Simplicity 2154 in Gun Check Tweed

Last week, I took a second stab at Simplicity's fantastic retro pencil skirt pattern.  I had planned to do so during the fall but, you may recall, a bit of analysis paralysis got in the way of my attempting any skirt with a lined back vent.  Thanks to the motivation of The Sew Weekly "Made This Look" challenge, I pushed past the paralysis and whipped up a great tweed skirt.

Posing at the State Capital building at sunset
(translation:  standing how Brandon told me to while trying not to blush at the many people getting off work!)

If you Google Breakfast at Tiffany's, tons upon tons of photos come up, featuring the lovely black Givenchy dress that we see Audrey Hepburn wearing in her opening scene.  However, another outfit entirely inspired this look, though no one seems to have any photos of it.  It was a simple black polo shirt with a white and black herringbone wool pencil skirt, which Holly wore to the bar.  Simple and classic and I just had to have it.

Of course, our area fabric stores didn't agree.  There was no herringbone to be found.  I did, however, stumble upon a classic gun-check wool blend, which reminded me of Midsomer Murders and skirts I'd seen from J.Crew and Talbots, so I eagerly purchased a yard (actually, more like 4, as Brandon wants a sport coat from it sometime in the future).

I think I was a bit too eager.  The fabric was not a typical suiting.  Granted, I could tell it wasn't thin and 'drapey', the way many suitings are but, I didn't quite realize it was burlap.  That is, until I started cutting it. It unwove itself rather easily each time I moved it and it didn't take at all to overcasting - those stitches just fell off.  So, my solution was to wrap each seam allowance in the ivory bias binding that I had on hand.  Problem solved - phew!

To protect the fabric from wear, I lined it with a Bemberg rayon, which was cut with a bit of extra width at the hips, per Sunni's instruction, and about three inches shorter.  I ran into a bit of a snag when working at the vent (sadly, the directions for this part made no sense to me) but after staring at it for what felt like hours, I made a few adjustments and finally figured it out!  It will take practice to make it perfect but I'm rather pleased.

To continue the interior polish of this garment, I choose to hem the lining with a length of new-old-stock lace I scored off ebay several months ago. (90 meters for ~$6! One of the best sewing purchases I've made!)  I tea-dyed the lace to match the ivory color of the lining and attached it the same way I had done on my slip last month.  Then, I finished it all off by sewing a strip of the bias tape to the bottom of the skirt and catch-stitching the hem.

A peak at the vent and hem details

Such a lot of detail for such a low-end fabric but, I really think it made it much nicer and I love the finished product!  Now, I just have to find time to work more of these into my packed Sew Weekly schedule!

Have you tried this pattern yet?  If so, please leave links in the comments section! I'd love to see yours!  x


  1. Jennifer - I love these photos, they look so artistic! And you of course look classy and sophisticated. Your skirt is gorgeous and you should be proud.

  2. Thank you, Annabelle! You're always so encouraging! I felt a bit silly taking the photos but really, I always feel silly taking photos and these add a bit of variety to the posts. I'm so glad you like the skirt!

  3. This is a great-looking skirt and the finishing details are beautiful. I've never sewn this pattern, but I have used similar fabric in the past. I'm lamenting with you as it 'unwove' itself. Nice save with the bias binding though.

    1. Thank you. Pam! I'm glad I'm not the only one who had fabric do that (though, on the other hand, I'm not, because it's not fun and I never wish stress on anyone). Ps. You should definitely try this pattern!


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