Monday, February 1, 2016

Pamela's Magic Pencil Skirt!

We've seen a lot of simple skirt patterns over the years, but I think Pamela's Magic Pencil Skirt has to be one of the easiest skirts to fit and assemble. It features a figure hugging shape with either a high waist version or a natural waist version.

There is one (yes I said one) pattern piece to cut out - the back and front of the skirt are exactly the same. There are darts in both the front and the back - the magic starts with the fitting.

The waist has Pamela's Fantastic Elastic, which is cut one inch smaller in length than your waist measurement. Since we are making our skirt version that fits at the natural waist, Pamela recommends cutting the elastic down to a 1" width. Most elastic can only be cut lengthwise, but Pamela's Fantastic Elastic can actually be cut width-wise too!

We chose a lightweight 60" wide ponte knit for our pencil skirt. A black slim skirt such as Pamela's is a great addition to any wardrobe because it is so versatile - boots, tights, fancy blouses or sweaters - whatever you pair it with, the results always yield a sleek and trim silhouette, regardless of your size.

In preparation for the fitting, sew the front and back darts (all four of them!) and the two side seams. Also sew the ends of the pre-measured waist elastic together to form a ring.

To fit the skirt, try it on right side out, with the elastic on top of the skirt at the natural waist.


If the skirt pulls at the abdomen, you may need to release the front darts. If you have a flat derriere, you may need to release the back darts.


Since no one really has a straight back, you may need to raise the back of the skirt to accomodate a waist tilt and eliminate a baggy look at our seat. Trim the excess fabric from the back and mark it. (Remember that the front and back look exactly alike and you'll want to remember which one is the back!)


Voila!! A magic pencil skirt!

Pamela claims that once you made your initial skirt, it should only take you an hour to make the pencil skirt. Sounds like a challenge, huh? And why not up the ante a little by doing a "recycle" project?  We had started a long pencil skirt (different pattern) in a heavy weight reversible poly ponte print, and after trying it on we scrapped it.  Let's just say the pattern would look great on someone like our Natalie here at the store - you know, that pencil thin body that everything looks great on - but it was not kind to my hips.  Both Laurel, Lauren, and I said in unison..."NO, take it off. That's a definite NO."

But Laurel says "be thou NOT a waster of good fabric." She ripped it apart as it appeared to be big enough to remake into the Pamela Pencil skirt.

This previous long skirt just did not work for me at all.  Let's see what Laurel cooks up!

What is so beautiful about this heavy knit is that the "wrong side" is just as beautiful as the plaid side. In truth, I can get a lot more wear out of a solid gray knit skirt, so we decided to go for it.

Laurel did run into a snag (literally!) sewing on this fabric. It's very heavy and firm, so her first machine kept skipping stitches.  Even after changing needles and thread tension, it didn't seem to work very well. Laurel is blessed with two machines, so she just switched and was able to correct the stitching.  But we know not everyone has that luxury, so do you have any ideas on how she could have adjusted her first machine? Let us hear them!

We had to put a seam up the back (we're recycling, remember) and leave the small slit up the back. Even with the thread issues and changes, start to finish: ONE HOUR!!!  Amazing!

This is really a great skirt for everyday or special occasion. We love this skirt so much we are even offering a class on making it! Come get inspired with our instructor, Terry McClintock and make one of your own! Here are the dates: 
(607A) Feb 29, Mon 10:30 - 2:30 pm
(607B) Mar 31, Thurs 10:30 - 2:30 pm
(607C) May 7, Sat 1:30 - 5:30 pm

We are off to such an exciting start at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics. Our independent pattern lines are doing great and we are having so much fun watching our customers try them with great success. Indie patterns and our fabric - a match made in fabric heaven.

Hope that you can take the time to visit us in Berkeley this year! Also take a look at the many fabrics, notions and all our patterns up in our webstore for your convenience.

Thanks again for being a part of this caring and creative community,

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  1. I have to make one of these skirts - it looks so cute with that silk blouse and boots!!

  2. As far as the heavy knit "snag" problem. I've had that happen before also.
    After doing all the things that Laurel did, I would try retreading the machine and if that didn't work, try some different thread.
    It doesn't seem to matter how long you've been sewing, there are always hiccups in the process. Love your Blog.

    1. Hi! Thanks for sharing your experience as well! So true about the hiccups in our processes! Sewing is such a metaphor for life! Thanks for loving my blog xo