Skirt styles for winter 2013

UK Vogue catwalk edit for Winter 2013 says skirts will be a focus this season. Especially 3 styles – pencil, pleats, full and flouncy.

Nearly all worn below knee length. At lower knee cap or lower calf for most people. Mid-calf if you have thin legs.

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McCall’s 3830 classic pattern.


At calf length, you need a hem vent for ease of walking. In the early 20c, they weren’t allowed to show their legs, so made slim skirts without vents – rightly called ‘hobble’ skirts !

Written sewalong from Tuppence Ha’penny (for pencil skirts in general, not this specific pattern).

Lots of video sewalongs listed in my post on Skirts – video sewalongs.

Pencil skirts are styled by UK Vogue this season especially with sweater knit tops and flat shoes.
Here’s a post from YouLookFab about styling a longer skirt , though on a tall person with good shoulders.
And here she is on tops to wear untucked with pencil skirts.

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All around pleats such as Butterick 5756


supplement to instructions, from Fashion Sewing Blog

Or similar McCall’s 6706 if you’d like a shorter style.

If you have difficulty getting your head round how pleating works, here’s a YouTube on pleats.

These pleated skirts can be worn short and flirty, or long. With a long top, or waist definition.

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Full and flouncy

Long again, worn with a fitted top and waist definition. Most of these are fitted at the waist and flare out. Not many with gathered fullness.

Mad Men style – I was a teenager in the 50s and I can tell you it wasn’t a glamorous time. But the skirts are lovely !

Here’s a basic pattern, Vogue 8749.


Though a true New Look skirt is much fuller than this. One point of Dior’s design was to celebrate the end of wartime shortages. So look for a skirt pattern that uses 5 or 6 yards of fabric !

Or test your creativity by making McCall’s 6712 a bit longer.


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For these flared skirts, add sewing a curved hem to your skills.

Very narrow hem – tutorial from Allison.

Narrow hem – many web tutorials, I like the clear photos in this one from Victory patterns.

Yes, 3 lines of stitching – trying to get away with only 2 doesn’t work well !

Wide hem – actually a bit more difficult.
Use similar technique to the narrow double fold in the tutorial from Victory.
Only sew the first row of stitching, as a first turning in/ gathering line.
Fold up hem without guide sewing line,
and press the hem into place, pressing out the fullness.
Best if hand sewn.
Lots of hem tips in general, including on wider hems, from SewMamaSew.

(P.S. Vildy suggests using a hem facing if you want a wide curved hem.)

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Lantern skirt

And – though this isn’t recommended by UK Vogue !
How about a ‘lantern’ skirt for those of us with wide hips and trim ankles.

Wall London

Make as a ‘balloon’ skirt (see my post) using the underskirt method, but low calf length.

Check if you need to add a hem slit so you can walk.
A slit at CB is probably best for most people. Make an open slit if you like to show your legs, an overlapping vent if you want it to be unnoticed when you’re standing still. Trace the vent from another skirt pattern, if you’re not comfortable with just adding to the seam allowances.

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Might this season convert you to skirt wearing !

Long skirts are best for my leg shape, and I love swirling, so I’m tempted 😀

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Patterns and links available August 2013

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6 Comments on “Skirt styles for winter 2013”

  1. Vildy Says:

    I have sometimes done wide curved hems in a different way. If you have enough fabric, cut the hem as a separate facing, sew to the skirt bottom and then hemming is easy because it “fits” the curve and there is no gathering or pleating in necessary.

  2. gelasticjew Says:

    I can see myself wearing a balloon-skirted shortish tunic (mid-thigh length) over leggings even though I am fat, because I have good knees and lower legs and like to emphasize my cool shoes.

    I find skirts really hard to sew; I want good sturdy pockets and I haven’t mastered getting the darts and waist right due to my fat tummy, high hips, and yet I do have a waist in between my hips and ribs.

  3. I love skirts but always find it hard to think about what to wear with them, shirts T’s jackets etc. Summer is ok as a Tshirt usually looks ok but it is the winter look that I need some styling advice in!!!

    • sewingplums Says:

      Jacqui – this depends so much on personal body shape, and how much ease you like. Some styling books talk about this, but they don’t cover all the possible combinations.

      Have you tried some ‘wardrobe play’ sessions – try on everything with everything and see what works well:
      – fitted or loose,
      – waist shaping – none, darts, tucks,
      – with or without belt,
      – tucked or un-tucked into bottom,
      – what length of top, etc.

      How well do the proportions and style elements of the top balance the skirt ?

      As you like Ts, perhaps you prefer a close fitted look in wovens too.

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