Folkwear 255 and McCalls 7356

Folkwear 255

Pencil skirt and a peplum.  This blog post is being written as I construct this outfit.  In my mind’s eye this project should turn out womanly, classy, with a bit of sass.  My friend Cinnaspice sent this beautiful African fabric to me and I simply must do it justice.  The only thing missing is a matching head wrap because I do not have the hutzpah to pull it off.  Tis a shame too.  A new pair of shoes would be nice to wear with it but one must not get beside oneself, eh.


Folkwear 255 has been in my stash for upwards of 20 years.  This is the first time I cut the tissues.  One day I will make the entire swing suit.  Perhaps with dupioni or something fabulous.  But, for now, let’s focus on the pencil skirt.  The pattern goes up to an x-large, 34″ waist, 44″ hips both of which are smaller than me.  Pattern grading is not my forte, but I did the best I could for now.  You see, the goal is to wear my outfit on Saturday, April 1 and today is March 26 (1 week, ay yi yi).

The steps I took:

  1. Measured self
  2. Compared numbers of envelope (knew I would be off the chart – yuk, yuk).
  3. Measured the tissue minus the darts.
  4. Tissue fit the skirt pieces, kinda sorta.
  5. Added necessary measurement by taping additional tissue paper down the length of the back and front pieces and the waist band.

The toile shows that the top is too big overall.  There is too much cleavage and check out the shoulders.  The princess seam is not lying over the apex either.  Simply too big!  I always do that.  Look at the pattern envelope, pick the size that I should fit, if in between I go up a size.  Now, I was taught all patterns (well most) are for a size “B” bust.  Yet, look at this.  There was no way I needed a full bust adjustment.  Right?

Top Toile
Too much cleavage

I realize I should finish my seams with binding.  As you know, I have a hand crank sewing machine and quite frankly I do not want to use time binding them.  So, I decided to pink the seams instead.  While writing, it occurred to me that I should line this skirt.  Hmmm, I may have something in my stash.  I have yet to line an unlined skirt.  I’ll bet it is simple to do, right?

Meanwhile, I hung the skirt at the end of a sewing session and it looks like a big rectangle;  not a classy, sexy pencil skirt!

Fat pencil skirt

The next morning lo and behold Gertie is modeling one of her dresses and commented that she tailors the knee area to make it “Mad Men” style.  That is it!  I decided to chop away at my skirt.  I should have written the measurements, but I simply put the skirt on inside out and commenced to pinning it next to my body where I wanted the new seam.  Truth be told I re-sewed the waist area at least three times making it smaller.  Now, think about it, I have cut away all the extra inches added from the tissue fitting.  Obviously I need pattern fitting lessons for not only am I wasting fabric, but I am wasting time.

African Fabric Assembly

Sorry for the blur.  Working on antiquated public library computers and programs!  You probably can’t tell, but the top fit superbly.  Fitted at waist and comfy.  The skirt does not look “Mad Men”, but it is okay.  Hiking it up to use the restroom proved to be interesting as it is.  I don’t know how Gertie gets into all her way cool slim pencil skirts and dresses.

The skirt lining came out swell.  Kinda proud of myself for attempting it.  Now I will have to purchase lining fabric for most of my upcoming skirt projects.  Sigh, who said sewing one’s own clothing is less expensive, LOL.











10 thoughts on “Folkwear 255 and McCalls 7356

  1. Nice! I always find commercial patterns a pain as my various body parts put me in at least two different sizes – and not even adjacent sizes!
    If you have enough fabric spare for a headwrap, why not make one and try wearing it around the house until you feel confident to sail out into the world wearing it?


    1. Hello Robbie,

      Yes, the pattern came with a walking vent in the back. I did another pencil skirt a day or two after this one, different pattern, and it had a simple “split”. I like the “walking vent” better.

      In case someone wants to know the difference . . . the slit is just that a split/slit at the end of the seam. Whereas the walking vent looks like a flap, if you will. It involves folding one side of the seam about 1/2″ and the other forms a vent over the other side. What you see is a vent with a diagonal sewing line where it begins; i.e., no leg. With a split/slit you may see leg.


  2. BrewerBarbara

    Oh, my, you are rockin’ that ensemble! And you did a fantastic job of placing the circles down the center of the outfit. All that on a time crunch. Kudos to you!


  3. Trish

    The outfit looks terrific Lyric. I think you should wear the headpiece too! It would be amazing. But the outfit really works. I love the fabric. Hope you can walk in that tight skirt 🙂 I know what you mean about the pattern fitting. I always add and then have to take away while making.


    1. Hey there Trish! Lyric waving frantically. And did I mention using the bathroom in that baby. Woooo, I didn’t think of that when I was cutting and cutting away the bottom to make my pencil skirt more pencilly (is that a word). LOL.


  4. Looking good Lyric! You did a fine job on the pattern matching. I’ve also had a run-in with Folkwear’s pattern sizing. The size range seem to be limited, and I had similar problems upsizing and fitting their Edwardian Skirt pattern. Which ended up being a lovely skirt, but the fittings took forever.


    1. Uwwww, Oddlyended, I wanted that pattern. Truly I had not visited Folkwear in YEARS!!!! They have a Victorian blouse with a gazillion tucks, tiny too. I have it, want it . .. too lazy to make it, bwahhh haaaa.

      Liked by 1 person

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