The Gertie Skirtie

It might have taken me a long time to get around to making anything from the book Gertie Sews Vintage Casual, but since the success of the Knit Sweetheart Top I haven’t been able to stop! This is my second project from the book. Read on to find out if I like it as much as the first…

Gertie Skirtie00008

In a Nutshell:

A basic but incredibly useful pattern. Wish I’d paid a bit more attention to my fabric, though!

Pattern:

The Easy Knit Pencil Skirt from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual. It’s a simple pencil skirt with an elasticated waist and all the shaping in the side seams. I cut a size 6, grading to an 8 at the waist as my measurements indicated.

Fabric:

A poly blend knit I bought in Madrid from Ribes Y Casals (aka the busiest fabric shop I’ve ever visited!). I love the classic tweedy pattern and the fuzzy surface texture–I think this might be what they call a brushed poly, or even a double brushed poly (not sure of the difference). However, it has hardly any stretch. AT ALL.

Construction:

This is the kind of thing I could sew in my sleep: just two side seams to sew, serge the elastic to the top, stitch in the ditch at side seams to secure elastic, then hem. Things were only slightly complicated by my discovery after basting the side seams (so glad I did this, as the instructions handily recommended!) that the knit had so little stretch, I could hardly get it on over my hips. Luckily the pattern has a generous 1.5cm seam allowance, so I was able to use my overlocker to stitch with the minimum seam allowance, giving me an extra 3.6cm ease overall. Just enough to get it on comfortably, although to be honest, still not really enough for this fabric. Should have sized up.

The only other notable things were the elastic used. I couldn’t find any soft feeling elastic with the correct width locally, and I hate a rigid elastic for a waistband. In the end I took the softest elastic I could find (a 2cm wide adjustable button elastic) and zigzagged two lengths together like this:

Gertie Skirtie00001

The button holes helped me to keep the elastic lined up evenly, and it’s resulted in a superstretchy but really comfy waistband 🙂

The only other complication I added was to hand hem the bottom of the skirt. I trialled some topstitching on a scrap but I felt it would spoil the clean lines of the skirt, so I took about 45mins over an episode of The Wire to hand hem with a stretchy blind catchstitch (also detailed in Gertie’s book)

Time taken: 28 minutes (About 1 hour 15 mins if you count the hand hemming)

Overall verdict:

I’m really pleased I made this skirt as I can see it being an excellent fit in a different fabric. Unfortunately there are quite a few pull lines visible in this one as it’s just a bit too tight:

Gertie Skirtie00003Gertie Skirtie00002Gertie Skirtie00005Gertie Skirtie00007

I suspect a swayback adjustment is in order, but the rest of the pull lines should be sorted out with a stretchier knit.

The other thing I’m not so sure about is the fabric. It’s lighter than I’d really like, and doesn’t really go with most of my tops. The ones I’m wearing in the pics were the best I could find. Okay, I suppose I could wear my white shirt over it, but then you wouldn’t have been able to see the waist as there’s no way that would tuck in neatly.

However, this skirt is so comfy and practical I reckon it will get some wear next autumn winter, especially if I lose the couple of extra inches I’m currently holding round my waist and thighs. Better start running and lifting weights again, hadn’t I?!

Changes for next time:

I’m planning to make this skirt again with a stretchier knit, and to add another 6″ or so to the length for a true vintage vibe–hopefully, that wouldn’t require leaving slits at the side, but I could at least try it and see. I can see a skirt like that in black making an excellent addition to my year-round wardrobe. A stripy one would be nice for summer too 🙂

Costing:

Pattern: £1.75 (based on price of £17.48 for book, divided by 10 patterns)

Fabric: £6.20 per metre. Used most of it so I’m counting the full cost.

Notions: £2.30 for elastic (2m at 1.15 per metre)

Total cost: £10.25

At this bargain price I honestly don’t mind that it wasn’t a total success 🙂

What top do you reckon would go best with this skirt? And has anyone else found the perfect knit skirt for them?

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