Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Straight to Pencil Skirt Tutorial

I admit it--I'm a bit of a slave to style. Not to the point of selling my soul to the devil or anything, but I have worn shoes that are much more cute than comfortable; I don't always wear my hair in a ponytail; and I wear pantyhose. 

My latest cave-in in the name of fashion is the pencil skirt. I have a closet full of skirts from the last 15 years. If I wear a skirt at least once during a year, I keep it. Several of my skirts are knee-length straight numbers I bought in college--mostly from The Gap and Old Navy. But, alas, straight is out; pencil is in. Luckily, so is plaid; so this skirt (circa: 1999), was just updated to the tiny-step ways of modern fashion!

Here's how I did it:

1. Put on the skirt. Stand in front of a mirror and pin the amount of excess skirt around the knees you would like trimmed. Once it is pinned, walk around a bit to make sure you are allowing enough range of motion.  Leave the pins in and carefully remove the skirt.

2. My skirt has a built-in liner. This feature scares some people away from making alterations. It is no biggie, I promise. My liner is only attached at the top. If yours is attached on the sides at all, you may need to cut the threads holding it to the outside of the skirt. This isn't a step, so much as something to be aware of before you proceed.

3. With chalk, draw an angled vertical line from just below your pins to about halfway up your skirt. It is important not to make any abrupt changes in the new seam (you don't want Oompah-Loompah hips). 

4. Carefully cut along the chalk lines of just the outside fabric of your skirt. Then, using the cut lines as a guide, carefully cut the excess liner fabric. 
**Tip: Cut front, then back on both outside and liner. Cutting both can leave an awkward angle at the seam. (I learned this the hard way.)

5. Using a seam ripper or small scissors, rip out the hem about 2 inches on each side along the edges you just cut (of the liner and the outside fabric). I did this step first, which wasn't harmful, but I ended up cutting out most of what I had ripped out. You'll need the hem out when you sew up the sides in the next step.

6. Turn the skirt inside out.  With right sides together, sew up the sides of the skirt liner, then the skirt. Re-hem the edges. My skirt required an invisible/blind hem stitch. For a good tutorial on how to do this, go to this tutorial

Voila! You are done! Super easy, eh?


  1. Did you need to add a little slit in the back at all to be able to walk normally or is there still enough room to manoeuvre? !
    It looks great and the plaid is very "in" now isn't it. Just a hint that I use when altering clothes, use safety pins when trying things on, then you can't stab yourself as you take it off. (I learn't this the hard way!)

    1. I didn't add a slit, but I would've needed one if I had made it any tighter. I love the safety pin idea! Great tip! Thanks for stopping by, Julia!

  2. This turned out really well. Great job.

  3. Awesome tutorial! The skirt looks great! I'm stopping by from the Totally Terrific Tuesday Link Party! I'm co-hosting this week with Jessica. Thanks so much for sharing and linking up this week!

  4. Great how to's. Perfect for my next project.
    Tesla Code Secrets Review