Say hello to my Donna Karan pleather pencil skirt!
1465 is my first go at a Donna Karan pattern, as well as my first big-envelope Vogue pattern. It was rated ‘average’ and seemed straightforward enough: pencil skirt in stretch fabrics using panels instead of side seams. A quick glance at the pattern instructions revealed that all the internal seams were to be bound in homemade bias binding…but ain’t nobody got time for that. Not for a stretch fabric!
And oh, what fabric. I’d run into a childhood acquaintance who was new to sewing and had a car, and suggested we drive to the ‘burbs for some fabric shopping. She obliged and off we went to Fabric Place Basement, where we oohed and ahhed and advised each other on fabric choices. I don’t recall whether she approved of this one, but I know I was dubious of it from the start. I called it ‘Hyundai fabric’ because it looked like car upholstery! (And yet I bought it anyway….) I figured I’d either get a cool pleather skirt, or a failed muslin I wouldn’t feel bad about throwing away.
I lengthened the pattern significantly, in addition to widening it. Lengthwise, I was aiming for a high waisted midi length skirt – not the longish knee length skirt I ended up with.
The width, on the other hand, was so excessive I ended up taking out 3″ overall! In the end, I got the perfect fit with 1 1/4″negative ease through the hip. The pattern measurements indicate that there should be about 1/2″ *positive* ease through the hip. I think this is an area that falls under personal preference. In these photos I’m rocking the extra 3″ width and it looks okay, but the skirt was falling off my body all day!
The stretch pleather was super easy and stable to sew, to the point where I didn’t need pins. Which was good, because I didn’t check whether the pin holes would be permanent, like in real leather. I didn’t finish the raw edges because this fabric does not fray at all. I used a zig zag stitch on all the seams and the cut-on elastic waistband. This was a really fast sew – just six panels and the elastic.
I banged this skirt out in a hurry so I could wear it to a business expo in New York city back in June – which is where I took these photos. I wanted something professional, classic, and traditional, but still whimsical and quirky enough to be ‘me’. This pattern fit the bill, as few things are more classic and work-appropriate than a pencil skirt, but the design lines kept things interesting. I figured a matte pleather worn during the day was subtly sexy enough to be a whimsical wardrobe choice in a business setting.
It was SO noisy! In an expo, it wasn’t audible, but at home or on an interview, the pleather swooshes loudly. I decided to line the skirt with a cotton knit to see if that would eliminate the sound. After a lot of stalling, I finally cut and installed the lining this week. While it does reduce the noise meaningfully, this skirt still swooshes louder than I’d prefer. And frankly, my pattern alterations swallowed up the cool diagonal line cutting across the front upper hip. So while this skirt is not a wadder, it’s not a complete success. Whatever. I’m just pumped I’ve already finished a new garment this year! Happy 2017. :)