Monday, July 12, 2010

Jean Skirt Knock-Off: Drafting and Construction

One of the pieces I had in mind for my Up North mini-wardrobe was a denim pencil skirt.  Currently, I have several denim skirts, but the most wearable among them has been in my wardrobe for at least 5 years and is starting to look a bit peaked.

I had been thinking about making a pencil skirt, and using a piece of denim left over from an earlier ill-conceived denim skirt project.  Looking around for a picture to use in my last post, I found this skirt from J Crew:

I recognized it immediately: the previous day, I had noticed a colleague wearing this skirt, and admired it.  So I decided to create my own version, just in time to discover the Pattern Review Designer Knock-Off contest.  Clearly, the stars had aligned and my sewing of this skirt was fated!

The skirt has a couple of nice design details, which might be difficult to see in these pictures, but are much clearer if you zoom in using the viewer on the J Crew site:
  • Front pockets and small front pleats
  • Princess seams on the back, which curve around to intersect the side-seam edge
  • two back kick pleats
All of these details were easy to draft.  For the front, I just transformed my existing darts into pleats, then added the pockets.  For the back, I decided to simplify the look of the skirt by having the curved seams end at the waistband edge, rather than the side seam.  I moved the back dart to the outside upper corner of the skirt, then used it as a basis to create the princess line, which went straight down the back of the skirt and formed the kick pleat at the bottom.

It took some serious fiddling to get the shape of this skirt right (even though I made a muslin!).  In the end, I ended up taking about an inch out of the hip and waist, and more like 4 inches out below the hipline to get a tapered, pencil shape.

Inspired by my green dress, I decided to use Hong Kong seam finishes again.  Although there are tons of great tutorials on Hong Kong finishes out there, in my next post I'll share a brief one of my own. Once again, I love the effect, but doing seam finishes on all 10 raw edges inside this skirt was tremendously time-consuming, and I'll just barely get the project done in time to photograph it for the contest!

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