Oh Simplicity 2451, I really want to like you!
Actually, this is a great skirt and a great pattern. But I should’ve known it wouldn’t quite work on me. Pleats at the waist don’t always look terribly flattering on me as they can sometimes create a bit of a bulge below the stomach. You can see it better in this picture, I think:
The pleats create some drag down the front center of the skirt which looks alright from the front, but isn’t terribly attractive from the side. It’s not a bad look, actually, but it bothers me enough that I probably wouldn’t wear the skirt to work. As a casual skirt, I don’t care, but not when I’m in front of students all day!
I didn’t notice this problem on my muslin, but when I went back and checked I realized that I had accidentally reversed the pleats on the muslin. On my final version of the skirt the inside portion of the pleat (i.e., the part of the pleat on the inside of the skirt) folds to the center; on the muslin it folds to the side seam. I think I prefer it reversed, actually, as it tends not to “poof” the fabric out in the center of the skirt right where I don’t need any poofing! I even tried sewing the pleats down a bit, but it looked terrible, so I went with them as drafted.
Other than that, though, I like this skirt. I made the short version in the muslin, which is perhaps a smidge too short for work, but the longer version here. I hemmed it up about an inch more than the pattern suggests, as I like my work skirts to hit about 2 inches above the top of my knee. Other than that, I didn’t make any changes. I didn’t include a lining for the skirt since this fabric didn’t need it, and, frustratingly, the pattern doesn’t include a lining pattern. Why, Simplicity?? I realize some fabrics don’t need a lining, but most people prefer to wear a skirt with a lining, particularly in the winter when many of us wear tights. It’s a simple pattern and drafting a lining for it wouldn’t be hard, but since I’m already on the fence about the pleats, the lack of a lining becomes just one more reason why I probably won’t make this pattern again.
The fabric is quite lovely (although it doesn’t photograph particularly well). I think I got about a yard and a 1/2 as part of a free bundle from FabricMart. I always love the free bundles–it isn’t always fabric I think I’ll use, but I love the surprise of finding out what they sent me! I think this was probably a poly-mix (and, actually, I think I have the same fabric in a grey color). It was super easy to sew with, ironed fairly well, and matched some leftover scraps of quilting fabric I had, which made for a fun inner wasitband and inner pocket.
It really is a shame, though, because I completely love the idea of this pattern. The curved waistband is really flattering, the shape fits me well through the hips, and I love the pockets. If I can’t find another skirt pattern I like more, I might come back to this one and just eliminate the pleats and put in darts instead. Or try this again with the pleats flipped around, as I did in the muslin.
I did make a few changes on this version. I tapered in the sides to give it more of a pencil shape, taking out about 1/2 inch on each side. I also understitched the waistband and pockets, rather than topstitching, since I think that looks more professional with this particular fabric. I serged all the seams since there wasn’t a lining to hide all the messiness, and then handstitched the bottom of the waistband to the skirt. I also handstitched the hem, since again, I didn’t want topstitching in this fabric. I also used silk organza as interfacing for the waistband. Worked perfectly, making the waistband just stiff enough but still remaining flexible. All in all, a very nice skirt, except for those stupid pleats!