I love pencil skirts and one of my favourite items for office is my rtw grey pinstripe pencil skirt. Sadly I'm not wearing it much as it too big and is made of many different panels, making it hard to alter and keep the style in balance.
Luckily I bought some wool in Croatia that would make a perfect replacement. I was keen to use this wool as I wanted to see how difficult it would be to match plaids. I'm always impressed when seeing others achieve wonderful matches and I thought it was time for me to give it a try. I found the perfect pattern, Hot Patterns' Deco Vibe Deceptively Skinny Skirt. I was drawn to the sharp silhouette and the godet at the back.
I'll get to the construction details in a moment but first, a quick note on the physical pattern. I was impressed by the quality of the paper Hot Patterns print on. It is thick and sturdy and will last a long time. I originally thought that the instructions had been left out but I found them printed onto one of the pattern sheets. This midly irritated me, as I couldn't put the large pattern sheets away during construction.
Matching plaids is time consuming! I spent a good while trying to figure where to place the pieces, even using these great tutorials: Sewaholic and Colette. The pieces I most worried about matching were the centre back seam and the waistband. I didn't mind if the side panels were a little off, it's a design feature and you probably wouldn't notice it anyway. I'm pretty pleased with how the matching turned out, except it is slightly off at the back centre seam.
I thought that the worst part was over. From that statement, you can tell it wasn't. I had a number of issues as I put the skirt together. I made my standard alterations to skirt patterns - grading down two sizes from my waist to my hips. This was very straight forward, the pieces fit together very well. The problems lay in the instructions, which don't match the pattern pieces in places, and in some of the drafting.
The instructions clearly state to attach the waistband to the skirt at the side seams. Trouble is there isn't just one side seam, there are two as there is a side panel. If you place the side seams of the waistband to either of these it just will not fit properly. I comprised and placed the side seams of the waistband in the middle of the side panels. That was more annoying than difficult.
The main problem I had was with the hem. You create the hem by adding facings at the bottom and turning them up before stitching into place. Sounds simple enough. However, the facings aren't big enough. I carefully checked which way round the pieces should go and then checked I had cut the right size. All fine but I just couldn't get it lay flat. I tried to manipulate the fabric while hand stitching but eventually I ripped them out. I turned to my iron to help save the situation. That hem has been to hell and back with the amount of steam that has been poured on to it. Finally the wool shrunk enough for it to lay reasonably flat and I machined stitched it in place. You can see that the skirt pulls in a little at the hem line so it isn't perfect. If I make this skirt again, I'll have to extend the facings or find a different way to hem it.
I lined the skirt with some gorgeous deep purple silk habotai I picked up for about £5 m at Masons. It is as light as anything and I expected problems while handling it but it behaved itself. I was thankful for this, I'm not sure I could have handled fabric and pattern problems! The inside looks rather pretty, don't you think?
Despite the odd hemline I'm happy with this skirt. It hugs my hips just the right amount and has a little bit of ease at the waist which will be rather useful just after lunch. That's a classy thought, isn't it? Completing this skirt also takes me three-quarters of the way to completing my challenge!