I needed a skirt for a job interview recently. I do have a couple of nice skirts that I quite like, but I’ve put on some weight, and they don’t fit. I went shopping, but unfortunately, I’m very averse to spending $70 on a plain straight black skirt! I was completely shocked by how much they want for something so basic. If it costs that much, shouldn’t it make all of my lumps and bumps disappear?
I decided that rather than buy a skirt that costs far more than it is worth, I’d go out and get some good quality fabric and make a skirt that costs less and fits better than an off the rack skirt. I found some wonderful wool crepe suiting at Fabricland in the clearance section, so it worked out to be only $6 per meter. Not only that, but Bemberg lining was half price that day, so I treated myself. Bemberg is worth the price tag – it’s nicer to work with than nylon, and is more comfortable to wear.
I didn’t have a pattern in my stash, since I decided that a pencil skirt would be just the thing, so I went online and found a really nice, simple pattern with an invisible side zipper and a nice inverted box pleat at the back, rather than a traditional kick pleat. Want to check out the pattern? Click here!
After an afternoon of sewing, this is what I ended up with. It’s hard to take full length pictures of yourself in an apartment, so forgive me for cutting off my legs and head. Oh, and my left elbow, too.
I know it’s not all that thrilling. Mostly because it is just a plain, black pencil skirt… and yes, it’s a bit on the small side. I tried it on, and found it too big, so I took it in. Maybe a little more than I should have. See all of the pretty drag lines across the hips? Yup. Too small. Oh well. It’s comfortable, and doesn’t make me look matronly like the $70 skirt I almost settled on at the mall. I promise, the next one I make (and there will be another one) will be the correct size. I have some nice black cotton sateen with big red poppies on it, which would be amazing sewn up into a pencil skirt.
I decided that just having one interview skirt was insufficient, but my wardrobe is somewhat limited at the moment, so I decided to make yet another black skirt, but in a different style. Again, I turned to indie pattern designers. I thought that the skirt on the Sewaholic Cambie would make a fantastic skirt, so I printed off my pattern, and cut out the necessary pieces to just make the skirt.
I made this skirt a size smaller than my usual Sewaholic size, because it’s made for a pear shaped figure, and I didn’t want it to be huge in the hips. Well guess what? I could have gone down another size smaller than I did, because it is still a bit big in the hips. It’s very comfortable though. I used the existing waistband piece, and simply folded it over. Yes, it’s a very narrow waistband, but I usually wear this skirt with one of my Oakridge blouses (my favourite is the teal one) and it covers the waistband. I have plans for more Oakridge blouses, since they’re so very wearable.
I still have at least three meters of the wool suiting, so I’m saving it to make a pair of pants. I already purchased a pattern – since the Sewaholic Thurlow trouser pattern isn’t appropriate for my body shape, I decided on the Collette Juniper trousers. I like the wide waistband on these pants, and the leg shape.
Eventually, I will have a pretty fantastic wardrobe. I’d rather build my wardrobe out of handmade items instead of storebought, because for the most part, the fit is better (unless I make assumptions and rush through things, as I did with these two skirts) and the price is lower. It’s more of an investment in terms of time and effort, but I think it is worthwhile.
You may ask why I’m sharing these skirts if they’re imperfect, but that’s actually part of the reason I’m sharing them. Not every project is going to work out 100% perfectly. There will be flaws in either fit, or fabric choice, or maybe the style just won’t suit you. When you sew, you can’t return it if you don’t like the finished item. It’s a risk you take, but I don’t mind taking that risk, because of the sense of satisfaction I get from making things myself.