Lesley is here today from the Advisors Circle. She recently stopped by to share her water-proof School Days Coat and her Reversible Cartwheel Wrap Dress. Now she’s here to share her Liesl + Co. Extra-Sharp Pencil Skirt that she made for herself. Thanks so much for being here Lesley!
I’m a big fan of pencil skirts for work when I’m trying to pretend to mold myself into the slightly corporate world. I have a habit of taking very sensible clothes with clean lines that fully meet the sensible business dress mold but adding a bit of flavor to it. Whether it is a bright and colorful lining or a slightly mental fabric choice for the outside. Given my work is generally focused on development issues in Africa I do like to add a bit of African wax to my work clothes.
I really like this pencil skirt pattern because it doesn’t have any darts. Instead Liesl has cleverly designed the pattern so that there are two side panels up the side and a yoke at the back to still give the excellent shape of a pencil skirt but to avoid huffing and puffing over dart position. It also makes it very easy to adjust the sewn up skirt for size without having to move darts.
In the early versions of the skirt we were shown there was a funky use of bias cut fabric up the side panels. For me it looked like an excellent way to integrate African wax into an otherwise simple business skirt.
For my version of this skirt I used black suiting fabric I picked up in a charity shop (bargain of 3m for £3; I love charity shops). For the contrasting fabric I used this kitenge fabric I bought in Uganda a couple of years ago. I was quite literally in the middle of nowhere–or Bwindi Impenetrable National Park as it’s known. Up a mountainside in deepest south-west Uganda wandering through a village back to my hostel when it just so happened to be market day. Yay for me! I think it was something like £5 (about $6.50 USD) for six yards of this material.
Kitenge fabric has quite a loose weave and, as I’ve discovered through trial and error, is not terribly robust. Also, as this fabric was hanging in the sun when I bought it I couldn’t be sure it hadn’t lost some of its strength from UV damage. Therefore, I decided to underline the kitenge with the same black fabric I was using for the rest of the skirt.
In terms of construction this skirt is very straightforward, made more so by the excellent instructions by Liesl. To my shame I’ve made many Oliver + S patterns but only one Liesl + Co. pattern previously. What a mistake that is! Her instructions are meticulous with great illustrations making this process very easy. I’ve done plenty of dresses and skirts with walking vents, but Liesl’s method seems so much more neat and tidy.
As a final touch I added bias binding to the skirt facing because a) I like it and b) I think my garments last longer when I take this extra step.
In terms of sizing, this pattern is great. I’ve been sewing a lot of the big 4 patterns recently and getting quite frustrated with their varying approach to ease. The size chart indicated I was between 2 sizes, so I went for the bigger size. As it was, I ended up taking it in by about 1cm on either side seam, so the smaller size would probably have been sufficient. It’s not a super tight skirt which actually suited me as I ended up wearing this on a recent trip to Rwanda when it was 26 degrees Celsius and I couldn’t face wearing anything tight and clingy in that heat. It also means I can walk easily between meetings without waddling like a duck. I also took a little off the length of this. I’m 5’5″ and wanted the skirt about knee length on me.
And here we are. A lovely finished Extra-Sharp Pencil skirt!
I hope you like it as much as me and do have a read of this old blog post when I explain all the various fabrics you can buy in East Africa. Not all African wax is the same!
To enter to win a $50 Oliver + S gift certificate, post a photo of yourself wearing your new Extra-Sharp Pencil Skirt somewhere and then add a link here. Any Extra-Sharp Pencil Skirts made since March 2018 can be entered. All entries must be submitted by Tuesday July 10 11:59 PM ET.