For a pencil skirt, you’re going to want a relatively strong fabric. It also helps if the fabric has some stretch to it. Stretch twill works well. A heavier non-stretch fabric would also work. You can even use a thicker t-shirt knit or spandex, especially if you don’t want to fuss with a zipper and darts.
The key to a great pencil skirt is fit. To get a good fit you need good measurements.
First, you need to decide if you want the skirt to go all the way up to your natural waist, or just to your low waist.
If you want the higher waist, use the four measurements shown. If you want it at your low waist, you don’t need to measure your natural waist.
For clarification: your true WAIST is the slimmest part of your torso. It’s a few inches above your belly button. Your LOW WAIST is probably where you wear the waistband of your jeans, below or near your belly button. The measurement for your HIPS should be taken at the widest part of your butt.
Measure around your legs where you’d like the bottom hem of the skirt to hit. Make sure your measurements allow enough room for walking (adding a slit will help with that a little).
Divide your measurements in half and transfer them onto a piece of paper (or your fabric). This will give you the general shape of your skirt.
The front panel of the skirt is one piece. The back is the same as the front, except it’s cut in half down the middle (as shown by the dotted line) and has extra seam allowance for the center seam and zipper. If you’re using a very stretchy fabric, you can skip the zipper and make the front and back pieces 1 panel each.
Make sure you’re leaving space for the seam allowance. Particularly if you are NOT using stretch fabric, give yourself a generous seam allowance.
Here is your front piece and two back pieces. Before you sew them together, you’ll need to decide about slits and zipper placement.
You’re going to want to put a slit into your skirt so you can actually walk. You can have a slit on the side, in the center back, or on both sides. It’s up to you.
You can make slits the same way you put in a zipper- sew the two pieces together, stitch around the seam, and open the slit with a seam ripper!
Unless your skirt is very stretchy, you’ll need a zipper. You can put a zipper at the side (between the front and back pieces) or you can put a zipper at the center back (between the two back pieces).
You can also put a zipper at the bottom of the center back or sides, so you can zip and unzip the slit!
Once you’ve figured out where to put the zippers and the slits, sew your pieces together.
Try your almost-finished skirt on.
If you put your skirt on and it has some bagginess around your waist, you need to add darts. Click here for the tutorial on darts.
If it fits perfect, hem the top and bottom of the skirt and you’re done!