The cast of characters: brassy buttons, brass jeans zipper, and the star: black chain print cotton twill.

I have a vision for a sewing project, and it started in the kitchen.

MVH and I received a very nice set of Chicago Cutlery knives for our wedding in 2003. And use those knives we did! But sharpen those knives we did not! That is, until a few weeks ago.

Hans’ Sewing & Vacuum in Madison doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar store anymore, but the proprietor still sharpens knives and scissors and repairs sewing machines. The drop-off point for service is a lovely independent fabric store, Gayfeather Fabrics, and I was practically forced to peruse the textiles after I turned over my knives for some much-needed TLC.

That’s when I spotted by latest muse: a black cotton twill with a tan chain print. I like patterned neutrals; they’re interesting without being obnoxious. They can be paired (obviously) with solid colors, but also with other patterns of varying scale (for instance, stripes, herringbone, or houndstooth โ€” think “neutral” patterns).

I walked out of Gayfeather smitten, but empty-handed. I needed a project, and I vowed to have one by the time I returned to pick up my knives.

Here’s what I came up with:
– Black chain print cotton twill (a neutral with sass!)
– Pencil skirt (this is a new shape for me)
– Just above knee when standing
– At natural waist (i.e., high-waisted)
– Fitted waistband with button closure (pretty classic looking)
– Back center exposed zipper, maybe brass or brushed gold (exposed zippers are on trend; gives a classic skirt a little edge)
– Back slit (how high depends on tightness and mobility)
– Brass/brushed gold button

As I go through this project, I may modify my vision. It will be interesting to see how close the final version is to this original list.

I ended up buying two yards of the material when I collected my knives. (And, by the way, if you’ve never had your knives sharpened, DO IT NOW. My kitchen has been rocked by the new smoothness in slicing, dicing, and chopping. I had four knives sharpened for less than $15! Huzzah!)

The blogging forecast for this skirt project is to break down the tasks in separate posts. I’m currently making a muslin (test version) of the skirt, and I’ll post about that very soon. If you have questions or ideas, please drop me a line. I consider myself an experienced novice, but I’ve been away from my sewing machine for a while, which is the biggest reason I’m making a muslin. It’s my training wheels garment!

My next post will show how I drafted a pattern and cut out the pieces.