Ginger Made: The Wild Side Pencil Skirt

OK, there’s nothing very wild about this skirt, but I really like Lou Reed, so let’s just go with it, OK? First off, a wardrobe confession: this is my first pencil skirt ever!  Not the first one I’ve made, but the first one I’ve worn (or even tried on)!  I love the silhouette on other people, but I worried that it would make me look like a big rectangle since I don’t have much waist definition.  But when I spotted this sweater knit at Mood, I knew it had to be a pencil skirt!

Don’t worry– I had my bangs trimmed after this photo was taken. I KNOW YOU WERE WORRIED.

I didn’t have much time to sew this month, and really didn’t want to tinker with fit and muslins, so I used the skirt portion of my vintage McCall’s 5995 pattern and added a waistband.  Now I know why Carolyn loves TNT patterns so much– it’s such a breeze to jump right into sewing without worrying about fit!  I felt a little dumpy after I put the skirt together, so I pegged it at the hemline (8″ total), and now it feels just right!

I really like this fabric– it’s heavy enough to give me plenty of coverage (no gross bumps, lumps, or panty lines!), but it’s got enough stretch content to make it sleek and figure-hugging.  And I love that it’s a subdued (dare I say sophisticated?) spin on a leopard print.  I wavered a bit about the fabric at the store, but when I put the bolt down, several other shoppers started hovering around it and I nearly had to wrestle it out of another woman’s arms!

The only thing I’m not crazy about is that the thickness of the knit fabric makes it tough for the kick pleat to lie flat.  Any suggestions for this problem?  I suppose I could always go back and cut it out, leaving just a slit, but I do prefer the look of a vent.  Any thoughts?

Super invisible zipper! Invisible zipper foot = best purchase ever.

I realized as I was nearly finished with the skirt that I don’t have a single black top.  Not one!  So I dashed off to Mood at the next available moment and bought some organic jersey to make a quick Renfrew.  The jersey washed up really soft, and it’s one of my most comfortable tees!  I’m sure I’ll be getting lots of use out of it!

How do you guys feel about pencil skirts?  Love ’em?  Hate ’em?  Fearful?  And what about animal prints?  Do they bring out your inner “meeeeeyooooow”, or do you think they should be reserved only for Real Housewives of Wherever?

I’m pretty sure I’m hooked on pencil skirts now!  I can’t wait to make a Charlotte skirt!  Are any of you guys joining in on the sewalong?

87 responses

  1. I love that pencil skirt on you! So chic!

    Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with pencil skirts. Because I have more girth in the *ahem* middle, they’re not always flattering on my figure. But I love how sleek and classically vintage they are, so sometimes I’ll suck it up and lay off the sweets.😉


    • I know what you mean about pencil skirts– there’s not a lot of room to, ah, grow in them. I definitely wouldn’t wear this for a big meal kind of day or I would probably burst a seam after eating!


  2. Gah! I feel like I keep saying this, but this one is the best thing you’ve ever made! You look amazing in this skirt! I LOVE animal prints, and this one is perfect.

    Also, I think figures like yours were made for pencil skirts. All the ones in stores seem to be for the ladies with more boyish figures.

    Now you should make a brocade one!


  3. Wow I love this skirt! Very elegant on you. I agree the print is sophisticated, especially since you have toned down everything else so there’s nothing too much going on. (Tee hee – I would worry about an animal print looking more Bet Lynch than sophisticated as well).


      • You got it! Where are you in the photos by the way – looks like a nice neighbourhood! Also, Angela Kane has a free pencil skirt pattern that you can access at her Burdastyle page (see her studio / patterns ). I’ve made the skirt twice so I can vouch for it. I like how you’ve used one of your existing patterns. The more experienced I get the more I’m starting to think about adapting what I have and trying to draft myself.


        • I’ll have to try that Angela Kane pattern. I remember seeing one of your versions of it, actually.

          The photos are taken at my in-laws’ house outside Chicago– it’s very quiet and nice!


  4. You are a fox in this! Love it! I think my obsession with animal print is well documented on my blog, so it gets a massive thumbs up from me! You’re right, it totally looks sophisticated and I thin you’re amazing for whipping up a quick Renfrew to go with it ;o) I also think you will look adorable in the Charlotte Skirt…sadly, I really don’t think pencil skirts suit me at all!


    • I loooooooooooove all your animal prints (plus, an animal Renfrew! awesome!)! I feel like you would look way hot in a pencil skirt, but only you can know what you feel comfortable wearing. 🙂


  5. The skirt looks fabulous. I bought some animal print knit a while back, and just finished sewing it up as a renfrew this very morning. The fabric looked so cute on the bolt, but with it on I feel like a Holstein cow. 😦 Your animal print on the other hand looks very classy. Love your skirt!


  6. I can’t believe you haven’t been a pencil skirt devotee before! I love them, they elongate my frame and with the right top create a elegant but sexy profile… in fact I was thinking Gingermakes should make a pencil skirt (or Vogue 1247) when I was shopping for your fabric!
    I think I might make another MariaDenmark Day to Night drape top to go with my work pencil skirts, I think that would look fab…
    Obviously I love pencil skirts… even though I struggle a little walking as I have a very long stride. Oh well I just have to try and be ladylike very now and then!


  7. Wowzers, fabulous outfit! I love this look on you!

    I really like the look of pencil skirts, and I’m always sad that I can’t wear them. I take really long strides when I walk, and pencil skirts (or even slightly-too-narrow-for-me a-liines) get in the way and drive me nuts. (Plus, I tend to accidently rip them as a result of how I walk. *sigh*)

    I used to always think that animal print was a bit, well, tacky, but I keep seeing gorgeous creations around the interwebs where people have used it, and I think I’m now a convert to it’s cuteness! (This skirt helps with that conversion – it really is adorable and sophisticated and, well, hot on you!)


    • Gosh, I guess we’ll see if I can handle walking in this without ripping it (better not combine it with heels AND cocktails!). I feel like you have to handle animal prints carefully or they can look super cheesy– most of the RTW animal-print stuff I’ve seen looks really cheap and gross.


  8. Ginger, this skirt looks gorgeous on you. Perfect style and great print!
    Thanks for the shout out to the By Hand sewalong. I’d never heard of them, so yes, have just bought the pattern and will be sewing along – hopefully. My work wardrobe has been calling out for a new pencil skirt so this is perfect!


  9. It’s a great silhouette for you! The pegging was perfect. I love a pegged pencil skirt but I have to be careful with how much I take it in. I’m so hippy that I look crazy un-proportional with too much pegging. Not sure if pegging is a word, but you know what I mean. Would some fusible webbing pressed in the crease of the kick pleat help it lie flat? I had to do that on a coat I made (out of weird fleece back knit) that had an inverted pleat at the back.


    • Ooh, that’s a good point about making sure that pegging is proportional. And I didn’t think about it until it was too late, but you also probably don’t want to overdo it and make the skirt too tight to go up over your hips when you need to go to the restroom! Oops!

      Thanks for the idea about the fusible– that sounds like a great fix!


  10. Very nice! There’s something about the fabric pattern in front that made me think it was a wrap skirt at first (the lighter line down one side). I didn’t pick up the by hand pattern because I’ve got so many of the same in my mags (and because it’s described as being high on ease for the bottom heavy-which means I’d have to fit and alter the crap out of it whereas my mag patterns fit out of the box so nah). Will be interesting to see what you do with it though.


  11. As for the kick pleat, there is an article in January (2013) issue of Threads. Page 70, “Teach yourself to sew. The basic Kick Pleat.” It has quite an extensive set of instructions and photos to follow to get it to behave properly. I have not tried one yet, but will use this article when I do.


  12. SO SEXY SONJA!!!

    i have an oddball suggestion… i once used hem tape (i think that’s what it is– a half inch wide strip of ironable glue) on the neckline of a jersey shirt. it made it lie nice and flat; it was a very wide neckline that didn’t need stretch. the kickpleat won’t need stretch, right?


  13. You look very sexy and cute! I like how the skirt sits on your derrière: yummmy! To be honest with you, I am not a fan of animal prints but some people look great wearing them – and you are the one! This particular fabric/print does not flash too much “in your face” but nicely hugs your hips and looks very cute. You should definitely increase your inventory of pencil skirts!


  14. What a great outfit – I love how you whipped up a co-ordinating Renfrew to go with it. I haven;t worn a pencil skirt since I was a teenager but I love them on other people. I am tempted to make one – a knit pencil skirt seems especially appealing.🙂 xx


  15. I LOVE pencil skirts and I think they look wonderful on almost every figure. I’ve got the rectangle/no waist issue, too, and I think pencil skirts give me an illusion of curves, especially if they are high-waisted. At last count, I’ve made about 14 pencil skirts this fall for myself and my clients, and I love seeing how they work on different figures. This looks fantastic on you and that print is gorgeous.


  16. This suits you perfectly! Your whole outfit is just classy.

    I had a thing with pencil skirts in high school, but they were low-quality and ill-fitting (like much of my clothes in high school!) I may need to take another look at them now that I can sew!


  17. This is super cute on you – it really suits and flatters your figure. Me, not so much, they make me look a bit hippy. I think the Charlotte will look great on you, it is a great pattern.


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  19. Oh my lord! I’m so late to this party, but I gotta say this looks great on you! Sleek and flattering and love the print. And I didn’t read through the comments to see suggestions about the vent so maybe your problem is already solved- but maybe a bit of edgestitching would keep things in place?


  20. Oh my goodness! How did I miss this post? This skirt is amazing!!! I’m really intrigued with your descriptions of the fabric! The only knit fabric I’ve found recently that isn’t jersey is some really loose weave stuff that I’m planning on making some kind of layer-y tops out of… I think knit fabric + skirt pattern sounds awesome and comfy!!!


    • Yeah, it’s really interesting fabric! It’s got some heft to it and is definitely wool-based. I highly recommend it! I’ve been a little wary of knit skirts before because I always thought they’d be too clingy and reveal every figure flaw, but it seems like the trick is to find one thick enough to give you some coverage!


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