Goodbye Valentino’s No.1 Pencil Skirt

23 Aug Goodbye Valentino’s No.1 Pencil Skirt

Ready-to-Wear garments often inspire my sewing projects.

Can you imagine my surprise when I opened the latest J Crew catalogue to find a skirt I made last September in the 2012 Fall Collection of pencil skirts? (pages 56 – 57)



The timing of this unexpected discovery was perfect as it pushed me past the sub-lime green jacket of yesterday as well as reminding me to trust myself and not to be shaken by a disappointment.

Goodbye Valentino’s No. 1 Pencil Skirt $25.00.

J Crew’s No. 2 Pencil Skirt $148.00


  • artattack024
    Posted at 20:41h, 23 August Reply

    Amazing!! That’s the exact same skirt fabric! The only difference is yours is well made. I wish I could wear pink…your sweater set is the perfect compliment for it.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 08:55h, 24 August Reply

      Thank you, Dorcas! I made the skirt during my first month of sewing for the year and remember thinking the skirt was complicated. I guess I’ve come a long way 🙂

  • artattack024
    Posted at 20:42h, 23 August Reply

    make that same skirt & fabric!

  • poppykettle
    Posted at 21:06h, 23 August Reply

    😉 indeed!

  • Angela
    Posted at 21:06h, 23 August Reply

    I love your skirt! What a great surprise. You have inspired me to make several new pencil skirts for the fall. I love those things. Now I just need to find a great pattern that fits well. Guess I better make a muslin. Especially since the first one I want to make is in a fabulous silk brocade. Black and gold like the fall runway.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 08:57h, 24 August Reply

      Thank you for writing. I found the Craftsy class with Diana Rupp to be extremely helpful in fitting a pencil skirt. Have fun!

      • Angela
        Posted at 09:00h, 24 August Reply

        Thank you for the tip. I will have to look up that class. I am currently taking the couture dress class with Susan Khaljie and enjoying that one.

  • Becky
    Posted at 21:11h, 23 August Reply

    You have had an incredible number of beautiful outcomes. Your batting average is WAY high. And, now you have validation from a retailer! It doesn’t get much better than that.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 08:59h, 24 August Reply

      Many thanks, Becky! Things are definitely looking up 🙂

  • Robin Denning
    Posted at 21:20h, 23 August Reply

    That is amazing! And a really beautiful statement skirt.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:09h, 24 August Reply

      Thank you, Robin! I found it amazing too. I suppose the retailers are looking for ideas just like the rest of us 😉

  • sewbusylizzy
    Posted at 21:39h, 23 August Reply

    Very fashion forward, perhaps they follow your blog!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:09h, 24 August Reply

      Hi Lizzy! They may – and they may follow yours too!

  • Lori
    Posted at 21:42h, 23 August Reply

    Wow, totally cool.

  • Karen
    Posted at 21:48h, 23 August Reply

    Excellent!! I like how you’ve styled your outfit better, too!!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:12h, 24 August Reply

      Thank you, Karen! I may try it with pink this year 🙂

  • Gail
    Posted at 22:46h, 23 August Reply

    Great skirt, but you need to be brave and put it with a contrasting sweater.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:13h, 24 August Reply

      Hi Gail! I’ll get brave and kick it up a notch 🙂

  • chicenvelopements
    Posted at 22:46h, 23 August Reply

    What a fun surprise that must have been! You obviously have very good taste.

  • Cissie Wellons
    Posted at 23:27h, 23 August Reply

    Someone at JCrew is following you!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:15h, 24 August Reply

      Who knows, Cissie……. I bet that skirt was originally made for less than $10. !

  • velosewer
    Posted at 23:28h, 23 August Reply

    You are definitely fashion forward. What a lovely compliment they’ve paid you.

  • Heather
    Posted at 23:44h, 23 August Reply

    Wow. What a great feeling! Congrats on being ahead of the fashion trends!!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:17h, 24 August Reply

      Hi Heather!
      I wonder when the planning process begins for retailers like J Crew?

  • Crystal
    Posted at 00:01h, 24 August Reply

    What a fun surprise to discover. Your skirt is fantastic.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:17h, 24 August Reply

      Many thanks, Crystal! I was completely surprised 🙂

  • sue
    Posted at 01:52h, 24 August Reply

    Ahead of the pack!

  • Doobee
    Posted at 04:45h, 24 August Reply

    Not often RTW copies our beautiful handmade garments – hope you have started a trend here!!!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:19h, 24 August Reply

      Hi Doobee! I bet it happens more often than we realize. Karen, at Did You Make That wrote a post several months ago about this.

  • Alethia
    Posted at 07:49h, 24 August Reply

    Wow, it shows that you are ahead of the game, that you have great taste, and your pieces are timeless!! I must say that I highly favor your skirt, for it does have pizazz!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:21h, 24 August Reply

      How nice, Alethia! My skirt with so many pieces does offer a better fit and is less likely to lose its shape……………. “Did you hear that, J Crew?!!!”

  • Jstarr4250
    Posted at 09:16h, 24 August Reply

    No one could have scripted a more satisfying ending to your year’s journey. Congratulations and PLEASE don’t end your blog!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:22h, 24 August Reply

      Thank you so much! This little surprise was definitely gratifying. 🙂

  • gingermakes
    Posted at 09:32h, 24 August Reply

    Wow! Look at you– a real trendsetter! So chic!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:46h, 25 August Reply

      Thanks, Ginger! I loved this skirt last fall and it looks like I’ll love it again this fall 🙂 🙂

  • Christina
    Posted at 12:45h, 24 August Reply

    This is amazing! Well done!

  • Ruth
    Posted at 18:26h, 24 August Reply

    It’s gratifying to know that a person who knows how to sew well can save quite some money and do it brilliantly. I keep trying but I am still very much a beginner and have spent more money on Liberty fabric than I should (ooh shiny ooh pretty). I am with Jstarr please don’t end your blog after your year is up, it has been very entertaining and inspirational.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:57h, 25 August Reply

      Thank you, Ruth for this nice comment! The little bit of garment sewing I did prior to this year was very mediocre with an occasional winner. Once I made up my mind to do it correctly, it happened which is not to say it’s been easy. Also, I’ve bought and tried on enough clothes through the years to know what styles I can successfully wear though I am not exactly adventurous that way. All in all I’ve discovered it’s just not that hard to sew some of the ready to wear styles and save $$$$!
      However…… I’d lose all sense of self-control iIf I had easy access to Liberty fabrics! 🙂 🙂

      • Ruth
        Posted at 17:40h, 26 August Reply

        I would be uncontrolable if I had easy acess to Mood Fabrics in NY. Just as well the shipping costs and tax to dear old blighty make it prohibative. 😎

  • Ruth
    Posted at 04:10h, 25 August Reply

    Wait a minute, have you ever thought it’s the other way around – the RTWs are getting their inspiration from YOU

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:58h, 25 August Reply

      I never really thought about that until I picked up the J Crew catalog!

  • Sally
    Posted at 08:48h, 25 August Reply

    Following your blog has inspired me to get my sewing machine out!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 13:32h, 26 August Reply

      Oh good, Sally! Can’t wait to see what you make 🙂

  • gaynelle west-brown
    Posted at 09:13h, 25 August Reply

    seeing these pencil skirts reminds me of years gone by when I did wear the skirts to school……..

  • gaynelle west-brown
    Posted at 09:15h, 25 August Reply

    I am finishing a baby quilt, as soon as I do,,,,,,,,,I think I am going to get you my sewing machine. Many years ago I did make all my clothes (learning from my mama),thanks for sharing,,,,,,,,,,,gaynelle

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 13:34h, 26 August Reply

      Hi Gaynelle,
      I regret losing interest in sewing clothes over 25 years ago until this past year…the pencil skirts are so easy to make as are many clothes! Thanks for writing 🙂

  • Nancy Frisch
    Posted at 16:00h, 25 August Reply

    Just FYI – love your blog and you are so inspiring! I just can’t help but tell you that for summer I made the green jacket pattern – but made it in black embroidered cotton with the short sleeves. It reminds me of an Eileen Fisher look. I love it and it is so comfortable and easy. I am thinking of making in some yummy textured wool as a winter laying vest. Maybe that is all that Ms. Green needs – take off the sleeve extensions. Thanks again for wonderful inspiring blog. I am sewing up a winter wardrobe and plums, purples, magentas and some greys and staying out of the stores. Best to you, Nancy

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 13:38h, 26 August Reply

      Many thanks for your comments, Nancy! I’m glad yours turned out so well…. and I love Eileen Fisher clothes. The illustration reminds me of Eileen Fisher as well. Do you have a photo of your jacket? I didn’t see it on pattern review, though the one I saw was the short sleeved version. Yours sound really cute!

      • Nancy Frisch
        Posted at 14:53h, 27 August Reply

        I am also a big fan of Pattern Review and check out all patterns there first before sewing. Have not posted myself. I took a photo of the black jacket and although I am starting out with a different silhouette than yours, I like the look on my larger frame. I tried to include the photo, but I don’t think the reply box has that capacity. I made view C with the front and back darts. Also, made a muslin first to make sure the pattern fit. Hope this is helpful and if you know how I can send you a photo, let me know. Best to you, Nancy

  • laura s
    Posted at 13:24h, 26 August Reply

    Can you talk a little bit about where you get your fabrics (the pencil skirt fabric is gorgeous!).
    Also, do you use a mannequin for fitting?

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 13:51h, 26 August Reply

      Hi Laura!
      If you look on my gallery you’ll notice the fabric source listed for each garment. I live 60 miles from Mary Jo’s Cloth Store in Gastonia, NC which is a pretty good general fabric store. I bought the pencil skirt fabric there last September. Garment fabric is limited to silk dupioni, some silk prints and weaves, special occasion fabric, spandex, wools and very limited selection of knits. The store seems to be increasing its home dec and quilting fabric departments.
      This year I shopped at Mood Fabrics for the first time and was hooked. It’s a wonderful fabric store loaded with any type of garment fabric you can imagine. Since I live so far from New York I order a lot of fabric online from Mood.
      I had a stash of Amy Butler quilting fabric when I started this year of sewing. I also had a few pieces from Waechter’s Silk Shop in Asheville NC ( online orders are available), and a few pieces of fabric I’ve bought here and there.
      I have an old mannequin that I keep wrapping batting around to resemble my current body………. at least we’re the same height 🙂
      Thanks for writing

  • Valgal
    Posted at 16:22h, 27 August Reply

    I remember your skirt review and it is lovely. But I have to say about jcrew showing a similar skirt as yours; don’t you love it when that happens!

  • Cheryl Lemmons
    Posted at 14:48h, 29 August Reply

    I just found your blog last night and absolutely LOVE IT! I work as a pianist in a university setting (collaborative pianist) and began sewing again in earnest a little over a year ago. My youngest, a son, is now in college, so I have a little more time. I did take Susan Khalje’s Couture Dress Class on Craftsy, and have grown so much as a sewist because of it. The clothes you’ve made this year are absolutely beautiful! As with music, I find that I love the detail work in sewing . . . especially the hand-work. I, too, am committing to purchasing fewer and fewer item for my closet, and making one garment of real quality instead. The only problem is that my 2 daughters have requests lined up as well. I hope to get them sewing soon (they have expressed interest). Can’t wait to see what you sew in the last month of your challenge. And please don’t stop the blog when your year is up. It’s way too much fun and so inspirational.
    All the best,

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 15:38h, 30 September Reply

      Hi Cheryl,
      It looks like I never responded to your very nice comment. I am so sorry because I like responding to everyone who takes the time to write to me.
      I saw Petra last week and she told me you all are friends. What a small world!!!!!

      • Cheryl Lemmons
        Posted at 19:28h, 30 September Reply

        Unbelievable! Just met Petra this summer, thought I’ve heard of her quilt-making prowess for years from a mutual friend. Glad your trip was so wonderful. Hope to meet you in person sometime when I’m in your neck-o-the woods.

  • Cheryl in Carolina
    Posted at 20:27h, 07 September Reply

    Sarah, what is the number on that Simplicity pencil skirt pattern? I’m trying to locate a really great fitting pattern – and this one has great seaming. Have you sewn any of the Style Arc slim skirts? I’m thinking maybe the Odette (eliminating that pleated detail in back!).

    Thanks, and hope you have a great time on your girls’ vacay!

    • cheryl
      Posted at 19:50h, 13 September Reply

      Never mind…found it listed in your gallery 🙂

  • Calico Stretch
    Posted at 19:28h, 13 September Reply

    Wow amazing job. Isn’t it incredible to realise just how much you have made in one year? And to see it all ‘laid out’ is even more amazing. Congrats and I’m so glad you are going to keep blogging and sewing :o)

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