Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making
Check it out, ladies: a pillowcase that you can totally wear to the office!

Supplies:
* 1 pillowcase
* 1 zipper (7″ or 9″)

Tools:
* Sewing machine (You can also sew by hand.)
* Seam ripper
* Straight pins
* Fabric scissors or rotary cutter
* Fabric pencil/tailor chalk
* Measuring tape/ruler
* Iron

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

1. Iron your pillowcase flat. Cut off the finished (open) end just below the seam. You will use this piece to create the waistband later.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

2. Center the seam at the back, and press the pillowcase. Open the back seam from the top, creating a space long enough to fit your zipper.

At this point, to avoid unraveling the rest of the back seam, you should stitch a few times back and forth over the bottom of the opening you just made to secure any loose threads. (You can see my stitches in the photo below.)

Note: If your pillowcase has two side seams, you can insert the zipper in either of the sides instead of the back.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

3. Before laying the zipper in place, turn skirt inside out and fold back the unfinished edges of the opening about ¼” and press.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

4. Lay the zipper in place, taking care to center it in the opening. (Please excuse the magical color-changing zipper. I was working on 2 skirts at the same time.)

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

5. Pin the zipper into place.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

6. Stitch around the edge of the zipper, securing it in place.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

7. Turn skirt right side out, centering the zipper in the back, and press.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

8. Find the center of the top of the skirt and mark it.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

9. Either using a dress form or yourself (with a steady-handed friend to help pin), dart the front and the back of the skirt to make the waist the correct size and the skirt the correct shape.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making
Back Dart Placement

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making
Front Dart Placement

Take care that the darts are evenly spaced from the center, and that they are angled slightly out to follow the natural curve of your body. In the front, place the darts farther from the center, towards your hips. In the back, place them closer to the zipper. For a flattering fit, the dart placement is very important, so start over again if you don’t get it right the first time (it took me more than a few tries).

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

10. Remove the skirt from the dress form and turn it inside out. Place a vertical pin at the top of each dart, then use a ruler to draw a line about 8″ long from the pin to the folded edge of the dart. (Don’t let them intimidate you—darts are nothing more than pinched together flaps of material.) Repeat this process for all 4 darts.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

11. Pin along the line for each dart.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

12. Sew each dart in place along the line you drew in step 10.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

13. With the darts in place, it’s time to add the waistband. Cut the finished seam off of the material that you set aside in step 1, creating a long strip of fabric. Cut the bottom off of the strip, leaving ¾” of fabric. (Remember, the strip is folded in half at the center, so you really have a 1½” wide strip of fabric.)

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

14. Fold the unfinished edges in ¼” towards the center fold, and press into place.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

15. Measure around the waist of the skirt. Cut the waistband strip to size, leaving an extra ¼” on each side to finish the ends. Fold each end under ¼”, then fold in half and press.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

16. Starting on one side of the zipper, line up the folded end of the waistband with the edge of the zipper opening and pin into place.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

17. Pin the rest of the waistband into place around the skirt.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

18. Stitch down the edges and around the waistband to secure it in place.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

19. Hem the bottom to length, folding the unfinished edges under and pressing into place.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making
Hemmed Skirt: Back View
Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making
Hemmed Skirt: Front View

20. Stitch around the top fold of the hem, finishing the edges.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making
Finished Skirt: Front

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making
Finished Skirt: Back

You’re done!

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

Press the skirt to get rid of any remaining wrinkles, then hit the town. Or, you know, the library.

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23 thoughts on “Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt

  1. pillowcases are my favorite things to repurpose into fashion!  earlier this year I turned a set of blue satin cases into a Mad Men inspired cocktail dress, and it turned out beautifully!  Just like this pencil skirt!  Great job!

  2. I needed a new skirt to go with my suit jacket. Growing up I never learned how to place pattern pieces on fabric, but I learned how to follow directions. This was written and designed the way I follow directions. The only thing that would have helped me was an idea of how far the dart measurments were from the center on the front. I put them on the front inside of my hip about where belt loops on my pants sit. I should have put them on the outside of my hip. But I can wear this on a job interview and not be embarrased. Thanks again.

    • So glad you liked the project, and thanks for the dart feedback!

      I decided not to provide dart placement information because I wanted to give folks an opportunity to place them in a way that best suited their individual body shape. (I’m petite, but I have a larger butt, so dart placement that looks good on me might not be as flattering on someone with a different body shape.) And, since waist sizes vary, it’d be hard to make a suggestion that would work for every measurement.

      For what it’s worth, I just measured the placement of my front darts: the front of my skirt measures about 13.5″ across (27″ waist), and the darts are placed around 4″ in from the center of the skirt.

      Good luck with your interviews!
      thezenofmaking recently posted..Ladies: It Matters How We Talk About Crafting

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