I ordered 1.5 yards of this gorgeous Carolina Herrera brocade from Mood fabrics a year or so ago without having any plans for what it would become. It's so beautifully vibrant in color, and the concentrations of turquoise over the black reminded me of brushstrokes. It sold out quickly, however, but was priced at $35/yard.
I had enough fabric for a sheath dress but thought that might be a little too formal for my lifestyle, so went with a skirt instead. The pattern is Vogue 9061, a relatively simple fit-and-flare style with inverted pleats and a side zipper. Surprisingly, this pattern is now out of print. (Wow, that was fast! It feels like I just purchased it.) I was planning to make the shorter length but had some left over fabric along the selvages that I had a lightbulb moment over what to do with. It became a midi-skirt instead, with the bottom hem band cut on the cross grain.
Usually with this quality of fabric I make sure to sew up a muslin to test the fit. However, the inverted pleats are the only things forming the waistline, and those are easy enough to adjust. I cut a straight size 12 but did need to let all the pleats out by 1/8".
I like midi-skirts to hit my legs right where the calf starts to curve in towards the knee, which on my body is 27". This pattern is drafted to be 30" long, so I trimmed 1 5/8" off the bottom of the skirt body and 1 3/8" off the hem band.
Dress form pictures:
This pattern does not include a lining. Those aren't difficult to add by any means, but I had to think about what order I needed to sew my seams and how I would deal with inverted pleats on both my outer fabric and my lining. I ended up sewing the side seams and hem band of the brocade first, then hemming it and installing the side zipper. Then I sewed the side seams of the lining together and sewed it invisibly by hand to the zipper opening. I then did the pleating along the top by treating the brocade and the lining as a single layer. When they were pressed open I stitched in the ditch on the outside to secure the pleats from moving around.
The inside waist band is interfaced and slip-stitched to the lining for a smooth finish. It holds the skirt securely to the waist, much like a waist stay does, which is needed with this weight of garment.
The only other thing of note is that I've started stitching the hems of my linings to the outer fabric with an ease pleat, like I do on any lined jacket. I have hemmed those two elements separately for all of my sewing career, but inevitably some threads come unraveled inside the skirt and hang down, needing to be clipped from time to time. This method encases all raw edges and I love it. There is a bit more hand sewing involved to slip-stitch it on, which I really enjoy. I'm weird like that.
I think this will make a great holiday party look as I've styled it here or with boots and a cropped sweater for church. It's definitely a dressy garment. This was a super fun thing to stitch up and all my fabrics behaved themselves nicely. I'll definitely be using this pattern again. (Still can't believe it's OOP already!)
Note: The brocade from this post was purchased with my Mood Fabrics monthly allowance, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.