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Pencils down!

November 14, 2011

I may have missed an amazing sewing event last Thursday, but because of it I was able to get down to business with a wardrobe staple.

Back when I first made this pencil skirt, I knew just enough to be dangerous. It was 2005, and I was coming off a lifetime of sewing according to my own rules, with a desire to learn a few proper techniques. That’s still my goal. By few, I mean all. Mwahahaha.

Because I haven’t completed a project in what seems like decades, and desiring a quick fix while my Clovers sit on the back burner, two Wednesdays ago I cut this out again at sewing club. I really need to remember to take hand sewing along with me. Strictly hand sewing. Anything else, and a social setting doesn’t jive with the manner in which I generally like to work. See, I forgot that I had wanted to change the back slit to a vent. And while at it, wanted to re-mark the tissue with my slightly slimmer curves.

That led to a weekend full of my first attempt at a skirt sloper. Huzzah! Hopefully that isn’t preemptive cheer, because I’ve yet to actually sew this in fashion fabric (always a tad different from muslin, ya know).

Orginal markings - you can sort of see the changed placement & addition of darts, along with a lowered hip line and apparently very slight change in side seam overall.

The first time ’round with this easy pattern, I did a handful of “proper” adjustments. With a two size difference from waist to hips, I used some simple math to subtract & divide myself into a skirt with a total of eight darts instead of four. This was to make up the difference in my smaller waist and hip circumferences. I also measured from the waist down to my hip, and noticed that it was a few inches lower than the outermost point on the pattern. Therefore, I transferred my new hip curve to the pattern & went on my merry way. I was pretty chuffed with the skirt, but never wore it until last winter. You may recall that was more of a proportion issue than a fit thang. I made the skirt again in 2009, the shorter version with the higher curved waist. I used the same adjustments that I had originally transferred to the tissue, and although I should take in the hips a smidge now, I wear it all the time.

Jump to this third iteration. Not only did I need to re-mark my hip curve, I needed to deal with the diagonal lines in the back. Even on my first two skirts those lines are visible, adjusted darts, hip curve, and all. Honestly, they probably didn’t mean much to me at the time.

C. Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing – my first self-bought and all around fav sewing book.
C. Fit for Real People. Interesting to note that the two methods add the wedge in opposite manners.

So… back to the beginning for the sloper. This time I used the same size waist & skirt pieces, and darts as called for. I consulted a couple of books, opting for the second of the two methods above. I’ll admit to choosing it because it involved fewer steps, so hopefully that doesn’t bite me in the full behind! It may, because the first is from my tried and true favorite book. *UPDATE* I should note that there’s slightly more thought behind my decision to use the second method other than fewer steps ;) Engineering-wise, it just made more sense to me; this would displace the width down to where I’m fullest, while keeping the grain line below intact. I can then peg to my heart’s content. My first two skirts still have diagonal lines, despite change the side seam curve… so far this adjustment has worked on the muslin.

Adjusted pattern with vent added. I included markings for both the pattern darts and my adjusted darts. So far, I’m using the pattern darts (red), slightly curving & elongating the back dart.
Side seam taken in and pegged

After the slash & spread, the front darts looked just ducky without adjustment. I did end up lengthening the back darts a tad, and putting a slight concave curve in them. I also took the side seams in for a nice snug/pegged look. Let’s see what happens as I sew this puppy up and get down in my new pencil skirt. I’m adding a lining this time, which will slow down the process slightly. In other words, I doubt I’ll finish it tonight.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. G.Petunia permalink
    November 14, 2011 8:02 pm

    The Readers Digest alteration is for protruding butt. The Real People alteration is for the protruding sides of the upper thighs. I have seen this area called “pones” in other alterations. Beware of the butt alteration if your diagonal lines can be fixed at the side seam. You probably won’t like the look of too much fabric at the butt in a pegged skirt :)

    • November 14, 2011 9:25 pm

      Aha, makes total visual sense…good thing that’s not the alteration I made :) I’m using the second method because even with my past side seam fixes, I still got diagonal lines. Maybe it’s overkill, and I should return to my old ways, but wanted to see if this got me better results.

  2. Mommie permalink
    November 14, 2011 9:26 pm

    WOW!!! It sounds as though you have been making a lot of progress with altering and some revamping your pattern to get a great fit. Hope you didn’t have too many fits to accomplish this. I know that I have had some myself when needing to make multiple changes to accomplish the right fit and look. Good luck with the finished garment. Can’t wait to see the end result. Lots of love, Mommie

  3. November 15, 2011 6:01 am

    The thing I like about the second adjustment is that it doesn’t change the width of the dart, so in my mind it should create more of the room you’re looking for. What good is a pencil skirt if it doesn’t have that sleek fit, right?

    • November 15, 2011 11:32 am

      That’s what I was thinking! Geometry, engineering, sewing…

  4. November 15, 2011 11:02 am

    Welcome back gal!! I am looking forward to seeing this lovely skirt completed! I have never made a sloper and I have to admit that I am a bit intimidated! You make it seem not so complicated… smoke and mirrors I am assuming!

    • November 15, 2011 11:37 am

      Don’t be intimated :) It’s mostly time-consuming so far, but I’m determined to get a skirt sloper soon, though it may take more fiddling than this! I just want to be able to compare it to any pattern/use it as a base instead of going through the pains of fitting every. new. pattern.

      • November 16, 2011 1:23 pm

        That really is the coolest part of having a fitted sloper, is having it for making the changes you want easily. With a skirt sloper though, it’s fun to draft patterns from it as well, since skirts are the easiest draft..

  5. November 18, 2011 11:22 pm

    I just made this skirt for the first time! It turned out ok, but was definitely a learning experience. I really needed to better account for ease in the waistband, because it just doesn’t hug me like I wanted it too. Thanks for the encouragement to work on a sloper!

  6. November 20, 2011 5:27 am

    Sounds like a full day’s work! Can’t wait to see your perfectly fitting pencil skirt!

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