Update your wardrobe with our stylish pencil skirt pattern

Cosy up in cashmere on chilly days in Portia Lawrie’s super-soft pencil skirt pattern made from a man’s sweater

Pencil skirt pattern

The pencil skirt pattern is a real winter wardrobe staple – and this free project is also great for the environment because it doesn’t use new fabric. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to make your own unique garment using Portia Lawrie’s pencil skirt pattern – and it’s free!

“Ahh, the ubiquitous man’s jumper, readily available from the wardrobes of your menfolk or the rails of charity shops,” says designer Portia Lawrie. “Often in luxury yarns like cashmere. Oh yes! Who wouldn’t want to get cosy in a stretchy cashmere pencil skirt now that the temperature is dropping?” she adds.

This pencil skirt pattern is ideal for beginners who want to have a go at making their own clothes for the first time. As you’re using recycled fabric, you don’t have to worry as much about making mistakes because you haven’t spent a lot of money on new fabric. If you’re lucky, a relative might be able to give you an old sweater for free.

If you enjoying making this pattern, you could whip up a whole selection of pencil skirts in different colours! Top tip: use a cardigan and have the buttons at the back of the skirt as a design feature.

This pencil skirt sewing pattern was originally published in Simply Sewing Magazine. Simply Sewing is a practical magazine for sewers of all abilities, from beginners to experienced stitchers. The magazine is full of expert advice and beautiful patterns to sew.

Portia Lawrie is a sewing designer who regularly contributes to Simply Sewing Magazine. She loves to transform old clothes into new and exciting garments – check out her DIY maxi skirt pattern, upcycled sweater pattern and bomber jacket pattern for more eco-friendly stitching ideas.

If you’re new to sewing, you might find it useful to read some of our beginner’s guides before you get started. Take a look at our sewing for beginners, how to use a sewing machine, sewing kits for beginners and best sewing machines for beginners guides.

Read on to find out how to make your own pencil skirt pattern…

Pencil skirt sewing pattern


You Will Need

  • A man's jumper
  • Wide elastic
  • Basic sewing kit

Step 1

Select a medium-weight sweater which is thin enough for you to be able to stitch through on your sewing machine. You can use an overlocker or regular machine. Use a stretch sewing machine needle to stitch.

Pencil skirt pattern step 1

Step 2

Decide which side of the fabric you want as your right side (RS). Knit fabrics have a plain and a purl knit side to them and they do look subtly different. I used the wrong side (WS) of my jumper because I preferred the fluffier texture of the inside. I often use the WS as the RS. Don’t feel tied by convention!

Pencil skirt pattern step 2

Step 3

Lay your sweater out completely flat, and, cutting through both layers, cut out the shape of your skirt. You can trace around a skirt you already own to get an idea of the size or cut freehand like I did. The width across the top of your cut pieces needs to be half your waist measurement plus a seam allowance; and the shape you cut should curve slightly where your hips will be, and taper slightly from the widest point to the hem. Turn your skirt pieces WS out (whichever side that is!) and pin the two layers together at the side seams.

Pencil skirt pattern step 3

Step 4

Overlock along the line of pins to create your side seams. On a regular machine, use a stretch stitch to do this, then zigzag the raw edges together.

Pencil skirt pattern step 4

Step 5

Turn the skirt RS out. Create a loop of elastic that fits comfortably and snugly around your waist and pin it to the raw edge of your skirt top at the sides, centre front and centre back.

Pencil skirt pattern step 5

Step 6

The elastic waistband will be smaller than your skirt top. Zigzag the elastic to the skirt top, keeping the elastic stretched out as you sew to take up any slack from the skirt top.

Pencil skirt pattern step 6

Flip the waistband up and topstitch from the RS to keep it in place using a zigzag stitch and matching thread. And you’re done!


You’re done! We hope you enjoyed stitching this pencil skirt sewing pattern. Looking for a cute accessory to match your outfit? Learn how to make a scrunchie with our quick tutorial.

Pencil skirt pattern