sewing the Pirate Pencil Skirt
Collabs | Fabric

Neon Floral Pirate Pencil Skirt

June 2, 2019

I picked out this fabric back in September, when I was still VERY pregnant, and the cool weather was starting to think about settling in. I knew it was destined to be a pencil skirt, but I also knew that this meant that it would be sitting on my shelf, waiting a while – the colors didn’t really scream autumn or winter, and my belly wasn’t super accommodating to a pencil skirt silhouette at the time! So off to the shelf it went, waiting for the conditions to be just right. It’s been about 80F pretty regularly lately, so I’d say conditions are good.

I’ve always been more of a poofy, twirly skirt type of girl, but recently I’ve been seeing such beautiful scuba fabrics and thinking what great pencil skirts they would make. I also think this is a shape that lends well to a work wardrobe, which is something I’ve been trying to build up slightly. I’m a nurse, so half of my shifts are spent in scrubs, but as a member of our leadership / management team, I also spend two days a week in meetings and have the opportunity on those days to wear scrubs, or something more standard / “officey.” This would be a great chance for me to wear more me-made, but I don’t always feel like I have the greatest selection of work-appropriate clothing in my closet! I’ve been trying to think about this when choosing projects lately, hopefully choosing things that I can make work in multiple settings depending on styling. Pencil skirts seem like a great option.

sewing the Pirate Pencil Skirt

In looking around for patterns, I came across the Patterns for Pirates Pirate Pencil Skirt. It is a free pattern on the P4P website, just like the Peg Legs. I’ve had such great luck with the Peg Legs pattern – I believe that this is likely the most sewn pattern in my arsenal! – so this was the obvious place to start. The pattern is so simple. Both the front and back pieces are cut on the fold, and the waistband is a plain rectangle. There are three length and two waist rise options that can be mixed and matched – I chose the high-waisted option with the below-the-knee length, which ended up exactly what I’d been hoping for.

At the start of each month / two months, I like to spend a couple of days making sure all of the patterns and all of the fabric I intend to sew with over the next couple of months is cut out and ready to go, so that once I’ve done all the prep work, all I have to do is walk into the sewing room, grab a project, and go to town. In early May, I started this process for May / June, and about halfway through I realized I just really needed a quick sewing win. I set aside the cutting portion of my projects, and sewed this skirt up within about a 30 minute span. It was exactly what I needed – a super quick sew with a great result.

sewing the Pirate Pencil Skirt
my husband calls this “floral-flage’

Based on my measurements, I chose a size medium in this pattern. If I were to rewind and do this over, I’d choose a small, as I have plenty of room in this skirt and I want it to be pretty fitted. However, since it is already cut out in a size medium, and I hate the thought of wasting even more paper to print it again, I will probably stick with the medium in the future and pinch out a dart at center back to accommodate for the change between waist and back side, and go from there! The skirt fits great as is, but I think I would like it to be just a bit more fitted.

If you plan to make this pattern, be smarter than I was when you’re attaching your waistband to your skirt main! I followed the directions by quartering both my waist band and my skirt pieces and using these marks to line up and attach the two, but I was probably a little too excited to get a project finished and I didn’t add pins to help even out the fabrics within each quartered section! This resulted in a couple of bunchier areas of fabric versus some areas of completely smooth attachment. I’ll add more pins next time so that I can decrease the chances of a bunchy waistband area.

sewing the Pirate Pencil Skirt

The fabric is a fun, spunky floral in great neon colors. I absolutely love neon colors – did you guys ever participate in dress up days back in school? I remember a couple of “dress like a crayon” days, where I opted instead to be a neon yellow highlighter. (I never had to buy anything extra to make that happen. I had enough neon yellow in my closet to dress in it from head to toe.) When So Sew English posted this fabric to their Instagram feed last autumn, I knew it was true love. I waited patiently for them to list it to their site with a big weekly crop of new fabrics, and was so happy knowing I had it in my stash! The colors were just as vibrantly neon in real life as in the photos, and they’ve stood true even after a pre-wash of the fabric. It’s been lovely to see this fabric sitting on my shelf for the past few months, but I’m even more excited to finally be able to wear it!

sewing the Pirate Pencil Skirt

Now that I’ve decided that I like this pattern, I’m looking forward to making a couple more pencil skirts and figuring out how to really bring them into my wardrobe on a regular basis! I’ve got a couple of styling ideas for this one already… I love the way it looks with sandals and this plain black Ogden cami, but I’m also so excited to pair it with a nearly-neon coral Ogden for even more color. Add a cardigan or blazer to this outfit and swap the sandals for heels, and I hope I have something I could wear at work. Finally, I can’t wait to see how this looks with a fitted tee tucked in, and a pair of Converse or Ked’s. I’m hoping this is a look I can pull off – I see it all over Pinterest, the slightly disheveled mama whose skirt-and-Chuck’s outfit is really just keeping the illusion going that she might have it all together. Goodness knows I’m all about keeping that illusion up myself. If a pencil skirt can make you think I’m operating on anything other than coffee and baby smiles, then I’m doing it right!

Here’s to the first of what I assume will be many pirate Pencil skirts! Let me know – are you a neon person? How about pencil vs flared skirt? Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!!

sewing the Pirate Pencil Skirt

Skirt: handmade by me
Pattern: Patterns for Pirates – Pirate Pencil Skirt
Fabric: So Sew English Fabrics – Bright Coral Cindy Crepe Scuba (now sold out)
Top: handmade by be
Pattern: True Bias – Ogden Cami
Fabric: silky black remnant from the JoAnn remnant bin
Necklace: Flying Cactus
Key Ingredients: Heat & Bond Soft Stretch (Lite)
and my favorite twin needle set 

Though the fabric used in this post was generously provided to me by the awesome team at So Sew English Fabrics, all opinions expressed are my own, as always!

  • XX Elizabeth

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  1. Beautiful! I LOVE that pop of acid yellow. Also, hooray for nurses! 🙂 On the (luckily few) occasions I’ve had reasons to be in a hospital, the nurses have always been superstars!

    1. Ahhh I love hearing that! I love what I do ? and seriously, that color of neon yellow might be my all time favorite color!

  2. I love the colors! Excellent choice for a pencil skirt! I also wear them regularly, as well as a-line/flare skirts. My rule for a silhouette is combining tight and loose, so a tight top and loose skirt, or a loose top and a fitted skirt.

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