Yesterday we talked about Sourcing fabric for The Button Up Pencil. Today we are going to talk about getting the right fit!
The Button Up Pencil is designed to be form fitting. Form fitting garments are fun, but they also require more effort to get them to fit properly. As women we all have different shaped bodies that don’t always fit perfectly into one size. That is the beauty of sewing, we can sew it specifically for our body. When I was creating this pattern, I sewed up a muslin in one of my friends sizes. She didn’t fit into one size so I graded between sizes specifically for her body. When she fit it on, she’s like “oh my word it actually fits! I can’t ever buy pencil skirts that fit!” It just makes me even more excited to sew and teach others how to sew when I hear things like that!
The Button Up Pencil is designed with negative ease at the hips. Negative ease may sound a little scary, but stretch demin and the other fabrics recommended for this pattern stretch out as we wear them. Negative ease also gives a more flattering silhouette. Since denim doesn’t have very good drape and it is heavier weight, you don’t want extra fabric hanging around your hips for this pencil skirt.
When choosing a size, make sure you choose your size based off of the body measurement chart, not the finished garment chart. If you are a size different in your waist and hips (waist being bigger) it is likely that you will be able to size down in the waist since the waistband is cut with some stretch. For example, if your waist falls in a size 8 and your hips in a size 6, you can size down to a straight size 6. Or if you fall in the middle of two sizes, you will want to size down. I would highly recommend sewing up a muslin to check fit issues before cutting into your final fabric!
If you are wanting a skirt that fits a little looser, you can simply add a little width by gradually drawing a line starting at the top and tapering out a tiny bit. If you want a more fitted skirt, keep the hip size the same, but gradually tapper in below the hip for even more of a pencil fit. If you do this however, you may need to add a slit.
The customizations and fit adjustments to this skirt are limitless, however I strongly suggest sewing a muslin before cutting into your good fabric. Even if you don’t make any adjustments to the pattern, I always recommend sewing a muslin first because all of our body types are so different. By sewing a muslin you can get a feel for how the fit is on you specifically. You can make any adjustments from there before proceeding to your good fabric.
Sewing a muslin is super easy. You will want to get fabric that has the same properties as the fabric you will be sewing with. I scored a bottom weight fabric at JoAnne’s on the clearance rack for $3.50 a yard. Keep an eye out for sales and clearances and stock up on some fabric when you see it!
To sew a muslin for the Button Up Pencil skirt you won’t need to cut out all the pieces. You will only need to cut the pieces that affect fit. You can leave off back pockets, belt loops etc. You really only need to cut and sew one waistband. When sewing the muslin, simply baste it together. Basting is easy to seam rip if you make a mistake or want to correct fit, plus it is faster to sew than the normal stitch. I would recommend backstitching at the top of the side seams and back seam since basting pulls out easy. You don’t want your waist to be bigger than it should because the basting wasn’t secure. You will need to sew your front pockets and button plackets. For version two you can simply stop at step 33. Once you complete step 33 you can flip the second placket through and stitching in place. No need to finish the bottoms of the plackets as long as they lay nicely on top of each other. Leave everything un-hemmed and unfinished. When trying the skirt on, use pins to close the plackets instead of sewing on the buttons. Sewing a muslin may seem annoying and unnecessary, but I promise, it hardly takes any time to do and you will be glad you did!
If you want to grade between sizes I put together a few illustrations to help you out!
First up: grading from a larger size to a smaller size:
Say your waist is two sizes up from your hips. First you will print out all three sizes using the layers panel to hide remaining sizes. Once your pattern is assembled you will begin grading.
Figure 1: Version 1 back. Take the back yoke and lay it above the back skirt piece. Starting at the top draw a gradual line from the yoke down the just past the hip on the smallest size. Trim off the excess and cut your new yoke out using the largest size as your guide.
Figure 2: Version 2 back. Starting at the largest size, draw a gradual line down just past the hip on the smallest size. Trim excess and cut out pattern.
Figure 3: Both version’s front. Lay the largest size pocket facing onto the skirt front aligning top edges and side edges to largest size on skirt pattern. Draw a gradual line from the top of the facing down past the hips on the smallest size. Trim excess off both pattern pieces.
After grading the front piece, your pocket facing will now be trimmed. Lay your new pocket facing on top of your pocket bag aligning the straight edge. Trim excess off of pocket bag to match the pocket facing.
Now onto grading from smaller to larger! Again, you will print the sizes needed using the layers panel to hide the sizes you don’t need.
Figure 5: Version 1 back. Take the back yoke and lay it above the back skirt piece. Cut out the smallest size yoke. Line it up with the top of the skirt back. From the yoke draw a gradual line to just past the hips on the largest size. Cut out the pattern using new lines.
Figure 6: Version 2 back. Starting at the smallest size, draw a gradual line down just past the hip on the largest size. Cut out new pattern.
Figure 7: Both version’s front. Lay the smallest size pocket facing onto the skirt front aligning top edges and side edges to smallest size on skirt pattern. Draw a gradual line from the top of the facing down past the hips on the largest size. Cut out new pattern pieces.
Your new pocket facing will start at the smallest size and grade to the biggest size so you may need to add some extra paper. When your new pocket facing is cut out, cut a new pocket bag by aligning the straight edges and adding extra to the side seam to match the pocket facing.
If you normally do a full seat adjustment, you will want to add some width the the side seams!
I hope this helps get you on the right track to fit your Button Up Pencil skirt perfectly for your body type!
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