Simplicity 5914: First Skirt

So far I’ve only posted talky-posts and one brief discussion of my very first failure of a knitted scarf. Today I post proof that I have, in fact, sewn something wearable–and am proud of! I give you Simplicity 5914, View F:

I have actually sewn something. And lined it, too. (Early 2011)

This is one of my basic, tried-and-true (TNT), “can make this over and over in a dozen different ways” patterns. I have put my review from PatternReview.com below the divide, but I will write what I am proud of and wish to work on here:

Proud of . . .

  • The choice of fabric: a very inexpensive brown polyester suiting that looks much better than it is.
  • The hemming, which I stitched straight around without any really obvious wobbles.
  • The zipper placket, which is surprisingly decent!
  • The lining. The Simplicity pattern does not give any directions on making a lining for this skirt, so I looked up the instructions (either online or in one of my reference books or both) and figured out how to make one, insert it, and the facing correctly. Yay for improving on the pattern!

Want to work on . . .

  • Stitching the skirt panels together straighter.
  • Doing the facing more neatly. On the outside it looks good, on the inside, it doesn’t look as good.
  • Making the inside of the garment elegant and attractive. I made this whole skirt on my lemon and it shows. The edges are finished with pinking shears on the skirt and with zigzag stitches on the lining. The hem of the lining is also done with a zig-zag stitch. It is fully functional, but when I look inside I see “home-made” not “hand-made.” It’s the disconnect between how this skirt looks on the outside and how it looks on the inside that made me decide to get a serger, which I have used for my other projects.

This is a TNT pattern if ever I saw one.

I would label this not only “Easy & Great for Beginners” but also “Great Wardrobe Builder.”

Pattern Description:
A-Line skirts in two lengths, three versions flaring from the hip and three versions flaring from the waist. I sewed “View F” — the most basic paneled A-Line in the package.

Pattern Sizing:
I sewed size 14, which fit me without adjustment.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, very much so. This pleased me, since I purchased the pattern hoping to mimic my favorite store-bought A-line (which has, however, eight panels instead of six).

Were the instructions easy to follow?
For the most part, the instructions were easy to follow. This was my first sewing project since my teens, though, and even then I did only one dress. Therefore, I found the instructions for inserting a zipper to be confusing and the results unattractive. I followed the instructions in my copy of the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing.

Next time I sew this, I think I will try to do an invisible zipper, because the zipper placket on the side, though painstakingly sewn, is a distraction from the line of the skirt.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I think this is a fantastic basic skirt pattern. With two silhouettes and two lengths, it should be a go-to pattern in my stash.

As mentioned above, the instructions for inserting the zipper were unclear (thank goodness I made a muslin) and I think the garment would be better served by an invisible zipper.

Fabric Used: Brown polyester suiting. The fabric is machine-washable, wrinkle-resistant, and looks high-quality even though it was quite inexpensive. I think this pattern will work well with many types of woven fabric.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I added a lining (following instructions from the internet) because I was trying to mimic my favorite black store-bought skirt. I thought that without a lining the skirt would cling/be limper than the model. However, since this pattern has six panels instead of eight, the resulting skirt-with-lining stands out from my body a bit more than the ready-made one.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes to both. Simplicity 5914 is an excellent choice for a new sewer or someone returning to sewing after a long hiatus. Nice, straight lines, nothing too complex. Just make sure to have a good reference for inserting zippers and practice if you are new to sewing as I was.

Misc.: I think that–for a “professional” look–the added lining was essential. It makes this skirt feel extra-snazzy.

Conclusion:
This pattern is fantastic: easy, flattering, versatile. I have plans to use it both to make staple skirts and to make “outfits” and “suits” once I get to the point where I am ready to sew vests and/or jackets.