Thursday, 4 December 2014

::Sewing::Self-Drafted Polly Pencil Skirt

Here is the first wearable garment I made using my pattern block and the patternmaking skills I honed during the patternmaking course I wrote about in my last post.

I'm calling it my Polly Pencil skirt, as in Polly Pocket Pencil Skirt :)

I wanted to wear this skirt to the last pattern drafting lesson I took. I also wanted to wear this skirt on a trip I was taking to visit my parents too. So that pressure was on! But that didn't stop me from making the final skirt the day before my last patternmaking lesson :)

I had all the supplies in my stash so I power-sewed the heck out of this skirt and I'm so pleased with it.


This skirt is one of the inspiration pictures I took into the patternmaking course. I thought it would be interesting to see the process to make the pattern from a basic pattern block. In class the teacher drafted the pattern, but omitted the pocket bands. I thought that the pockets bands where the best part so when I drafted the pattern I made sure to include them. The main thing that drew me to this skirt was the pockets and how they were constructed.

Self drafted using my 1 dart skirt block from taking the patternmaking course.

~Pattern Adjustments~
I started by using my 1 dart skirt block. I decided that I wanted the skirt to be about knee length so I traced off a centre front panel and then a side panel from waist to knee. The centre front panel was set aside and I moved on to the side panels.

I drew in the style lines on my tracing of the side panel. I drew an outline for the pocket band, and the pocket lining. This became my working pattern and I used it to trace off the pattern pieces I needed to sew the skirt.

Then I marked notches and grain lines. I decided that I wanted to cut the pocket bands so they ran along the straight grain so they wouldn't stretch out over time. Once that was all done it came time for the toile. I was pretty happy with the toile and didn't make any changes.

  • Slate coloured cotton drill fabric - most likely from spotlight.
  • Black cotton lawn
  • Zipper
  • Interfacing
  • Thread

Skirt Front
Sewed each of the pocket panels together.
Attached to centre front panel.
Attached to waistband.

Skirt Back
Sewed darts in skirt back.
Attached to back waistband pieces
Inserted centre back zipper

Sewed up side seams and adjusted sided seams for better fit
Folded over waistband and secured by stitching in the ditch from the front

Hemmed the bottom of the skirt

~Changes I made this time~
  • As I was sewing I realised that I wanted the skirt to be a little shorter so I ended up sewing a wide hem, but I'm glad I did because it adds some heft and weight to the bottom of the skirt.
  • I took a little of extra time while making this skirt and top-stitched along the long edges of the pocket bands and along the seam joining the front side panels to the centre front panel. I also top-stitched along the bottom edge of the waistband.

~What I Like~
  • the fabric is great because it breathes and has been wearing really nicely into a softer fabric.
  • The pockets! They are so useful and are really great to stash my phone wallet and keys when I need to quickly duck into the store.
  • I really like the centred zipper I put into the skirt, it's help up really well and conceals the zip
  • I really like the way the top stitching I did on the skirt give is a more 'polished' look. 
  • I'm really glad I did a zig zag tack across the bottom of the zipper. I usually wear  out the fabric here and it's held up well with wear.

~What I Don't Like~
  • The waistband rolls a little
  • The pocket bands get droopy sometimes

~Changes for Next Time~
  • The waistband rolls, so next time try a narrow waistband like this
  • I would interface the pocket bands next time because they have started to warp a bit over time
  • The top of the pocket bands curl into the pocket if I have something a little heavy in my pocket so to stop that I would stitch in the ditch of the lower pocket band seam and catch the lining

PatternFree - Self Drafted (time accounted for below)$0.00
Fabric1.5m slate coloured cotton drill - $8.99/m~$13.50
  • Black Thread - stash
  • Interfacing - stash
  • Black Zipper - stash
TimeI forgot to record time for this project so I'm guestimating here
12.75 hours (* $17-ish Australian minimum wage)

fabric prep - 15 minutes
patterndrafting - 3 hours
sewing toile - 2 hours
cutting -  30 minutes
sewing final garment - 7 hours

I was going to list the fabric as from stash because I couldn't find a price after a quick flip through my fabric stash record, but then I caved and had a proper look through my craft receipts.

I have a habit of keeping the reciepts from my crafty purchases in a folder where I keep other crafty paperwork I want to keep. It comes in handy when I'm costing out my projects. I have them in date reverse order and and the end of each year staple together the years reciepts. I've only been doing it for 3 years, but I like the idea that I can go back and see how much I paid for various supplies. OCD much :)

~Final Comment~
Awesome Skirt Fist Pump!
I'm so pleased with this skirt. It has been on very high rotation in my wardrobe ever since I made it.
I wear it at least once a week if not more. It's so comfortable and I'm really pleased with the fit. I keep meaning to cut out another and make the changes I've mentioned above. This is definitely a win in my books.

Do you have a self-made garment that you wear all the time. Are you pocket obsessed? Do you keep receipts from your crafty shopping? Did you ever play with Polly Pockets as a child (or now, no judgement here)?
Tell me in the comments, I love reading what you have to say :)

Until next time,

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  1. Haha, best blog photo ever!! :) The skirt came out great! It's so cool to see you take an inspiration photo and turn it into a custom-made garment, and it really shows the power of making blocks and drafting from them.

    I always find it interesting to see your cost breakdown for each project too. I don't cost out my garments like this, but I think it would be a good exercise. It really underscores the worth of handmade items.

    Are you planning on another Polly skirt with piping, as in the original image? I think it would make such a cute detail.

    1. Haha! Carolyn, you rock! Blocks are the awesome! I've yet to figure out how best to use them when working with other patterns, but I'll get there.

      I really like seeing what an item I make is fiscally worth. I really think that skills/services are horrendously undervalued, and very often even more so by the people who have/provide them. So I think it's important to let people know what time and costs are involved in making a garment. Just because we sew does not make it cheaper. Usually better fit & quality, but rarely cheaper than buying RTW.

      I am planning another Polly, but you'll have to wait and see :)


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