Simplicity 5454: The London Fog Skirt

Happy New Year from the land of few and far between! Let’s get this new year started with a project post, shall we?

So, there I was, all set for my weekend of dog sitting at my cousins’ place in the East Village. I packed my bag, hopped on the subway, and – lo and behold – a funny thing happened on the way to the apartment: I had somehow been transported to London! I mean, look at that fog. It almost completely hides Midtown Manhattan. (Hello, Empire State Building! Are ya there?)

Pattern: Simplicity 5454 Wrap Skirt (1982)
Size: 12
Fabric: Cotton/Linen Canvas by Echino (2.5 yards from Sew L.A.)
Notions: 4 gold flower buttons (from the Pasadena Flea Market)
Paired with: My Musical Notes Renfrew Top! (Sewaholic Patterns)

Yes, the Empire State Building is there, in fact. Can you spot it? The ol’ gal’s barely visible to my left, just past the building with the gold pyramidal tower (aka the New York Life Building near Madison Square Park).

Anyway, despite the overcast weekend we had here in the Big Apple, mild weather – in January?? – allowed for a rooftop photo shoot! I caught a bad cold a couple of weekends ago and just didn’t have the energy to work on my tailored coat. Instead, I looked for an easier project to get me off the couch every now and then. And the color was just so mood lifting, how could I go wrong? 🙂

I chose Simplicity 5454, a pattern from 1982 that I thrifted in North Carolina a year and a half ago. It’s a skirt with pockets that wraps in the back. I have a RTW skirt very similar to this pattern that I bought at a little store in Los Angeles, so I’m glad to have two now! This fabric was originally intended for a Colette Patterns Beignet Skirt in 2010, but it decided to sit in my stash instead. The color was much, much too pretty to be hiding away, however! I’m not so crazy about its tendency to wrinkle, but thems the breaks and the breaks ain’t too bad in the grand scheme of things – this being part linen and all.

The skirt was easy to make, and it includes darts for shaping at the front and back. I ended up shortening the skirt 4″ so it hit just above the knee rather than at mid-calf. The back edge and skirt hem are finished by creating mitered corners with a machine stitch finish. I usually hand sew my hems, but, dare I say, I like this finish!

Even though this pattern is from 1982, I feel kinda ’50s in it. Maybe it’s the heels or something, who knows?! I love that the skirt has pockets. In all these photos I’m actually holding my cell phone and my keys in each pocket. You know, just in case Spider-Man dropped down on the roof and stole my stuff all of a sudden. You just can’t tell these days.

Let’s take a gander at a couple of detail shots (because, let’s face facts, that foggy Manhattan skyline is getting me down. Seriously, a totally promising view – wasted!).

I had exactly four of these buttons! When I lived in L.A. I had visited the HUGE Pasadena Flea Market every so often, and these were my first sewing-related purchase. Ah, fond memories. They were at a table watched over by an elderly lady who had a ton of random things for sale.

There was a whole section of buttons and I thought I was pretty cool for finding these. I’m not saying I actually was cool for finding them, I just felt it you see. 😉 By that point I had been reading and commenting on Casey’s Elegant Musings blog almost daily and that lady can thrift!

A view of the pockets. This is leftover fabric from my first skirt ever in 2009! I’m glad you can see the fabric (a Japanese print called “Tiny Flowers”) because I think it’s just really sweet and my other skirt is pre-blog. Doesn’t this skirt just scream springtime? A little early, but at the rate I sew I’ll be thankful it’s done now.

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda
And here’s where I discuss changes I’d make in the next version…

  • I’d shorten the darts just a wee bit.
  • The skirt is unlined and that works just fine, but using slippery lining would help the overlapped portion at the back sit better without me having to adjust it. Not a big deal, but it’d sure be nice!
  • Extend the waist tabs a few inches so the skirt can be loosened in the future if need be.
  • The instructions for sewing the waist tabs confused me a bit. The illustration made it seem as though you should press the seam in 5/8″ first and then sew the tabs together (at least to me), so I ended up edge stitching to prevent the width from getting any narrower. I have no idea if that makes sense to you, ha! Basically, next time I’ll avoid pressing in the seam first and just sew 5/8″ in. Yeah, something like that.

Kind of an awkward pose, but I’m willing to share it to show you how I failed at trying to line myself up with the Williamsburg Bridge. And to show you what this skirt would look like sitting down, I guess.


And this is just a silly pose of me expressing my “Midtown Manhattan, where the heck are ya?” look. Kind of dumb so I’ve kept the photo small. 😉 Actually, of all the photos this one shows the skyline the clearest. In the distance to the left are the Zeckendorf Towers and the tower of the Con Ed Building, both at 14th Street. A little further over is a pointy building, the Met Life Tower off Madison Square Park.

The Empire State Building is slowly revealing herself, but I just didn’t have the patience to wait around all day – Jepetto and I had a date with Just Dance 4, after all!


12 thoughts on “Simplicity 5454: The London Fog Skirt

  1. Those pockets are ADORABLE. I love the color on you – it’s so lovely to see and a bright spot on these grey days! Well done and I hope you get to wear it often once Spring comes again!

  2. Love the color choice for this skirt, Amanda! And the whimsical pattern of the fabric lining the pockets makes for a nice surprise and a punch of color! Given all that fog, I thought you were San Francisco!

  3. Thanks, Steph!! You know, I’m surprised I didn’t think of calling this “The San Francisco Treat Skirt” – that would be something cheesy I’d do. 😉

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