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29 April 2016

What a flattering pencil skirt, Vogue 1656 by Donna Karan

After the heartache of a shattered pleather that marinated too long in my stash, I immediately took mental inventory of what other fragile fabrics in my stash might be deteriorating as we speak. One of the first fabrics to pop into my mind at that moment was this lovely pleather with a flower print.

Nothing like panic to focus the mind, eh? This fabric has only been sitting in my stash for 3 years but I don't want to blink and find myself 10 years later with another crumbling fabric in my hands... So I immediately picked a pattern and got to work and this is what came out:

My awkward pose notwithstanding, this is a very flattering skirt. The skirt pattern is from 1995 and from the pattern envelope you don't even notice the skirt. But it is by Donna Karan so we know we must look at the tech drawing. Indeed, then you see that the skirt has princess seams and a yoke, all working to produce that trademark flattering fit that Karan is well known for.

Unfortunately, this pattern comes in single sizes only! Was that the norm back in the 90's? I know that some people complain about too many lines on a pattern sheet, but my waist and hips don't share the same size so I really appreciate, no, need multiple sizes. My pattern for this skirt is size 14 only, so I had to add 0.5cm to each seam (princess seams as well as side seams) to bring the hips to my size. Easy enough to do, but I'm just saying, I like having multiple sizes right there on each pattern piece...

I do not dare to iron pleather, especially this one that is so thin. Instead, I used a gadget I bought recently to flatten real leather seams. The cylinder is really heavy and it worked very well on this pleather. I used it as if it was an iron, flattening each seam after it was sewn: first flat, then to one side and finally flattening the topstitching to "blend" the stitches with the fabric. And presto! all seams lay very nicely flat.

The skirt has a very tapered shape, but there are two kick pleats at back, one on each princess seam. They provide plenty of room for walking, so the skirt is very comfortable.

Here is a 360° view of the skirt. That weird pose in the middle photo is me trying to show you the skirt yoke... sigh! I didn't do a review at Pattern Review because there isn't much to say about this skirt, it's a classic design and it went together with no special efforts required.

I'm quite pleased with this skirt and I am especially pleased that I "saved" this fabric from withering to dust in my stash!

Now, before I go I want to show you something: my prize patterns from Eva Dress have arrived!

Actually, they got here some 3 weeks ago, but I've been traveling quite heavily for work, coming home just long enough to do a load of laundry and pack again. So only now I had time to take them out of the envelope. I think I know which one I want to make first...

Thanks again Eva Dress for this very generous prize!


  1. That's a great skirt. Gotta love Donna Karan.
    I had an ironing accident with a pleather accent on a vest just last weekend. Your steam roller gadget looks just the thing I needed!

    1. Thanks! I hope the accident was recoverable. I definitely recommend not using an iron if you can avoid it. Before I bought this gadget I used to use the rolling pin from the kitchen. Mine is a stone one, so very heavy. It worked well too, only it was uncomfortably big in small areas, that's why I bought this gadget when I saw it.