Monday, 25 January 2016

My Perfect Knit Skirts

Now, these are not the most exciting garments you'll probably see on a blog today, but in my opinion, they may be the best! These are stealth garments: not attention grabbers (well, maybe the spotty version is a bit), they're just quietly doing their job really well. They are the result of my penultimate nippy weather sewing plan. Please read on...


The pattern I used for both of these is the third (and possibly final) incarnation of the easy knit pencil skirt from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual book (pictured above). If you recall, a navy Ponte de Roma skirt was my first attempt, and I made some tweaks to the height of the waist, hem length and side seam shaping as I went. My second version (the faux denim skirt) was improved further still. And for these two I made one more adjustment by lowering the waistline even more so that the waist elastic sits below my belly button rather than on it. 

I stitched the side seams using my overlocker (having basted them together first to check the fit, every knit fabric behaves differently), then finished the top and bottom edges with my overlocker also. Next, I used the lightning flash stitch on my regular machine to hem them and make the elastic casings. 

Fabrics and notions:

The black skirt, although nothing to write home about, is actually super soft and feels quite luxurious. It's made from a small piece of black Ponte de Roma that's been in my stash for years. I think it was probably a sample piece that I got whilst working for TRAIDremade, however this jersey Roma from Fabric Godmother looks pretty much the same, and Girl Charlee has some really fun printed Ponte de Roma's here that would also work well. 

The spotty Ponte de Roma was something I actually bought with my own money specifically for this purpose. I first saw it at the Fabric Godmother's open day last August when I went to help out. Josie was very generous in offering me some fabric for my troubles, but I picked the light weight denim and faux stretch denim instead. I kept thinking about the spotty stuff though, and when I went to visit her before Christmas, I bought about 70cm which was the perfect amount for this skirt. 

I utterly adore this fabric! It's not a solid black, you can see some of the white showing through the black which gives it a lovely textural look. It's bobbled a bit after a few wears and washes, but it's still my favourite skirt to date. 

Finally, I added a couple of cute labels so that I could easily identify the fronts from the backs. I'd already started doing this for Dolores's clothes, and it makes sense to do it for my own as well when it would be useful. These woven ribbons come from my blog sponsor Textile Garden which have a superb and adorable selection. I stole this idea from Marilla Walker who swears that she in turn stole it from someone else! If you haven't started doing this yet, feel free to steal it from all of us! 


I now own four of the best and most useful basic skirts in the history of (my) skirts. I love the simple, close-fitting silhouette, but the elasticity of the fabrics and the elastic waistbands mean they are also as comfy as can be. My levels of comfort when wearing these skirts are now entirely governed by the tights I wear with them, as I can bearly feel the skirts themselves at all! I don't think I'll need to make any more for a number of years, however that could all change if I came across some leopard print Ponte de Roma! Oh, and I'd also like to try this pattern with an unwanted men's wool jumper (a bit like this). So maybe I'm not done with this pattern at all. 


Pattern: £0 (I received the book for free in exchange for an honest review, however it can currently be purchased here for £17.94)
Fabrics: black = £0, Spotty Ponte de Roma = £10.49
Ribbon for labels: £0 (I was given them by Textile Garden, however you can find their selection here with prices starting at just £1.25 per metre, which would make A LOT of labels!)
Elastic and thread: £0 (from my stash)
Total: £0 for the black skirt, £10.49 for the spotty one.


Baye said...

Love the skirts! Just one question, would bobbles be pilling as in the little balls some fabrics get over time?

Kathy M said...

I really like your skirts and want to try it myself. I've never bought Ponte de Roma, although I have looked at it before. Does the skirt require stretch? I noticed the leopard fabric is 100% polyester. Will that stretch enough? I always worry about using a firm knit. Thank you.

Mother of Reinvention said...

I love your dotty skirt. Definitely with you on Ponte pencil skirts being the best ones ever. I really love mine. They are like wearing nothing and are great for work as they don't crush. It's a shame about the bobbles. I have a thick cotton jersey one and it is better than the Ponte for that. Xx

Knitlass said...

Super skirts! I'm working myself up to running up one or two similar work horse skirts soon, I just need some suitable fabric!

Been meaning to say thanks for the top tips on podcasts. I've been using them at work (good for productivity, as I think I'll focus on x while I listen to this) as well as sewing! I can never remember what I listened to in the past, so I keep coming back to your page for inspiration!

Kathryn said...

These look great! Hands down my most worn skirts of last year, and already this year, are 2 knit pencil skirts, one me-made and one a refashion. I keep meaning to make a plain navy one. Like you say, not the most exciting sewing, but definitely the best! I love the term 'stealth garments', perfect description.

Jess said...

These look fab. So much so that you've inspired me to make one myself, I have the book and I have a lovely floral knit fabric I've been hoarding for a few months. I think it'll make a lovely skirt and I should have enough left over for a top too. I dont know why I've not thought of this before as one of my favourite ready to wear items is a knit pencil skirt.

Sarah said...

Oh, man! Now that fabulous spotty ponte de roma is going to haunt me!

I do love a good stretchy pencil skirt. All of yours are fab!

Zoe said...

@Faye, yes I meant piling, sadly! Bobbling sounds a bit more fun I guess, but the reality is NOT fun is it!

@Kathy M, yep it definitely does require stretch. This is a knit pattern, almost every single fabric that is classified as knit rather than woven will be stretchy to a greater or lesser degree. Some knit fabrics have a lycra/elastane/spandex content that makes them super stretchy, but others (like the 100% polyester one I linked to) rely on the way the fabric has been knitted to give it its ability to stretch and recover. Good luck!

Thanks everyone for your lovely comments. You are awesome, let it go on record.

Christals Creations said...

I love those sort of price tags. ;) I use the ribbon system with my small people usually a bit of coloured ribbon left from something else. It stops hubby and the boys putting things on back to front.

Fabric Tragic said...

Oh I wish my version turned out as well as yours - maybe my fabric wasn't quite right..... Anyhoo just to tease I bought the most beautiful leopard print ponte from tessuti recently...... It will become tight 7/8 trousers..... But would be amazing as a skirt!

Allison G. said...

Love the skirts! They look great on you. I find that, unless I'm washing the car, a stretchy skirt is just as comfy as pants. And with tights, just as warm! Ponte de Roma is currently my favorite fabric to work with. I have a pile of different colors that I bought on sale just waiting form me to whip up a few skirts myself!!!

Meg the Grand said...

I have that book and have never tried out the pencil skirts, but yours are magnificent! I could definitely use some paired with tights with winter :) Love your fabric choices!

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