Vogue 1683 is from the Spring ’20 collection. I can’t recall the last time I sewed a Big Four pattern within the year it was released. I know there are many haters of a high low hem, but I could wear them all day.
I was drawn to the overskirt of this pattern because I felt it would help balance out my bust when worn with a slim fit top. The red plaid cotton was in my stash, but not enough for more than the front.
The remainder of the skirt was sewn with a dense double weave Ralph Lauren stretch suiting from Fabricmart. While I like the stretch and density of the skirt fabric for a pencil skirt (smoothing, less bumps) it’s all just too dang heavy for what I envisioned as a breezy summer skirt. I should have gone for a wool crepe suiting, but couldn’t find any in March when I was desperate to sew this skirt.
Naturally, the pandemic with stay-at-home orders hit and I proceeded to sew ONE THOUSAND MASKS. Well, Ok. I sewed maybe 150. But, it felt like a thousand. What a sewing buzz kill! The good news about those masks is they funded two new pairs of Sven Clogs, so it was a fair trade off.
The skirt is finished with twill tape at the waist. My skirt is very heavy and I’m grateful for the twill tape to totally stabilise any growth in the bias but waist of the overskirt.
The pencil skirt is faced and lined. The lining for the front is almost treated like an underlining first, before being attached to the back lining peices.
I think I would have preferred to use a thicker thread for topstitching the facing, making it more of a design feature. But, I sewed down the facing from the wrong side so I could use my topstitch foot for a close stitch. If I didn’t know how much I would hate it, I would even pickstich the front with topstitching thread by hand.
I did muslin this garment for fit. I started in the size 20 of the skirt. Funny, when I was a straight size 12 in sewing patterns, I thought the size range was fine. Now that I’m in the top of the size range, I wish it went up at least four more sizes.
- I needed to make a full seat adjustment on the back skirt.
- I graded out the overskirt pieces
- Grading the front skirt pieces at the waist
- Grading the facings to match
- Shortened the front overskirt drape at the hem by 3″. I’m 5’6″ and the hem grazed the floor.
- Now, after all this, I took the skirt in my inches at the waist. I’m not sure if those were my changes or because it’s mostly bias and simply grew.
- Twill tape waist finish is 1/2″. Would use 3/4″ to 1″ next time. Might also suggest using grosgrain ribbon instead.
- Would make french seams on overskirt since they end up being visible. Consider using fabric that is the same on front and back
- Hem facings take a lot of care to attach smoothly
- Grade seams like hell.
- Use a lightweight fabric
- If waist to hip ratio is high, use a longer zipper. I have to shimmy myself into this.
The only thing that troubles me about this skirt is that I sort of have no place to wear it! It felt strange to sew a skirt that I couldn’t see myself wearing for at least a year. The skirt is too much to wear to work. It’s the kind of thing I would wear out to dinner or to the theater. Neither of those things will be happening for some time. So, why work on the skirt that embodied how little control I had over what happened next? Lastly, it’s too heavy for summer. At least it’s waiting for me when I have someplace to go again.
This is the skirt I made my silk Cashmerette Springfield to go with. It’s too blousy and not quite the right shade. Together, I look a bit shortwaisted. I want to try something knit and blue, red or a cooler grey next.
Thanks again to my friend Liz for the photos. We’ve kind of worked out that she’ll take my pictures for a while (we’re in front of her adorable rowhouse). It goes a million times faster with help. I have five more garments to share from the last few weeks. And thanks to her, I’ll be able to!