Lined pencil skirt with vent and a mini tutorial

At my last pattern making class Sarah, my teacher,  decided that it would be good to make a pencil skirt with a vent and line it. Didn’t sound too challenging! I packed up my pencil skirt block from Winifred Aldrich’s book Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear, some fabric and lining and off I went.


The bottom of the skirt is slightly pegged in so that vent is rather important if I wanted to walk anywhere. It’s a fairly simple matter to add a vent, but not that simple to line the vent, and I foraged amongst my vintage books and played in Google but no-one has anything quite like the way Sarah does hers, with most handsewing elements of the lining to the skirt fabric, rather than machine sewing the whole thing. I thought it might be worth writing  a small tutorial explanation.

First of all we drafted the pattern pieces for the vent. The two pattern pieces on the left are the lining. Please note the shapes as the right hand side is slightly counter-intuitive.  The two on the right are from the fashion fabric and again, the left side looks a little odd as that angle forms the mitred corner on the hem.

The shapes are put on cards and stored with my other pattern blocks, then the original pencil skirt pattern is retraced and the vent shapes added to the back seam. For reference, my vent is 4cm plus 1cm seam allowance.


Another pair is traced for the lining.


Then we played about with some mini toiles of just the vent whilst I learned the order of construction and even the order of pressing. This is much more technical than you might expect!

First sew up the centre back seam and the angled part of the vent. Note the point at which you have to stop!


Do this for both the skirt and the lining.


Then join the lining to the skirt fabric by sewing down the vent seam. Sandwich the lining hem between the outer hem and vent.


Sew mitre at hem edge, from inside sew angled seam at top of vent


This is how it should look from outside


And the inside (with my instructions written on the lining!) The top angle is topstitched from the outside, anchoring the angled part of the lining.




The inside of the skirt looks like this. The lining was bought many years ago from The Fabric Store, Dunedin, New Zealand, although it was called “Global Fabrics” then. It is a lovely mix of silk and cotton. Both skirts in this post are lined with this fabric. Just a note – the whole lining is sewn to the skirt, including the hem, which is bagged out.


I have worn and worn this skirt. It is made from a piece of Sanderson Linen, bought in an op shop for 50 cents. A bit of a bargain! It looks as though I’ve placed the pattern upside down, but I really pondered it and then saw a sign on the selvedge pointing to the top, so I know I haven’t. I used the selvedge on the inside of the waistband as I was really short of fabric.



It’s hard to show the vent, it seems!DSC00971

This is an incredibly easy skirt to wear. It goes with a plethora of things, and I’ve had fun mixing and matching, including this 1990s belt which I had given up on ever wearing again.


I love that my silk Endless cardi wrap from Jennifer Hansen goes so well with this skirt as I don’t wear it as often as I should. The grey top is an Astoria from Seamwork Magazine and this top is worn at least once a week. I need more!DSC00976

This is the same skirt made from corduroy originally bought from Aherns in 1992 to make Tom a little pair of dungarees. It still had the price tag on it – it cost me $6 and is a lovely pure cotton corduroy.


Both skirts have an invisible zip which is machine stitched to the lining. Several people asked how this was done when I mentioned it in my last post where I used it on my trousers, so I will do a separate tutorial on it as I have to replicate it, having failed to take photos as I went along. So it’s coming soon!

I have enjoyed wearing this skirt in the colder weather with my Sewhouse Seven Toaster sweater.


Both of these skirts have become useful additions to my wardrobe and I am hoping will take me right through to spring.



23 thoughts on “Lined pencil skirt with vent and a mini tutorial

    1. Sorry, I think you have a word missing – do you want a hint on the bagged lining? I sewed the whole skirt with lining and joined it all together with the waistband. I had the skirt on top of the lining rather the other way round, and graded the seam allowance after stitching. I made sure everything was pressed flat before adding the waistband. I also ran a couple of machine stitches in the ditch of the side seams at the hems to hold it together, so the hem didn’t droop. Does this help?

  1. Lovely instructions for properly attaching the lining to the vent. Thanks Sue. I also like how you have those separate card templates for the vent and lining pieces. So handy to apply to any pattern.

  2. Love both your skirts and they will work differently with your tops making them great additions.

    Interesting technique, I need to get head around it a bit better, probably with some samples in my hand.

    So with the lining being bagged, does this mean you attached it to the hem of the skirt and then made sure it was flat before you enclosed it in the waistband? I’ve never been game to completely bag a lining to a hem except for a jacket (less length/width movement).

    1. Yes, the lining is completely attached and the waistband goes on last. I stitched a few stitches in the ditch of the seamline at the hem to hold the whole thing in place at the bottom. It all seems to lie flat so I think that might be the trick. Worth trying!

      1. Would this work just the same with a skirt without a waistband? Also, would I sew the side seams before the vent or after?

      2. I would have thought it would work exactly the same without the waistband. I think I sewed the side seams first, I might have to get back to you on that!

  3. Thanks so much for this post! I’ve been waiting for a tutorial of this kind. My pencil skirt sewing has stalled precisely because I couldn’t figure out a good way to deal with the lining and a vent…

      1. Thank you! I might come back with questions once I dig up the fabric (and the resolve), so I really appreciate the invitation!

  4. Lovely technique – probably easy enough once you get the hang of it! Thanks for sharing Sue, I have always wondered how this was done. Love both your skirts, the shrug, the toaster …it looks very smart, and the Astoria.

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