I was gently reminded by my mother recently that in my teens I cocked a snoot at animal prints, while she was a big fan. Haters gonna hate.
As in all things, mother knows best so I’ve changed my thinking and embraced them. Hard. Like with my tiger stripe knit pencil skirt:
That fabric…it was cosmic forces that brought us together. Hot pink stripes on a pale flesh-tone background. Did I mention that those stripes are flocked? Hells yeah.
As it’s a fairly robust fabric and the print needs to take centre stage (though you’d be hardpressed to stop it), I turned it into a very DIY pencil skirt.
And I love it. It’s a super-simple bit of sewing, and I can’t honestly say it fills a genuine gap in my wardrobe but who cares? It makes me pleased just to look at it.
It’s effectively a tube but if you want to see how I put it together, read on.
- So I selected a snug fitting knit dress I already own and laid it out over my fabric.
- Using a ruler and chalk on the uneven surface and the pale background colour was going to be tricky, so I just put sticky tape round the edge of the skirt to add my seam allowance. Super quick! The tape was 1″ wide and I wasn’t using a zip like the original dress so I added two lines of tape. Plus 2″ along the bottom to give plenty of room to judge the final length.
- After sewing up the side seams, I slipped it on and discovered it was a good fit along the side but gaped at the back. I opted to add two darts. To work out their dimensions, I tried on the skirt, marked with pins where the fullness began on my lower back, and then measured how much excess fabric there was at the top of the skirt.
- This provided me with the end point of the darts and their width. So 2″ of excess became two 0.5″ darts (from diagonal to fold), equidistant from the side seams. I drew them on, and stitched them up with a triple stitch. I prefer this for darts in knits since it’s easier to judge the finish point than with a zig-zag but it still has a stretch.
- Tried on the skirt and measured my waist at the top of the skirt. Then measured out a rectangle on my fabric. The width = waist measurement + seam allowance, and height = double your preferred waistband height + seam allowance. As the material has stretch horizontally and vertically, I cut the print in the opposite direction to give a bit of extra visual interest. Then I stiched the short ends together with right sides together, and folded the band along its length with the right side on the outside. In essence a folded loop of fabric.
- Sewed waistband to skirt waist with right sides together and raw edges together, a la sleeve bands in Sewaholic Renfrew pattern.
- Hemmed with a double needle to desired length.
It could be kicked up a notch with a kick-pleat or a zip but I can put it on and run up an escalator in it, so it passes the wearability test despite the simple construction. It’s not a showcase for any particular sewing artistry. But really, the hard work was done before I entered the fabric shop, by the designer who decided the world needed hot pink flocked tiger stripe knit fabric.
Whoever you are, I salute you and your mad, mad genius.