A lined pencil skirt, with a touch of Embroidery.
A very similar post to this was featured on the MinervaCraftsBloggerNetwork recently A wool and Mohair mix pencil skirt .but I wanted to share some of the information about making toiles with you too.
The pattern I chose is a skirt pattern from Butterick - B6184. I chose this because it has a high waistline which features heavily this season. This particular pattern is out of stock, but it does not matter because any pencil skirt pattern can be used. Take a look at the choice, Pencil skirt patterns
In this post I am not going to give you a skirt tutorial as such because after all skirts are simple to make right? - wrong. Well, they are simple but if you are making a pencil skirt the fit just HAS to be right! So that is what this post is about, fit.
First it's tape measures out (there is no skipping this) take your measurements and identify the pattern size closest to your measurements. If in any doubt go up to the bigger size. Don't panic! There are no size labels in bespoke garments and a garment which fits perfectly is utterly flattering no matter what our size is.
Now either cut your pattern out or make a copy by tracing it onto Dressmakers Tracing Paper it doesn't matter which really.
Making a toile
The best way of making a garment which fits is to make a toile, now hands up, how many of us actually do this? Do you know how to use it when you have made it?
I used a piece of sheeting to make my toile, the first step is to pin your pattern pieces to the fabric as you would normally.
Do not cut out just yet.
We are making a toile or a test garment and we need to make sure that there is enough seam allowance to be able to adjust the pattern to fit our figures.
For example, I know that my waist is not the 26 1/2" shown for size 12 but my hips correspond to that size, so that's the one I chose.
Think about how you will style your skirt. For example if you intend to tuck a top into the skirt you will need to make the waist a bit roomier.
Cut the pattern out but leave a good couple of inches extra fabric at the side seams.
We need to transfer the original seam line from the pattern onto the fabric and I do this with thread tacks. Using tacking thread do a running stitch all along the seam line leaving long loops with every stitch . Snip the loops and pull the fabric gently apart a little bit and snip the thread between the two layers of fabric.
I use Gutterman Tacking Thread .Which I highly recommend
Mark the darts, I used tailors tacks going over the lines with Tailors Chalk and then tack them together.
Stitch the centre back seam, you can do this by hand or machine, leaving it open above the circle marking the bottom of the zip. Leave the bottom vent open too.
I then tacked the side seams and tried the toile on ready for fitting. My first problem is that the waist is too tight, which I knew it would be. This is pulling the back out of shape too.
Also there is an area on my hip bone where the skirt is too loose.
Tack the side seams again, letting the waist out and taking the hips in and keep doing this until you are happy with the fit.
This is not wasting time, you are going to end up with a skirt which FITS. And not only that you will have a fantastic pattern to use time and time again. This step is well worth the effort ladies, it will save lots of time when you want to make another.
Look at the darts next. This pattern is superb because it has pairs of darts which are immensely flattering.
However, if you have chosen a different pattern which has single darts on the front and back, then it is worth while dividing the width of the darts and creating two darts instead of just one. They just look so much nicer.
Also you can take this opportunity of moving the darts towards the side seams if they are in the centre. Moving them slightly away from the centre will once again create a flattering shape.
Once you are totally happy with the fit take the skirt off and lay it on your work surface inside out.
Using a permanent marker, or a felt tip pen - ordinary ones, not ones which will disappear, draw along the new seam line we have just created.
Note this is the seam line and we now have to create a cutting line. To do this draw another line 5/8" away from the seam line. A Double Tracing wheel would have made this job so much easier.
Cut the garment (Toile) out along the new cutting line.
Open the darts and using your marker pen mark the darts.
Mark the centre front.
If you are going to reposition the darts,do it now. I used the original pattern pieces to check that the darts were still correct.
Also make any alterations to the length of the skirt at this stage. I need to mention that the longer your skirt length is the longer your vent or pleat at the back needs to be. This is to give you enough walking room, so if you want a longer skirt then make sure that the vent is long enough.
Press your fabric pieces (Toile) and lay them flat on your work surface. Place tracing paper on top and weight it down, carefully draw over all the pattern markings on the toile, transferring them to the paper. Make sure that this is totally accurate
Ladies you now have a paper pattern (pattern block) for a pencil skirt with fits you perfectly. What's more you also have a toile which you can use whenever you make another skirt.
Why transfer the pattern onto paper? Many reasons - I like to change my pattern from time to time, for example I might do a vent instead of a pleat, or I might make a pleated vent, the possibilities are endless. If you have a paper pattern you can soon alter it to a front slit or you could extend the back to make a kick pleat at the back and much more.
And now to make the skirt.
You will normally only need a metre of fabric. You also need a good quality Dress lining. It is fine to choose a patterned one with a thicker outer fabric.
Using your new pattern lay it on your fabric and cut it out. Ensure that the pattern pieces are the right way up and mark the right and wrong sides.
Cut the lining out in the same way.
Mark the position of the darts and sew the darts. Press using a pressing cloth.
I know we have just spent a day or so making a toile and from that a new pattern, but please don't forget that you need to keep trying your skirt on as you go.
I inserted an exposed Metal Zip which come with silver or brass coloured teeth.
I wanted to add a small embellishment to the front of the skirt using my Embroidery Machine there are many embroidery machines to choose from, so if you are considering buying one then contact Jaycotts (details below) who will talk to you about the various options and prices.
They are easy to use. All I did was to mark the position of the embroidery and place Embroidery stabiliser behind it and put it into the embroidery hoop. Once your design has been programmed the machine does the rest.
There are plenty of designs built into your embroidery machine or they can easily be downloaded from the internet.
I didn't want a waistband so I used the new skirt pattern (with the darts folded closed) to cut Interfacing to come about three inches down from the top of the skirt.
For this type of waist you need a medium to heavy weight depending on your fabric.
Make up the skirt and the lining. Leave the lining open above the mark indicating the bottom of the zipper and also below the marking for the vent.
Please be aware that the fabric does fray so trim the seams and hems and overlock or finish them in some other way.
Put the lining inside the skirt right sides together, match up the side seams and darts and stitch them together all the way round the top of the skirt. Press the seam and understitch the seam to the lining. Top stitch to keep the waist neat and secure.
Turn the lining to the inside along the zipper tape and slip stitch it in place, then add a hook and eye at the top of the opening.
To make the vent simply tack along the fold line and press the vent open.
All we need to do now is to neaten the hem. I Overlocked the bottom of the hem and pressed it up. I stitched the hem in place by hand but another option would be to use your blind hem foot. Pin your lining hem up by a good 3/4" shorter than the skirt. This hem can be machine stitched.
The lining needs to be stitched loosly to the skirt to avoid it showing when you walk.
You will need to trim the lining around the vent area.
A touch of shameless advertising for Sweet Pea Embroidery who produce the most amazing designs for in-the-hoop embroidery. I'll be doing some of their designs for you next month
I hope that this post is useful to you and that you now know how to work with a toile. It seems time consuming to make one, but it is worth it because when you come to make another one you can whizz through it so much quicker and you can also use it as a base for your own designs.
Jaycotts supply thousands of products from the world's leading brands and their range is ever expanding. Not only that with workshops and sewing machine repairs they are your one-shop stop for all your sewing and embroidery needs.
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The fabric for this skirt was from MinervaCrafts too Wool and Mohair mix suitings
Thank you for reading this post. Was it helpful? If so please let me know