Three days to go until publication day so let’s meet the sixth project in Beginner’s Guide to Making Skirts: the Fallowfield – a pencil skirt.
We’re returning to Manchester for the Fallowfield in 1999 for the final year of my fashion degree. Just up the road from Rusholme and right next to Hollings campus, Fallowfield is where I spent the most intense, financially poor, but creatively rewarding 9 months of my life. My timetable of university work was so packed that I didn’t even have time for a job in my final year and had to live on just my grant and loans. Creating a final collection at the end of a fashion degree is the culmination of all you’ve learned over the previous 3 years and I loved it, I enjoy working in that immersive way – being completely absorbed in an all-consuming project.
Here’s some of the work I produced during that year. Funnily enough even after 16 years it looks familiar and I think you can tell it’s mine!
Back to skirts. The Fallowfield is that staple skirt we all have in our wardrobe, probably because pencil skirts have never really gone out of style; I remember wearing them in the 80’s but they probably reached the height of their popularity in the 1950’s – just think of all those gorgeous Mad Men outfits. That creative genius Christian Dior seems to have had a hand yet again in the creation of the pencil skirt, with his “H Line” collection of 1954.
Dior pencil skirts. Source: Google image search.
Even though some references may credit very early influences coming from the Edwardian “hobble” skirt in the early part of the 20th century from around 1910.
Hobble skirts. Source: Google image search.
The Fallowfield might be a classic style, but you can still mix it up and make it your own; you can make it with a faced waist or a waistband,
in 3 different lengths and with a vent (also known as a kick pleat) or godet for movement in the two longer lengths.
A short denim version can see you through the summer with a white t-shirt or layered up with leggings or tights and sweatshirts for winter. A lightweight wool pencil skirt makes for a smart work skirt and in cotton sateen it would make a great special occasion skirt. I keep imagining a version inspired by tuxedo trousers using a heavy crepe for the skirt and a shiny satin for a deep waistband.
Pencil skirts look their best in substantial mediumweight woven fabrics such as denims, linen, cotton/linen blends, corduroy, velvet, cotton chintz, cotton poplin, lightweight wools, and stretch woven fabrics that have some elastane.
Watch out for the penultimate skirt tomorrow!
I’m now taking pre-orders for signed copies of the book. You can order yours here. NOTE: You will be charged when you place your order, but your book won’t be sent until publication day on 25th October.