Classes! June and July… shirts and dresses.
June 9, 2011
walking foot
What I’ve been up to. And my new toy: the walking foot.
June 13, 2011
Show all

Quick tip: Pencil skirts and those pesky top of the thigh folds (tilted waist adjustment)…

tilted waist

Greetings muskrats! I almost skipped posting today – I’m deep into quilt-making and didn’t think all ya’ll would be interested in following down this dark alley… isn’t it weird when your favorite bloggers all of a sudden-like change their focus?? Ho-hum. Not to worry, I will BURY you with quilt pictures when the time is right. Today I thought it’d be nice to at least stick our heads into the garment-making room and say hi. To that point, I’m sharing some BAD photos illustrating a recently discovered trick for getting those pesky pencil skirts to fit better… a tilted waist adjustment (at least, that’s what I’m calling it).

Here’s the problem I’m addressing:

Egad! Those terrible folds under the tummy at the top of the thighs on some skirts. I often have this problem and have tried to compensate by adding more width at the hips, which hasn’t always worked great. I ended up with baggy hips and I STILL had folds highlighting my abdomen and the odd dip at the top of my thighs. Here’s a fix for muskrat shapes like mine.

If you’ve already sewn the skirt together, take it off and unpick the stitches holding the waistband to the skirt front. You can leave the back alone – and if you’re doing a faced waistband you can skip this part (obv).

Cut off a wedge from the skirt front, taking the most from the center front. I know from experience that 1.5” is a good place for me to start on this adjustment. If you’re not sure, you could try pinching out the folds while wearing the skirt to get a sense as to how much extra fabric is there.

Reattach the skirt! I was being lazy, so I just eased the skirt into the waistband. When I trimmed off my wedge that made my skirt front seam slightly longer, so the waistband was a bit too short. I should really have cut a new, slightly longer waistband (which I will work out for future versions of this pattern.) Since this skirt has a waistband that won’t be working with a tucked shirt too often** I figured I could live with a few wrinkles – plus the fabric is 100% wool, so very responsive to steam!!

**seriously, could there BE a worse look for me than the one I’m sporting in this photo? Waistband at the natural waistline with a shirt tucked in? Great Googly Moogly.

Before and after – very effective (for me)! I still have a few wrinkles going on – that’s partially because of how I’m standing, but I probably could have taken off even more in my wedge.


That’s it for now muskrat friends! Have a great day, I’ll be obsessively working on my quilt. Almost done – and there’s silk, cotton, wool, leather and embroidery involved. With SILK yarn, you semi-aquatic rodents!



  1. Jane says:

    Thank you. This looks like just the adjustment I need on the skirt I am making.

  2. […] it where I want it. I scooped out nearly an inch and a half from the front of the skirt (a ‘tilted waist adjustment‘.) The pattern pieces look RIDICULOUS and setting in the shaped waistband is pretty funny. […]

  3. […] I trimmed right below the zipper to get rid of of the zipper stop. I also did a seat-of-my-pants tilted waist adjustment by dipping this final cut down about and inch and a half at the center front, easing back up at […]

  4. Lynneb says:

    Very effective! Thanks for the tip, Patty! Now how about a "flat butt" adjustment? Any ideas?

  5. Holly S. says:

    That is amazing. I got a sewing machine last week and am on a huge learning curve. I can't wait to get closer to your level, right now it terrified me to read you were cutting out a strip of fabric! You rock!

  6. Natalie says:

    You are brilliant! I never wear pencil skirts because I hate those unflattering wrinkles. Pencil skirts are in the picture now :D

  7. Heather says:

    Huh, I obviously haven't learned yet that making your own clothes means you don't have to put up with this stuff. I have this same problem with my denim pencil skirt I made last summer, and I just figured it was something I'd have to deal with if I wanted to wear a skirt like that. Someday I'll learn!

    Also, you hit two fun key words for me! During field work, we saw lots of muskrats (who screeched at us for coming near their homes) next to Ho-Hum Lake in the Northwest Territories (yes, that was the lake name)! Made me smile to see them both in your post!

  8. oonaballoona says:

    waoaw, that's exactly hat i do for the back of my skirts for my sway back adjustment, hallelujah it works on the front too?!

  9. Tanit-Isis says:

    Neato! I also hate the skirt-tucked-in-at-waist look on me. I think I've also read that removing front darts can help this problem, too. I wish I could wear pencil skirts without destroying them.

  10. [patty the snug bug] says:

    P.Sue – Thanks you dahling!

    Lynn! You're welcome!

    Ms Modiste – I know, it's magic, right!

    Anonymous – I've found when i've pegged princess seams that I like to take a lot out of the princess seams on the back – because my booty sticks out a lot! I just put the skirt on inside out then look in the mirror from all angles and stick pins in where it looks wide. And I peg a LOT – like a few inches from the princess seams, for eight to ten inches at the hem – but that's because of my hips! Just make sure you can still move your legs, sit, and yank the skirt up for trips to the restroom. The rest is just your personal preference!

    Darci! Yay! Gold star for muskrat reference!

    Dotted Lines – try it out and see if it helps!

    stephanie – this, plus pegging have done a world of good in fitting this kind of skirt!

    Stacie – ewwwww… front waist wedge doesn't have the nicest ring, does it?? But it works!!!

    Amber – well, it works on me. I suspect that smiles can ALSO be caused by tightness, but if you know you have a shorter front waist (from your trouser/jeans wearing) then you might benefit from this adjustment.

    Faye – Glad it was helpful!

  11. Faye Lewis says:

    Wonderful, I'm bookmarking this page.

  12. Amber says:

    Eureka! I always thought that "smiling" was because the skirt was too tight. Color me shocked that the culprit is excess fabric.

  13. Stacie says:

    I feel like a whole new world has been opened up to me…front waist wedge.

  14. Stephanie says:

    This is my new favorite tip! I'd really like to wear more pencil skirts. I often have to walk through a "wind tunnel" area near my job, so I have to clutch my loose, swingy skirts to preserve my dignity. But so far, pencil skirts have always accentuated my pooch. Maybe this will be the answer! ^_^

  15. dotted lines says:

    I… never thought of that. Well! I guess I know what adjustment will be done to all my future pencil skirt.! Thanks!

  16. Darci says:

    This muskrat is seriously jazzed about your tip! I have the same bit 'o belly fluff, and this will make ALL the difference! Thanks, dah-link!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Do you peg your skirts just at the side seams? I have a straight skirt with princess seams that I would like to peg and am not sure if I should take in a tiny bit at each seam or just at the sides.

  18. ms. modiste says:

    It's funny, when I was trying to make my first pencil skirt (a dismal failure, in the wearability department) my inclination was to lower the front but I still can't for the life of me understand exactly why it works!

  19. Lynn says:

    Thanks for the tip. I've always wondered how to get rid of that fold of fabric.

  20. Psycho Sue- Sew Misunderstood says:

    great idea, and well instructed Snuggy Buggy =-)

  21. [patty the snug bug] says:

    egad! I just see, a big rectangle in that outfit! If I tuck, I like a much higher waistband so, you know, I have a waist!! I think it helps a BIT that the shirt is so blousy, but in general I really don't like that particular pairing… it doesn't help, though, that the skirt is unfinished in the photo – it's not hemmed and I still need to peg it a bit. If I was standing straight up – i WOULD look like a rectangle!!

  22. Debbie Cook says:

    A worse look for you?? I was thinking you were rocking the skirt with the bloused top. A tilted waist adjustment is usually a must for those of us with some tummy action going on. I do it on all my skirts and pants.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge