February 8, 2015

Skirt and bolero

And here are the skirt and bolero I mentioned earlier!

The bolero was just a quick fix, a tried-and-tested (and self-drafted) pattern made up in that same tweed-y grey mystery knit which I've used for my experimental dress and E's cardigan. I've made it twice before: The first one was a real wardrobe staple so when, after years of service, the cuffs started to fray, I made another one. That one was made from a viscose knit which was had been on the same sale as this grey stuff. It was very nice to wear but, unfortunately, also extremely fragile. Any snag would tear a whole into it. That bolero didn't survive for more than a couple of days. So, now I have this one.
It's a very simple pattern: Just one pattern piece plus cuffs and that long binding along the edge. It takes just minutes to make on the overlocker/serger.

The skirt took a bit longer. Sleek pencil skirts are great, but only if they fit well. And the more sewing experience you get, the more critical you will become. In this case, I decided to re-work my skirt sloper because I thought it was responsible for some of my issues for a former favorite skirt. Turns out that it was. For some reason, I had never made a test version of that sloper with a zipper... So I had never been able to see an issue at the back: Apparently, I have a bit of a saggy behind... Or at least, the maximum fullness there is at the height of the lower hip while in the standard shape assumed by drafting system, it starts higher up. This is why I always have to lengthen the darts half-way through construction when I'm using this shape... 
And in my trouser sloper, I made an adjustment for this lack of volume at the top of the bottom years ago
To put it simply: I kind of knew, so what took me so long to fix it?

Anyway, I did so now and I made a skirt. 
The skirt is made from some I-can't-believe-it's-not-wool orange fabric from my stash. The seller was sure it was cotton and it shrunk like old-fashioned twill weave cotton when washed. It has a twill weave and a slightly plush texture and a very intense orange colour. It's also rather thick.
Because of that, I didn't want to make a kick pleat at the back, which is usually my preferred way of adding a bit of leg-room to a narrow skirt. I'm not a huge fan of vents and slits (basically, I think only vents with a considerable overlap look good and then I would still have quite a pile of fabric at center back). 
Instead, I took a clue from my vintage patterns: Just about every vintage pattern for a pencil skirt in my collection doesn't actually have straight sides. Let alone tapered ones. The vast majority of narrow skirts from the late 1940's and 1950's actually has a slight A-line. Usually, a back pleat is still added to allow for ease of movement, but still.

In this case, I went with just the slight A-line. For walking, I thought it was OK, but you never really know until you go outside in it. It forces me to take slightly shorter steps, but it's not a real problem. 
I'm still happy I didn't make it wider though. Now, it looks really sleek. A couple more centimeters at the hemline and the A-line effect would have been more obvious. 

To make the skirt a bit more interesting, I added pockets at the front. I considered single welts but ended up making patch pockets without topstitching (tutorial for those is here). 
Oh, and obviously it is lined.

I suppose I've become a bit addicted to bright skirts over the past few years... At least I'm happy to add this one to my wardrobe. 


  1. Great combination. The skirt is such a lovely shade and both are a great fit? x

  2. Beautiful colour combo and so stylish :-)

  3. I really love this ensemble! It's very much like what I love to wear in the cooler weather. Your really like the bold color combination you've chosen as well.

  4. Looks fab. I love orange, but can't wear it.

  5. Lovely fit, and the bolero is so cute and useful.

  6. That orange skirt gives the outfit just the right amount of jazz!

  7. The fit of that skirt is truly perfect and it really emphasizes your gorgeous curves! Orange is an unusual choice, but it works really well for you.

  8. This skirt is fabulous - and it looks amazing from the back (nothing saggy about it!). Doesn't it feel great to get the fit just right!