French designer Christian Dior introduced the modern pencil skirt in 1954. His classic design has stood the test of time and has been a staple in women’s wardrobes ever since. Not only is the pencil skirt a versatile item, but it also looks great on many body types.

pencil skirt

Beth Huntington

Things You'll Need

sewing supplies for a pencil skirt

Beth Huntington

Measure the circumference of your waist. If you have narrow hips, you don’t need to add anything to this measurement. If you have full hips, you will need to add 2 to 4 inches to this measurement. This will become the circumference of your skirt. Divide this number in half. Fold your fabric over widthwise so the fold is on your half-measurement.

measure and mark skirt width

Beth Huntington

Have a friend measure the distance from your natural waist to your desired length for the hem of the skirt. Measure and mark this distance on the folded side of the fabric.

measure and mark skirt length

Beth Huntington

Use your marks to cut the width of your skirt.

cut width

Beth Huntington

Cut along the line you marked for the length of your skirt. You will end up with a wide rectangle of fabric that is the circumference of your waist by the length of your skirt.

cut skirt length

Beth Huntington

Fold over the rectangle so the right sides and the short sides (the skirt length edge) of your skirt are together. Pin along the raw edges.

pin the back seam

Beth Huntington

Sew a 1/2-inch seam along your pin line. Be sure to remove the pins as you sew. This seam will become the center back of your skirt.

Tips

When sewing with knits, use a stretch, ball point, or jersey needle. These needles are designed for sewing with knit fabric, so you will have a stronger, smoother seam. A universal needle will tend to skip stitches when used with knit fabric.

sew center back seam

Beth Huntington

Measure the circumference of your waist and subtract 1 inch from this measurement. Cut a piece of elastic to this measurement.

Measure and cut the elastic.

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Overlap the ends of the elastic and use a zig-zag stitch to attach the ends. This will become the center back of your elastic.

zig zag the elastic ends

Beth Huntington

Measure and mark the center front of your skirt and the center front of the elastic with a washable marking pen or tailor’s chalk.

mark the center front and back

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Match the center front of the skirt with the center front of the elastic, and the center back of the skirt with the center back of the elastic. Pin the elastic in place on the top edge of the skirt.

Pin the elastic to the skirt.

Beth Huntington

Use a zig-zag stitch to sew the elastic to the right side of the skirt. Pull the elastic slightly as you sew to ease in the extra width of the skirt.

Zig zag stitch elastic to skirt

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Fold the bottom of the elastic up and over to the wrong side of the skirt and press it with an iron.

press the elastic

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Use a needle and thread to tack the elastic down on the back seam.

tack the elastic

Beth Huntington

Tips

When using a heavy knit for your skirt, you can save time and effort by not hemming since knits won’t fray. If you prefer a more finished look, you may add a simple hem.

Wear your pencil skirt with heels and a jacket for work or wear it with a T-shirt and flats for your weekend activities. No matter how you decide to style your pencil skirt, you can be confident you will look great and be comfortable at the same time.

Finished pencil skirt.

Beth Huntington