Fitting My Pencil Skirt and Simplicity 8601 Top- Fail

As a part of my work wear wardrobe,  I wanted  a pencil skirt.  I wanted this pencil skirt to be woven with minimal stretch and fit like a glove, easy, right?  Welp, in search of a skirt in RTW (ready to wear), I found tons of plus size pencil skirts, but none that were non stretch.  What I saw was scuba, neoprene and ponte.  I guess that's a good way to get a fit, add spandex.  I don't have anything against this, I actually own a few but I was looking for something more tailored.

This is a basic pencil skirt, it's very similar if not identical to this one (mine came from an out-of-print wardrobe pattern).  I'm convinced it's the exact same pattern!  I made this one here as one of my very first makes.  I've developed a bit, and I'm much better at fit and pattern construction.   I'm convinced they're the same pattern, I'm sure they used the same block.  I find with this basic type skirt, yes, you can draft your own, and you may have success, but I think even drafting your own, you will need to get the darts right and get the right shaping.  Ok, the issue with this type of skirt is the waistband is usually a rectangle, not curved.  I know there are a few out there, but for the sake of this post we are talking of a straight skirt with a rectangle one piece waist band.   The hip curve is usually too much for me, I have a big butt, I'm not necessarily hippy, if you know what I mean.  I need space in the back not on the sides usually. 

Side seems look straight, drag lines coming from belly, bunching in back

1st try:

  • I graded up the skirt pattern from a 22 to just over a 24 for my hip, this puts my measurements in line with the body measurements for the pattern.
  • I found that the hip curvature was too much and it was very baggy between my waist and high hip.  Also, I found that the hem wasn't balanced and I had some weird tugging at the waist.
  • So this zipper (ughhh),  it's a centered zipper and something is catching back there, that's irritating since I hand baste the zipper before installing it.
2nd try:

  • I graded up the back pattern piece and used the alternative method of taking my hip measurement by placing something flat in front of my belly to get a "modified" full hip measurement.
  • I tweaked the darts and waist to add curves and shorten slightly.  I also added a little butt ease to center back to get the hem to sit level.
  • I lowered the front waist to help get rid of some of the ease in the front.

What are those!!!!!!!!

3rd try (blue skirt pictured):

  • I used the back piece from the second try, took out the front darts and put them back.  I didn't want to ease the waist into the waistband creating gathers.
  • I forgot to raise the front waistband back up (insert eye roll).

On my next try, I'll raise the waistband back up, move the darts closer to the side seams and add a little ease at the hip.  I'm trying to get rid off the pulling from the dart to the side seam.  I really like the way the version with no front darts looked (oops, forgot to take pics ).  I will probably curve the waist band or try a yoke and add an invisible zipper on the side vs. center back.  The side seams do not swing to the front or the back so that's a plus!  Also, I order the magic pencil skirt from Pamela's patterns to see if I can dissect how she gets a good waist/tummy fit and apply it to my skirt block.

As for as this top goes, it's Simplicity 8601 this was a basic pull over top with waist ties.  I really dislike the fact that it has a keyhole in the back, you guys know I hate that!  I did a full bust adjustment, adding a dart and graded up to a 24 at the waist and hip.   I also did a forward shoulder adjustment and bicep adjustment.  The sleeve cap had way too much ease and I took out at least 3/4" I would like top that hangs straight in the back and ties softly in front, this top is kind of bunched up in the back as it's designed.  I will probably lower or change the neckline to alleviate the keyhole on the back.  The directions are straight forward, there's only five pattern pieces, front, back sleeve and the front and back neck facing.

 I will probably make these again after I change the neckline, and work out the fit, I think the center front seam is good for making a v neck.  I don't really care for either of the garments, although I like the color combo.  The shirt is just ok and that's probably the neckline is too high for me, the skirt is irritating, I guess I could have graded up and pegged the hem a little, hummm.

So do you have any advice on getting a better fit with the pencil skirt? 


  1. Girl.......I would have stopped at step 1.......You deserve an award for persistence and patience.

    1. LOL, I will not be defeated!!!! but truthfully, it's more about getting this block right, it's the building block of many dresses and skirts and if I get it worked out, when I make something similar, I know it will fit!


    I admittedly don't have much of a belly, but having come across this tutorial back when it was posted, it helped me understand my "no hips, more butt" fitting issue. And she actually achieves a nice smooth fit over the belly!

    I love that color of S8601!!! I need to make a new version. I like the idea of it but never wear the one I made. That neckline is a no-go for me and I agree that the sleeve has too much cap ease. I'll have to adjust that.

    1. Thanks! I tried a modified version, maybe I should re look, I think it has something to do with the darts too!

  3. I love the color of the orange top on you, and hope your next version works out well. As far as the skirt goes, I think you are moving in the right direction, and once you figure out the issue, you will have a divine pencil skirt.

    1. Thank you, I love this coral color and yes, this skirt will not defeat me!

  4. You look absolutely divine regardless. And wow you really persevered.

    I recently made my daughter a woven wrap skirt. Simple right? Sadly no. The front needs only 2" more to close/tie in the front! agh! The fit was awful. It was a the largest size-22. I used an African print for it and used it all up on. She keeps telling me to just add some of my African prints stash that will match! LOL!
    But yeah how frustrating!

    1. OK! that would be a cute design feature, to add a different print, we have to make it work, we don't want to waste fabric!


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