Denim Never Dies : Delia Creates Pleated Pencil Skirt Pattern Review




Two makes posted in a week! This must be some kind of new record… I had originally planned to post this earlier, as it was made for the January Challenge over on The Monthly Stitch (my first monthly stitch challenge, hurray!) but it took me ages to get round to photographing it, oh well.

I bought the Delia Creates Pleated Pencil Skirt pattern during IndieSew‘s Black Friday sale last year, as part of my quest to find THE perfect pencil skirt pattern. I hadn’t seen too many reviews of this pattern online, but those who had tried it seemed to love it, so I figured it would give it a shot. It also definitely helped that I couldn’t get Delia’s rose-print version out of my mind (watch out for my own Lunar New Year-appropriate version of it coming up really soon!).



So I bought the pattern on discount, and I used some of the leftover denim from an earlier A-line skirt to make up a wearable muslin… and you guys, I really liked it. I hesitate to claim I LOVE it just yet because I feel like I haven’t perfected the fit, but I must say this is a pretty darned good pattern. The pdf version also happens to be only 8 pages long, which is a major plus. EIGHT. My taping-paper-hating soul was singing the hallelujah chorus as I printed this out. The only thing that is’t too convenient is that the pattern lines are drawn in colour, which is kind of a hassle if you only have a black and white printer at home, like I do.



This pattern didn’t fit me right out of the envelope, but that’s mostly my own fault. I overestimated the enormity of my hips and graded out a size 4 at the waist to a size 6 at the hips when I really should just have stuck with a  straight size 4. I ended up using a 0.5″ seam allowance instead of the recommended 0.3″ AND taking a good 0.75″ or so off the sides.

Given my height (or lack thereof), I shortened the pattern by 2″ before tracing it out, but later had to take another 2.5″ off in order for it to hit right above my knees. This made the shape of the skirt kind of weird, so I tapered in the bottom sides to preserve the curve. I still think the sides don’t quite curve right (if you can tell from the sides of the skirt), which is probably due to the extensive fit adjustments I made. I’m not really sure how to fix it though – any suggestions? The pattern actually includes instructions for removing length from the middle of the pattern instead of from the hemline, so I will definitely try that on my next attempt.

This also happened to be my first time lining a garment – it was a lot easier than I thought it would be, though I did end up sewing the lining around the zipper the first time due to a moment of daftness. I used a cheap black polyester that I had bought ages ago and followed the instructions to insert the lining. My only deviation was to hem the bottom edge of lining first, and then hem the skirt over the edge of the lining, enclosing it. I thought it would give it a more professional finish, and it did! Of course, all this professionalism was ruined by my completely insensible fuchsia coloured zip that I was forced to use because I was too lazy to go out and buy a navy one I decided it would make my skirt extra special.

All in all, I think this is a really good pencil skirt pattern, though I haven’t tried very many so do take my words with a pinch of salt! It seems to be drafted more for pear-shaped ladies, so if you’re a member of the pear-gang definitely consider this. And as for working with denim, it was a lot easier and turned out a lot more wearable than I thought it would be. Thank you The Monthly Stitch for being the inspiration for my fabric choice – I probably wouldn’t have picked it otherwise!

P.S. Do you think this skirt could qualify as business casual? My office is fairly formal so I haven’t tried wearing it to work just yet… Oh if you have any suggestions on how to make the fit a little better, please do share them below!

P.P.S. If you’re here from The Monthly Stitch, HELLO and welcome! Please feel free to say hi in the comments (:


44 thoughts on “Denim Never Dies : Delia Creates Pleated Pencil Skirt Pattern Review

  1. The seams do not lay flat. Clothing looks much better when the seams lay flat. I don’t want to critize; it’s just that clothing styles are not looking as good as they should.

    I don’t understand why ladies would accept the ill-fitting look of puckered seams.

    1. Thanks for your comment Roseann! Yes you’re quite right, I don’t quite think it fits me perfectly and I did mention that in my post. I made quite a lot of fit adjustments due to cutting the wrong size and as this is pretty much my first time making a fitted garment, I’m not quite sure how to fix it. As for the puckered seams, I’m afraid I’m not too sure which you’re referring to as all the seams seem to lay flat when I look at the garment in real life. Oh dear I do hope I’m not missing something!

      Would you happen to have any suggestions on how I can improve the fit? I would love to hear them!

      1. I’m so late to the party but I found this post because I’m considering this pattern! I don’t think this looks bad at all, but since I’ve made a few pencil skirts I figured I’d chime in on the fit. The slight pulling in the front is because the darts aren’t in the right place or ending at the right place. Your dart seams are so smooth I can’t see where they are exactly, but I have a suspicion that they are too long (they should end just before or at the widest part of your stomach, so you have ease there, but still taking in slack at your waist). The same thing is happening with the butt, except the darts actually look too short there. The diagonal folds pointing to your butt show the material trying to create its own dart. You might also want to let the side seams out a tiny bit, because it looks a little tight across the butt.

        The best way to figure out dart placement and size is to baste the just side seams and then pin the darts on your body (use elastic tied around your body in lieu of the waistband to keep the skirt on.) That’s is a trick I learned from Pati Palmer and Marta Alto’s Pants for Real People.

        1. Gah I’m so sorry I got to this comment so late! Thanks for the suggestions, I definitely think you’re right about needing to add a bit of slack to the rear. I’ve heard so much about the Fit for Real People and Pants for Real People but haven’t yet tried out their fitting method, I should really get my hands on a copy of the book…

  2. Love this skirt! I haven’t heard of this pattern. It looks great! I think it’s even dressier than business casual, so it definitely passes. Another pattern for the list!

  3. I think it looks great and love the pink zip. I doubt anyone seeing you wear it would think it a poor fit and would just be amazed that you made it. I am no expert but I have heard of a t…something where you make a mock up of a pattern out of cheap cotton (?) to get the fit right before making the real one? (Tuille?)

    1. Thanks so much, that’s really comforting! It always feels a little daunting wearing something you made yourself – half the time I’m worry it’s going to fall to pieces in public D: And as for toiles and muslins, I’m often too lazy to make one up before I start sewing proper… I know I really should though!

  4. It looks so amazing! I love the denim! So great. I think you could totally pull it off at work but you would have to amp up what you pair it with. Fancier top, lots of baubles, heels

  5. Just seen you on Monthly Stitch so I thought I’d pop over. I love it. To be honest it is rare that you would get a high street version that would fit that well without trying on an awful lot of skirts or spending a huge amount of money so well done.
    I love the pink zip, it lifts it from the ordinary to something more.
    Definitely meets a business casual spec.

  6. Hey Jessie,
    How does it go for comfort? I was surprised it didn’t have a vent in the back. I made one skirt like this and forgot to include a vent a couple of years ago. When I’m wearing it, I am reminded of that omission every time I encounter a set of stairs. I love it anyway and don’t much care because it’s a good basic that seems to work with everything. Like yours really. And yeah, I reckon you could do business casual with this. 🙂

    1. Hi Zoe, I actually find it really comfortable, and a lot more so than similar pencil skirts I have that don’t have a waistband!

      And thank you for pointing out the lack of a vent *facepalm* it IS supposed to be a pleated pencil skirt after all, I can’t believe I forgot to mention that I omitted the vent because I shortened the skirt so drastically! I’ll get right on editing the post to reflect that as soon as I have the time. As for the stairs bit, I find it doesn’t bother me, though getting into and out of cars is proving a little tricky!

  7. Dark denim can totally work for the office. It’s the faded/torn or *shudder* acid washed that is a no-go. As for fit you’re headed in the right direction. The ugly truth is that fitted styles can best benefit from a muslin, especially for us shorties. Next time take the length from the shorten/lengthen line & then blend the side seam. This will help match the pattern curves to your curves which should help you get a smoother fit.

    1. What a great idea, and just in time for my next pencil skirt make! I’ll definitely try to remove the length from the shorten/lengthen line instead this time.

  8. It’s a very cute skirt Jess. 🙂 I think the fit is good as is. But you were asking about adjustment and I have some suggestions if you are interested. You can size up in the hip and waist at the sides, just by my eyeballing it, by about 1″ (only the hip and above on the skirt portion, not the yoke). Then you take bigger darts in the back, totaling 1″ (or the same amount that you increased), but remove 1″ in total from your front darts (if you don’t have a total of 1″ to release in the front, just eliminate the darts altogether). I stumbled on this post about drafting, but it changed my life about fitting skirt.

    1. Thanks so much Kennis, I did actually have more than 1″ at the sides but I pinched it out… now that you mention it maybe I should have left it and taken in the darts instead! Also thanks for the link! It’s a great article, I will definitely be reading through the series

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