Vintage Pencil Skirt

Skirt Back
Skirt Front
This pencil skirt features a shaped waistband, front welt pockets, center back pleating, darts and an all purpose zipper inserted within the pleating.  The sample skirt is made of 97% cotton 3% lycra which is a stretch woven fabric.  The interfacing is 60" wide fusi-knit. Purchase Burda 7252 if you would like to sew this skirt.

Steps 1 through 3:  Cut, interface and mark garment pieces:
Skirt Front, corners interfaced, circles marked as x (cut one on a fold)
Skirt Back, darts and pleats marked with tracing paper on wrong side (cut two)
Hip yokes and pockets (cut two of each); pockets cut out of a lighter weight cotton to reduce bulk
Zipper facing; cut, interface and mark one
Pleat Underlay; cut and mark one
Welts and Waistband
Note that I fused the interfacing to the fashion fabric prior to cutting out the welts and waistband.  This makes for a more accurate shape.  Fuse, cut and mark two welts.  You need two waistbands, one interfaced and one not interfaced.  To determine which waistband to fuse, lay the pattern right side up on the fashion fabric right side; this is the outer waistband which needs interfacing.

The lining pieces won't be shown until we construct the lining.

Step 4: Baste welts wrong sides together.
 Pin welts to Skirt Front.  Pin pocket over welt.  Step 6 stitch between inner circle and side seam.
Step 7clip to circle
Step 8 Turn pocket to inside and turn welt up.
Step 9 Baste on pocket placement lines so they are visible on right side of Skirt Front.
Lay Skirt Front on Hip Yoke matching placement lines.  Slide welt in slightly.  Baste.
Step 10 Stitch front seam, then continue stitching pocket edges together. 

Step 11 Baste pocket to side edge of Skirt Front
Step 12 Stitch Slit Facing to Pleat Underlay 1/8" either side of slash mark with short stitches.

 Cut down center of Slit Facing and to corners.
 Press facing to inside.
Step 13 Hand baste or pin zipper under slit edges.  Machine stitch zipper in place.
Step 14 Baste down center back.
 Press along marked pleat line.
 Step 15 Press open center back basting.
 Press each pleat so pleat fold meets basted center seam.

Step 16 Pin underlay in place.  Machine stitch side edges together.  The outermost pleat layer stays free.  This is the view from inside.
Three thread over lock the raw edges if desired.
Step 17 Stitch darts in Skirt Backs.  To avoid cups at the dart points, begin stitching at waist edge and stitch down dart leg, making sure last 1/2" of stitching is along dart fold.  Stitch off, place three or four stitches along fold 1" above dart point, then cut thread.  Press darts to center back.
Step 18 Remove basting on center back pleat.  Pin inner folds to zipper edges and machine stitch in place.
Lay outermost pleats closed along center back and baste to upper edge of skirt.

Step 19 Stitch side seams.  Press both layers to back.  Three thread over lock if desired.
side seam near front pocket
Step 20 Press 2" hem allowance to inside.  Over lock raw edges.  Blind stitch by hand or machine the hem in place.  The machine blind hem stitch is very fast to do and the stitches are invisible on dark fabrics.  Press.
2" hem allowance at side seam
Step 21 Stitch darts in front and back lining panels.  I pressed them to the sides rather than the centers to balance bulk.  I also three thread over locked the center back edges.
Stitch the center back seam between the two notches.  If you lay the back lining into the skirt, you can check the zipper length.  If your zipper is longer than the lining opening, create a new notch lower.  In this photo my stitching begins 1/2" below the original notch.  Press center back seam open.
Stitch lining side seams as french seams.  First lay front and back wrong sides together.  Stitch a 1/4" seam.  Press seam allowance to front (balancing bulk so they are not pressed to back).  Trim to 1/8".
Turn lining so wrong side is out.  Pin side edges and stitch in a 1/4" seam.  Press to front.
Steps 23 and 24  Lay lining in skirt, wrong sides together.  Sew lining to zipper tape by hand.  Baste upper edges together.  Stitch interfaced waistband to skirt, right sides together,aligning center back markings.  Press allowances toward waistband.
Here is a view of the lining in the completed skirt
 Step 25 Pin waistband facing (not interfaced) to skirt right sides together.  Stitch.  Under stitch.  

Grade seam allowances with longer allowances to outside, shorter ones closest to body.
Step 26 Turn waistband right side out.  I fold the corners rather than trim them.
Turn raw edge of waistband facing under neatly.  Pin in place.
Stitch in ditch on right side to secure lower edge of waistband facing.  The machine stitches best when the presser foot is level, so balance bulk with a fabric scrap or tool (yellow plastic piece).
Step 27 Stitch buttonhole on left back edge of waistband.  Use a buttonhole cutter, if available, to open buttonhole. 
Sew button to right back edge of waistband.

Step 28 Press lining hem allowance to inside so lining is approximately 3/4" shorter than finished length of skirt.  Trim to 3/4".  Fold hem allowance in half, pin, and stitch in place.
Step 28 Give garment a final press.  Make the skirt a second time now and your sewing time will likely be cut in half!


  1. Hi Ann, I am writing a review of this Burda pattern on Sewing Pattern Review and used your blog as a reference. Is that ok with you?


  2. Thank you so much for the detailed post on how to make this skirt. Lovely to see a "Master" at work.

  3. I know you posted this a while ago but it's great

  4. Thank you for this much-needed post. I am late to the party but you have given me the courage to attempt this challenge. I have a "thick" waist and wonder what the look will be on me.