Tag Archives: pencil skirt

Completed: Pulmu Skirt Kit from Needle Sharp

15 Dec

Y’all, I love a good kit. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I just want to reiterate in case you didn’t hear me the first time – I LOVE KITS. Something about having everything already picked + sorted, then corralled in its own little box just pleases me to no end.

So, today, I have another kit to show you. Or, rather, the results of a project from a kit.

Pulmu Skirt with Needle Sharp

A few months ago, I was contacted by Mary of Needle Sharp, who wanted to send me one of her kits to try out in exchange for some honest feedback. Now, if there is one thing I love more than kits, it’s sharing my opinion! Needle Sharp is a new company that provides sewing subscription boxes. There are 3 different levels to choose from – the Lightweight, the Mediumweight, and the Heavyweight (plus a Starter Box if you literally don’t have the tools), with 3 fabric options to choose from each category. Each month focuses on a theme – this month it’s pencil skirts, last month was wiggle dresses – and the boxes include everything you need to make the project, including pattern, fabric, interfacings and stabilizers, thread, notions, even machine needles. All you need to supply is the sewing machine and any tools (such as scissors, pins, chalk, etc).

I was given several box options to choose from (including upcoming months that haven’t been announced yet!), and I went with the mediumweight pencil skirt box. I chose the rock’n’roll option – black polyester suiting, black pleather triangle inserts. Let me say this is a DEFINITE departure from my style (minus the black part) – I haven’t worn a pencil skirt in ages, and this one is long enough that it requires wearing heels or else it looks stupid – but I’m pretty into it!

I took some photos of the box before I tore into it, so here’s that:

Needle Sharp box

The box arrived on my doorstep with the logo clearly visible, so I knew exactly what was waiting for me (rather than it being a nondescript box that I ripped open with glee to realize it was just a bunch of Amazon books that my upstairs neighbor had ordered, ugh I’m still mad about that lol).

Needle Sharp tissue

Needle Sharp contents

Everything was beautifully packaged, it looked like a present when I opened it. I didn’t take a picture of all the included stuff (well, I did, but it was a dumb and useless-looking picture so I deleted it), but my box contained the sewing pattern, suiting fabric, lining fabric, pleather, interfacing, 2 D rings, an invisible zipper, a spool of black thread, 2 sewing machine needles (80/12 and a leather needle – both clearly marked on a small card), and CANDY. TBH, the candy might have been the best part. I am always so tickled when I get surprise candy.

Needle Sharp fabric care

Another thing included in the box were cards for each piece of fabric, with yardage, content, and care instructions. I really appreciated this, since this information is rarely included with online fabric orders.

While I’m generally not a fan of polyester, the contents of this box were definitely a very high quality. It didn’t feel plastic-y like some polys, and in general the fabrics were easy to work with and handle. That lining shed all over the place like a bitch (a month later, I am still finding surprise tufts around my studio), but charmeuse has a tendency to do that regardless of whether it’s silk or poly. I especially loved the faux leather! It is a SUPER nice quality and actually looks like leather (as opposed to plastic, like a lot of the faux leathers I’ve seen). It is backed with a knit rayon, so it’s super easy to sew and doesn’t require a special foot (I did use the included leather needle). I received more fabric than I needed (each kit comes with enough fabric to make any of the sizes in the pattern), so I have tons to play with and put toward future projects. Pretty stoked about that!

Pulmu Skirt with Needle Sharp

So, now, let’s talk about the pattern – the Pulmu skir from Named Clothing. This was the pattern that was included in my box. As I’ve mentioned, a high-waisted pencil skirt really isn’t the kind of thing I wear these days, but I’m willing to branch out. I loved the way this one looks and I loved the idea of putting a cool fabric in those triangle inserts. This pattern is definitely a neat twist on an otherwise plain pencil skirt, and I’m totally into that.

With that being said, I feel like Named Patterns can be a little hit or miss. Some of the designs are cool (some of the designs leave me scratching my head. Sorry. I’m not a cool person.), the drafting is great and the pieces fit together well. The instructions make me want to SCREAM. Key steps are left out, additional wtf steps are included (like serging all the seam allowances – on a *closed* lined skirt. Really, dude?), but tbh I’m mostly mad because this pattern didn’t include any lengthen/shorten lines. Who does that?? And why??? So, that agitated me. Minor complaint, but frustrating nonetheless.

I knew this skirt was going to be long – the instructions state that the pattern is drafted for someone who is 5’8″ and to shorten if needed (again, then why the HELL would you not include lengthen/shorten lines, like, seriously dude), and I am more like 5’2″! The skirt is intended to hit calf length, and I was tempted to make it way shorter than that but decided to embrace that whole “wearing clothes out of my style comfort zone” and stick with the longer demure length. It does look cool, but the downside is that I have to wear heels or else I look frumpy. The upside is, I finally have something to wear these turquoise Jimmy Choos with, ha!

Pulmu Skirt with Needle Sharp

Pulmu Skirt with Needle Sharp

I mean, seriously, look at how fucking cool those shoes are.

In case you were curious, they are as uncomfortable as they look. I actually bought some new insoles to try out on these shoes and they have kind of changed my life – the Vivian Lou Insolia insoles, seriously amazing. My problem with heels is that all my weight gets pushed to my toes, and it gets incredibly painful really really fast (I took these photos before I tried the insoles and just the time it took to get pictures, my feet were screaming). These insoles redistribute the weight so your heel takes a lot of it, which makes the shoes easier to wear. I’m not delusional and I’m not going to tell you that these feel like sneakers now – but I can wear them and walk around and it’s way more tolerable. They are expensive for insoles – like $30! – but they have a money-back guarantee, so you’re not stuck with them if they suck. I’m pretty happy with this discovery!

And, in case you were wondering why I own a pair of designer shoes that I couldn’t even wear – my boss gave them to me (she never wore them either). I do not normally buy $1,000 shoes just for the hell of it 😛

Ok, moving on!

Pulmu Skirt with Needle Sharp

Pulmu Skirt with Needle Sharp_4662

Based on my measurements, I’m a size 34 at the hip and between a 34/36 at the waist. I cut my skirt pattern between the 34/36 lines at the waist, grading down to a 34 at the hip to the hem. I also shortened the skirt by 2″ – which took a little problem solving on my end, as the skirt is pegged at the hem and has that triangular insert to contend with. What I ended up doing was shortening the skirt 1″ in two different places, which I think worked quite well. In addition to the pegged hem, the skirt has 2 side slits and an encased lining (it doesn’t hang free; it’s attached at the hem), so I wouldn’t be able to shorten the skirt after assembling it. Figuring out which 2 places to shorten was part of the challenge, but I ultimately went with around the hip area (which, strangely, is marked on the pattern), as well as a couple inches above the slits.

The waist fits great, but the hips could have stood to go up a size- as you can see, there are drag lines all over my butt. I’m not terribly concerned about it – the 3/8″ seam allowance means there’s not much room for fit adjustments, so I’m just gonna deal with what I was given here – but I’m certainly aware of it. Like I said, I cut my size based on my measurements, so I’m not sure if the finished hip is tighter due to my fabrics or an error in the sizing. The fabric recommendations on the pattern aren’t exactly helpful – they just say get fabric with “up to 5% stretch.” Oh, ok. To be fair, my leather inserts are stretch – but the lining isn’t, so it negates that. At any rate, I’m not concerned about it so whatever!

Pulmu Skirt with Needle Sharp

Pulmu Skirt with Needle Sharp

The poly + leather in this skirt pressed surprisingly well (I used medium heat, a presscloth, and a clapper to hold the heat in until it cooled), but I added a bunch of topstitching to get a really sharp edge. I topstitched all the darts, as well as the inserts, and I love the way it looks.

Pulmu Skirt with Needle Sharp

The skirt features a self-fabric facing to keep the top lining from peeking out, and the back closes with an invisible zipper.

Pulmu Skirt with Needle Sharp

The “vents” are actually just slits. I love the look of them but be aware they are not faced like a true vent – so your lining fabric will show. This was my one complaint about the kit is the color of that lining fabric. I know that people love a contrasty lining, but I generally stick with neutrals, especially in a black skirt that is going to show the lining. Based on my feedback, the kits now have the option to choose your lining color (you can get plain black and be boring like me, or a fun contrast if that’s what you like!).

Pulmu Skirt with Needle Sharp

One thing I added was a small bartack at the bottom of the slit, to reinforce it from tearing. BTW, the slit instructions are… interesting. It’s not my cleanest work, but it’ll do.

Pulmu Skirt with Needle Sharp

Pulmu Skirt with Needle Sharp

The skirt includes belt loops and a self-fabric belt that closes with D rings. I don’t know why I love that part so much, but I do. I’ve actually found other ways to wear the belt with different garments, so that’s a bonus!

Pulmu Skirt with Needle Sharp

I think that’s all the word vomit I have to say about this project! In short: the kit was great, and especially awesome for getting me to branch out a little, style-wise. If you are making this skirt (whether with a Needle Sharp kit or just because you own the pattern), I recommend sizing up at the hips, or using a fabric with some stretch (and making sure your lining stretches as well). And also check that length, because once you’ve sewn up the skirt you can’t exactly shorten it!

Oh, one last thing! If you want to try a box with Needle Sharp – use the code HOLIDAY10 to receive 10% off any box! This promo is good through 12/24/17.

** Note: All the supplies used to make this skirt were provided to me as a free kit from Needle Sharp, in exchange for my honest feedback. I was not required to post about this project, I just wanted to!

Advertisements

Completed: My Easter Outfit

12 Apr

Remember that wool crepe I bought while I was in NYC? Remember how I was afraid it was going to be too winter-y for a climate that’s already rapidly approaching summer weather?

WELL, CHECK THIS SHIT OUT:

Easter Outfit

I made me a fancy lady flouncy pencil skirt! Totally banking on Carolyn’s reassurance that wool is a lovely fabric to wear during the summer, I decided to test that theory by making it into a skirt. I really wanted a whole ladysuit – or even a dress – but unfortunately, this kind of saturated yellow doesn’t do favors for my coloring. I went with a skirt so there would be plenty of space between my face and the yellow.

Easter Outfit

I felt pretty silly making a wool pencil skirt just as we’re creeping into 75* days – I mean, I’ve always thought of wool as a winter fabric (and I’d guess that a lot of people feel the same way). The best coats are wool – why would I wear wool in the summer heat? Isn’t that just asking for a sweaty disaster?

Easter Outfit

So here’s my little wool crepe pencil skirt for spring – in the kind of bright yellow that would almost be embarrassing if it wasn’t so awesome. But sit back down for a spell, there’s a lil’ surprise in the back…

Easter Outfit

… a circular flounce insert! I call it a party in the back, Landon calls it my tail. Either way, it’s a fun little addition to jazz up an otherwise plain pencil skirt (well, as plain as a *bright yellow* wool crepe pencil skirt can be, I suppose!).

Easter Outfit

This pattern is Vogue 8317, which I received during a sewing swap (also while I was in New York – thanks, Oona!). Just based on the envelope art, the pattern is a bit dated looking (I originally thought it was from the earlyl 90s, but the copyright date is 2006 wut), but the line art showed promise. I made a 10, although I probably should have done a smaller size as I needed to take in quite a bit at the waist. I also shortened the skirt by about 2″ before cutting into my crepe.

Easter Outfit

Easter Outfit

Easter Outfit

Easter Outfit

The skirt is fully lined with Bemberg Rayon. I originally wanted a bright yellow like the crepe, but there wasn’t any in the store when I was there (nor was there any white – at least not in rayon!), so I ended up getting a light peach that is very close to my skin tone. Surprisingly, it picks up quite a bit of the hue of the wool and almost looks like the exact yellow I was trying to obtain. Love it when that happens!

Easter Outfit

Easter Outfit

I also made my bow-neck blouse, using polka dot cotton batiste (from Mood, of course) and Simplicity 4676, a vintage pattern. The batiste is quite sheer, so I underlined the body with white batiste. I love this stuff – it’s incredibly soft and lightweight, and the black and white pin dots go with EVERYTHING. Seriously. I will probably end up wearing this top all summer, it’s so good!

Easter Outfit

Easter Outfit

Easter Outfit

I made this outfit to wear for Easter dinner with my family, but I can definitely see myself wearing it all throughout summer, as well as pairing up the individual pieces with different tops and bottoms. Oh, and to answer my own question at the beginning of the post- wool crepe gets two thumbs up from me when it comes to summer wear. Just make sure you pair it with a lightweight, breathable lining, and you can wear this amazing fabric year-round.

Easter Outfit

Do I sound like an advertisement, yet? 🙂 WOOLCREPEWOOLCREPEWOOLCREPE

Completed: The Charlotte Skirt

21 Jan

I always keep an on-going list of wardrobe staples (Cake, if you will) that I would like to get my sew on with. Knit dresses, a lightweight denim skirt, that cycling jacket, red straight-leg trousers (Sunni, I love you but I REALLY love your pants and I’m going to copy you aaand I hope that’s ok!), white tshirts… to name a few. One of the pieces that’s been on the list for the very longest was a red pencil skirt. I dunno why I’ve put this off for so long – red is basically a neutral as far as I’m concerned, and my wardrobe is quite lacking in pencil skirts these days. Sewing boring clothes can be, well, boring – but ain’t nothing boring about a handmade staple that gets the hell worn out of it all the time, amirite.

Charlotte Skirt
I did finally make that red pencil skirt, though.

CIMG0035
This is the Charlotte skirt I was telling y’all about last week. It’s generously sized through the hips, so those of us whose hips don’t lie can still rock our pencil skirts with minimal size futzing and fretting. It’s like, living the dream. Oh yeah.

Charlotte Skirt
I went with the plain jane, no frills view as I really just wanted a plain ol’ red pencil skirt. I based my sizing experience off the Elisalex dress and cut a 6/10, which ended up being quite a bit too big and needed some shaving down the sides. Now that I’m looking at the pictures, I might need to adjust the darts for future skirts are there is definitely some slack chilling at the front. DAMMIT. It really doesn’t look that obvious in real life.

CIMG0044
This is a very simple pattern to construct – there are only 3 pieces! I did make a few changes – shortened the hem by several inches (I think around 4″? Ladies, watch your petite selves – this skirt is long!), added a 4″ slit for walkability, and dropped in a full lining. Adding the lining was SUPER easy, by the way – I just cut out an extra front and back piece from the lining, sewed the darts and side seams as normal, and then dropped it in the shell of the skirt before attaching the waistband. As the skirt is wool (from the flea market, yeah!), it’s limited to winter wear which means tights – which means lining is a necessity.

Charlotte Skirt
I did have a little snafu with the sizing, once I put the waistband in. And by “little snafu,” I mean the skirt was too damn small and it measured out to like 2″ smaller than my actual waist measurement. WTF?! Fortunately, my zipper had giant seam allowances just hiding beneath the lining – as well as the waistband having a nice generous overlap for snaps – so 15 minutes of quality time with my seam ripper meant the skirt was saved. !!!

Charlotte Skirt
It does have a nice rear view.
Shit, I hope I don’t attract the Flickr weirdos with this picture.

Charlotte Skirt
It seems I have run out of things to say. Here is an artsy photograph for your consideration.

What’s on your staples-to-sew list?