In pursuit of the perfect pencil skirt: Simplicity 1559

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This seems crazy, but I’ve only made one skirt in the past two years. 2016 and 2017 were all about pants: Itch to Stitch North Point Trousers, Hudson Sweatpants, Style Arc Sadie Pants, Ginger Jeans, and Colette Clovers. This year, though, I’m going to get back into skirts. I want to find the perfect pencil skirt pattern and sew up a work wardrobe full of them.

I have made two pencil skirts before, a fun yellow printed skirt made out of upholstery fabric, and a floral version out of stretch cotton sateen, both made from a pattern I won in a giveaway, Two-in-One Skirt Collection by Simple Sews. Don’t get me wrong, I really like these skirts, but they’re not spot on. They’ve always felt slightly too big. I’ve made up the smallest size in the pattern, and already taken in the side seams quite a bit at the hips. Exasperating that feeling is that the pattern is drafted with a straight waistband. Straight waistbands and I don’t really get along. Why try to fit a rectangle on a curved body?

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So, I’ve decided to branch out and try some new pencil skirt patterns to find myself a TNT. Would it be more efficient to just draft my own skirt? Probably. But, I have a number of pencil skirt patterns in my stash, so I want to give those a try before I go that route. Enter attempt number one at the pursuit of the perfect pencil skirt: Simplicity 1559, View F. I bought this pattern at Joann’s during one of their 5 for $5 sales. It is a simple unlined skirt, but I was drawn to View F in particular because of its modern slim fit and slit on the side front.

I made a straight size 8. The pattern provides the finished hip measurement (I went with 0″ of ease because I was using a stretch fabric from my stash), but does not provide the finished waist measurement–even on the pattern tissue. On a fitted skirt, I think the waist is just as important as the hips, but apparently Simplicity does not agree.

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This pattern was very easy to put together. With just two front, two back, and two facing pieces (no waistband), it is super simple. The instructions are very concerned with the waistline not stretching out of shape, and many preventative steps are recommended, including interfacing the facings (check), stay-stitching the upper edge of the skirt pieces (skipped), basting the facings on before sewing it on (check), and inserting twill tape into the seam between the facings and the top of the skirt (check). The instructions are also somewhat fiddly when it comes to finishes, and recommends hand tacking down the facing on the inside of the skirt and hand finishing the hem. Even though this is a wearable muslin, I did both of these steps by hand. I was still able to completely assemble the skirt in one evening (~4 hours) after cutting it out ahead of time.

So, what’s the verdict? Out-of-the-packet, I am impressed with how well this skirt fits through the hips. The version you see here is without any modifications, other than a deep hem (3″ instead of 1 1/4″ recommended). It is tight, though, in the waist, which is quite inflexible due to all of the steps mentioned above. I’m not sure I’d want to wear it for a full day (or meal!).

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From these pictures, I can also tell that it’s not very flattering. Part of that is because I have a button-down shirt tucked into it, but not all of it. I don’t think this will become my TNT pattern. Fortunately, it was basically free. Up next is the Magdalena Langa Camellia Skirt.

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Fabric: 1 yard stretch cotton sateen from stash
Notions: 7″ zipper, interfacing
Cost: fabric + zipper + interfacing from stash = $0.00 ($1 if you count the cost of the pattern)
Time: 4 hours

 

 

 

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