I recently made up two versions of the pencil skirt from Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing (a...

Houndstooth Pencil Skirt from Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing

5:33:00 p.m. Sew Hopeful 9 Comments

I recently made up two versions of the pencil skirt from Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing
(affiliate link to Amazon) and was pleasantly surprised.  It is a double darted pattern, which always works well with pear or hour-glass shapes with a high hip to waist ratio. 

For this version, I added in a back vent as I prefer this to the open split, this one a did as a closed pleated vent for something different and also added in a lining.  When I do my pencil skirt linings I always include extra ease when cutting by increasing the seam allowances around the hip curve.  I read about it first when reading through the posts by Sunni regarding adding in a back vent and drafting a lining for pencil skirts and I really agree the extra ease really helps the lining to feel more comfortable.

The fabric is from stash - a lovely tiny black and cream houndstooth wool inherited from my great aunt, and the lining is a red satin silk, part of my husband's-business-trip-to-Vietnam fabric stash.

I pegged in the sides a little more than drafted and lengthened it a little to below my knee.

I also lowered the height of the curved front of the waistband to suit my proportions slightly better so it doesn't not sit as high here as the pattern.  I did add in the boning according to Gertie's instructions (I used the rigilene sew-in kind not the stainless steel kind) and I love the structure and shape this gives the waistband.

I am very happy with the hand picked zip.  I made sure each of my stitches in black thread sat in one of the black houndstooth squares, which make the stitches completely invisible.  If you can stand to stare at the houndstooth pattern close up (it makes my eyes go funny if I look at it too long, which made the hand sewing a really trippy experience), here is a close up of the lapped zipper.  Mmmmm. hand picked lapped zipper.  I really understand why this method is so popular - it is a lovely finish and makes pattern matching a breeze.

The skirt is a tad wrinkled in the pictures as I had been wearing it for several hours when I managed to get a minute to take these pictures, but I notice my boned waistband is still sitting really nicely.  I will be incorporating this technique into future waistbands for sure.

And here is the best shot of the back of the skirt showing the vent, although it is a bit wrinkled from sitting in the car in it....

And some fun shots of the insides, which make this skirt feel lovely to wear....

This fabric frayed like crazy, so all the seams are serged.  The hem and waistband facing are both slip-stitched by hand.

My comment on the pattern is I love it, it works beautifully for my shape (currently 29" waist, 40.5" hip). It is drafted snug though so if you are between sizes make sure you cut up a size not down.  I am between a 6 and an 8 and if I had cut a straight 6 it definitely would have been too small.  


  1. Gorgeous skirt. Beautiful details...love the red lining and that hand picked zipper makes me want to go out and try that technique. Impeccable sewing skills.

  2. It looks lovely and fits you so well. All the details are lovely.

  3. What a fantastic fit and wow, the insides of your garments are always so stunning

  4. SeamsOddLouise.Blogspot.com12:40 a.m., June 16, 2014

    The insides are as amazing as the outside! A great shape on you and the waistband looks fantastic.

  5. Beautiful, and it fits you perfectly.

  6. The lining finish is gorgeous and the fit of the skirt is lovely. I do love those little internal details that don't mean anything to anyone else but leave a lovely smug feeling nonetheless. I have Gertie's book but am yet to make anything out of it, thank you for the pattern review.

  7. Very classy skirt and the lining is lovely.

  8. What a bee-ootiful skirt, Janelle! So many lovely details. I especially like the idea of hiding those zip stitches in the houndstooth... although I can only imagine the havoc that must have played on your eyes!

  9. Sparkly Super Nova5:45 p.m., July 05, 2014

    oh i have just bought this book and a hand picked zipper is defiantly on my to do list. i love this skirt and i think you can't have too many pencil skirts in your wardrobe, i also love the little details of the lining!


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