#wardrobebuilder Skirt number 1 - Lined Pencil Skirt

This month I have really struggled to choose what to make. I have looked at so many patterns but haven't been able to really choose something I could wear a lot. I do wear a few pencil skirts for work, so this is my attempt at making a pencil skirt for non-work wear.

Pencil skirt with a waistband and lined kick pleat


The fabric I used for this skirt is a linen from Sew Over It for £12 per metre. When I bought it it was called 'Eau de Nil' and it was a complete impulse buy based on the colour. (One of a few impulse buys that I then left in my stash for a while until finding something to make - like the chiffon in my Alex shirt dress). I used this linen mainly because I love the colour and didn't really think through what linen is like to wear. Though the linen irons well, it wrinkles a lot as it's being worn (obviously, can't believe I forgot about that).

The linen isn't completely opaque enough to wear on its own, so I bought some matching lining fabric from John Lewis (£4.50 per metre). There isn't a great deal of static that builds up on this as you wear it - pretty standard really!

Great British Sewing Bee Book

Pattern and Instructions

I used a basic pencil skirt pattern from the book 'The Great British Sewing Bee; Sew Your Own Wardrobe'. This is the book that accompanied series 2 and my very first sewing book. This is the first pattern I have tried from this book, but there are a lot of good basics in here that I think would be worth a closer look. In the book there are 24 patterns for women, men and children of varying degrees of difficulty. The patterns are printed on paper, with more than one on each page to trace off. However, you can also download the patterns as pdfs from the publisher's website. (If you are knowledgeable enough to manage without instructions this looks like a bank of free patterns to me!) I have to admit I haven't made many patterns from this book because I often forget I have it. That said, there are some really good ones in there. You could easily start building a handmade wardrobe using this book.

The instructions have photographs of the finished projects and illustrations. All the instructions are very clear and easy for beginners to use. I made the pattern in the size smaller than my measurements indicated; this is based on having made clothes from the book accompanying the third series which have been too large. When it came to sewing the kick pleat I did deviate from these instructions because I was adding lining.

lined kick pleat


I made two key alterations for this pattern: adding a waistband and lining the skirt. I did also alter the fit slightly using the darts to get the best fit. I didn't make a toile and pinned the darts in place then adjusted until the skirt fit best. (It didn't need a lot).

Alteration 1:
It wasn't until I was half way through making that I realised that the lining was going to create an issue around the kick pleat. I was either going to have to omit the kick pleat, leave the lining hanging separate or find a way to attach it. Neither of the first two options were appealing so I had a good look online (as always!) and found a really good tutorial on YouTube. There are a lot of videos on there for lining skirts and for vents in jackets but I found this one was the most comprehensive for this project. It was easy to follow and I ended up with a successful outcome!

Alteration 2:
I also added a waistband, using the tutorial on the By Hand London website. I designed mine to simply act as an extension from the existing waist, which meant that when I was buying my zip I bought one that was an inch longer than the instructions said to in their supply notes. Before attaching the lining I had inserted the same darts as the shell fabric, and tacked this in place at the top, before sandwiching this between the waistband. If you look carefully at the image at the top of the post you can see the waistband isn't brilliant....I'm thinking it might need to be curved slightly in order to sit properly but not sure on this!

Lined pencil skirt with a waistband


I'm really pleased with this skirt in lots of ways. I managed to get a good fit and finish to this skirt. I also learned new skills which always pleases me! However - there is something about the fabric choice that makes it really difficult to wear. I'm not sure if it's because it is linen, or if it is the colour. Either way I haven't found an outfit with this skirt that I like enough to wear out, or can think of the occasion to wear it to! I would use the pattern again, and would also add the waistband again as I find it more comfortable this way.

Back to the drawing board for this month's #wardrobebuilder!

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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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