Hot! The “Men Seldom Make Passes” Skirt

The Facts:
: Thrifted, woven – $2 for 2 yards. The selvedge was stamped “Loomskill Inc.” (I learned from a fascinating 1971 court case that the company produced “fabrics for the ‘better’ garment market”)
Pattern: McCall’s MP394
Year: 2011
Notions: Zipper, 10 cents; bias tape, 10 cents
Time to complete: 4 hours
First worn: Maybe later this week
Wear again: I think so – after a little more work
Total price: $4

Confession: Despite having been prescribed glasses many years ago, I have never worn them consistently. I promise it’s not a vanity thing; I think I look fine in them. It just never became a habit.

At the end of my most recent eye appointment, the doctor handed me a new prescription, and I said, “Still just for reading, right?”

And she said, “No. For all the time. Although, I think you’ll find they help you read better too.”

So, in the spirit of clearer vision, I decided to make my long-neglected glasses the basis of an outfit reflecting my more bookish past at a Catholic high school for girls. The basic uniform was an Oxford blouse tucked in to a gray gabardine skirt with box pleats.

It was kind of a thing there – and I imagine it’s probably the same at any girls’ high school with a uniform – to roll up our skirts at the waist when we could get away with it. The look was not flattering. But we were committed to it.

My goal was to make a more grownup and put-together version of that everyday gray skirt.

I’m glad I went ahead and bound the seams. Once I decided I was just going to do it, it wasn’t much trouble, and I know I’ll be likelier to pull the skirt out of my closet if it doesn’t make me feel like I’m running around in a home ec. project. After some more work, I think I’ll get a lot of wear out of this: I hemmed it up a little shorter than I’d like. And the zipper wasn’t installed as neatly as it could have been – maybe if I’d been wearing my glasses. Ha.


Jennifer T.

Jenn Torres lives right in the middle of California. Sewing is one of the things she's trying to get better at.


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  1. It’s a very pretty skirt and I love the Hong Kong seams. I also love your books all broken down by color (in your second photo).

    • Oh, thank you so much for saying so! I’m really happy with the seams too. The skirt needs just a little more finishing up for me to be happy with the whole thing.

  2. i love the idea of making a necessity into a virtue by focusing on the glasses. way to re-invigorate something from your past and make it fit who you are now with your uniform-inspired skirt, too!

  3. I love the inspiration, the whole concept. Put on your glasses and let’s see some zipper action! :)

  4. Also very impressed with your bound seams. They’re soooo nice and wear well, you’ll be glad you did it.

  5. I work at a girls’ private school and fight every day with them to pull their skirts back down! You give me hope that they’ll turn into fashionable women one day. :) Love the bound seams.

  6. Love the pattern play! And that top is so similar to the Lady Mary blouse I want to knock off.

  7. Cool story. I like the chain-link (I think) print and you’ve inspired me to give Hong Kong seams a try. And glasses rock.

    • I like the chain links a lot – the print was trickier to match than I expected, though. Definitely try the seams! Like I said, it was much more difficult convincing myself to take the time than it was to actually sew. And I’m really happy with the result.