Silk skirt and cami // attaching a lining with a vent

This, my friends, is why I sew. I made myself a woven skirt (with not a smidgen of stretch), that fits me like a second skin. It never fails to amaze me how wonderful it feels to pull on an item of clothing that is designed specifically to fit your body, and only your body, like a glove.


I have never been able to find a RTW pencil skirt in any kind of fabric that fits me properly. My hips are a size smaller than my waist, with the volume behind me rather than at the sides, which always made pants and skirts very painful to shop for. However, I’m pretty sure most women out there can feel my pain. Even women with exactly the same measurements can have vastly different shaped bodies, which is why we take so long trying on all the clothes when we go shopping.

The skirt I made is to a very simple design. It’s fully lined with silk habutai, with an invisible zipper and vent in the back, although the print on the fabric makes both of these features difficult to see. The fabric is a gorgeous remnant of silk twill that I picked up from Britex Fabrics in San Fransisco a few months ago. It’s a lighter style of twill, which is possibly not entirely suited to a fitted skirt, but it is what the heart wanted.

The hem is not as sharp as I’d like, even after interfacing it with some lightweight fusible.  I’m hoping another good press will get the hem and vent sitting smoother. I’m also hoping the lining will help the outer fabric withstand the strain of sitting. (Update: since writing this post, the skirt has been out for two outings and all seams are still perfectly intact thanks to the lining.)



This was my first time lining a skirt with a vent. I entered into the project prepared. I had a reference book on hand and I pulled out my beautifully constructed Herringbone Sydney suit skirt to study (a 2006 version of this one). I literally stared at both for hours. However, my brain could simply not connect the dots. I had a mental block. In the end I knew I just had to start sewing and hope it would become clear as I progressed. I did eventually have that lightbulb moment when everything made sense, but not before I had already cut the lining in the wrong shape. The diagram below shows you how I cut the lining (same as the outer fabric) vs how I should have cut it (in pink).

skirt lining-02

The trick in sewing a lining into a vented skirt is in cutting the skirt lining with a gentle curve so that it can join the vent to the CB zipper seam. The lining is NOT cut in the same shape as the skirt pieces. Showing you how I repaired my mistake gives you a good idea of the difference between a straight CB seam in the lining and how the curve needs to go. Thankfully this mistake is only on the inside of my skirt.

PicMonkey Collage

Here’s another tip I learned in the making of this skirt. There’s no need to sew a dart in the lining. It’s easy to get a professional finish by distributing the volume as pleat instead. I moved my pleat slightly to the side of the dart so I wouldn’t have a double layer of bulk (albeit very thin with silk) in the same spot.


And there we have it, my first perfectly fitted woven skirt. I made a Camilla Camisole to go with it in some lovely silk CDC from Tessuti Fabrics. The bias cut looks great in this fabric because of the striped pattern.



Shop the Look

Nina Ricci // J Crew // BCBG Max Azaria


12 thoughts on “Silk skirt and cami // attaching a lining with a vent

  1. Yup, that’s why I sew too;). This outfit is absolutely gorgeous. Again. And your finishing is lovely. I have to admit I am slightly saddened by sewists who produce loads of badly finished clothing. Or machine hems on otherwise nice makes. Sometimes it seems to have become the sewing equivalent of fast fashion.
    I learnt from my aunt to use pleats rather than darts most of the time in skirts and pants, and to sew them the other side of the dart. I’ve been surprised to see instructions to sew darts in many patterns…

  2. Gorgeous as usual! I visited Britex for the first time last winter and was truly amazed. It was a magical place. 🙂 I totally agree about the feeling of zipping up a garment that perfectly fits your body – it’s so satisfying! I’m not sure that I’ve sewn a 100% perfectly fitting garment yet, but at least I’ve come a long way from RTW sizing.

    Thanks for the tip about using a pleat instead of a dart in the lining. I had never heard this before but really like the idea for reducing bulk.

  3. Nice fit! And interesting lining vent approach. I don’t recall ever seeing this in any sewing books & mags. But a RTW trench I dissected had exactly what you described. I didn’t fully understand this until I made the same mistake making my trench.

    I wonder if the habutai might stand up to wear, especially in tighter fitting skirt shapes love pencil. I used the same for a jacket & regretted it. The jacket’s still fine but the lining is totally shredded 🙁

    1. Thanks Pia! I hear you on the silk lining, but I’m such a sucker for silk – particularly under jackets. But like you say, I’m not sure this habutai will hold up if I’m wearing it all the time. I’m going to keep it as my “good” skirt ;-).

  4. Lovely skirt and top. Agree, fit is one of the reasons I sew. Thanks for the tip about lining and the vent. I usually use pleats not darts in skirt linings and moving them slightly is a great idea.

    1. Thanks Sarah. Yes I did, but quite a while ago, and just tweaked it a bit this time round (I cut wider seam allowances just in case my shape had changed) – it’s very simple design – really just a skirt sloper.

  5. Gorgeous gorgeous outfit! And the fit it is truly superb, too! This is definitely what got me hooked on sewing too – making something that truly fit my body, quirks and all! I love these fabrics. You’re a vision in silk!

  6. I agree – – fit is the main reason to sew! I’ve never lined a skirt with a vent – always thought it would be too hard :). Like your tip of making a pleat instead of a dart in the lining. I lust after your beautiful silk from Tessuti!

  7. You and I seem to have the same fitting issues while managing to look nothing alike! While my hips are the same size or bigger than my waist, all of it is in the back. Lovely work on your outfit – the combo of prints and colors is just gorgeous.

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