Pencil Skirt Challenge

By Tiffany - Monday, July 01, 2013

I've finished my latest sewing challenge from my sewing group Stitch Once, Rip Twice. The challenge was to make a pencil skirt by July 1st.

With my travelling to England and having family over, I didn't have time or much money to make a pencil skirt from scratch. Instead I bought two skirts and turned them into pencil skirts. I hope that these two skirts that I half worked on will count as having completed the challenge (1/2 + 1/2 = 1

I picked up two skirts from a local used store. I was able to find two wool skirts that were made in Canada for only a dollar each. Score! They both fit me in the waist, but had a lot of extra fabric in other places.

The first skirt is a good quality, vintage pencil skirt.


It didn't need much work to turn this navy blue wool skirt into a pencil skirt that fit me. All it needed was to bring the hips in a little (funny enough, I discovered I wasn't the first to do this alteration to the skirt - another woman had done the exact same thing before me).


Here is the skirt after the alteration and with a nice top and belt.

I tried a couple of different tops to see what looked best. Because I have a bit of a swayback and a small chest, the skirt definitely looks better from the front than the sides. But, the bright belt helps give me a waist.

After v.2

I wasn't sure pencil skirts were for me, but after trying on a pencil skirt that actually fits me, I think I might actually start wearing them.

The second skirt needed a lot more work. It is not as good quality, even though it is wool. And it started out as a large maxi skirt.


It wasn't very flattering. I'm not even sure if such a skirt was ever in fashion. Maybe it was in the 90's - people wore a lot of bad fitting clothes then.

For this skirt, I needed to bring in the hips and shorten the hem. On the plus side, I now have extra wool fabric for making a tailor's ham.


At first, I brought in the hips too much and then it made my swayback look worse. It seemed as if I was sticking my gut out! I let the hips back out a little bit and it now looks ok. I don't like the grey skirt as much as the blue one, but I think it gets a pass. It would probably look better if I wore a belt with it, as well.

Sadly, it is now way too hot to wear these skirts. Yesterday, I was sweating while trying to sew by hand - it's so much harder to hold a needle with swollen, sweaty fingers! Today is supposed to be 38'C outside (about 99'F). Too hot for wool! But, they will be ready for later on in the summer.

I only spent $2 on materials, so I definitely recommend other sewers should check out the used stores for skirts that can be made into pencil skirts.

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  1. Great refashioning/tailoring to make the pencil skirts! So funny that the first one was also altered. And too bad that it's too hot to wear them! They look great on you so hopefully it will cool down soon. :-)

    1. Thanks Kristin! I hope it cools down a bit soon - my sewing room is too hot for me to sew in at the moment. :(

  2. Great tailorings indeed, I love to recycle materials from old clothes, it gives you better fabrics for a bit of the price of new fabrics by the yard!!!
    I still have to post mine, but I'll do that soon, I promise!

  3. Both are great! The second one changed so dramatically, it definitely changed from pilgrim woman to Joan Holloway. I think the styling of the first one is right on target with the red belt. Perfect!

    1. 'pilgrim woman' - you are so right! That's what it makes me think of. haha Thanks Diane!