First Project: Pencil Skirt New Look 6103 (How hard can this be?!)

As you know, I’m inching my way back to apparel sewing after years of not sewing anything but valences and pillow covers.   I’ve collected some fabric, including some “test” fabrics from my local JoAnns, and have settled on this cute pencil skirt pattern from New Look by Suede Says in view ‘A’, the longer version.  Simple, right?  Note to self: the back of the pattern envelope is important.  Read it! (More on that later…)

This looked like a great first project – only four pattern pieces!  So of course I decided to make it more complicated by doing several things I’d never attempted…hey, may as well just jump in with both feet and a seam ripper, right?!

I decided I’d use an invisible zipper and do a blind hem.  No sense having a new sewing machine if you’re not going to try out all the neat stitches!   Oh, and after debating without resolution just exactly what kind of weird woven stretchy fabric – next time I’m writing it down – I was dealing with, I decided to add a lining to the body part of the skirt!

If those of you who are experienced sewists are thinking anything that begins with the words “bless her heart”…you’d be correct – I was biting off a bit much for my first attempt!

The skirt shouldn’t have been that difficult to make at all – it’s just that my skills (combined with a new machine!) didn’t allow it to turn out exactly the way I’d pictured…!

  • Darts:  check
  • Interfacing on waist pieces: check
  • Waist pieces neatly attached to skirt: check 
  • Back seam & zipper:  che…wait.  Why is there so much fabric in the back?  Double pleats?  What’s a double pleat?  Where does it say there’s a double pleat?  Oh…that’s what’s pictured on the back of the envelope for View A…

Sewing thump on the head #1:  ALWAYS carefully read the back of the envelope when you’re choosing a pattern!  Not only does it show sizing, measurements, fabrics and notions…it also has accurate sketches of the actual garment…and things like double pleats!


I will say that putting in the invisible zipper was SUCH fun!  The concealed zipper foot made the job a breeze – I don’t know why I was in such fear of it.  It went in so nicely I’m not sure I’ll ever use a “regular” zipper again unless absolutely necessary!  And after much fiddling around, reading and re-reading of the instructions, and copious use of the iron, the dreaded double pleat in back was conquered and didn’t turn out too badly!

The lining went in nicely, and the extra pleat bits I finally just cut off, turned under, hemmed and tacked to the skirt back.  If someone has a better suggestion as to how that should have been done, please leave a comment!

The lining I hemmed on the machine…so that left the hem on the actual skirt.  Bring on the blind hem foot!

Sewing thump on the head #2:  Practice, practice, practice when using a new foot, a new stitch, a new technique…BEFORE you attempt same on the actual garment!

To be fair, I’d watched the video several times, practiced on scrap pieces of fabric, and thought I was ready to tackle the hemming.  However, when I actually sewed the hem…well, let’s just say that there are spots where my hem isn’t exactly “blind”.  Several spots, actually…ok, more than several…but the thread matches the fabric exactly!  If you don’t come closer than 2 feet 10 feet, you hardly notice it!

Here are pictures of the finished skirt.  With a little more experience under my belt, I’d definitely make it again!  And considering that it only cost about $9 to make, well, I guess it wasn’t a bad first try!  We’ll see how it does after it’s washed…!

Isn’t my daughter the perfect model?  

  We did have some fit issues and still have to take it in a bit, and the top of the back pieces don’t line up exactly, but she makes it look good…mistakes and all.  She’s also a very good sport, gamely hiding the offending skirt closing by blousing her top out over it!  Since we’re doing some things that are suitable for work (and also travel well), I’ll be working with navy and charcoal gray easy to care for fabrics for the next few garments.

Next up:  Audrey Hepburn style sheath dress!

Stay tuned!

PS:  For the lining of the skirt, I used a polyester lining billed as “non-static, luxury” lining fabric.  Hmm…we’ll see!  Still not sure what the outer fabric was…!

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11 Responses to First Project: Pencil Skirt New Look 6103 (How hard can this be?!)

  1. Suede says:

    ROCKon….. Great work…..
    Sending you and your gorgeous daughter much love….

    • admin says: nice of you to comment! I’m looking forward to trying more of your designs :)
      PS…Loving seeing you on Project Runway Allstars! Can’t wait to see how that turns out!

  2. Stephanie (Wasil) Hope says:

    Suede is talented and creative.

    • admin says:

      He really is! You can always count on Suede to have interesting designs and patterns that are on trend, but with his own touch. Hope he goes far on Project Runway AllStars!

  3. ruptonvt09 says:

    I think you did an excellent job. Pleats aren’t the easiest and neither is lining a skirt. I just made a brocade dress for my niece and while it called for the top to be lined but not the skirt, I lined the whole thing. What a job! Keep up the good work. You rock!

    • admin says:

      Thanks so much! Brocade is not a fabric I’ve ever sewn with, but it always sounds so luxurious! Lining the whole dress was probably a smart thing to do – I’ll bet it’s beautiful. Speaking of linings, I’ve just finished a lined, sleeveless dress thanks to the most incredible video that showed me just how to do it! Post coming soon.

  4. prttynpnk says:

    So sharp! You are not inching toward apparel, you are already dancing in it!

    • admin says:

      Coming from someone with your talent, that’s quite a compliment! Thanks so much :) (of course, you’ll notice these pictures were quite ‘fuzzy’…!) I always love your posts! Stop by anytime!

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  6. This skirt looks brilliant! And the model is gorgeous:) love your style.. and the other “Tiffany” dress is also fantastic. Will visit your website more often for inspiration, as I want to start sewing myself.

    • admin says:

      Thanks so, so much! I’d completely dropped apparel sewing after years of just not being able to find fabrics and patterns that didn’t scream ‘homemade’. With the advent of the internet, we have access to so many amazing fabrics and unique patterns, sewing garments has become fun again :)

      Since my accident in early March, I’ve been very limited as to what I can do (broke both hands in a fall!) but I’m finally sewing again and can’t wait to use some of the fabulous fabrics and fun patterns I’ve found! Look for my post on the Onion 2037 Wrap Dress, coming shortly. Wonderful pattern!

Comments, tips & ideas always welcome!