How to refine a Denim Sheath Skirt look


In this posting I share some of the fitting and sewing techniques I used to refine my favorite denim sheath skirt. The skirt is made with a bottom weight 100% cotton denim by Kauffman. The fabric was laundered and dried prior to marking, cutting and sewing.

The pattern was developed entirely through draping in cotton muslin.

The skirt had several parts of the construction done by hand. The blouse was purchased online.

Fit is Everything!

To give the skirt more style ease I had to add extra width at waist, hip and hemline. Some sewing books say extra width can be added at the side seam. I found that it is better to open the pattern between the second dart and the side seam. You measure the mid-way point between the dart and the side seam. Draw a vertical line from waist to hem. Then open 1/4 of the total amount of style ease needed. This alteration is the same for front and back of the basic sheath skirt pattern.

In the photo of the back pattern piece for the skirt you can see the place where the cut was made and extra paper added to the pattern between the second dart and the side seam.

Note: The pattern for the skirt was made using Precision Draping by Nellie Weymouth Link. I gained weight since the time the original drape and pattern was made. This necessitated the need for the alteration.

Dressmaker Finishes for a Refined Look

A slot zipper application was used. I followed the hand sewing technique detailed in Couture Sewing by Claire Schaeffer. Instead of using a prick stitch or back stitch, the zipper is sewed into the seam using tiny running stitches. To further secure the zipper in place, the zipper tape is fell stitched only to the side seams, at the edges. The zipper stop is covered by a lightweight piece of lining fabric. I used a small piece of lace hem tape instead.

A kick pleat with insert was made back seam. It provides ease of movement as well as a finishing touch. The top of the kick pleat is stitched into place using a triangular shape. A kick pleat is more refined than a high slit at center back of the skirt. That is why this skirt works well for casual dress days at work or an outside meeting with business associates.

All seams were pinked and then edge stitched. Wrights Flexi-Lace tape provided a finish for the hem and kickpleat.

Published by EmilyAnn Frances

I was born and raised in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, New York. I attended Hunter College where I graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in English Language Arts. After graduation I worked in various industries such as publishing, fashion, financial services, investment banking, and for government. My passion for fashion was nurtured at the French Fashion Academy where I learned dressmaking, patternmaking, sketching and draping. My enjoyment of dressmaking and family history find a wonderful home here at WordPress. I hope you enjoy both of my blogs.

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