Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Making a simple pencil skirt... in less than an hour!

I LOVE SKIRTS. Poofy, drapy, stiff, soft, long, short, patterned, block colours - I love them all. One of the most versatile shapes in my opinion  is the pencil skirt. Tight, flattering and usually quite high-waisted, this skirt has so many different options in terms of length and style and can be dressed up or dressed down for any occasion. Here's how to make your own basic pencil skirt in under an hour. 


Fabric - any kind you like, with enough to wrap entirely around your waist and hips.
Sewing machine/Needle and thread
Zip - available from sewing shops
Tape measure

Optional: Decorative buttons/Embellishments
First you're going to need to make some measurements. You will need the following written down somewhere safe:

  • Waist measurement (where you want the skirt to start from)
  • Hip/Bum measurement (The widest part of you that the skirt will cover. Make sure you are painfully honest with this number, or your skirt won't fit)
  • Length measurement (How long you want the skirt to be)
  • And one more, what we're going to call your Distance measurement. This is the distance between your waist and hip measurements. To get this, measure down your body from your waist to hip and take note of the number. 
Now lay out your fabric on a flat surface and get your chalk and scissors. You're going to cut two rectangles of fabric that are your Hip measurement x Length measurement + seam allowance on all sides. 

This is the basic start of your skirt. Hem the long sides of both pieces by 1/2 Inch with either a matching colour thread or a contrasting colour if you want a more unusual look. Next, with the right sides of the fabric together, pin or baste the two pieces together securely. 

Now, you will need to shape the skirt into a more fitted style. Lay out your skirt piece on a flat surface and take your chalk. Draw your waist measurement exactly in the middle of the top of the piece, making sure it is equidistant at both ends. Then, measure down the fabric the amount of your Distance measurement and make a mark. At this mark, draw a line across the fabric that is the length of your hip measurement. You should have something that looks like this: 

At this point it's probably getting a bit easier to envision how your skirt is going to look. With the fabric still pinned together, you need to mark out with chalk and sew the sides of the skirt together along these guidelines (shown by the white lines on the diagram): 

Trim off the excess, iron down the seams and you should have something that looks quite a lot like a pencil skirt! Of course you will not be able to put it on just yet since it needs a zip opening. You can do this however you prefer, I used this tutorial which was very helpful. You can either put this on one of the side seams or in the middle of the back of the skirt, it doesn't really matter which. A good guideline for length of zipper is to make sure it's at least as long as your Distance measurement.

Aaaaaand you're done! 

As mentioned earlier, the possibilities with pencil skirts are endless. I chose to make mine in a lovely anchor patterned fabric I found in Leeds Indoor Market for £1 a yard and embellish with some white and navy buttons to give it a Nautical theme. Make yourself a whole rainbow of skirts in different lengths and fabrics if you like, go wild! 

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and if you have any comments please let me know :)

Natalie xox