Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Navy Simplicity 2154 Pencil Skirt

I have been very proud of my stash-busting antics this year. In the spirit of the Re-Fashioners 2016 this skirt is even better than a regular stash-bust but a re-fashion from a bustle skirt I made over ten years ago. I bought the fabric from Fabworks in Dewsbury when I lived in West Yorkshire and it began its life as this rather fancy skirt which I wore with pride quite a lot when I first made it. I held onto it for years but it was rarely worn.

Luckily due to the simple construction method for the bustle skirt (esssentially a zip holding the folded fabric together at the back) after the hefty task of un-picking the triple-stitched zip it was back to a single piece of fabric again.

It was only at this point I was able to see what amount of fabric there was to play with and what pattern would work best. I had in my mind a pattern I have used before, the Simplicity Vintage 2154 Pencil Skirt. After MMM2016 I noticed my red pencil skirt gets worn a lot for work so the more sensible navy blue fabric would seem like the perfect pairing.  This pattern popped up on the Great British Sewing Bee episode this week as Tracy used the pattern for her 1960's style jacket inspired by the memories of her mum!

Onto the construction. I gave my past self a pat on the back as I had added quite a few notes to the pattern instructions which certainly helped. In my red version I had used an invisible zip but this time I used the suggested regular zip and sort of hashed up a lapped zip insertion.
It is not my best work but as they say practise, practise, practise. The fabric doesn't press particularly well so I suspect it is a wool and synthetic blend of unknown sources. 

The waistband and hem are all hand-stitched which I think has a better finish for a skirt like this. I chose a 2" hem to give it a little weight at the bottom. A simple vent pleat at the back makes this pencil skirt very wearable as there is no restriction for things like running for the bus / climbing on chairs to put up classroom displays etc...

I extended the waistband overlap a bit more as I noticed on my red version I felt it was a little short and added several press-studs to keep it in place. The bright blue bias-binding you can see at the edge of the side zip is a Hong Kong finished seam which I have added to the internal seams as the fabric was fraying and the zig-zag stitch I had originally planned to use looked a bit messy.

If I make this skirt again I may move the zip to the centre back seam as I find it tricky to fit the waist and hip curves and add the zip in position in the right spot. On the red version I had to sew the zip in three times due to bad fit! I managed a 'reasonable' effort this time around. It is not perfect but it doesn't offend me enough to change it!

Overall, I think this will be a good addition to my working wardrobe.

Pattern: Simplicity 2154 Vintage style 1960's Pattern = Free (from stash)
Fabric: 1 1/2 metres of wool synthetic blend twill from Fabworks = Free (from stash)
Zip: 12" navy zip = Free (from stash)
Bias-Binding: Blue Bias-binding from Ray Stitch = Free (from stash)
Interfacing: Free (from stash)
Press Studs: Inherited from my Gran's stash! = Free
Gutterman Thread: Navy from stash

Total: Free!

Have you got any Go-To patterns? 


  1. You cant argue with a free skirt. Perfect for work. Are you tempted by the suit idea with matching jacket. It looked difficult on sewing bee but the end result looked great.

    1. Great idea Louis but I haven't got any matching fabric left to do the jacket too! Maybe another time?

  2. Very nice recycle/refashion - I admire your patience in unpicking that zip! I've realised I could do with a classic style skirt in a neutral colour for easy matching with different tops, so I imagine this will get a lot of wear.

    1. Thanks Alex. I could only manage half hour slots of un-picking at a time on the zip because I had so zealously sewn it together with so many passes of the sewing machine to ensure it didn't un-do!
      I am hoping to wear it now the weather is a little warmer.

  3. That's great that you could reuse a fabric from. an old skirt! I think the new one turned out great, everything looks really neat!

    1. Thanks Kat. I am happy with the new skirt and suspect it will get a lot more wear than in its previous incarnation.