly. Takes about an hour to make, easy peasy.

  29. Me likey so very much! I sure hope I have that issue, I have a few from 2002, but I’m not sure if June is in my collection. Too cute and that print is totally up my alley. Awesome work!

  30. The skirt looks great and fits you pretty well, I think. Make more!

    The skirt is my favorite thing in the world to make. Easy, fast, with a lot of visual punch. Throw on a top and a pair of sandles, and it is pretty much my go-to outfit for the whole summer.

  31. Darling, I love your blog and love your flowered skirt, but that’s it! It’s spelled baguette, not, for crying out loud, baugette. The first time I thought it was a typo, the second time, carelessness, but I can’t stand it one more time. You’re an international blogger of fame and intelligence! BAGUETTE, GIRL!

  32. This was a really inspiring post! I’m not a skirt sewer either, but you have gotten me tempted. The fabric you picked was a perfect match for pattern, and the skirt fits you so well. As for picking coloured buttons, I think those black buttons with white rings around the holes would be a nice alternative. Don’t know if they have a name, but I see them once in a while.

  33. You don’t make skirts and yet you crank this one out?? Beautifully finished and gorgeous lining?? I think you need more skirts. It looks fantastic on you.

  34. Black fabric-covered buttons. How great would those look on that juicy skirt?

    As for separates, do you by any chance happen to have the 04/2005 BWOF? Top 112 from that issue is one of my absolute faves, I’ve made…..4 of them now (one just on friday), and plan to do more (I need a red one at the very least). It’s a twist-front, cap sleeved knit top (there is also a sleeveless version I want to make several of as well). I think it’s probably for me one of those patterns Carolyn (the more famous one, not talking about myself again in 3rd person) refers to as a TNT pattern. What I like about it is a) it’s super quick – after the first one, it usually takes 1-2hrs to whip up; b)it’s both comfortable *and* nice-looking – it can work both in the office or for going out, or even as chic-casual, and it’s very very flattering.

    #112 04-2005 in red, white, or black would look fierce! Especially with the black fabric-covered buttons *eyebrow wiggle* eh? eh?

    And man-o-man do I have to perfect fabric to enter such a challenge with – that I was planning to make into a pencil skirt! Great minds and all, lol.

  35. Hi! This is my first time visiting your blog and I wanted to say how much I love this skirt. The shape is really flattering on you and I love the fabric.

    Hmm… I think I may suffer from swayback too – skirts sit up a bit in front…might need to look into that. (I’m just learning all about fit!)

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