Skirts have been undeservedly forgotten garment in my closet. For some reason I have not bought skirts for like forever, and they would be pretty much at the end of the list of my planned projects. That is until this autumn, when I realized that a skirt can be an excellent option to use up leftover wool fabrics. Like in summer it is a top that ends up being a solution for all small leftover pieces. There are remainders of almost all suitings that I’ve used to make jackets out of. So now it seems that all those jackets might get their own skirts to hang out with! 🙂 This time around I’ve made two skirts that match their respective jackets. And have at least one more leftover wool for one more skirt.
My courage in attempting to make skirts is not very stable really. I somehow do not trust my judgment when I try to make a well fitting skirt. That is why each time I’d try and try on the skirt in the making, and would question each and every seam allowance. And that’s using the same single pattern! Well, the reason for this paranoid approach is that each time I make a skirt using that one single pattern that I use, the skirt turns out differently. And I can’t quite wrap my head around this. Maybe I need to make 10 more skirts to finally figure them out?
I’ve briefly shared in my post about my recent Recycled skirt how I’ve made the one and only skirt pattern. Essentially I took McCall’s dress pattern M7994, applied few modifications and voila – there I had a skirt pattern! It might as well be that it is far from perfect. But for now it works. With these recent two skirts, I’ve by now made three skirts in total using the same me-made pattern, struggled a bit with all of them, but still intend to use it going forward. Now, speaking about going forward, my dear sewing friend Laura has just recently drawn a tailored skirt pattern from scratch for me (she’s now also working on my pants pattern, which I’m very much looking forward to trying out, too). So it will be very curious in the future to try out that special pattern made specially for me!
Houndstooth tweed skirt
I wrote in my previous post on the Lovely tweed jacket how much I wanted to also make a skirt out of the same piece of fabric and how much I had to economize while cutting the fabric to make sure enough of it was left for the skirt. Honestly, there was just as much fabric for me to make this fairly short skirt!
The start of this project was quicker as I had had all the pattern pieces already cut – I did that while cutting the jacket pattern pieces. I just needed to make sure the front and back were matched over the side seams, and the back seam was also joining two back pieces together nicely. The only caveat to the cutting of this skirt was that I was unable to cut it so that there would only be one vertical red stripe at the center back – I simply did not have enough fabric for that. So now I have two (left photo below). But otherwise the skirt is pretty well pattern-matched, I think. In order to stabilize this tweed and make sure it would not wear out at the areas of the most tension I ended up interfacing the upper half of the skirt. This was not an ideal solution as it made the skirt thicker, but honestly, it is more important for me to wear it as long as possible, and I believe the interfacing will add durability to it.
This skirt for some reason sits higher up on the waist if compared to the next one, even thought the same pattern was used for both. This accommodates the straight waistband that I’ve installed. The skirt is fully lined and has a smaller hem than I would perhaps have liked. But that was because I had to end the skirt with a full horizontal stripe, and also I did not want the skirt to be any shorter – it is short already.
I quite like wearing it with the matching jacket. And I am pretty sure it will get a lot of wearing on its own – with classic shirts or chunky sweaters. The only thing I’m unsure of is if those burgundy tights aren’t too much here (and overall, are colorful tights still a thing? 🙂 ). What do you think? Help me out here in the comments sections below!
For this skirt I used some 0.6 meters of this beautiful wool blend houndstooth tweed that remained after my previous jacket project. The pattern was self-drafted. Other notions were: some 0.5 meters of burgundy lining, a bit of lightweight interfacing, 30 cm invisible zipper, and coordinating thread. This skirt cost me 27 Eur, it was made in October, 2022.
The other skirt that I’ve just recently finished, had been cut a month or two ago, when I got hooked on making skirts. But when I basted it, I couldn’t quite make up my mind if it was turning out ok, and put it aside. Meanwhile, other projects happened, but this time I decided to finish this project.
So this light herringbone wool piece was left after my so well received Jasika blazer. It was also a very small piece, and at first I was unsure if I was going to be able to squeeze a skirt out of it. Well, I managed, but it ended up being so short, that I had to devise a special hem for it, as I simply did not have those usual 4 cm for the hem.
This skirt sits a bit lower on the hips for some reason. That was why I decided to make a convex waistline for this skirt. For that I reused a waistline from the pants I made last year. So yeah – I threw all sorts of things at these skirts and watched what would stick 🙂
The main peculiarity of this skirt is its hem. Provided that I did not have a proper hem, I had to come up with something. So I cut a long 3 cm wide bias strip out of lining fabric, stitched it on to the hem using 1 cm hem allowance, folded the raw edge of the bias strip in, pressed and then slip-stitched this additional hem in place by hand. Even if it is not too sound a solution for a skirt hem, I quite like how I solved the problem I had on my hands.
While making this skirt I was not planning to wear it with the matching blazer. For some reason I thought it to be either too formal or too dull an outfit. Instead I was planning to wear it with shirts or chunky sweaters just as the previous skirt. But when I actually tried the skirt together with the jacket, I realized – oddly – what a fine jacket it is! 🙂 I’m still unsure about the duo, but perhaps am less skeptic than I was before. The question remains, if this outfit is not a bit uniform-like, something perhaps akin to what a flight attendant might wear…
For this skirt I used some 0.50 meters of pure wool in herringbone weave. The pattern was the same self-drafted pattern. Other notions were: some leftover 0.50 m of lining fabric that I no longer remember the content of, an invisible 30 cm zipper, and coordinating thread. This skirt cost me nothing as I had attributed all the fabric costs to the blazer. This skirt was also made in October, 2022.
Few learnings about skirt making
So after making a few skirts using the same pattern and them turning out a bit differently, I’ve learnt few new things.
- Depending on the fabric, the skirt may fit differently, so it is always worthwhile first basting center back and side seams, even if the pattern has been used before. When basting the skirt I attach a simple 3-3.5 cm ribbon as a temporary waistband so that I could properly try the skirt on.
- After several mistakes I realized that the lining should be cut a bit wider than the main fabric (by some 5 mm on each side), especially so if lining fabric does not contain elastane. Linings with elastane are really preferable for skirts.
- Also, to add even more ease, there is not point in making darts for a lining of a skirt. Simple pleats at the waistband will do the trick perfectly.
- Previously in finishing the waistband I would stitch in the ditch from the right side in order to attach the waistband with the facing. But this used to be very tricky – from the wrong side that seam would not be inconspicuous and at times would veer to the lining. So this time I used another method. The last seam of a skirt project now is hand sewn catch stitch seam along the lower edge of the waistband facing that joins two waistbands together without showing up on either side. It is performed this way:
I really like both of these skirts. Being made of wool they should be warm and cozy. I wear previously made skirts often, that’s why I’m pretty sure these two will get a lot of wearing as part of all sorts of outfits! I have one more leftover piece for one more skirt – will need to see when I could find time for one more skirt!
Meanwhile, I might as well share that I have successfully fixed my Cambria duster that had gotten worn out – the problem I shared in my previous post. It was quite a feat actually and I am planning to share that salvage story in a post a bit later. And now I’ll be working on a coat in a glorious Yorkshire tweed. Can’t wait to see how it will turn out! 🎈
Let there be peace in the world! 💙💛
13 thoughts on “Two autumn skirts”
Your skirts are lovely. Great solutions for the ‘leftover’ problem.
And I vote yes for the tights!
Thank you so much for your kind comment, Elizabeth! ❤️ And thanks so much for the vote for the tights! 👍 I do need to get a second opinion on them 🙈
Love the tights, and your stye. I wear black ones with my pencil skirts in the winter, maybe I’ll look for colors ….
Thanks so much for your nice comment, Jeanne! ❤️ I wear black tights often too, but it’s only now that I’ve purchased tights in other color, and am still trying to get used to them ☺️
I like the coloured tights. Beautiful skirts. I’ve faced the hem too when I’ve been short of fabric.
Thanks so much for your nice comment, Susan! ❤️ I am so glad to know I am not the inly one finding those a bit strage solutions for too short hem! ☺️
I love the coloured tights I must look for some myself – black tends to get boring as winter progresses. Re the pale suit try a statement blouse / top in a bolder colour rather than the white that will make a big difference
Thank you so much for your nice comment! ❤️ It is a great suggestion about the pale suit. It somehow did not occur to me, but that’s an excellent idea – I will check my closet to see what statement pieces I have. Or – will sew some 😁
I only found your blog yesterday having followed you on Instagram for while. When I delved into your blog posts I noticed your neon sleeveless top that might go with the beige suit it is certainly a pop of colour although not really very warm for the winter.
Ha, I had forgotten about that one! 😊 Will have to try it on! Honestly, those recent two skirt suits are both very warm. I would never have believed that I would say this, but recently I’ve felt too warm in both of them. So this sleeveless top might actually work completely fine with the pale suit, if only colors match.
I am so glad you enjoyed exploring my blog! This warms my heart so much 🥰
I used to make a lot of pencil skirts when I was still working as they are so easy to make. Your houndstooth fabric is thicker so takes up more room that will make the skirt tighter. You probably can finish the back seam on future skirts before trying on as the side seams basted should be enough to test fit. At least that is what I always did. Love the coloured tights with the houndstooth.
Thanks so much for sharing some of really good tips, Vicki! ❤️ I have also figured, that center back seam can be finished and then side seams adjusted depending on the fit. Am learning by doing 🤓 Regarding those tights – thank you so much for sharing your view! I definitelly need opinions on that one! 🙈