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Oh, simple leopard print pencil skirt, I love how you go with almost everything in my closet.

Sigh. Pencil skirt bliss. To tell you the truth, I’ve never even owned a pencil skirt before. I had never found one that didn’t make my legs look stumpy and I had always suspected that maybe it was a bad look for the short-legged. Turns out it was just a matter of making one that fits. I’m going to need a few more of these. Details of the material and construction are here and here.

Oh, and I’ve had a few questions about these shoes in the past- they’re BCBG Girls (which is not actually a children’s line), bizarrely comfortable for a near-stiletto heel, and I bought them about two years ago. I don’t think they make them anymore, but these look similar (the black patent view).

Last night was my final dance class for the month.  If you recall, inspired by Amber and her insane fitness workout, I did a one-month self-imposed boot camp of five day per week dancing (four classes per week and then usually one additional dance thing somewhere).  Now that I count it all up, it amounted to about 7-8 hours of dancing per week which in retrospect really isn’t all that much exercise :) Kind of a paltry “boot camp.”

I’m not so good at tracking things, so my final progress report is pretty weak.  I don’t own a scale so I have no idea if I’ve slimmed down. And I haven’t been taking any measurements so no known change there. No noticeable change in overall fitness, shape, strength, or muscle tone either. Aren’t you glad I’m updating you on my progress?  Super satisfying for you! But ooh, I had so much fun. I’m signed up for more classes for August, but not as many because there aren’t many classes offered in August. Here comes a segue into sewing.

There is, however, notable progress on my long-coveted leopard print pencil skirt:

As you can see, the outer is mostly assembled. The only thing I changed from my muslin was to drop the front center waist about a half inch. I tried it on and it’s so comfortable and it fits so nicely that I really don’t want to line it, even though I had planned to in the first place. As I’ve mentioned, lately I’ve been finding skirt linings so annoying when I’m wearing them. My plan now is to do a facing on the waistband (already mostly done) and a Hong Kong-type finish on the seams. Dan asked this morning if I wanted to go to the fabric store this evening (because he’s getting a haircut and it’s right near his haircutting place) so it sounds like a good opportunity to tag along and grab some bias binding. It’s like he can read my evil mind.

The fabric is a dull stretch satin (or possibly a shiny sateen?), left over from the Drama Queen Jacket, which I ultimately did not love:

Update on that not-quite-right garment, however- I mailed it to my mother, along with the Swallowtail Shawl, and she called me up to say she loved it, which is high praise from my mother who is too stylish to wear something simply because her daughter made it. Even crazier, she said my dad loves it. I have never known my father to voice an opinion on any piece of clothing ever. I guess a little leopard print just does something to a person. I’m certainly smitten with it.

If you’re sewing for yourself right now, raise your hands in the air and yell “WOOT!”


Haha, we looked dumb doing that. Whatever, I’m sewing for ME! Not a trace of goodwill towards others in sight, which is just how I like it. And the leopard pencil skirt is underway!

You’ll recall I started with this high-waisted pencil skirt downloaded from Burda:

I muslined this up and as it turns out, high-waisted skirts work much better if you actually have a waist, rather than some undefined mass of flesh between your ribs and your hips which is roughly the same circumference as your waist and hips. So, snippy snippy snip and now here we are:

I dropped the top edge to about an inch below the natural waist, and brought the hem up by about 3 inches. Then I added a 3 inch wide thing at the top- I’m not sure if it qualifies as a yoke, or whether it’s just a really wide waistband. I closed up the darts on the waistband and smoothed it out. The neat benefit of the yoke/waistband thing is it eliminates the darts in the skirt entirely (I’m easing out the tiny remaining darts in the back so as not to have two goofy teensy darts). This is not only nice and clean, but it saves me from having to sew the darts. Don’t get me wrong, I *will* sew darts when a design calls for them, and I’m certainly a capable dart-sewer.  But for some reason (I don’t think it’s just laziness, but maybe?) I just never like sewing darts. I find it weirdly unenjoyable.

Ok. So all that done, I pulled out some crazy stretch cotton sateen with some crazy huge fruit punch-colored roses and whipped up a muslin (it’s not hemmed, no zipper, back vent is just kind of hanging open at the moment):

The fabric is some stuff I got off of eBay a while ago, thinking it was going to look more like a 1950’s classic rose print, but never used because it, um, doesn’t. I get the feeling that a bunch of people are going to exclaim that the love this fabric and I should wear the muslin, and a bunch of people are going to say, “yuck!” I’m not going to get into that debate. Dan seems to be taken with it. Amazingly and coincidentally, through no effort of my own, the print actually ended up blending pretty well at all the seams (look at that side seam, and the yoke seam!), so it *could* conceivably be de-muslin-ified. It just looks so much like fruit punch.

Here’s the front view- the fit is working out great for me, and I think I might be well on my way to a go-to pencil skirt pattern.  The only change I think I’m going to make now is to drop the front center waist a smidge. Otherwise it’s nice and slim but not binding.

Am I imagining things or am I making a vaguely Trena face here?  If so, I think that’s a good thing :) She cute. Does anyone else see it? [UPDATE: OMG! I was so sucked in by staring at my face before that I didn’t notice the really weird thing about this picture. What is going on with my right hand?? Does it look like some weird teeny rubber hand or something? Eww it’s so weird! Why’s it so small and squishy looking?  Creepy.]

Ok, keep your eyes peeled for more skirt!

The silver leopard print satin that I used to make the now the destined-for-my-mother’s-closet Drama Queen Jacket (McCall 5487) was actually purchased without a plan in mind. I generally try not to purchase fabric without having a specific garment for it, as I try to keep my stash relatively small (though it has been growing a bit in recent months, to my chagrin.) But in a way, leopard is its own kind of neutral and makes sense for a variety of garments, so there was no doubt that I’d find a use for it. And I guess I did.

But prior to deciding on the jacket I was playing with the fabric in front of the mirror, and I wrapped it around my waist and turned to Dan and said, “How about a pencil skirt?” He looked at me and his eyes lit up and he exclaimed, “Oooh, cute!” And while I’m not generally the type to make an effort to cater to my guy’s taste in matters of dress, the delighted expression on his face sort of sealed the deal. Plus it did look pretty cute as a quasi-skirt. I did all kinds of interesting fabric acrobatics when cutting out the McCall jacket to make sure there would be enough left over for something like this J.Crew skirt ($138 and sold out!):

Don’t worry, I won’t style it like this. I will not tuck a tie into my waistband and I will (probably) brush my hair. Sloppy-from-the-waist-up is a look that models can pull off and make it look intentional and chic. On me, it’d just look, well, sloppy from the waist up :)

One of my prolific sewing-blogging heroes has been whipping up adorable pencil skirts right and left lately and doing plenty of legwork on pattern and style reconnaissance. Unfortunately for me, I don’t have any of those patterns, and I decided that I should just put on my big girl panties and draft one already. I mean really. A pencil skirt is practically a sloper, and I already have one of those. And what’s the point of having taken drafting classes if you can’t be bothered to flex your drafting muscles every so often? But the thought of pulling out the craft paper was somehow so daunting for your very lazy, Selfish Seamstress.

So I went with the easy route:

That’s the high-waisted pencil skirt #138 from Burda’s main collection, I think only available as a download.  It was on sale for 99 cents (lots of their downloads are on sale at the moment on the German website – just be sure you’re comfortable navigating the German online ordering system if you want something because I am not going to hold your hand and translate!), and that seemed to be a fair price for some continued laziness. Here’s their finished garment photo:

As you can see, the model and I have practically the same figure, so I think this should work out just fine.

About this blog

The Selfish Seamstress loves to design and sew garments, but only if she gets to keep them. I'm Elaine, known in the online sewing world as elainemay, and welcome to my selfish sewing blog.

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