A Nod to Spring

We may be deep into winter (technically, the first day of winter was just a couple days ago), but my fashion sense knows no seasonal bounds. I was also meaning to start a series of blog posts to give some tips on working with patterns, but I got distracted with too much writing and wanted to just sew something. So, to my stash I went and pulled out the yellow cotton I picked up in Austin at Bolt Fabrics while I was visiting my parents in early November.

A Nod to Spring

I managed to track down the fabric, and it turns out that it’s a cotton sateen designed by Valori Wells. (I picked up some of Valori Wells’ voile in Portland during the summer, so I guess I’m attracted to her prints). It’s a heavy enough weight that I could have left the skirt unlined, but I decided to line it anyway and picked up some China Silk (silk is a misnomer here, since it’s polyester) at Pacific Fabrics. Earlier, I decided that because of the lines from the birch trees in this print, I wanted to make a pencil skirt (but I had just enough fabric that I probably wouldn’t have been able to do anything else with it). I knew that out of my hundreds of patterns I have in my collection there HAD to be at least ONE pencil skirt pattern. I found a couple, most were paired with a suit jacket, but I found one pattern from 1989, which must have been my mom’s (because I know I wasn’t this size back in 1989), and it looked like she had used it at least once before.

Is this vintage?

Is this vintage?

It was kind of fun working with a “vintage” pattern. This skirt was super simple, and had five different lengths (I went with the 25″ length that comes down just below my knees, and I’m debating about shortening it, but it comes up just above my knee when I sit down, and that’s perfect for modesty’s sake), and the lengths longer than 22″ had a vent in the back. I’ll talk a little more about the vent in my pattern review. Had I been smart and gotten more fabric, I probably would have tried to do a better job of pattern matching on the waistband, but with the darts, it probably wouldn’t have made a big difference.

And, finally achieved a perfect zipper insertion with a lining, thanks to Craftsy’s free zipper tutorial! (I watch this class EVERY time I insert a zipper).

Pattern Description

Classic pencil skirt. Pattern actually contains two styles: one with darts and one that’s gathered for a little more skirt fullness, and in five different lengths (22″ to 41″ inches). ¬†Waist sits at the natural waist.

Pattern Sizing

I started with a size 14 at the waist and graded out to a size 16 at the hips.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yep, although, I hope my styling is a little more modern looking than the pattern envelope, though :)

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Okay, I really tried to follow the pattern’s instruction, but this was a three piece skirt, so aside from making sure I attached the waistband in the correct way, I kind of ignored the pattern and did it the way I wanted to (using the techniques I’ve picked up over the years).

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I’m very used to wearing my skirts a little lower than my natural waist, so that was different. It works fine, but it’s just a little different for me. I like the vent in the back for the longer styles.

Fabric Used

Cotton sateen (found in an upholstery store) with a Valori Wells print.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made

The skirt vent, the instructions suggest just opening out, and to me, a more professional look would have been to sew it to the side. I found this tutorial for accomplishing this look on BurdaStyle from FashionSewingBlog.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Absolutely! This is a staple skirt to have in your wardrobe. Although, it might be hard to find this exact pattern, but if you have it in your stash, go for it!


Tried and true classic silhouettes are awesome, regardless of how old the pattern is! Don’t discount a pattern just because the pattern styling on the envelope is out of date, look at the line drawings instead.

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6 thoughts on “A Nod to Spring

  1. Hey Missy, it’s Morgan from Mrs. Barton’s class! I’m in Seattle and sewing as well. I came across your blog awhile ago when I was searching for a pattern review and I’ve been meaning to say hi. :) Your projects look lovely – hope you’re doing well!

    • Hi Morgan! Good to hear from you and it’s cool to see that you’re sewing, too! I’m planning on conquering a pair of pants for myself sometime, as well :) Which pattern were you looking for a review for?

  2. I was looking up McCall’s 5591 (which is crazy, because I made that skirt last year – time flies!) and saw your version. If you have a sec, shoot me an email (morganelle@gmail.com) because what reminded me to say hi was a crazy coincidence that happened in an art class that I was in yesterday!

  3. Hi Missy,
    I don’t know how to do this…but I saw the Beatrix Potter Birth Sampler you did a while back. I
    have been looking for this everywhere, or even some alternate by Beatrix Potter. I even
    ordered one from a hobby company, but it is so delayed I will never get it done before my
    first grandchild is born, in August. Wherever I look, Beatrix Potter seems to be discontinued or
    not in stock. May I ask where you got your pattern? This is the one I would most like to do,
    since the baby is a girl. Thank you for any help you can give me…your work is beautiful and
    Kind Regards,

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