Amanda vs Simplicity 2154 Pencil Skirt

When I finally got a job in the office I thought my life and wardrobe was so going to change. No more spending lunch hours in my classroom madly planning or being constrained to unsassy trousers because you’re teaching Italian street theatre to 15 year olds and need to be able to tumble across the floor with modesty. Oh, the office. What a grand hope for a lady like me. But what I hadn’t realised is that I did not own any rad outfits and that if I wanted to rock it office sassiness style I would have to make them myself. So enter my first project on my new sewing machine and another addition to work wardrobe awesomeness- Simplicity 2154 skirt and a new Alma blouse…

Check it! I totally feel all Mad Men in this. Joanie and I would so be BFFs or arch nemises. Actually, who am I kidding. She would put me into the floor with a barbed quip.

But not if I outran her. And I totally could because this little number so has a kick pleat. BAM! I am really happy with how this turned out because the one problem I have with my rad pixellated rose skirt is I can’t take big steps. “But Amanda”, I hear you say, “it’s cool to walk all dainty like at work every now and then”. Bah! When you have a group of Year Six students getting a little too jazzed about kicking it museum style you need to be able to move fast. Thanks to the radness of kick pleats I can now look sassy AND wrangle adolescents. Win!

And yes, that is sunshine yellow bias binding. This boucle is one of the fanciest fabrics I have ever bought and I figured it deserved the loveliest finishing touches I could manage with my crazy monkey sewing skills. I also have lots of lovely sewing blogger memories woven into this piece (Yup, I so went there with a lame pun!) as I bought the fabric when I met up with the always rad Rachel last year and the bias binding when I caught up with Belle a few weeks ago at FabricFest 2013 with all kinds of rad ladies. So thank you blogosphere for helping with this one!

What I loved about this pattern:

  • The length. I always thought I was a complete prude with the amount of leg I like to show when I make skirts or dresses but this pattern set me straight- I must be one heck of a 21st century sassy minx with my preference for having my knee meat on show. Oh la la! When it came time to hem this like a boss above the knee just looked wrong. I’m loving the below the knee vibe going on here. I feel like Joan would totes approve.
  • The details. The kick pleat. The bias binding on the hem. I am so seriously proud of myself for tackling these. And by all means if you are impressed to feel free to send me cake. I won’t stop you… In fact, is that cake arriving at my mail box?


What I would change for next time:
  • Handpick a lapped zipper. I honestly gave it a red hot go but my dear friend boucle was all “hells no, I’m all nubbly and won’t take to lying flat for you”. And when your fabric gets sassy at you you know it is time to quit. So when I attempt this again I think a handpicked zipper would really fit the vibe of this outfit.
  • Mastering the lining. I am so keen for any hot tips on how to get your lining looking sassy at the bottom. My stitching on the hem reminds me of when I have too many gins and try to interpretive dance- twitchy, full of grand ambition and all over the shop. Mayhaps I need to get my shiny new walking foot on the case to stop the slippery fabric from sliding around? Hmmmm…

And on that note, I must alight to start on my next project. It involves silk and a sassy blouse which may or may not end up in hot mess town. The last time I tried to tackle silk it didn’t end up so well so fingers crossed this time… Do you hear that? I think it is the silk coming for me. ARGH!!! NOOOO!!!


  1. Oh you are looking very smart & sassy in your new skirt! I never did make myself many work clothes. I must rectify that after I finish maternity leave.

  2. Thanks, Maria! These are the heels I had for my wedding though I ended up wearing Converse for all but the ceremony. teehee!

  3. Amanda, you look positively professional! Am loving the pencil skirt + sleeveless alma look on you. And yeah, pencil skirts deserve a length just below the knee. It seems prudish, but when combined with the sex-inducing-silhouette it suggests, it balances out. BAM.

  4. Oh the length looks hot on you but I love the boucle … very classic and you would be talked about at the water cooler with that ensemble my dear … heheh

  5. adoorrrb! I totally can’t do the whole kick pleat thing.. I get super confused and all like wahhh wahhh ima just gonna walk like a got a carrot up my clacker lol

  6. Thank you so much! I was a bit worried about whether I could work a wiggle skirt but I’m loving it!

  7. Love both of these, especially together! I’m usually all about full skirts but it seems the pencil silhouette has my heart lately. These look so professional and high end too. Awesome work!

  8. Wow, you nailed the secretary chic look, which I am currently obsessed with! It looks quite fetching on you, my dear. I always thought skirts below the knee would look dowdy on me, but this outfit is making me reconsider…

    I really lurve (not love, LURVE) the details, which makes the skirt look very expensive. Oh, and those shoes are killer. A+ !

  9. Amanda – that is an amazingly sassy outfit! You totally rock it the length is perfect. As is the blouse and shoes! g

  10. Fabulous outfit! It’s the sort of thing I keep planning to sew – then remember that I don’t work in an office any more.

    For hemming lining I just use my serger. I sometimes faff around and set it up for a very nice rolled hem – but far more often I just serge off the excess length and leave it like that. I think a simple serged hem looks nicer than a turned and sewn hem – but that’s just my own preference. I sometimes play around with the stitch length and the tensions – but only when I’m in the mood to be faffy.

  11. Wow, looks great and such perfect fitting! You totes look ready to chase down preadolescents or don’t the kids these days call them “tweens”?

  12. I love your office outfit! “Pretty woman walking down the street..” You treated this piece of bouclé with great respect 😉 Good luck with silks! The rule of thumb for working with silks: patience, Patience and PATIENCE! I am still mid-way with my fancy couture dress just because I am not patient enough grrrrrr

  13. Loving the skirt (as discussed on Twitter) but HEY! that all white Alma blouse is all right too! Really love the simplicity of it… are you sure it’s yours? 🙂

  14. Tres cool 🙂

    Rocking the below the knee look. And that looks like a hell of a fabric to work with.

  15. Like a boss, Annie. Always like a boss. Though these pictures are sorely lacking dogs. I feel I have failed there and am losing boss points…

  16. Sunnies are always required for epic work wear, Sabs! I swear the sun hates me when it is photo time…

  17. I am so with you in the full skirt stakes, Shona. But walk the pencil skirt way- you’d look fierce!

  18. Thanks, Rox! Seriously give a pencil skirt a bash- I’m a total convert. And these are my fanciest shoes so thank you!

  19. Oh! Thanks for the tip on the hemming- I might have a bash around with the serger and see how it goes!

  20. Thanks, CJ! I am so good to chase down tweens AND teens if they go cray-cray in my museum. Thank you, kick pleat!

  21. Thanks, Inna! Slow and steady you say- I’m starting with a simple tank so it won’t be too crazy. I so can’t wait to see your couture frock!

  22. Thanks, Lizzy. I’m rather chuffed with the Alma too. It’s in a rad cotton pique and it feels super comfy! Though the lack of print make me wonder if I was under hypnosis when I made it…. Zombie Manda!

  23. Isn’t it delish fabric, Ellen? I went crazy when I saw it and then grabbed the bolt and wandered around hugging it while I looked through the rest of the store!

  24. Thanks, Laura! I hadn’t thought of the ole show throw but it means I can get those ones that are speedy 😉

  25. Hi! I just started reading your blog, and saw a post from last year where you showed a picture of some tetris leggings you made. I scoured the internet but haven’t been able to find that fabric anywhere… where did you get it?

  26. Alma is a rad pattern and super easy for beginners! Totally recommend it for your rad self, Boo!

  27. Hi Amber, the Tetris tights I bought from Black Milk which are an online stretch wear shop. They’re pricey but awesome!

  28. Oh nice skirt! Boucle-envy here. Very very nice skirt. I love the length too!
    Hey I’ll be down Canberra-way over ANZAC day-ish. (MY brother lives round there) Would love to meet you!

  29. Thanks, Carolyn! It’s the start of my fancy pants work wardrobe so I’m hoping I will get lots of wear out of it 😀

  30. Sounds like lovely combination! I’ll email you and we can work out times and days and stuff as the time gets closer.

  31. I just found you blog while searching reviews of this pattern, which I’ve had in my stash and was considering making for Easter. Looks like you’re who I want to be when I “grow up” from your bio,lol. I’m an Anthro-Art History major looking into an MA in museum studies. You should email me so I can pick your brain about that!

  32. Welcome to my little corner of the internet, Amber! This is such a fab pattern and well worth the make 😀 If you ever want any Australian museum work info let me know 🙂

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