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Sewing Tidbits

Sewing Tidbits is the sewing blog written since 2013 by Delphine, the co-founder of Just Patterns.

Filtering by Tag: pencil skirt

A white pencil skirt

Sewing Tidbits

white-pencil-skirt-61.jpg
White Pencil Skirt by Sewing Tidbits

Dear readers, 

I have tendency of making radical statements, about the smallest things, even when I'm not that convinced myself. It's a French thing and it's embarrassing. As a result, I often end up in the awkwardly looking at my shoes because I just did what I said I would never ever do. A few weeks ago I heard myself proclaiming that I was officially sick of seeing exposed metal zippers. And here we are with this pencil skirt, which most interesting feature is an exposed gold metal double zipper…

I had initially no plan to participate in this year Sewing Bee contest organized by Pattern Review, but when the pencil skirt theme was announced, I knew I had to. I wear a lot of pencil skirts, I have my own pattern and I can make one relatively quickly. But the twist is that the skirt has to be inspired by music or a musician... I've more of an analytical mind than a creative one. So asking me to think of skirt when I listen to song or look at a bridge leaves me completely blank.

I decided to look at celebrities wearing pencil skirts, and Victoria Beckham is a big proponent of them. I know it's a stretch to call her a musician, since she publicly acknowledged that she actually never sang while part of the Spice Girls. But I was a HUGE Spice Girls fan in my early teens (walls covered in posters type of fan!) so it's actually a pretty good match for me. I also very much like the way she handles her fashion labels. Pencil skirts are a basic piece of Victoria Beckham's main label and she has at least one per season. Since I live a few blocks away from Saks Fifth Avenue, I decided to have a quick look at her skirts. Just like Roland Mouret, she uses a type of thick knit material, something between scuba and Herve Leger Bandage dresses, and leaves the garments unlined. I'm not a fan of the knits, and that exact material is quite hard to come by, so I decided to do a classic lined wool skirt with that distinctive metal double zipper at the center back.

White Pencil Skirt by Sewing Tidbits
White Pencil Skirt by Sewing Tidbits

Pattern

Pattern Link – My own free pencil skirt pattern

Size – 00

I removed the waistband and did a faced high waist instead. I extended the waist line straight up by 1"1/4, including the darts, and I drafted a facing.I used my lining pieces (unfortunately I haven't been able to make it available as part of the download yet) and remove the CB seam allowance on both the self and the lining to allow for the exposed zipper. In effect, that eliminates the back vent too.

White Pencil Skirt by Sewing Tidbits
White Pencil Skirt by Sewing Tidbits

Making

Fabric – Wool suiting from Mood Fabric, I believe it was The Row, lining is a lightweight silk twill from my stash.

Notions – Custom made double zip from Botani in  the NY Garment District.

The wool, the silk I used for lining and the interfacing were all from my stash so it was basically a "free" project. Until I decided to splurge big time on the zipper. I know you can get a double zip shortened at Pacific Trimming in NYC, but the day I went their technician was not there. I couldn't come back any other day and I was on a deadline for the PR challenge, so I went to Botani instead. Their service is great, you can customize any element of a zipper, the tape, the metal color, the size of the teeth, the pull, separating, etc. 20 minutes (and 20 dollars) later you have your perfectly matched zipper!I've made quite a few pencil skirts by now so the construction was very straightforward. I bagged the lining, enclosed the zip between the self layer and the lining and left an opening in one of the lining side seams to turn the skirt over. It's quick and it looks very clean.

White Pencil Skirt by Sewing Tidbits

The hardest element of this project was managing to take pictures of it before the deadline of the contest. I only managed to get a few decent ones and a little person decided that she needed to be part of the photoshoot. I really like my final skirt, and I'm super happy that it was part of the pieces I had on my #2017MakeNine plan! I hope to do a post soon on how I'm doing with that plan, let's see if I carve out the time.

What about you? Are you following up on your sewing resolutions for 2017?

Open Skirt Project: final sample in floral

Sewing Tidbits

Dear readers,I have been talking about this project for a good 6 months and I think I am almost there. I showed you toiles and I felt quite of bad for not updating the blog about it... I always wanted to know what it took to develop pdf sewing patterns from scratch to a product usable by others than me. I did learn a lot and I still have a lot of work to do. So far, my 2 main take-away are:

  • It's not the patternmaking or the grading that takes the most time.
  • Writing instructions is really really hard.
OSP floral-13I will probably write a post or two when I have some time about what I learnt. I feel some secrecy I cannot explain around the process. For instance, the tiling in Illustrator. Nobody explains clearly how they do it. I have to say that it is a bit annoying to figure it out but once you do your grid you can reuse it for any pattern. So I decided that I will share my grid with you and maybe save some time to people who wants to tile their patterns. Hopefully it will lead to more time to be spent on the patterns themselves! 
For this last (?) version of the pattern, I smoothed the hip curve, updated the vent construction and fused the whole hem and vent area. But most of the work went to the pdf, making sure that lines were showing up everywhere they should. Also it is layered, if you use Acrobat Reader, you can choose which size you want to print.OSP floral-12I took step by step pictures of the construction and tried to write an ebook. However I am not entirely convinced that it makes the process crystal clear. Now I also started doing some illustrations in Illustrator. I have 0 drawing skills so the process is quite painful! In case you download the instructions, I would very much welcome any feedback. You will also see that I added a "reference" section to highlight blogs, books and patterns that have guided me through my choices. In a way, I think of it as something between instructions and a mini-ebook.OSP floral-6On the seam finish I went back and forth between serged and and snug hug. Finally I decided for the snug hug. I talked about my obsession with this tape before so I will not repeat it! I also think it will appeal to more people (who may not have a serger). But what I like the most about it is that you can construct and finish everything with a straight stitch. In my case, it means everything on my industrial Juki. Fast and pretty results!!OSP floral-1 OSP floral-2 OSP floral-3 OSP floral-4Sorry for the pictures on my form. The form was made to measure 3 years ago in NYC but I lost some weight since (sigh...) and the skirt cannot close, but it does close on me!! I had this fabric for a year in my stash and I love love love it. I knew I wanted to use it for something special so this project was the one! It's a floral stretch cotton from Mood and it's all kind of perfect. Easy to work with, does not fray, presses well, etc. I made size 00 available and it's comfortable thanks to the stretch factor and the slightly higher back vent than usual.New Size ChartFinal words, , the PDF contains more pages than you may be used to for a simple skirt. First, pieces are divided between self fabric and fusible. All are intended to be cut single layer so the pieces for the self fabric are are laid on 21 pages and the fusible on 5.OSP floral-5If you are interested in downloading the pattern and receive the updates, please sign up for the newsletter (sent once a month if you get lucky). What I love the most about this project. is the email conversations I have with some readers since I started it. Feel free to tell me any of your thoughts in the comments or by email! I'm committed to making the best pattern I can with my limited time and amateur skills. What do you think, any advice already? 

Open Skirt Project

Sewing Tidbits

Dear Readers, I will not apologize for the long absence, as it seems to be too common around sewing blogs (especially this one). There is a flu going around Haiti and I've been so sick that I could not participate in round 2 of the PRSewingBee. For me, that means very VERY sick... Enough on my disappointment, let's have a look at V3 of the Open Skirt Project! For my next versions I will start using Size 1 for myself instead of size 2 as I like a closer fit. I'm very happy with the lowering of center front:V3 Open Skirt ProjectI did manage to send out the first newsletter of the Open Skirt Project and to update the pattern based on feedback and my own toile of version 3 (up). If you are interested in trying it out check out the size chart below:Size ChartPlease take into account that although there will be instructions in the future, currently you have to be able to sew it on your own! For version 4, The PDF layout has been entirely redone and now you can use the layers in acrobat reader to print only the size(s) that you want!If you are interested in trying out V4 of the pattern and receive the updates, please sign up for the newsletter (I promise I'm way too busy to send it often so there is no way you feel spammed).I will be off for a week to Dominican Republic and I have not been doing much sewing lately but hopefully I will have things to show before the end of the year...

I'm alive... And I took pictures!!

Sewing Tidbits

cimg2327.jpg

Sooooo, from what I read on other seamstresses blogs I'm not the only one struggling to take pictures. To be honest when it's between some sewing time and some picture taking time, sewing wins every time... But I managed to make an effort. I praised so much the Lekala patterns that you deserve to see what they look like. CIMG2327 So as I said in my previous post, I started with Lekala 4285. It's a nice pencil skirt with some shaping and pleats at the back. CIMG2308 The fabric is a stretch cotton pique from Mood. If I remember properly it was from Theory. It has quite a lot of stretch so it's actually perfect for a pencil skirt to make the walk easy. CIMG2321 I made one alteration that is going to sound major but it's actually kind of my fault. Between the stretch of the fabric and me being scared of not having enough ease in the hip area (so I stated a bigger hip measurement that usual when I ordered my pattern), the skirt was really big when I tried it on (before adding the facing). I ended up removing 1/2"on each side (total reduction 2"!!). Other than that, I made no alteration, not even the length!! CIMG2322 I used seam binding for all the seams. I'm sort of a seam binder maniac. I only got a serger this year and sometimes I get very upset that I don't get good results right away. Because of my classes at FIT, I took the habit of binding the raw edges of my muslin samples (yes I like to get As...) so I bind quite fast now... But I promised that I'm improving my use of the serger, I try to use it at least once per project.IMG_2202 I think the skirt will get a lot of wear, mostly at work. Of course, being white, it does suffer from a typical Murphy's Law. Everytime I wear it, I have a 50% chance to drop something on it (think coffee, blood, anything that will show A LOT) in the first hour that I arrive in the office. It would be way too easy if it happened before I left the house, because I could change and where would be the fun of trying to conceal a stain for the whole day!IMG_2196 The fabric definitely appears more wrinkly in the pictures than it is in real life. All the back seams are top stitched as well as the top of the pleats.IMG_2197If you plan on making of these patterns, don't rely on the instructions. Google Translate will NOT do a good job translating sewing stuff from russian to any other language. However the technical drawings are quite accurate so they are worth taking a look (or 2, or more...) at. IMG_2199For the invisible zipper, I used my favorite technique (from Fashion Incubator), I know some people do it differently but I really don't know why. It works perfectly every time! The adjustments that you need to your pattern are the followings:

  • The seam allowances in the zipper area is 1/2", from the top to 1.5" lower than the finishing point of the zipper.
  • The rest of the back seam is the way you like it (for me it's 3/8").
  • The facings have 0 seam allowance where they are going to be sewn onto the zipper.
  • Once you did this, you can refer to this post for the sewing order (includes pictures for the visual learners). I never even made the pressing jig (I'm too lazy).

So in my configuration, the pattern looks like this :IMG_1372And the finish zipper on the inside :IMG_2203What's your favorite zipper insertion method? Have you tried the Fashion-Incubator ones ?Next time I will show you the little 90's dress but I also already made a variation from that pattern and I finished the Jedediah shorts (YAY!!) so stay tuned, updates are coming!