A Simple Straight Skirt

Sounds super simple, doesn’t it?  Well, yes, but simple does not necessarily equate with speedy.  The skirt in question is this one which I fit into my sewing queue as part of a group project in Susan Khalje’s new subscription sewing club.

Susan provided the pattern to all the members, and the choice of which view to use (if one chose to participate; no pressure in this club, only support!) was entirely up to each individual.

I used View A for my skirt. Although this looks like a simple straight skirt, there are subtle details which make it a step above ordinary. For example, the side seams are set slightly back from the front. There is slight fullness built in at the hip; not enough to be noticeable, but enough to make it more comfortable for wearing. This pattern is available on Susan’s website.

I chose the view with the waistband sitting right at the waist (View A), and decided to use a lovely, soft piece of vintage wool I found recently.  As Susan provided video support for each step of the skirt, and answered questions online, I slowly worked through each component while working on my other projects at the same time.

Some of the members in the group have gotten very creative with their renderings of the skirt, but I chose just to keep it simple.  I had already used this pattern once when I made my guipure lace skirt last year, but I tweaked the fit again and am now much happier with it.  (And now I have a go-to skirt pattern.)  One fitting tip that Susan shared was to make sure those side seams are exactly perpendicular to the floor.  If they sway to the front or back, then adjustments need to be made.

The wool I used for my skirt was very lightweight, enough so that I determined the lining fabric should be as close in color as possible.  Luckily I had a piece of silk crepe de chine in my “linings” box which matched perfectly.  (I love it when things like this happen!)

I hand-picked a lapped zipper into the center back seam, and this small detail adds just a touch of class, in my opinion.

Here my center back seams are clearly marked, necessary for any zipper application, but especially so with a lapped zipper.

Here the zipper is in, and the center back lines match, showing the offset of the zipper on the left.

More of the same!

And here is what the zipper looks like when completed.

Even though my wool’s lightweight quality would have lent itself to a simple “all-in-one” waistband, I prefer not to have wool up against my bare middle, or my middle, clothed with just a layer of camisole silk between it and the waistband.  So – I made a two-piece waistband with a facing out of the lining silk.  Inserted into the band is a piece of Petersham ribbon, giving it support and shape.

The lining has been attached (see how good the match is to the wool?), and the Petersham ribbon is ready to be encased inside the waistband.

The waistband facing is ready to be attached to the lining/waistline seam.

The back slit of the skirt is angled in about a quarter inch on both sides, so that it hangs and wears with less of a separation.

The white basting stitches show the center back. I angled the edges towards the center before finishing the hem.

The finished slit and hem.

Not too much else to say about this simple skirt, except that it was a very satisfying little project.

Notice how the back slit hangs together?

Actually there is one more thing to say – about straight skirts in general.  They take very little fabric for most people – often a scant yard in a wide-width wool will suffice.  Will there be more straight skirts in my future?  Oh, yes.  In fact, I already have a wool tartan remnant waiting for early 2019.  But there is much to sew before then… not all of it so simple as this!


Filed under couture construction, hand-sewn zippers, Straight skirts, Uncategorized, woolens

30 responses to “A Simple Straight Skirt

  1. Margene

    BEAUTIFUL color, fit and yes CLASSY zipper insertion!

  2. Mary B.

    I am also in Susan Khalje’s group and enjoyed this post about your process. I have yet to begin my skirt. Thank you for the tip about the waistband!! From your images, it almost appears your zipper insertion is invisible. Beautiful.

    • Thank you, Mary. I found Susan’s videos to be very helpful. Some of it I knew already, but it seems I can always learn something new from Susan. I think you will enjoy making your skirt when you get to it.

  3. Peggy Warren

    Divine fabric and the color is lucious! I greatly admire your handwork and the finishing details are superb!

  4. Beautiful job Karen. I hope you post this on the club site. I remember Roberta Carr also talked about offsetting the slit just a little to maintain the line. I like your idea if the lining fabric as an inner waistband. I’ve used petersham both as interfacing and as an inner layer; the lining fabric is a great option. These straight skirts are great for stash busting as so little fabric is needed.

    • Mary Anne Chambers

      I get awfully confused with Petersham…..I have used Petersham Waistbanding but have found it very stiff, I have seen petersham ribbon but it feels very very soft…is this what I should be using?

      • Yes, you want very soft Petersham ribbon. There are different qualities of it. The one I used I purchased from Susan Khalje’s online store, but I have found the Petersham from Britex Fabrics to be equally soft and malleable. You can also order Petersham from Britex online. I made the mistake once of buying Petersham from another company other than Britex and I could not believe the difference in quality. I hope this helps.

      • Mary Anne Chambers

        Thank you that is very very helpful. The Petersham I got was so stiff I didn’t like it at all. I will definitely try again with a softer Petersham.

    • Thanks, Mary. Now that I have this pattern which fits so well, I see myself making quite a few more straight skirts…

  5. That vent. Thank you, teacher!

  6. Kati

    What a beautiful skirt!
    I love reading your posts! Thank you so much for writing about this project in so much detail and for taking such detailed pictures of the construction.
    Made my day!

  7. Beautiful skirt, Karen. And I love the waistband treatment! I’ll put that one in my portfolio of waistband options as I too do not like wool next to my skin!

  8. Mary Anne Chambers

    Beautiful skirt. I love beautifully constructed classic pieces. So glad to hear this tip about offsetting the slit. I will try that. Can I ask….the Petersham ribbon you use, is it very soft or stiff?

  9. I always change out my wool waistbands too, so much nicer, especially with pants, where it is often bare skin. I love that back slit treatment, an excellent idea. Having a go to straight skirt is such a nice wardrobe piece, beautiful job, Karen!

  10. Marianne

    What a beautiful skirt! I like your idea for the waistband treatment. I still need to start on my skirt, but life got a little crazy since I joined the club in September. I really want to take my time for this project and will probably start in January. In the mean time I enjoy seeing everyone’s progress!

  11. Rosalind Clayton

    Such meticulous work! Absolutely gorgeous!!

  12. Mery

    What a difference good fit, care with fabric and pattern selections, better workmanship make to bringing this simple, straight skirt into the realm of outstanding. The color makes us look twice, and what we see is so pleasing. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Classic will never be out of date/fashion/style in my opinion.
    Just lovely and hopefully it will see seasons and years out before your skirt does.

  14. Cheryl

    Hello Karen, I have just picked up a lovely piece of fine tartan merino and started looking for sewing tips for a Straight skirt. I do learn a little each time I visit your site. Could I ask did you underline this with silk organza? I think my fabric would be a similar weight.

    • Yes, Cheryl, I did underline my skirt with silk organza. It just worked beautifully with the merino wool. My merino was quite lightweight, so the organza added just the right touch of heft. Happy skirt sewing to you!

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