Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Boucle Skirt ~ and ~ The Threads Magazine "Easy to Alter Waistline" Lined Skirt Technique

The boucle skirt is finished, and I am very happy with the result.  Below I will discuss the pattern and changes I made along with the construction technique found in Threads Issue No. 157/Nov. 2011 on page 62.

Pattern:  New Look 6345

Fabric:  Boucle remnant of unknown content, underlined with Pro Woven Fusible interfacing.  Bemberg Ambiance lining fabric in black.

Fashion fabric and lining.
Thread: Sulky 100% Viscose with silk finish in black.   This thread has a silky feel but has good tensile strength.  I liked sewing with it, both on the regular machine and hand sewing.  Poly serger thread was used for edge finishes.

Notions:  9 in. black invisible zipper and a hook and eye, lace hem tape.

Pattern changes/alterations:  This pattern has several skirt views, all with yokes.  I did not want a yoke on this skirt so left it off; plus the technique I was examining works best on simple pencil style skirts with no yoke. Since I was omitting the yoke, I had to refit the skirt to sit a little higher, slightly below the waist where it is comfortable for me.  I also had to add length.  These are simple changes, and I've made this skirt this way before, so I knew it fit.  I just cut generous 1" seam allowances to allow for fit tweaks.  Darts were necessary for a good fit; I place 2 in back and 2 in front. I also pegged the side seams slightly for the bottom 10" of the skirt.  I did not follow the pattern instructions, as I was using the Threads technique.  The pattern does not include lining, but I included one.

Construction order: 
1)  After cutting out the 3 skirt pieces (1 front, 2 back) in both fashion fabric (ff) and lining, I marked all the darts, making sure to place the marks in the same place on both the ff and lining.
2)  Stay stitched across top of all skirt and lining pieces, ss'd down sides for 9" also.
3)  Next I installed the invisible zipper, then sewed up the back center seam, and sewed the cb seam on the lining, leaving an opening for the zipper.
4)  Then I sewed the front ff panel to the lining front panel, right sides together. Next pressed & trimmed seam allowance to 1/4", pressed sa toward lining and understitched.  Repeated to back panel.
5)  Next the darts were sewn in one fell swoop.  I just pinned my darts in place on the ff and lining - they are continuous because of the way the ff and lining were put together in step 4.  The article gives the option of starting in the center and sewing out each dart to the end, but I started at one point and ended at the opposite point with good results.  I would use whatever dart sewing method you're comfortable with.  Darts were pressed to center.
6)  Almost done!  The front and back pieces were pinned with right sides together, ff to ff and lining to lining, so you have two long pieces, one on top of the other.  Here you have to be careful to match up the seamline where the ff is sewn to the lining, and pin well to avoid mismatched seams.  The side seams were sewn up, starting with the ff end and finishing with the lining end.
7)  At this point I finished all my raw edges on the serger.  This can certainly be done earlier, and in future iterations I will likely do so.  To hem the lining fabric, I simply used a 3 thread rolled hem on the serger.  I left extra thread tails on the two side seams and the center back seam to use in attaching the lining to the ff seams.
8)  I hand stitched the lining to the zipper tape. You could do this by machine if preferred. I added a hook & eye above the zipper.
8)  Lastly, the skirt is hemmed by your preferred method.  I used black lace hem tape.
Front skirt panel sewn to front lining panel.

Back skirt with zipper, attached to lining. Note lining opening for zipper.

Skirt front attached to lining front, sa trimmed, pressed up and understitched to lining.

Ready to sew up side seams.
Darts and side seams sewn.

Oops!  Too big... Took up more in rear darts.

Hem finishes on lining and skirt.

Skirt unzipped, showing lining with dart lines.

Side view.

Full front view. I like my skirts mid-knee.
Thoughts on the Threads Technique:
I really like this technique and will use it over and over, whenever I make a pencil skirt.  The idea behind this technique is to make future alterations easier.  I think most women fluctuate in weight and waist girth a fair amount through the years, with hormonal changes, pregnancy, etc.  This technique definitely makes it easy to alter the fit.  If you leave generous seam allowances in place at the ff and lining side seams, you could also let the skirt out quite easily if necessary.  I found the technique to be quick and easy overall.

What I Would Change/Add for Next Time:
As far as the technique is concerned, I would keep it as is.  I would, depending on the fabric used, consider adding a twill tape or grosgrain ribbon at the top of the ff, in the seam.  This is something I do on occasion to prevent stretching.  Stay stitching helps also.  This time I did not add tape or ribbon, for fear it would make the seam too bulky.  Additionally, the ff was fused to woven interfacing, which should help with the stretch factor.  Speaking of the interfacing, all I had was white in the appropriate weight/type.  I would have preferred black, but with the skirt being lined, it's not a big deal.

On the Skirt Pattern and My Fit:
This pattern is a good basic, versatile skirt pattern that has been reviewed many times on Pattern Review.  I have used it before and will use it again.  I feel that I achieved a good fit, however, I may go back and add a couple more small darts in the front.  Initially, I grossly underestimated the dart uptake, and had to go back and increase my back waist dart's size.  It is ever so slightly loose at the front waist, but I want to wear it for a day and see how it feels and wears before I add another dart.  The last time I made this skirt, it was from a really nice stretch twill, which is a more forgiving fabric, and I used 2 sets of small front darts.  I left out the second set of small front darts on this skirt, which as I said, is subject to change. You can see in the side view above a slight pouf at the lower abdomen because it is slightly slipping down at the waist.  This may be a temporary issue as a result of just being sick with the flu-like thing for 10 days, so the jury is out for a week or so as to whether this skirt will get additional front darts.

I enjoyed making my skirt in this manner, and look forward to doing it again.  It will definitely be a TNT method for lining a pencil skirt.  I loved this fabric remnant, and I am pleased it is now a skirt I will enjoy wearing.

Have a wonderful day and be well,



  1. Wow, your skirt is so lovely and I love the fabric!!! I have never made a pencil skirt but have been wanting to so I will be using your instructions. Thanks for all the tips.

  2. Your skirt looks great. Thanks for the step by step directions. I can't wait to try this technique out.

  3. Beautiful! Can't wait to give this a go! ~ Peggy http://peggyscloset.blogspot.com/

  4. This is such a wonderful technique that I can't wait to try it out myself. I was wondering about stretch at the top edge myself and think a strip of silk organza would work well with no added bulk.

  5. I love your skirt. I'm going to have to try this construction method. Tho I am a fan of bagged in hems. ;)

  6. I love this technique. I am working on a skirt using this technique and trying to decide how to stabilize the waist before attaching the lining. I couldn't find my magazine...thanks for the review!

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  25. Lovely skirt, Andrea. I use this metthod when I sew for my DD who lives away from me. That way if it needs alterations, it's a lot easier.

    1. Thank you, Diana, I am glad I did it that way - I have to take it down a couple sizes now!

  26. Love the skirt, boucle is such a nice fabric :)


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