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.
A Tailored Pencil Skirt Pattern
Supplies needed to sew a Pencil skirt
- The fabric of choice – 1.25 meters of cloth. Depends on the length you need for the skirt.
- Zipper ( 7 inch pant zipper)
- Hook and eye/ Buttons
- Thread matching
- Fusible interfacing long strip for the waistband – waist round + 3 inch
Method 1 Sew a Pencil skirt with Back Vent
Step 1 Cut out the Pattern pieces
Front panel – cut 1 on the fold
Back panel -cut 2
Waistband – cut 1
Interfacing – half the width of the waistband
Pattern to make the Pencil skirt – Front Panel
After you have marked the pattern add 1 inch seam allowance along the side seam.
Pattern to make the Pencil Skirt- Back Panel
After you have marked the pattern add 1 inch seam allowance along the side seam.
This is marked on folded cloth and then cut by the center (A-G) to make 2 back panels.Cut the vent area as shown in the picture above
Mark 1″ from the center edge (S-T) this is the seam allowance for the center of the back panel.
Mark the seam allowance of the vent
Step 2 Prepare the front panel
Finish the side edges with a zigzag stitch or a serger
Step 3 Join the back panels
Keep the two back panels right side together and Sew the back center seam. You will have to sew loose long stitches on the top and bottom edge – for the top edge sew 6 inch like this – the broken lines of red line in the picture above are basting stitches (long length stitches which you will open up later).In the bottom edge you should make basting stitches
The rest are all regular straight stitching for the seam – solid red lines in the picture. Do not forget to back stitch and anchor stitch at the start and opening of the regular straight stitching wherever you are doing it.
The top basting stitches are made for the opening for the zipper
The bottom basting stitches are made for the vent
Clip the joint as in the picture below just above the vent
Press the seam open, starting from the opening of the zipper till the clip you have made. You can now finish the edges of the opened seam allowance with a zig zag stitch.
Step 4 Sew the vent
Finish the edge of the top seam allowance with zigzag stitch;
Fold the edge of the back seam allowance 1/4 inch and stitch.
Checkout more ways to finish fabric edge here
Press the vent seam allowance to the left side ( as you look the left side you see)
Stitch it there in place, sewing it to the back panel. When you open it it will look like this.
Step 5 Sew the darts
Mark the darts on the back panel as mentioned in the pattern
Sew the darts -Remember all the dart principles. If you want a refresher check out the post on sewing darts here.
Do not forget to tie the thread tails at the end of the darts to secure it
Step 5 Join the zipper on the back panel
Keep a 7-inch long zipper face down on the back of the back panel on the seam line of the basting stitch you have made.
The zipper tooth will be aligned on the seam line exactly. Pin in place or if you are not confident make basting stitches to keep it there.
Sew the zipper there – always ensure that the zipper teeth is aligned above the seam. Use a zipper foot to stitch close to the zipper teeth.
Open the basting stitches once you have finished sewing the zipper.
Step 6 Sew the side seams
Stitch the front panel and back panel together
At this point you can try it on to see if it fits – if it is too tight loosen the darts, it too loose increase the dart depth.
Step 7 Prepare waistband
Measure the top edge of your skirt. You have cut out 4 inch wide waistband measuring length equalling the top edge of your skirt plus 3 inches. Out of the 3 inches, 1 inch is for seam allowance and 2 inches serves as an extension past the zipper Here you can attach a button or hook to secure the waistband, later.
Take the waistband piece and fold it along the center, right side touching together (wrong side out)
Sew one short edge closed.
The other short edge and 2 inches of the botton edge is sewn together.Trim seam allowance clip corners
Look at the picture for reference
Turn the waistband rightside out. You need to pull out the corners with a sharp tool or something so that they look sharp
This gives you a projection on one side of the waistband for hooks /buttons
Step 8 Join the waistband
Place the skirt right side out before you back side facing. Start joining the waistband from the left side (when you look at the skirt )- this is the end where you join the nonprojecting side of the waistband.
Keep the waistband so that it is meeting the top edge of the skirt. Stitch in place.
Turn the waistband upright
Fold the back edges to the inside – You can stitch in the ditch from the front so that with this stitch you will catch the fold on the back – this is tricky. I just topstitched ensuring that this stitch will catch the fold on the back
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.
Step 9 Hem the skirt.
Fold the hemline. Fold over the raw edges to the wrong side. Press in place before sewing.
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.