Completed: The 70s Denim Skirt

22 Sep

First make of my F/W sewing plans is done and ready to wear! Before you think my sewing speed reaches world-record status (I mean, I’m fast – but I’m not that fast!), I should point out that I had this skirt mostly complete before my sewing plans were completely solidified. So I had a head start with this particular garment! I actually took a little longer than usual to make this (not that I’m racing myself or anything, ha), as I ended up getting sick that week, which put the whole project on hold for several days while I tried to rest up and recuperate. But anyway, it’s done and now I can wear it! Yay! The 70s denim skirt I’ve been waiting for!

Style 1559 denim skirt

It would appear that the 70s is back in this year, in a big, bad way. I am super excited about this! I loved that shit when it came back into style in the 90s, and I’m happy to see it’s back again 20~ish years later (no comment on feeling old and/or shouldn’t be wearing that shit the first time it came around. Duh, this is the second time, it cancels itself out). While I don’t really follow fashion or allow it to necessarily dictate what I choose to wear, I can say that it’s nice when something I love does go into style because that means it’s easier to source it! Of course, that doesn’t really matter so much when one makes their own clothes – using a vintage pattern, no less – but I’m excited to see what trickles into the fabric selection. 😀

Anyway! I’ve seen a lot of this skirt style – mini a-line with a button front and jeans topstitching – and I knew I wanted one for my own wardrobe. Rather than deal with the heartbreak of buying vintage (where it’s never your size and/or the seller has some interesting ideas about what to price it at), I wanted to make my own. Actually, I always want to make my own! I’ve been thinking/lurking on this particular style for a couple of months now, and tried to figure out how I could hack an existing pattern from my stash into my dream denim skirt. Then I found this pattern, and it was pretty much exactly what I was looking for.

Style 1559 denim skirt

The pattern is Style 1559, which I bought on Etsy. It’s amazing how much this pattern encompasses everything I wanted in my skirt – a-line shape, side pockets with topstitching detail, button front, mini (ok, it’s not a mini but I can MAKE it a mini). The seller had several sizes, so I even got to pick what size I wanted! Etsy is awesome!

Style 1559 denim skirt

Style 1559 denim skirt

The pattern was pretty easy and straightforward to put together. The only thing I changed – other than the obvious length difference, which ended up being something crazy like 9″(I wanted to go even shorter, but I’m going to wear this around a bit as-is and see if that changes) – was that I made a pocket facing piece, so that I could cut the pockets out of lining rather than denim. This was really easy; I just used my Ginger jeans pattern pocket facing as a guide. I also added more buttons than what you see on the pattern – I wanted more, and closer together. Oh, and I added belt loops (just stole the pattern piece from my Ginger jeans). Otherwise, easy stuff! Not a lot to report on as far as that is concerned.

Style 1559 denim skirt

Sorry about the butt wrinkles! I took these after a full day of, well, sitting 😛

I’m not totally sure how I feel about those back pockets. I added them for shits and giggles – they’re part of the pattern, and they look cute on the envelope. I am pretty sure they are not doing my butt any favors whatsoever, but I also don’t feel like ripping them out. Thoughts?

Style 1559 denim skirt

Style 1559 denim skirt

The denim I used is pretty legit, and also straight out of the 70s! 🙂 One of my awesome readers, Jim, sent me a big ol’ piece of this stuff about a year ago. It took me this long to figure out what to do with it – it’s pretty thick and heavy with absolutely no stretch. Perfect bottomweight, but most of my pants have a little bit of lycra in them these days. I considered using it to make my denim jacket, but the color is a little light. However, it is perfect for this skirt. Totally a match made in heaven – in more ways than one. I love this kind of denim because it really softens up with washing and wearing, and the faded/worn look is even better looking than when it’s new.

Sewing this denim was as easy as you’d think. The cotton content meant that it pressed really well, and my machine handled all the layers without any problems. I used normal polyester thread to piece the seams, and denim topstitching thread for all the topstitching. The fishing is a mixture of flat-felled and serged seams, same as what you’d see with jeans. I really enjoyed playing with all the topstitching on this skirt; it looks reeeeeally good against the denim!

Style 1559 denim skirt

Random sidenote, but I also made my top! That’s a Agnes top, which I actually sewed up AGES ago (like, as soon as it was released) but then realized that it was way too freakin’ hot to wear anything with sleeves like that so I stuck it into the drawer in anticipation of cooler months. The fabric is a thick cotton knit that I picked up in the Garment District.

Style 1559 denim skirt

The buttons really make this skirt! I used smooth copper buttons, to match the gold topstitching thread, which I bought from TaylorTailor. I actually bought 25 of the things (what? They’re cheap haha), so stay tuned for more denim fun stuffs! As a side note – did y’all know that Taylor and I actually live in the same city? True story! We finally met irl for the first time at Trader Joe’s a couple months ago. I promise I tried to keep my fangirling under control hahaha.

Style 1559 denim skirt

Style 1559 denim skirt

Again, with those pockets! Argh! I think the thing that bothers me the most about them is the topstitching – the top line of stitching is too far away from the edge, and it looks derpy. I thought it looked derpy as soon as I finished stitching the first line… and then, instead of unpicking it, I kept sewing. At this rate, I’m fairly confident that I’ll never actually fix it. I’ll just complain about it.

Style 1559 denim skirt

That’s all for now! I’m off tomorrow to Portland, Maine, for my long weekend sewing retreat at A Gathering of Stitches, which I am SO looking forward to! Four days of sewing and talking sewing and living and breathing sewing in beautiful New England? Pinch me. Talk about an awesome weekend! Anyway, I’ll be gone until next Wednesday, so this blog will be quiet until then. See y’all next week!


57 Responses to “Completed: The 70s Denim Skirt”

  1. Anonymous September 22, 2015 at 8:51 am #

    Lovely skirt! About the back pockets, I not only remember this style from the 90s but from the 70s! God I’m old! Anyway, this style always had pockets just like you’ve made and look just right to me. (That style often came in stone cotton drill or moss green cord as well)

    • LLADYBIRD October 2, 2015 at 10:59 am #

      Oh, moss green cord would be beautiful! Might have to make this pattern again 🙂

  2. Kyema Bialick September 22, 2015 at 10:27 am #

    I’ve been such a slacky commenter lately but I’ve continued to read! I don’t have anything interesting to say but I NEEDED to tell you – that picture of you with the hat looking over your shoulder is PERFECTION! You look so freaking adorable. ❤

    P.S. I purchased the Lady Skater and made it per recommendation of Lladybird and I'm in love. I'm actually wearing it as I type this. It's so comfortable I feel like I'm out of dress code at work and in secret jammies. 🙂

    • LLADYBIRD October 2, 2015 at 11:00 am #

      Aw, thank you! Although, let’s be honest here – the hat makes the picture adorable. That hat makes everything adorable, ha! 🙂

      Don’t you LOVE the Lady Skater?! Secret jammies indeed! That’s probably one of my top 10 patterns to ever sew, and I’m so happy to hear that you love it too! 😀

  3. Denise September 22, 2015 at 10:41 am #

    Eh, I see what you mean about the back pockets, but I think the cute factor of them overrides the derp factor. It’s a win 🙂

    • LLADYBIRD October 2, 2015 at 11:01 am #

      I’ll take that! 🙂 ha!

  4. SeeKatSew September 22, 2015 at 11:21 am #

    Well at least you can’t see the back pockets, out of site out of mind? They are not the focal point of the skirt, so I wouldn’t worry about them if they are really bothering you. The front pockets are amazing and the buttons are dreamy – the front is the focal point. I love that pattern, so cute. What a find.

    • LLADYBIRD October 2, 2015 at 11:02 am #

      Haha that’s about how I feel regarding the back of my hair – can’t see how bad it looks, don’t care 🙂 (which is why it’s only half-assed curled most of the time hahahah). So yeah, agree with you on the back pockets as well!

  5. Jane September 22, 2015 at 12:07 pm #

    It’s perfect. That’s all! x

  6. Lola September 22, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

    beep beep on my way to steal your pattern. american apparel had a skirt like that that i wanted but not in my size.. i’ll wear it with some nude lipstick and brown liner… ok bye

    • LLADYBIRD October 2, 2015 at 11:03 am #

      girl bye I will bring it with me to NYC and you can trace….? But only if you’re serious about the nude lipstick and brown liner. Pls.

  7. Frankie Carson September 22, 2015 at 12:45 pm #

    I love this and i don’t think your top stitching looks Derpy at all x

  8. thetelltaletasha September 22, 2015 at 1:06 pm #

    I really like this style of skirt too! Looks like something my mom would have handed down to me.

    about the pockets… maybe they’re a smidge too high?

    • LLADYBIRD October 2, 2015 at 11:04 am #

      Yeah, I think my mom probably had one of these too! Man, our moms were so cool 🙂

      I don’t think the pockets are too high, but now you’ve got me staring at my own butt and I can’t stop! Haha!

  9. Lynn Barnes September 22, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

    Looks just like what we were wearing in junior and high schools in the mid 1970s! Nice work.

    I think your back pockets look just delightful — I don’t think you can see them well from your vantage point. Unless you find that crowds of people are following you down the street, pointing at your derriere and laughing raucously, I’d ignore them and move on to something else.

    There was a lot that was good about 70s fashion! Decent fit, interesting seam lines, and design for all sorts of body types springs immediately to mind. What did us in was some of the yucky fabrics … all those polyester double-knits and Quiana seemed like a good idea, but they pilled and picked and retained body odors and never wore out. The “never wears out” feature sounds delightful, but you have to remember to ask for “does not pill or pick or retain body odors.” Otherwise the dream turns quickly to a nightmare, just as it did for the mythic character Tithonus. Eternal life without eternal youth and health … horrible.

    • LLADYBIRD October 2, 2015 at 11:06 am #

      I love the style lines of 70s fashion, but man, I am totally with you on the questionable fabric choices. I understand why people were excited about the concept of wash-and-dry and never wear out type stuff – but, yeesh! Summers must have been awful in the 70s, at least here in Nashville 🙂 You know it’s a bad thing when you can still smell the stank on the clothes a solid 40+ years after the fact! Thankfully, polyester is a bit better now these days 🙂 I still don’t relish wearing it, but at least it’s not the stank factory that it is used to be hahaha 🙂

  10. Alli September 22, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

    I don’t know what you’re talking about with the pocket topstitching — it looks perfect to me!

  11. Jo September 22, 2015 at 2:02 pm #

    Hooray! I love a good A-Line skirt! I blogged a button-front skirt pattern from the 70s recently (not the same style though) and I’ve been wearing it a lot! Yours looks great, and I don’t think the pockets look wrong at all, they’re certainly not making your butt look bad as you say, haha. Very cute skirt that I’m sure you’ll get a lot of wear out of! Your skills are amazing! 😀

    • LLADYBIRD October 2, 2015 at 11:10 am #

      Thanks, girl! I agree – yay for 70s a-line skirts! I remember yours and it was awesome!!

  12. Bella September 22, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

    I love this, it came out so well!! I am into the back pockets and I think you should leave them. I see what you mean about the top stitching but wouldn’t have noticed if you hadn’t shown a close up! I’m thinking of making a skirt like this using Marilla Walker’s Evan skirt pattern, it looks pretty similar to this. Although you have true 70s cred with the pattern from the era!

    • LLADYBIRD October 2, 2015 at 11:16 am #

      Ooh, the Evan looks like it’d be easy to hack!

  13. Mustavo September 22, 2015 at 5:10 pm #

    Nice work.
    Did you sew it with your hair? It is the same color.

    About the topstitching, Is that a usual problem for you?
    I am not sure about the process you chose for attaching them (I mean whether you attach them finished or with the top edge open).

    Anyway, here is how I did to overcome a similar problem:
    – The foot on my machine is about 1,5 cm (0.6 in) wide.
    – I start by sewing the lower one at 1cm (0.4 in) from the folded top edge.
    – Then use the lower topstitch as a guide. The outer edge of the foot will be just over or at the side of the lower stitch, so the upper stitch will be about 2mm (less than 0.1 in) from the top edge.

    Let me know if this help you or if those pockets were not a recurrent issue for you.
    I am trying to help but sometimes I feel that I can be a bit annoying.
    As I am really new to your blog, i am not certain about where you really need help.

    • LLADYBIRD October 2, 2015 at 11:18 am #

      Haha I didn’t, but now you know where I get my hair color inspiration from 🙂

      Thanks for the topstitching tip. I actually don’t have too much of an issue with the width on where I start stitching; my problem here is that I folded under too much of the pocket edge and that threw off my topstitching (since I like the bottom line to be sewn right at the folded edge, so there’s not a big flap on the inside… does that make sense?). What I need to do next time is narrow how much I fold under before I press it and go crazy with the topstitching. Oh well!

      And no, you’re not annoying at all. I always appreciate advice and constructive criticism, so thank you! 🙂

      • Mustavo October 6, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

        One thing a did is “lining” the pocket.
        I usually cut the pocket pattern twice – once on the denim, once on the lining. By lining I mean the same cotton fabric i’ve used on the front pockets.
        Then I sew both pieces a little larger than the width I’d like the bottom topstitch to be. I press once, folding the denim over the seam allowances. I press again, folding the denim again.
        So, I have the reinforced edge with four layers and the first stitch plus the seam allowances to guide the pressing. Then I do the topstitching (as described on the previous message) and the bottom one would be just over the initial stitch.
        The lining will be trimmed and willl serve as guide for the side/bottom folding. (sometimes I trim the side of the lining before the first stitching)
        The top corners are also trimmed and hammered – yes, beated with a hammer. (Do you use a hammer when you sew denim, don’t you?)
        I started doing this “lining” in order to reinforce the pocket – wallets and keys took its toll on the denim. It seems a convoluted process but after a while it became practical.

        p.s.: english is not my mother language, so let me know whether the comments were kurt or not clear enough.

  14. Reginasaurusrex September 22, 2015 at 6:18 pm #

    That is really cute. I picked up a vintage pattern, Simplicity 6778, a while back and it’s really similar. Now I’m super motivated to make it.

    • LLADYBIRD October 2, 2015 at 11:19 am #

      Oh, that one is super cute! Looks a bit more flared than mine, which I really like 🙂

  15. ellegeemakes September 22, 2015 at 7:04 pm #

    I’ve been wanting to make a seventies jean skirt just like yours!! I have the fabric but haven’t found the right pattern —on my way to shop yours now! What a timely post for me. :). Love your awesome skirt!!

    • LLADYBIRD October 2, 2015 at 11:19 am #

      Yay! Glad I could help you narrow down to the perfect pattern 😀

  16. Catherine September 22, 2015 at 8:26 pm #

    So awesome! i love that you added the belt loops! I made a corduroy version of this style of skirt from a normal mini skirt pattern but i just modified the front so it had an opening and added a facing and what not. I have so many 70s skirt patterns but none like this

    great job!

    • LLADYBIRD October 2, 2015 at 11:20 am #

      That’s what I was going to do with a modern pattern, although I’m happy I found one that didn’t require modifying(what can I say? I looove buying stuff haha). Thank you!

  17. Kerry September 23, 2015 at 3:19 am #

    I love it! Denim skirts with bog pockets are always a winner in my book. Coincidentally, a denim skirt with big pockets is on my To Sew list this Autumn (but a straighter style) and I also bought my pattern from that same awesome shop on Etsy!!

    • LLADYBIRD October 2, 2015 at 11:21 am #

      Awesome!! I can’t wait to see yours 😀

  18. Becky Thompson September 23, 2015 at 5:17 am #

    Well since I lived through the 70’s, and had (have) a skirt just that, I think the back pockets are perfect! In fact I would have gone a step further to make the top stitching with the curvy flying seagull though the center because we ONLY wore Levi’s 501’s…until Jordache came along that is. I love that skirt on you. God job.

    My poor skirt lays dormant due to an ass-expansion issue and the buttons pull across the front. Maybe I need to get with the program and make another. But with stretch…definitely.

    • LLADYBIRD October 2, 2015 at 11:22 am #

      I REALLY wanted to add some fancy topstitching to the pockets, but I don’t trust myself to make it look awesome just yet. Probably should start practicing that. Fun topstitching is my favorite thing about jeans!

  19. taylortailor September 23, 2015 at 9:17 am #

    Your skirt looks great, and I agree that the denim is the perfect color for this project. That’s a lot of buttons to install! Oh, and it was so nice to finally meet you irl!

    • LLADYBIRD October 2, 2015 at 11:23 am #

      Haha yeah, good thing I like using a hammer in the sewing room! 😀 yay for jeans buttons!

  20. Kelly September 23, 2015 at 10:33 am #

    Gorgeous skirt! And I like the hat! I was just thinking that I have a skirt at home that’s very similar (and I think used to be my mum’s, so is actually vintage), but now I think of it, I can’t remember seeing it in years, so maybe I don’t have it any more, which makes me sad! I’m not sure about the pockets, but that is possibly because the the one I have (or had) doesn’t have pockets. Either way, I don’t think they do your butt any harm, so down to whether you can be bothered to take them out I guess 😉

    • LLADYBIRD October 2, 2015 at 11:24 am #

      Oh, bummer! I hope you can find it, because legit vintage that it literally from your mom is the best kind of vintage 🙂

  21. Nina September 24, 2015 at 4:23 am #

    So cute!!! Back pockets and all, love it! 🙂

  22. Anonymous September 24, 2015 at 12:05 pm #

    Your sewing skills are amazing! What a gorgeous skirt!

  23. mertxelasierra September 26, 2015 at 5:14 pm #

    Hi Lauren!!!
    My old Alfa machine broke, and I am buying a Bernina!!!! Yessssss! I think I (like you) totally deserve it! I am in love with the Bernina 350… what can you say after almost three years of using it? would you buy it again? Is there any other machine you would like now…? Would you rather have bought the 330 or the 380??? Thank you!!!
    PS: Will you let me sit with you now??? 😉

    • LLADYBIRD October 2, 2015 at 11:28 am #

      Yay for new Berninas! You are going to love it! 😀 I’m going on 3 years with my machine and I couldn’t be happier with it 🙂 I would totally buy it again (although hopefully I’ll never need to, ha!). I only tested the 350, so I don’t have an opinion on the 330 or 380 as I’ve never sewn on them. The 350 included all the features that I require in a machine, as well as the walking foot. I’d say go to your local dealer and tell them what you need in a machine; they will let you test a few (bring fabric swatches if you want to see how it works on fabrics that you sew the most with; they should have scraps at the store, but probably not silks or knits or anything like that!) and you can decide from there 🙂

      And yeah, you an sit with me! Come on down, haha!

  24. VAnne Cook September 30, 2015 at 10:51 am #

    You always have such timely posts! Right on trend. Thanks for sharing all the sourcing info as well. Two thumbs up, Lauren!

    • LLADYBIRD October 2, 2015 at 11:28 am #

      Thank you! I’m glad you liked it 😀

  25. rhiannonbrum October 11, 2015 at 3:29 pm #

    Oh wow! That skirt’s fabulous! Very envious of it 🙂

  26. nettie October 17, 2015 at 8:55 am #

    This is so cute!!!!

  27. Kim May 7, 2021 at 2:39 pm #

    So what company is this style pattern because the link doesn’t work anymore.


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