Sunday, 5 March 2017

Little Black Skirt, New Look 6217

Having made the top from New Look 6217 I returned to this pattern when I wanted to make a short black skirt. I have had a few issues with fit recently and I am always a bit cautious when using a new pattern so I decided to measure myself carefully and compare the pattern with a skirt block I made. It was quite depressing to find that I was a size 14 hip and a size 18 waist when I would usually buy a size 12 RTW but I am getting used to pattern sizes being different. After comparing the pattern with my skirt block I chose to cut the pattern slightly smaller only size 16 at the waist, grading down to a size 14 on the hips.

I had one metre of black fabric in my stash which I think is probably scuba. It is a shiny black jersey, springy to the touch and quite thick. It feels lovely and smooth and doesn't crease or fray at all.

I have found this skirt as straight forward to make as the top, just 2 pieces to sew together with darts at the back, a size slit on the left and a lapped zip. I used a medium ballpoint needle and increased the size of the stitching slightly because the fabric was quite thick. 

The instructions for putting in a zip were detailed and easy to follow. However, I had no end of trouble with the zip and ended up sewing it in about 5 times until I got it right. This was not the fault of the pattern but a problem with my zip and my concentration. At first I put the zip in too high up because I went happily on using my common sense and not reading the instructions. Then my needle came undone and fell out in the middle of the overlap stitching and the cotton broke spoiling the line of the stitching so I unpicked it. The last straw was when I pulled up the zip, the zip-pull came off in my hand and I couldn't get it back on. In the end I had to choose a new zip from my zip jar to replaced the broken one and then everything went like clockwork. As you can see below I now have a black skirt with a dark purple zip but it is well hidden so it won't show when I am wearing it.

I missed out the stay stitching around the waist because I was using a very stable fabric and making the skirt in just a few hours so I didn't think there would be time for the waist to stretch out. The front fitted along the tape very well but I had to put a row of easing stitches along the back to ease the fullness of the skirt onto the tape.

Pattern review
Overall this skirt is easy and quick to make. I have worn it and it is very comfortable. I am sure it will become a wardrobe staple because it goes with so many things in my wardrobe.

I like the twill tape used to finish the waist seam. It makes a smooth waistband that isn't bulky.

I have finished the hem with my twin needle and I like this finish for a jersey skirt.

I measured very carefully when I was cutting out but the skirt has come up quite roomy and if I make this pattern again I will make a size 12 because I would have liked a closer fit. I absolutely can't face taking the zip out again to take in the side seams and it isn't too baggy. I actually have a skirt which exactly matches the finished garment description. It is a straight shirt with 3cm of ease which sits 1 inch below my waist. Unfortunately, my tights sit nicely on my waist line so they show above the skirt until I put a top on, which seems a bit odd.

Some of the favourite tools I used to make this skirt.

I have recently treated myself to some new flower head pins. I bought a set of standard dressmaking pine from the same manufacturer 2 years ago but I was so disappointed with them. Many of the pins were blunt and had rough points which snagged the material. The flower head pins have been so much better, They are sharp and long and easy to handle. I can now pin a seam and machine without tacking which I was never able to do with my old pins. I have thrown away the standard dressmakers pins and wouldn't recommend them to any one.

I find my hemming gauge invaluable for measuring turnings and hems. The slider is really useful when I am moving along a hem ensuring that it is the same length all the way along. This tool also has a point on the end which I use for turning out corners on collars etc. It is less likely to make a hole than an blunt knitting needle.

I have only just bought the thread snipper and I love it. It makes cutting off all of the stray whiskers so easy. It fits into my hand well, feels nice to hold and is so useful. The blades retract back into the handle when it is not in use for safety. I wish that I had one a long time ago.

If you have any tools that you love and wouldn't be without please leave a comment and let me know. I think everything in life is so much easier when you have the right tools.


  1. Love the length of the skirt on you. Crazy, the sizing difference between RTW and paper patterns.

  2. Hi Pam
    I think sizing is the biggest challenge in making my own clothes. I love to try new patterns like this one but it means lots of uncertainty and fiddling with measurements at the beginning.