Pencil Skirt, First Class: Fit, Ease, Alterations

I’ve been working at Nancy’s for a long time. I’ve seen a lot of talented people and their work: our customers, my co-workers, and guest teachers (Candace Kling). I feel so fortunate to be able to appreciate and learn from everybody who has been a part of Nancy’s Sewing Basket.

But I’ll tell you the one thing that has really intrigued me lately after FORTY YEARS (plus!) of sewing…  assisting at our regular teacher Jacque Goldsmith’s classes. I realized after listening in on even the ABC (Absolute Beginning Construction) that there was plenty to learn and think about in the sewing world. Jacque leaves no stone unturned, sharing all kinds of tips and knowledge about how it all works.


And that is why I jumped at the chance to take her pencil skirt class. For advanced sewers, it sounds simple, right? I learned it is so much more than that. And I do know from experience sometimes the hardest thing to fit perfectly is the simplest thing. There are fewer places to hide tweaks!

In the first class, we learned about the pitch and tilt of each individual figure as well as the standard for ease in a slim-fitting skirt. I found it interesting to be reminded that everyone’s idea of ease might be different and it’s what we’re comfortable with.

We got to try on different skirts (Jacque has sewn up all of the sizes, with the hipline marked) and she tweaked each individual fit down to the sixteenth! Maybe even the 32nd, if I could be that accurate. She also measured us thoroughly and we came away with a clear record to keep for reference.


Then she helped us translate our individual changes onto our skirt pattern, which is provided for with the class. Note, I thought it was really nice that she has all of the tools (rulers, hip curves, etc.) just at the ready for the students to use. And there are never more than four students in Jacque’s classes so it is very hands on, ask as you go.


I haven’t decided on what fabric I will use, but I have been collecting wool remnants for a long time with the intention of making pencil skirts for work! The most fun I had in class was looking at Jacque’s fifteen (!) perfectly finished pencil skirt samples….all one pattern, but all with different fabric, waistbands, vents, lengths……VERY inspirational. In the next two classes we will learn about all of those finishes and work on samples in class. Jacque said we could sew along at home on our real skirt but that no one needed to feel pressure….How nice is that?


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