Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Iguana, not Lizard!


Let’s start with the pattern – V1247 – 3 million versions (I’ve counted them! even those you haven’t even blogged about) have been made so far across the blog’0’sphere and beyond and quite rightly too. Honestly and truly, is there anyone who does not like this pattern?


I’m drawing to your attention some recent and fabulous makes of the skirt …just in case you weren’t convince. Go here! and here and lots of others that you can find for yourself on google.images.

I really do have to count it amongst my favs of all time and here’s the reasons why:

1. The fit is perfect for me. Size 14, cut out, sew and wear. I may be lucky here.

2. Front pockets – pockets – ’nuff said! They don’t sag or droop or pfaff around – what’s not to like?

3. Dress up or casual, or everyday

4. The real reason – versatility and adaptability.

I ‘ve just looked in my wardrobe and I have 10 variations of this skirt hanging in there! Who needs 10 skirts?

Every one of them is slightly different, not least because of the fabric colour and weight but I’ve also made some design changes too.

Navy crepe wool/olive wool with orange pinstripe/grey checked cotton /taupe jacket leftovers/brown A-line with patches/grey suiting pencil/ green wool pencil(below) /DH’s jacket ivory cashmere/orange jumbo cord (for SWAP)(below)/ iguana pencil (this post) . I’ve even done strange things. I love wearing these skirts with coloured opaque stockings that add to the colour palette and style value.


For SWAP ’14

Each one has a centred back invisible zipper, button or hook & eye closure. I line mine from the pockets down and don’t do the bias binding finishing as recommended by the pattern. A simple zig-zag or serge is adequate.


Apple green wool pencil]

In the olden days, I placed the front on the fold of fabric and drew the skirt onto the fabric with tailors chalk, lengthening, always lengthening and just following the original pattern lines. And then I realised, if I’m gonna lengthen every skirt I may as well make a tissue pattern.


Knee length A-line skirt, about 20″


Lengthened skirt tissue, following the lines of the original pattern to create an A-line

Next versions  included straightening out the A-line flare and tapering the sides in a little to create a straight/pencil skirt – still with the yokes and the pockets.

The iguana skirt is the first one made using the pattern pieces but without the pockets – which just didn’t seem right for this fabric. In this case I placed the front yoke over the front pencil skirt tissue matching marks and cut out as one piece.


The only thing I had to do in terms of alteration was to lengthen the front darts by 1″. Without the yoke, the shaping at the hip was reduced and I compensated for this by extending the darts. I did the same pattern placement for the back but the darts were OK here.


I don’t use the pattern waistband pattern: I just cut a very long rectangle about 5″ wide, usually from the selvedge edge, interface it and sew right sides together onto the top of skirt – the ends can be trimmed off later – but I never have a too-short waistband.

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For the iguana I sewed the full lining right sides together to the free edge of the waistband. Folded the waistband in half; a good pressing; a rummage up through the inside layers and stitched the skirt waistband seam to the lining waistband seam for a neat professional finish. While I would love to claim this as my own creation, I took it from Paco Peraclta and his wonderful tutorials. Please check these out and I promise, you will not be disappointed.

For the pencil skirt version I do add a centre back split for ease of walking and such like.. This just means adding a flap to the tissue pattern and constructing a back welt.


In this case I left the lining loose but attached it at the side seams with chain stitches to keep in in place. I cheated on the hemming of this skirt and used a fusible hemming interfacing: this method eliminates stitches on the outside of the garment but still gives a secure hem.

In the following photos I’ve added the obi belt (for Scraps post in the future). This is after a whole day’s wearing at work and hardly any wrinkles. Believe me, my students make sure my clothes can withstand a full day of teaching….for fabrics go here. This is the most wonderful of fabrics – soft and tactile, yet strong and resilient.

What I find remarkable about teaching 16-19 yr olds is their idea of atheistics- it never fails to amaze me. While I might assume it contains Lady Gaga and Beyonce, Justin (thingy) and who ever… they always find space to ask about my clothes. I try to explain my rationale or purpose or reason for making this or that in this fabric or the other and always seek their opinion. Sometimes they tell the truth which is worth its weight in gold and sometimes they say “That’s nice”, which in teenage parlance, I have learned, is easily translated as ” When I’m as self assured as you I hope I can wear things like that.”

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DSC00882 Poor things: they are sorely lacking the the self assuredness of middle age, as we all did at that age. Isn’t life wonderful? We can move from one angst to another and not really notice.

Wear your animal print with self-assuredness… that only comes with years of experience (always open for a debate on this…). How has your style changed?

Wear your home-made clothes with pride and confidence -that what you did in the time, using the available resources, was the absolute best you could do – and you look damn good in it too!

Next time either the SWAP skirt of the use of scraps -what do YOU want to see?

15 thoughts on “Iguana, not Lizard!

  1. Use of scraps please! I have wanted an obi belt for a while… I do love that you have 10 versions of this skirt. I just made my first one a couple of weeks ago and i completely understand now 🙂 btw, that is lovely, that lovely iguana fabric. As usual, you have great taste.

  2. Love this skirt. V1247 is soooo versatile. And thanks for the clarification about iguana vs. lizard!!! And I’d love to see your SWAP stuff, but the scraps are piquing my curiosity…..

  3. This is actually my next skirt to make :0) Yours looks fabulous! and you are right, it is fun to be this age, we can wear everything with confidence ;D

  4. Oh I don’t understand why you feel guilty about having ten of these wonderful skirts. I mean you do have to go to work every day so you have plenty of opportunities to wear these amazing skirts. I love how you’ve manipulated the pattern and made it yours. This last version is just as awesome as the previous ones were!

  5. I love all versions of this skirt!

  6. You have just convinced me to buy this pattern Ruth. It looks to be so versatile and I love all your versions. And, by the way, there is nothing wrong with having ten skirts made from the same pattern. You have made them all unique in their own special way.

  7. Iguana, lizard, albino gekho….I want!!!

  8. Just what I needed to read, after my son doubted the taste of my leopard skirt:) Love, love this attitude! And you look fabulous in your clothes! Your advice beginning “wear your homemade clothes with pride….” needs to be a quote for all of our pinterest boards:)

  9. Lovely skirt! I’ve got some way to go to catch up with you. I’ve only made it three times

  10. Lovely skirt. The print is very subdued and elegant.

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