Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Oh, a pencil skirt!

It seems like these days everybody is crazy about By Hand London, and I can see why. Simple yet classic designs, cool girls behind the brand, patterns created with love and care - a perfect addition to the band of indie pattern designers! I do love their patterns and especially their own interpretations: I love the fabric they use and the images they create with their photos! The prices are also quite reasonable given that the brand is new: I would definitely buy those patterns! Seeking to feminize and refresh my wardrobe, I've been craving for a pencil skirt - and the Charlotte skirt with peplum from By Hand London set my imagination alight. Besides, this gorgeous taffeta purchased last year from Mood Fabric was begging to become a pencil skirt! How could I refuse? 

But instead of buying the pattern, I've drafted it! Earlier this year, I committed to drafting more patterns vs. purchasing them (even for the sake of indie designers). My current pattern library is way too full. One day, having sorted through what I had, I realized that many patterns repeat themselves, and they are easy to draft! 

Don't you also find that drafting patterns not only reduces the number of junk things in your boxes but also contributes to the acquisition and perfection of new skills?! Since we studied skirts in my pattern-making class two years ago, I already had a sloper. A couple of adjustments and the pattern was ready in no time! 

I sewed this skirt applying couture techniques learnt with Susan Khalje last year in Baltimore and watching her course on Craftsy.  

The choice of silk organza as underlining was obvious: this taffeta is sort of stiff, but is very thin and wrinkles easily. Organza, treated with my fashion fabric as one layer,  adds a little more weight to the lightweight fabric and results in a better-looking finished garment. How often do you see a RTW silk or any other lightweight fabric garment which ends up looking like a sausage?! Well, underlining prevents this effect.

Another great quality of underlining: it helps to conquer wrinkles! Despite being a lightweight fabric as well, silk organza is very tough. Organza strips are often used as stays: they are difficult to break but are flexible by nature. And that is why I used them to reinforce the corners of the vent in my skirt!

I cut four pieces of silk organza and sewed them on to cover the corners. Now I am not afraid to take long strides and hear the "crack" of ripped seams. The organza scraps will keep my seams in place!

Have you also noticed how I attached the pieces of organza? I sewed them into the underlining! If the skirt was not underlined, I would have had trouble attaching the pieces of organza and the stitches would probably have shown through.

After I finished this post, I sewed a hand-picked zipper and added the waistband. More to come in future posts!


  1. Yea I'm getting into drafting too-unfortunately I have little to no time for it XD

  2. Oooh, this looks like it's going to be yummy! Can't wait to see it!

  3. I hear you! Besides being the slowest seamstress in the world, same as you, I have very little time to dedicate to my passion :(

  4. If I am fast enough, maybe you can see it next week in NY!?

  5. Lovely. The first thing on my to do list for tomorrow is to buy some more organza (I'm all out, sob) to underline a skirt that will be a part of a shirt-dress. I need a little bit of extra oomph, and the organza will do me just fine. Come to think of it, is it ever not appropriate to underline with organza? Me thinks not.
    Awesome taffeta!!

  6. I am always in awe when I read your posts. My clothes just feel a bit slaped together in comparison I love that you reinforced the skirt in the areas, so that you won't hear the 'rip' at the seems as you stride along.

  7. Looks like you are in France already! I'll try to walk like geisha when i wear this skirt

  8. You can hardly find any silk organza in Japan (they mainly sell poly). Last time I was in the US, I brought like 30m

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