I had a fairly small piece of this Fabric Mart yellow wool crepe (purchased in October 2010 for $9.99/yd) leftover from a dress that I made last winter (and haven't blogged about because I want to change the skirt from dirndl gathers to darts but haven't). I couldn't make my usual A line skirt so I looked for an interesting pencil skirt pattern. The curved darts on Burda 07-2010-120 and I decided to give it a shot.
The dirty little secret nobody talks about with wool is that it wrinkles as much as linen, maybe more. Or maybe this doesn't happen to anyone else?
To try to keep the wrinkling under control (I sound like I'm talking about my face, ha!), I decided to underline the skirt in silk organza. For the back, I treated the organza and wool as one at the darts, sewing them together. However, for the front darts I wanted to take maximum advantage of wool's moldability with steam. Getting those darts flat was going to be crucial to making a flattering skirt, versus one that had two prominent arrows pointing to my belly.
So I stitched and pressed the darts in the wool and the organza separately, and then lightly hand sewed the organza layer to the wool at the dart. I treated them as one at the side seam.
For the lining, I wanted a traditional vertical dart coming from the front waist--I didn't want to risk adding a third layer of curved dart to this scenario. This involved rotating the dart. First, I marked where the vertical dart should go.
Next, I folded out the curved dart. This created a bubble that needed to be released.
Finally, I cut along my marked vertical dart line and let the tissue naturally open for the dart width. I measured to be sure, and the vertical dart width was the same as the curved dart. Normally, you would have cut along the new dart line before folding out the old dart, but here the vertical dart crossed where the curved dart had been and it wasn't possible.
The lining went in well and fits perfectly, so I think it worked!
The back darts are drafted very long. I decided to give it a go and they surprisingly work. Usually darts that are so long they go to or past the apex bubble or poke out at the end, but these sit very smoothly in the side and back view. Somebody knew what they were doing at the drafting table.
I often have a problem with straight and pencil skirts sticking out at the back hem--the most extreme example recently being Vogue 1329--but I never really understood why until I read this blog post about cylinders. Ding ding ding! Prominent buttocks cause a skirt to swing the back, and heaven knows I have those. I need to do more work to find the right curve, but for this project I just shaved a little off, starting at the booty apex. The fit along the CB seam is not perfect, but I think it is improved over a straight seam.
Even with this change, the back vent was not sitting flat and smooth, so I weighted the corners with a Swedish 1 Kroner coin on each side. I took advantage of the organza layer to hand sew a "pocket" invisible from the outside.
I slipped the coin in before completing the pocket by hand closing the vertical seam allowance at the vent. They hit the back of my legs when I walk, not in an uncomfortable way but in a noticeable way. I probably should have used smaller coins, but that slit stays where it's supposed to!
I lined it with a silk crepe, this fabric that I had dyed orange a while back. The orange wasn't rich enough for my taste, so lining was the obvious choice. I love the way the two colors look together, though I was craving Rainbow Sherbet the whole time I was making this!
I would not use silk crepe for lining again. Once it's in place, it sits well and it didn't ride or creep against my tights or inside the skirt (which I had been afraid of). But when getting dressed you have to be careful to keep the lining perfectly smooth and if it rumples the only way to fix it is to take the skirt entirely off and start over.
In addition to invisibly hand-stitching the hem to the organza layer only, I hand-stitched the lining to the skirt at the back slit and for a couple of inches along the back hem from the slit to keep it from peeking through.
This skirt is drafted to sit above the waist, finished with a facing. I find skirts without a waistband difficult to wear. I really can't figure out how to tuck into a skirt with a facing. So I added a straight cut waistband. It closes with a snap above the zipper, but it was looking big and bulky there. I did some random hand stitches to compress the layers and added a decorative button on top.
These photos were taken in the morning on an empty stomach at its flattest for the day and the skirt looks great. I don't totally love the look on the abdomen when I have, you know actually eaten, but it is not as unflattering as I feared it had the potential to be. It is also oddly binding at the upper thigh, though it doesn't impede movement. I don't think I'll be making this pattern again, but I'm glad I gave something new a try.
All photos are here and the pattern review is here.