29 May 2013

3 Tips to Make a Professional-Quality Pencil Skirt

Image: J.Crew No. 2 Pencil Skirt
As personal stylists, Nat and I often recommend our clients buy pencil skirts off the rack and have them tailored to fit perfectly (if needed). But as a commercial stylist, knowing how to sew and fit iconic shapes is crucial to a seamless day of shooting. My love for this ultra-feminine silhouette is what led me to challenge myself with the task of making a pencil skirt. I tore an inspiration page out of my latest J.Crew catalog and thought, "This should be simple!"  And to be honest, it wasn't that hard. But I also realized the only way to make this skirt look professional is to focus on the details.  

Here are 3 Tips to Make a Professional-Quality Pencil Skirt:

  • Start with the best tools: I chose to use a durable cotton twill fabric from Mood Fabrics and a pattern from my vintage collection. Also, my mother once told me, "Protect your sewing shears with your life." Thus, I only use Gingher Sewing Shears that come with a holster and case.  

  • Don't neglect your notions: Pick thread and an invisible zipper that match the color of your fabric.  As a rule of thumb, invisible zippers are better for back closures. I know you may be tempted to add a splash of color, but I would advise you try and avoid drawing attention to your derriere. Save the color for your seam binding.

  • If the skirt doesn't fit, refit: When my skirt seemed to be more suited for Christina Hendricks a la Mad Men instead of Dorothy Dandridge a la Carmen Jones, I refitted the garment to my shape with pins and a little help from a friend. Patterns don't always make for a perfect fit, so don't feel bad if you have to repeat this step. Having a garment that is tailored to perfection is worth the extra time and effort. 

You can see the finished product at our recent French hen photo shoot here.

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