Monday, April 22, 2013

Walk the Dog Skirt

In spring and summer, I hardly wear pants at all. It's skirts and dresses for me, as soon as the weather is warm enough for bare white legs. The best thing about jeans is pockets. The worst thing about skirts is having no pockets or, nearly as bad, unsatisfactory pockets. A cell phone in a side seam pocket in a full skirt is a dangling irritation, banging around with every step. So I wanted secure, slant pockets for this skirt, just like...New Look 6100, a shorts pattern. In theory I could make this pattern into a skirt, but in practice I felt confused by exactly how I should remove the crotch area and orient the grainlines.

Surely there exists a current pattern for this skirt style, but I dipped into the "archives" (a.k.a., the file drawer holding my dodgy recent-vintage thrift store patterns) to find this one. Simplicity 9825 offers "misses' slim and a-line skirts each in three lengths". To Simplicity's terse description, one could add that there are a contour yoke and center front and center back seams.

Searching on the pattern number reveals that this skirt was fairly popular before going out of print. A recent devotee, Sew Hopeful, sewed three versions and makes some excellent points about the virtues of this style.

When I layered the pattern pieces for the New Look and Simplicity patterns, it seemed likely that Simplicity (which owns New Look) had drafted the shorts pattern directly from a master pattern that also was the basis for 9825. The yoke and notches and everything matched perfectly. I cut out the line for the pocket on the skirt front piece and then used the pocket pieces from New Look 6100 without any changes.

For my short-waisted, round tummy-ed self, the contour yoke is about as good as it gets for fitting the waist and high hip area. As I mentioned in my review of Simplicity 2475, the contour treatment actually stays at my waist, without creeping, crawling or shifting. With an elastic waist, I usually find myself tugging at the garment to alleviate bunching at the back waist or the gradual assent of the waistband to higher territory. With a straight waistband, the skirt wants to migrate left and right over the course of the day. With a high waisted style, I can forget about sitting comfortably unless I fit the waistband loosely.

Aside from adding pockets, other minor alterations were to take off 3/8" at the top of the back skirt piece (swayback adjustment), to add 1" length at the center back (full seat) and to shorten the height of the contour yoke by 5/8" (which made it a similar proportion as the yoke for the shorts pattern). Otherwise it's a pretty standard size 12.

FabricMart Fabrics had the most amazing sale a week or so ago and I couldn't say no to some of their incredible clearance prices. This charcoal ponte knit is one of those purchases. This skirt only required one yard of 60" wide fabric ($2.40/yard during this sale!) and one 9" invisible zipper (on hand from a previous FabricMart bundle purchase, and probably cost about $1), so it was quite economical indeed. As you would guess, the slight stretch of the ponte makes it a very comfortable bottom-weight fabric to wear.

Now when it's time to walk the dog, I won't need to stuff my cell phone into my waistband or, worse, my bra. I won't have to juggle the plastic bags for poop with holding the leash. I won't have to tug at my skirt to put it back into place. And, thankfully, I won't have to wear pants. Trouble is, I need about five more of these skirts, and I must get cracking on some non-sewing projects (the garden is calling).


  1. Another great skirt. Topstitching on a knit - you are brave!

  2. That's a great skirt! The pockets will be so useful :)

  3. I like the topstitching on the oversized pocket, it's a clever solution to clanging pockets disguised as a design feature. This is why we sew!