When I started sewing I was more than a little frustrated by the complete lack of beginner patterns for styles I wanted to sew. Vogue 8956 is a skirt pattern I would have loved to have seen back then. It’s unusual and stylish, and it’s dead simple to make. And for bonus marks you get three views and two skirt lengths. I made view B which is the version in the envelope photo below: the longer length with one side drape.
Here is a less arty but clearer shot of it on me which shows that it really is a wrap skirt. That wrap stays put beautifully by the way. This is a well drafted pattern.
Here is the back. The fabric is a black wool flannel from Croft Mill. I also made a pair of trousers from this. It has a little bit of lycra in it, not enough to make it stretchy. I hoped the lycra would repel creases but it doesn’t seem to. It had to be ironed immediately before taking these photos.
The original pattern isn’t lined. I suspect that is to keep it simple, but it does mean you can see the wrong side of the fabric on the asymmetric version where the hem dips down, including the inside of the side seam. Lining the skirt hides all that and in theory should be fairly simple to do. The easiest way would be to hem the lining and the skirt separately. I decided to go a bit further and completely seal up the insides by making a hem facing for the skirt and attaching my lining to that. The next picture just shows the lining (black acetate/viscose satin from The Lining Company) and the hem facing.
I definitely won’t use this lining method again for this particular pattern. The hem facing reduces the drape of the skirt and needs a lot of help to stay up: I ended up catch stitching it to the skirt by hand. It was also a pain in the neck to make all the extra pattern pieces. And in a fit of madness I interfaced the hem facing which was fiddly to do and reduced the drape even more. Next time I make this I’ll hem the skirt and the lining separately. It would be great with a swishy taffeta lining. Incidentally the original pattern calls for making a narrow hem on the skirt, which sounds tricky in wool. I’d be inclined to go for matching bias binding turned to the inside.
I added side seam pockets. The one on the non-drapey side of the skirt tends to show a bit. I forgot to understitch the pocket bag which does not help. But for once I got the placement just right: not too high, not too low. The back pocket bag is made from the flannel and the front from lining.
The sizing on this one runs slightly smaller than I am used to in Vogue but I still needed to make one size down from what the size chart suggested. If in doubt look at the finished garment measurements on the tissue as they are much more helpful than the size chart. It’s also a generous length. I did not add to the length at all and I would normally add 5cm. I wouldn’t want it longer than it is.
I am very happy with this project. Someone at work even said they liked it and it’s very unusual for my colleagues to notice clothes at all. Now I just need to find the right fabric for the next version.
I always seem to overestimate how much fabric I need for any project and end up with a piece left over that’s too big to throw away but too small to do a lot with. The skirt from Vogue 1247 (sadly now out of print) is a great use for such leftovers. I got this one out of a 70cm length of 150cm wide grey denim left over from my Burda 115 12/2009 trousers. Come to think of it, exactly the same thing happened with the leftovers from my previous version of those trousers. The denim was from Truro Fabrics but is now sold out.
Here’s the line art. I have never made the top, but the pattern is worth tracking down for the skirt alone. It is a simple style but beautifully implemented. Most importantly, it has pockets! And they are not an afterthought but an integral part of the design. Incidentally I’ve just noticed that the line art of the back view has a mistake. The zip doesn’t actually run to the top of the waistband. Instead the waistband has an underlap and closes with a hook and bar. The zip stops just below it as you’d expect.
The original skirt pattern is seriously short. My version is lengthened by something like six inches. Admittedly I’m pretty tall but I don’t normally have to add length below the waist on any Vogue pattern. The original also has next-to-no ease. If you’re making this, check the finished garment measurements before picking a size; I found I needed to go one bigger than I usually do.
The original skirt has seams finished with bias binding throughout. It’s a beautiful effect but very time consuming to do. It’s much quicker to line the skirt than bind all the seams and in fact I prefer it lined. The first time I made this pattern I did the bound seams but that version of the skirt sticks to my tights and rides up. The lined versions don’t. This one’s lined with a large scrap of black satin lining I had left over from another project. I think it might be The Lining Company’s acetate/viscose satin.
I also used the lining fabric for the front pocket bags. The back pocket bags were cut out of the denim. The original pattern has the back pocket bag pieces cut in one with the skirt yoke but I cut them separately to save fabric. I also interfaced the front yoke just above the pockets to try to avoid any sagging and it seems to have worked.
I added some yellow topstitching to this version of the skirt. It’s just about visible in the photos. The grey denim needs the extra interest. I topstitched the yoke seam on the panels before inserting the zip or sewing the side seams so I had to be very careful about matching the topstitching lines up afterwards. Later I realized that I could have done it the other way around, sewing one continuous line of topstitching around the yoke starting and finishing at the centre back zip after I’d put the skirt together completely. This would probably have been easier to do. The eye is drawn to the topstitching and not the seamlines so it also would have disguised any failure to match the seamlines precisely at the side seams and centre back.
I expect I’ll make another version of this pattern any time I have a suitable leftover piece of fabric. The pockets are nicely roomy, it’s comfortable to wear, and if you skip the seam binding it’s a pretty fast sew.
- Vilene H250 interfacing on waistband, zip seam allowances, and front yoke above pockets. It was probably too heavy for the zip allowances.
- YKK invisible zip, somewhat longer than the original pattern called for
- Size 90 denim needle for main seams
- Size 100 denim needle and Gutermann 968 denim gold top-stitch thread for top-stitching
- Single row of topstitching on yoke seam and hem. Double row on side seams. None on waistband because it’s such a high waisted style it’s not visible
This pattern is Vogue 1247; a Rachel Comey design that’s been on my mental to-sew list for a while. I’ve seen so many great versions of this made up that I expected Vogue would be selling the pattern forever, so it was a big surprise to see it in the “out of print” section on Sew Direct recently. Here’s the line art.
I hastily bought a copy before it became completely unavailable, only to discover that it calls for finishing all the seams in the skirt with bias binding. At first I thought I’d ignore such fiddly nonsense and overlock the seam allowances instead, but then I noticed the right angle internal corners between the pockets! Attempting to feed those through the overlocker sounded like a recipe for disaster, so I reluctantly dug out a roll of black cotton bias binding and set to binding seams. I couldn’t even use my faithful binding foot as it doesn’t work well on sharp corners. I did manage to save myself one bit of extra work by cutting the waistband edge on the selvedge of the fabric so at least I didn’t have to bind that edge. And it does look really nice inside if you don’t look too closely at the corners.
This skirt is seriously short. I added five inches to the length and made a one inch hem instead of the two inch one in the pattern. I’m tall, admittedly, but I wouldn’t want it any shorter than it is. I also think this one is a bit more true to size than some Vogue patterns; there’s not a lot of ease built in. If like me you’re in the habit of always going down a size in Vogue without really thinking about it then make an exception for this one. Luckily I checked the finished garment measurements before cutting; I ended up making my true size for once.
I really like this pattern. Unusually for me I’d worn the finished object quite a few times before taking photos. The pockets are huge and it’s very comfortable to wear despite having a high waist. I can cycle in it (with thick tights or leggings underneath) too. And for once I’m pretty sure I will make it again because I’ve already cut another one out.
Notes and changes:
- About a metre of heavy weight green/brown cotton twill; the same fabric I used for my Burda 115-12-2009 trousers
- Size 90 denim needle
- Black cotton bias binding for seams
- 8″ invisible zip
- Skirt hook
- Vilene F220 interfacing for waistband
- Added 5″ to length, made 1″ hem
- Added hanging loops in black poly satin ribbon
- Top-stitched hem