Pencil skirt, the slim fitting skirt with a figure hugging cut, is a classic style universally popular. It makes the wearer look chic, feminine and confident.
Pencil skirt is a fashion staple for women of all ages, ever since Christian Dior first introduced it in the 1950s
The best thing about a Pencil skirt is its flattering fit which follows your womanly curves. It has a sleek silhouette which enhances the look of the wearer. The slim look of this skirt gives the illusion of height thus elongating the body line and making you look taller.
Checkout the 12 tops you could wear with pencil skirt
The Pencil skirt is snug at the waist and hip and tapers from the thigh to the bottom edge – It usually has a slit at the back or front for easy stride and the peek it gives of your calf is very sexy. The hem of a pencil skirt usually falls just above the knee or below it.
What fabric to use to sew a pencil skirt
Look for a cloth with some stretch like wool or cotton, to make sure that the skirt will fit you just right without being too tight.Medium weight cottons, denim, linen, knits all make suitable clothing to make pencil skirts. Suiting cloth is ideal for a formal pencil skirt , as it gives a very polished look to the finished garment.
Black is the go to colour for pencil skirts. All the skirt lovers will have a classic black pencil skirt in their arsenal. Other neutral shades like grey, beige and black are also very chic and will go with most tops. But that doesnot mean that you should chuck all other colours. I have made a pink pencil skirt which is a favourite. Pretty printed fabrics also make good choices.
Another option is to split up the skirt making the top hip portion in one color maybe a plaid and the bottom in a different fabric – this way you can use up your favourite scraps to make this simple skirt; if you are doing this it will be better if it done in the front pattern only – the back pattern is better done in a single fabric.
The first time you make the skirt it is better to make it in an inexpensive fabric to make sure that you donot make any costly mistake.
A Tailored Pencil Skirt Pattern
Supplies needed to sew a Pencil skirt
- Fabric of choice – 1.25 meters of cloth . Depends on the length you need for the skirt.
- Hook and eye
- Thread matching
- Fusible interfacing long strip for waist band – waist round + 3 inch
- if using lining choose polyester fabric
How to make a pattern for a Pencil skirt
The skirt will have 3 pieces of patterns
- 1 Full front pattern
- 2 Half back patterns
ie the front pattern of the skirt will be one piece but the back pattern will have a seam in the center fold to insert zipper and for the slit at the hem.
Take a paper of length = length of the skirt + 5 inches & width ½ the hip round
Mark one long side as the length of the skirt – this will be the centre front line of the skirt
If you have it, use a hip curve to mark the hip line curves
Cut a Front Pattern for Pencil skirt
A- B= Length of skirt needed + 2 3/4 inch for hem and seam allowance
A-C = 3/4 inch
A- D = 1/4 of waist round + 1/2 inch ease+ 1/2 inch seam allowance
F-H = 1/4 of Hip round + 1/2 inch ease+ 1/2 inch seam allowance
B-E = 1/4 of waist round + 1/2 inch ease+ 1/2 inch seam allowance
Cut a Back Pattern for Pencil skirt
Make a back pattern with A-C as the center back seam
A- B= Length of skirt needed + 2 3/4 inch
A-C = 3/4 inch
A-F – zip opening – 7 inch
A-D = F-H = 1/4 of Hip round + 1″ center seam allowance +1/2 inch ease + 1/2 seam allowance
E-B = 1/4 of Waist round + 1″ center seam allowance +1/2 inch ease + 1/2 seam allowance
B- G – Slit in the back – 7 inch up from B or as needed
Dart – (Hip round minus Waist round) divided by two. Divide this by two to get the measure of one dart each on either side of the center seam. You can have one or two darts each on either side of the center seam. Divide the measure of dart by four to mark two darts. Length of each dart is to be 4 inch
For eg in our case
Hip is 36 inch
Waist is 31 inch
Difference of Hip and waist is 5 inch . Divide this by 2 . You get 2.5 inch. Divide this again by 2 to get 1.25 which is to be the dart on one side. So 1.25 inch dart on either side of the center seam. If this was more than 2 inch I would have had two darts.
If the difference between A-D and E-B is more than 2 inch make two darts which are 4 inches long. To mark the darts divide C-D to two ( for one dart) or by three ( for two darts )
Mark darts as per the diagram and join the dart lines
Step 1. Cut out the fabric pieces
Step 2. Draw a 1 inch seam allowance along the centre seam C- B. Stitch from C- F the center seam of the two back patterns RIGHT SIDES together with a long basting stitch with 1″ seam allowance ( as in the diagram below) . From F – G continue a plain seam with a regular straight stitch ( stitch length 3 )Open up the cloth and press the seam open.( It is very important to press the seam so donot skip this step)
Step 3. Insert zipper along C-F
Lay the zipper along the seam allowance at C-F at the wrong side of fabric ; right side of the zipper should be laid on top of the seam, with zipper pull aligned with point C,( zipper FACE DOWN on the seam line of WRONG SIDE of faric); Pin in place .
Check out How to install zipper for more details
Use a zipper foot for this; Start stitching the zipper to the skirt starting at the top edge, using a straight stitch.
Stitch until the needle is at the mark you have made F, keep the needle down ( needle is still in the fabric) , Lift the pressure foot and rotate so that you can sew across the bottom of the zipper 3-4 stitches across zipper teeth, then rotate again to sew the rest of the zipper on the other side seam
Step 4. Cut away the basting stitches from C-F from the right side of fabric with a seam ripper.The zipper opening is now ready.
Step 5. Turn under the fabric edge of the seam allowance of back piece. This is to finish the fabric edge at the seam allowance.
Checkout more ways to finish fabric edge here
Step 6. Now stitch the Slit edge
Edge stitch along the slit edge from the wrong side of fabric as follows –
Start stitching the edge from the bottom , using a straight stitch.
Stitch until the needle is at the mark you have made at G on the edge, keep the needle down ( needle is still in the fabric) , Lift the pressure foot and rotate so that you can sew across the top of the slit, then rotate again to sew the rest of the edge on the other side seam. Red line in the diagram below is the stitching line
Step 7. Stitch the darts . Press the darts to one side away from the center seam.
Step 8. Stitch along the side seams joining the back and front pieces together.At this point I would try this skirt on, to make sure that the ease you have sewn is not making it too loose for you. If yes, Adjust by sewing in the side seams.
Step 9. Fold the hem line . Fold over the raw edges to the wrong side. Press in place before sewing. Either hand stitch or machine stitch the hemline.
Step 10. How to make a waistband for your pencil skirt
This skirt can do without a waistband if you make a facing ; but a waistband will give that bit of better looks for the skirt that the effort to make one is worth it.
Draw a rectangle of width = 5 inch and length = waist round of the finished skirt + 3 ” ( 2″ for button closure overlap + 1/2 inch seam allowance for either side of the waistband.)
If using interfacing ( highly recommended to use ) cut it to a width of 2 inch and length of waist round + 2″ overlap (without seam allowance)
Attach the waist band to the skirt. Attach metal pant hooks and bars as closure ; you can also sew a button closure with button and the button hole. Checkout the tutorial on how to sew a button by hand and with a sewing machine. When sewing a button closure sew the buttonhole first and then the button. Check out the posts on sewing buttonholes by the machine or making handmade buttonholes
The easy Pencil skirt pattern ( or no pattern Pencil skirt)
This is a cheat pencil skirt ; It is not tailored as the other pattern but will fit you nicely enough and obviously is very easy to sew. You must have made this skirt if you have been sewing for sometime, or even thought of doing it.
Just find a big t shirt ( pinch your husband’s, if all you have are fitting ones) and some elastic for waistband
Measure your waist and the length of the skirt you need.
Keep the T shirt on a flat surface
Cut the t shirt into a square piece that measure ( 2 layers);
Width = waist round / 2 + 1 inch seam allowance ( If you have a very big difference between your hips and your waist you may need to add an inch or two )
Length = length you need + 2.5 inches
( no need to hem this skirt as your piece already has a beautiful hem; We are using the tshirt hem obviously)
Cut an elastic (of width 1″ or 3/4″ or even 1/2″) of length = (Waist round – 1 inch ) + 1/2 inch seam allowance.
Sew the sides ( Use an appropriate needle for sewing up the skirt – a ballpoint needle is preferred. Knit fabric needs a needle which works for the cloth. Checkout the post of selecting the appropriate needle)
Stitch the edge of the top edge. Leave 1″ open for inserting the waistband.
Stitch the top edge Closed after inserting the elastic. There you have your skirt ready .
Pencil skirt styling
In leopard prints, leather, sheers, worn along with leather jackets , tunics or tank tops – all these Pencil skirts have one thing in common – High heels. Pencil skirts look the best when paired with high heels.