Perfect Pencil Skirt

Dec 23, 2005
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Author

by Josi Hannon Madera

Introduction

Perfect Pencil SkirtA super-easy skirt pattern (all single crochet!) with explanations to help you tailor it perfectly to your measurements.

Remember when you first started to crochet -- your grand plans for designing the wardrobe of your dreams, your visions of clothing perfectly tailored to your body, created from fibers and colors you adore... do you remember?

Maybe you tried your hand at a few patterns and wondered why your results were always box-like, formless swaths of chunky yarn that bulk at the seams and look completely homemade (in the worst connotation of that word... y'know, like Eddie Murphy's houseburgers...).

Crochet Couture techniques are going to change all of that for you. Don't be afraid -- it's easier than the highfalutin name might imply. Crochet Couture simply means using the same techniques employed in constructing sewn garments (darts, insets, gussets, etc.) for the purpose of creating crocheted clothing that curves with the body and is tailored perfectly. The best part is that these techniques are generally easier to implement in crochet than with needle and thread.

The easiest and most practical of these to learn is crocheted darts. In sewn garments, a dart is placed within a piece of fabric to help it become more 3-dimmensional (as in the bust line), or to tuck away excess fabric in place of using a seam (as in flat front pants). In crochet, it is much, much easier to achieve the same shaping merely by using internal increases and decreases. With the following pattern, you will create a skirt that fits you to a T, using all sc -- what could be cooler than that? Hmmmm?

To start, you need a measuring tape, a full-length mirror, a pen and a piece of paper. You need 3 measurements (use mirror to make certain tape placement is accurate, level and doesn't pinch or pull the skin).

Your waist -- take this measurement at your belly button. Cut 2 pieces of 1/4" elastic to this measurement. Sew each strip into a ring, making certain not to twist elastic and overlapping ends no more than 3/4".

Your hips -- this measurement is 7"-9" below your natural waist and should be taken at the fullest part of your tushie.

Length -- while facing the mirror and with your feet about 6" apart, decide how long you would like your skirt to fall and make a small mark on your leg. Hold the top of the measuring tape to your belly button and measure straight down to the level of the mark. Make certain to write down this length measurement.

Take a moment to look at how your body changes from one measurement to the next. The increase from your thighs to your hips takes place on your sides and in the back -- so that's where extra fabric needs to be included in order to fit around your curves. If you crocheted a simple tube with evenly placed increases it would pull funny around your tush, sit awkwardly on your hips and stretch in unflattering ways when you move. But if you carefully place the increases and decreases to match your shape you create a seamless, tailored skirt with a custom "bottom pocket" and a waistband that lays flat.

The techniques in this pattern can be used with other yarn weights/hook size combinations. Through experimentation, however, I've found you get the best precision for the least amount of stitches with light worsted weight yarns and a 5.00mm hook. (Following this pattern is a link to instructions for this same skirt using sport weight yarn and a 4.00mm hook. If you want to use a more bulky yarn, I'd recommend a fuzzy/furry one or else the little gaps inside the stitches might be more revealing than you anticipated.)

Materials List

  • A short list of recommended yarns:
    Patons - Katrina, Classic Merino Wool, Decor, Canadiana
    Lion Brand - Imagine, Cotton-Ease, Monet
    Bernat - Harmony, Denimstyle, Berella
  • 1/4" elastic (approx. 2 yds)
  • Sewing thread
  • A needle
  • 5.0mm (size H) hook

Finished Size

Custom

Gauge

Gauge Swatch (don't skip this step!):

Using a 5.00mm hook, db-ch 12

Row 1 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 12 chain, turn.

Row 2 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 12 stitches, turn.

Rows 3 to 10 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 12 stitches, turn.

Measure in the center of the swatch. Adjust hook/tension to achieve this gauge:

10 sts = 3"

8 rows = 2"

Using this gauge and your measurements, you can determine how many stitches you need for your starting chain. Crochet has some stretch, so to create a fitted skirt that hugs your heinie without any ease (ease is the technical term for the space in between the clothing and the body), you should go about 10% smaller than the gauge.

Confused? Don't stress. Contrary to what Barbie might think, math is easy. The first part of this pattern walks you through the steps and tells you how you can adjust the numbers to fit you perfectly. Following the explanation is a pattern for this skirt in 4 general sizes (2/4, 6/8, 10/12, 14/16). To help you along, the written instructions are color-coded to the rows in the pattern that they describe. Try it the hard way first and only peek at the answer if you get stumped.

Our gauge says 10 stitches for every 3 inches. That means there are 3.33 stitches for each inch. If we shave off 10%, we get 3 stitches per inch. So, the number of stitches for the widest part of your skirt should be -- your hip measurement x 3... well, almost. It makes all the other parts of the skirt easier to work out if you use a number evenly divisible by 4. Here's an example:

Let's say your hips measure 39". That would mean you need 39 x 3, or 117 stitches. However, 117 is not evenly divisible by 4, so you should round to the nearest number that is -- and in this case that is 116 stitches. Your starting chain should be 8 stitches fewer than this number. Again, if you don't want to bother with the math, a pattern follows, but it won't fit you as perfectly if you do it that way.

Notes

See tutorials for db-ch, sc-reduce, and the bump stitch.

The Pattern

To make your skirt:

it's a perfect pencil skirtdb-ch your starting chain (use number from above) and join to form a ring.

Row 1 (right side) - ch 1 (does not count, work first stitch of this row and every other into same stitch as joining), 1 sc into each chain, join with sl st to first sc, turn.

For a 13" skirt repeat Row 1 for a total of 16 rows. For a longer skirt, add 4 rows for each inch over 13. (You can make it precise to the 1/2-inch, if you like, but make certain to end on an even numbered row.)

Over the next 12 rows, you will place increases at the sides and in the back to allow for your curves.

The first set of increases happens in the back right under the buttocks. In each of the next 4 rows, add one additional sc by working 2sc/st once/row, for a total of 4 additional stitches. To determine where to place the stitches, divide your starting chain number by 6. This number is how many stitches in from the sides your tushie increases need to be in order to be under your cheeks and slightly to the outside. All four increases should be in the back of skirt (the seam where you join and turn will sit along your right hip.)

The second set of increases goes more slowly -- first a row of all sc without an increase, then a row with one increase, for 8 rows (4 total increases). These increases are placed just inside of the hips, 2 in front, 2 in back. Depending on size, I place the increases between 5 and 8 stitches in from the sides.

The next 10 rows are all sc with no increases. If you are petite (under 5'4") use 8 rows, and if you are tall (over 5'8") use 12 rows.

The remainder of the skirt will use decreases over the same spots we increased in order to curve over the top of your backside and curve in at your hips.

The first set of decreases alternates with rows of all sc, for 8 rows (4 total decreases). These decreases are placed at the sides one/every other row, 2 in front, 2 in back, the same number of stitches in from the sides that the increases were placed (between 5 & 8).

The second set of decreases is worked over your buttocks. Working 1 decrease/row for 4 rows (4 total increases), place the decreases the same number of stitches in from the sides as the increases were placed.

In the next row you will add your first strip of elastic. Simply set one of the rings on top of your row and crochet over it. The first elastic row is also the last of the tushie decreases. These decreases are placed above the buttocks and worked 2/row for 1 row (2 total decreases).

The next row has 2 decreases at the sides, one at the right/back and one at the left/front.

In the next row add the second strip of elastic just as before. This row also has 2 decreases -- one at the left/back and one at the right/front.

The next row is all sc. The final row is a simple finishing I call crocheted ric-rac. And there ya go.

Pattern by Row:

Sizes correspond as follows - 2/4 (6/8, 10/12, 14/16). PLEASE NOTE -- Row numbers correspond with the smallest size. If you are making a skirt longer than 13" or over size 2/4, your row numbers will be different.

db-ch of 96 (104,112,120), join to form a ring.

Row 1 (right side) -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 96 (104, 112, 120) stitches, join, turn.

Rows 2 to 16 -- repeat Row 1

Add 4 rows for each inch over 13" you would like for your completed measurement.

Row 17 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 15 (17, 19, 21) stitches, 2 sc into next stitch, 1 sc into each of the next 80 (86, 92, 98) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 18 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 64 (70, 76, 82) stitches, 2 sc into next stitch, 1 sc into each of the next 32 (34, 36, 38) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 19 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 15 (17, 19, 21) stitches, 2 sc into next stitch, 1 sc into each of the next 82 (88, 94, 100) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 20 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 64 (70, 76, 82) stitches, 2 sc into next stitch, 1 sc into each of the next 34 (36, 38, 40) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 21 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 100 (108, 116, 124) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 22 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 57 (62, 67, 72) stitches, 2 sc into next stitch, 1 sc into each of the next 42 (45, 48, 51) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 23 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 101 (109, 117, 125) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 24 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 5 (6, 7, 8) stitches, 2 sc into next stitch, 1 sc into each of the next 96 (103, 110, 117) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 25 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 102 (110, 118, 126) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 26 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 48 (51, 54, 57) stitches, 2 sc into next stitch, 1 sc into each of the next 53 (58, 63, 68) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 27 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 103 (111, 119, 127) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 28 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 97 (104, 111, 118) stitches, 2 sc into next stitch, 1 sc into each of the next 5 (6, 7, 8) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 29 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 104 (112, 120, 128) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

For size 2/4:

Rows 30 to 38 -- repeat Row 29.

For size 6/8:

Rows 30 to 40 -- repeat Row 29.

For size 10/12:

Rows 30 to 42 -- repeat Row 29.

For size 14/16:

Rows 30 to 42 -- repeat Row 29.

Row 39 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 5 (6, 7, 8) stitches, sc-reduce (2sc-cluster), 1 sc into each of the next 97 (104, 111, 118) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 40 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 103 (111, 119, 127) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 41 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 58 (63, 68, 73) stitches, sc-reduce, 1 sc into each of the next 43 (46, 49, 52) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 42 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 102 (110, 118, 126) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 43 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 95 (102, 109, 116) stitches, sc-reduce, 1 sc into each of the next 5 (6, 7, 8) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 44 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 101 (109, 117, 125) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 45 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 46 (49, 52, 55) stitches, sc-reduce, 1 sc into each of the next 53 (58, 63, 68) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 46 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 100 (108, 116, 124) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 47 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 17 (19, 21, 23) stitches, sc-reduce, 1 sc into each of the next 81 (87, 93, 99) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 48 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 65 (71, 77, 83) stitches, sc-reduce, 1 sc into each of the next 32 (34, 36, 38) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 49 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 16 (18, 20, 22) stitches, sc-reduce, 1 sc into each of the next 80 (86, 92, 98) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 50 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 64 (70, 76, 82) stitches, sc-reduce, 1 sc into each of the next 31 (33, 35, 37) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 51 -- add elastic this row, simply set one of the sewn rings on top of your row and crochet over it, ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 15 (16, 17, 18) stitches, sc-reduce, 1 sc into each of the next 14 (16, 18, 20) stitches, sc-reduce, 1 sc into each of the next 65 (70, 75, 80) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 52 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 5 (6, 7, 8) stitches, sc-reduce, 1 sc into each of the next 44 (48, 52, 56) stitches, sc-reduce, 1 sc into each of the next 41 (44, 47, 50) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 53 -- add elastic this row, simply set one of the sewn rings on top of your row and crochet over it, ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 5 (6, 7, 8) stitches, sc-reduce, 1 sc into each of the next 44 (48, 52, 56) stitches, sc-reduce, 1 sc into each of the next 39 (42, 45, 48) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 54 -- ch 1, 1 sc into each of the next 90 (98, 106, 114) stitches, join with sl st to first st, turn.

Row 55 -- ch 1, sl st into same stitch as joining, {ch 1, sl st into next stitch} x 89 (97, 105, 113), join with sl st in first ch 1 of row. Fasten off. Weave ends in.

schematic


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