A review of Blueprints for Sewing A-Frame Skirt
“A skirt with triangular panels and pockets in a fitted pencil or swingy a-line shape.” (from pattern description) My words: This is a skirt pattern with two versions – pencil and a-line, with many color-blocking opportunities and nice front pockets. Don’t be put off by the unique drawing on the front of the pattern. Look at the line drawings of the skirts on Blueprints for Sewing’s site and you’ll see what a lovely design this is. I bought the paper pattern. It’s also available as a PDF. There’s a center-back zipper. I used an invisible zipper. You can also use a regular zip. The pencil skirt has a back vent.
From A (26-inch waist/35-inch hips) up to J (40-inch waist/49-inch hips). I cut size F (32.5 inches, 33 inches finished) for the waist and graded up to size G (43 inches) in the hips. The waist was a little loose.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.
The designer provides nice instructions on making alterations if you are different sizes at the waist and hip. She tells you exactly which pattern pieces you’ll need to make adjustments to and where to make the changes. This was a relief because I wasn’t sure how I would make the alterations because the front and back each have 4 to 5 pattern pieces. Read the instructions before you start sewing – it will save you time. I delayed sewing this skirt because I knew I’d have to grade up in the hips and I wasn’t looking forward to figuring that out. But Blueprints for Sewing does that for you! [Note: for Version 1, step 14, I think the drawing might be showing the wrong side of the side-back pattern piece to attach to the center back piece. But if you just match your notches you’ll be fine.]
Pattern (paper version)
The paper pattern is printed on bond paper so it was easy to trace. It’s also available via PDF. The instructions were easy to follow and the design allows for plenty of creativity when it comes to choosing fabrics.
Medium weight denim with a touch of lycra. I used both sides of this fabric. This fabric is a little stiff. I prewashed it but I’m not really certain of its fiber content. It was an unlabeled remnant from a discount fabric stores. I also used cotton voile for the pocket lining – leftover fabric from a dress I made. Note: Because the fabric is stiff, it doesn’t quite lay flat across my belly – or maybe I need to take in the fabric there slightly – less than 3/8 inch or 1 cm. Warning: If you use a heavy fabric, your back vent will be really thick and may not lay flat. Instead of hemming by folding up the bottom twice per the instructions, you might want to shorten the skirt before you cut your fabric and use hem tape instead.
Pattern alterations/design changes
I made version 1, the pencil skirt in size F (32.5-inch waist/41.5-inch hips) but graded up a size in the hips to size G (43 inches). The pattern provides finished measurements (yay) so be sure to look at them before you decide which size to cut. Based on these measurements, for my muslin I actually cut size E (31 inch waist) and graded up in the hips to size F but it was too snug. I needed more ease so I just went up a size. Otherwise I sewed the skirt as is. If I make the pencil skirt again, I will make the waist slightly smaller at the very top of the waistband (small gap there) and I would shorten it a little. Because I was sewing denim, I decided to add top stitching to the top of the pocket opening and along the center front and center back panels.
Would you sew it again?
Yes, I would sew it again. This is the first pencil skirt I’ve made for myself. I usually make a-line skirts and avoid pencil skirts. I definitely want to make the a-line version.
Conclusion: This skirt can be a great stash buster. Just think of all the color blocking you could do with it! It also works with just one color or print.
If you want to see more photos of this skirt, see my blog post here: http://csews.com/skirts/blueprints-for-sewing-a-frame-skirt-2
I also wrote a blog post with construction details here:http://csews.com/skirts/a-frame-pencil-skirt-construction.