I hope all is well. I have been spending a little more time sewing lately and it has been exactly what I need! Earlier this month a couple friends and I took a last minute trip and flew into Seattle, WA to attend Sew Expo in Puyallup, WA. Since I am a sewing nerd, I really enjoyed the expo. I picked up fun fabric, notions, and tools and attended two short seminars. One was with Pam from Pamela’s Patterns on making your own shapewear and the other was with Connie Crawford on tips for making the insides of a tailored jacket. Additionally, I got to see some of the new McCall’s and Simplicity patterns being modeled in the fashion shows that were presented. I met and spoke with lots of people and received great sewing tips. By the time I made it back home, I felt really inspired and all I wanted to do was sew!
So with that being said, let’s get into this week’s DIY Look! A front zip pencil skirt!
Brittany J. Jones released a new front zip pencil skirt tutorial that walks you step-by-step through making your own front zip pencil skirt! In this tutorial, Brittany offers great tips for personalizing the fit on your skirt as well. To achieve the look, you can use your favorite pencil skirt pattern or she recommends the pattern that she used to create hers. This tutorial can be purchased by clicking here .
To make my front zip pencil skirt I used Butterick B5466, because it is my favorite pencil skirt pattern. Now I am a little biased towards this pattern. Why? This is the pattern that I used when I took my very first class to learn how to read patterns and make clothes while living in Chicago. I remember my cousin once telling me, “Tee you can make the “heck” out of a pencil skirt”, LOL. That was because I only knew how to make one pattern and this was it. So I made it over and over again! I remember telling my sewing teacher to show me how to fit my skirt in a way that would make my Granny Elaine say, “I know you didn’t you wear that tight skirt to church”, AHAHA! My cousins would definitely appreciate that comment, because Granny loves to “advise” us on what we should and shouldn’t be wearing to church! Nowadays, I am not making my skirts as fitted, because I need the “breathing” room a little more.
Since I am familiar with making this skirt, I thought of this pattern immediately and knew View A would be perfect to use along with the tutorial. However, I think if you are a beginner and this is your first pencil skirt, it may be beneficial to use the pattern that Brittany suggests in the tutorial. This will allow you to follow along a bit better with constructing the various aspects, as well as, creating the front zip (once purchased, you will receive all of her recommendations). She captures many aspects in a clear and concise video tutorial.
I made this skirt with a really nice scuba knit fabric and silver and black zipper from my stash. I use to hate sewing scuba knit, until I received a few tips from a woman that I met one day in the fabric store. She does alterations for one of the Cirque du Soleil shows here in Vegas and works with scuba knit and performance fabric a lot. Very simple tips that changed the way I felt about sewing scuba knit. She told me to use bigger needles, like sizes 90/14 or 100/16 ball needles and a longer zig-zag stitch length and width. Before, I had tried using a smaller ball needle with smaller stitch lengths and widths and my stitches would skip and look just plain treacherous. My view on sewing scuba knit has now changed! (Side Note: I must tell you, once I received sewing tips from the King himself, Elvis Presley, (well an impersonator)! “Elvis” walked into JoAnn Fabrics, in this beautiful and elaborate costume, that he made himself. He shared a few tips with me on how he embellished his performance wear. Benefits of living in Vegas, you meet a lot of show costume designers.) I have been playing around with different ways to finish hems, and for this one I used a twin needle to stitch my hem into place. At the time I only had a stretch twin, universal twin, and jean twin needle in my stash. The only needle that I could use to stitch the scuba knit without skipping stitches was the universal twin needle, however, I had to stitch at a snail’s pace. Since then I have found a ball twin needle which should work better for certain types of knit fabric in the future (that is until I invest in a coverstitch machine).
I made my top using variations of McCall’s M7508. It took me no time to whip this top up. So a couple days after making this pattern, I realized I picked this one up to give to my friend, lol. Usually, I try to keep patterns that I am picking up for other people out of my stash. So, now I need to remember to pick this one up again on the next McCall’s sale at JoAnn Fabrics.
Since I used a knit, I did not bother using a zipper in the back. The fabric is stretchy enough to fit over my head without a zipper. To eliminate the zipper, I removed the 5/8ths seam allowance that would have been used for the zipper in the center back piece and center back peplum. Then I cut both pieces on the fold, instead of cutting two of each piece.
I used scraps from my Grandma Maggie’s stash. When I say scraps, I mean scraps! I squeezed out every little bit of the fabric that I could get to make this top, because the fabric is the perfect color and looks nice on the insides for the flutter sleeves that I knew would inevitably be seen. The fabric is double-sided, like an extra layer of fabric attached to the wrong side. The fabric is very soft and comfy and washes extremely well.
Ok, that’s all for this week! I hope you have an amazing and safe week.
Yours truly, Tee
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