Drafting a Skirt Block

The straight skirt block is the basic skirt pattern,  from which pretty much all other skirt patterns are made.  This tutorial is based on the method in Winifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting.  I have included the two size tables for your reference.  You do not need to take every measurement!!  For skirts take your waist and hip measurement (if you are not sure where or how to do this, check here).  Compare your measurements with the table and get your waist to hip measurement from the table.  If you have different sizes don’t stress too much, the waist to hip doesn’t vary that much, so go by the one for your hip measurement.

Charts

Measurement table
Measurement table for Mature figures and adjustments for tall or petite

So, armed with your waist, hip and waist to hip measurement you can begin.

Step 1.

You will be starting with a rectangle.  Draw a line roughly parallell to the top edge of your paper.  Put a small line and a #1 on the left of the line.

1 – 2:  Measure along the line 1/2 of your hip measurement, plus 1.5cm.  Make a mark and  lable it #2.

1 – 3:  This line MUST be 90 degrees to the line 1 – 2.  Finished shirt length.  For the purposes of a block, make this knee length, so make this line about 50cm long, and mark the end with a #3.

3 – 4:  Is the same as the measurement 1 – 2.  Again, make sure all your lines are straight and at right angles to each other.

2 – 4:  Close the rectangle.

Step 1 - The Rectangle

Step 2.

1 – 5:  Waist to hip measurement from the table.  Mark #5 and draw a line across the block to intersect 2-4.  Mark this point #6.

5 – 7:  1/4 of your hip measurement, plus 1.5cm.  Mark #7 and draw a line down to the hem for #8.

Step 2

Step 3:

1- 9:  1/4 of your waist measurement, plus 4.25cm.  Mark #9 and draw a short line up.  #10 is 1.25cm up this line.

Draw a dotted line from #1 to #10.  Divide this line into 3 equal parts and mark points # 11 and #12.  Draw lines from these points at right angles.  The line from #11 is 14cm long.  Mark point # 13 at the end.  The line from #12 is 12.5cm long.  Mark point # 14.

Step 3

Step 4:

Draw darts on the two lines from #11 and #12, 2cm wide.  (that’s 1cm on each side of the central line)

2 – 15:  1/4 your waist measurement plus 2.25cm.  Mark #15 and draw a line up.  #16 is 1.25cm up this line.

#17 is a third of the measurement 16 – 2.  Draw a line from #17, 10cm long.  Mark point # 18 at the end.

Step 4

Step 5:

Draw a dart 2cm wide on the line from #17.

Find the halfway point of the lines from #7 to #10 & 16.  Mark a point 0.5cm out from this point on each line.  Draw a curved line from #10 to #7, and #16 to #7.  Make sure these lines touch the point you just marked and that they flow easily to the straight line from #7 to #8.

Draw a slow curve from #1 to #10 and #2 to #16.

Add notations, Back, Front and centres.

Step 5

At this point, also add your name, the date, and the measurements you used, ie, hip and waist.  This will come in handy when you want to check whether or not the block still fits you later on!  So now you have a half skirt.  To do the next step, you need to ink in the outer lines, the line from 7-8 and the darts.  Then use tracing paper and trace out each skirt piece separately, so you have a front and a back.  Cut the front out on a fold and cut 2 back pieces.  Remember that the block has NO SEAM ALLOWANCE!!  So add to the side seams and the centre back.  Also remember to leave the centre back open from waist to hip so you can get it on!  Keep this pattern uncut.  If you need to make adjustments, use coloured pens to mark new lines, and DATE the adjustments.  Use the patterns you traced off this one to cut up, otherise you will have to make a block everytime you want a new pattern.  This is your template, keep it safe!

I will post the method I used to make the skater skirt next.

Happy drafting!  Any questions, just shout, and if I haven’t made anything clear enough, please let me know, and it will be fixed asap!

Graphic dress

I have found something to use that wonderful silk in, thanks to Kim and Immi for their suggestions.  Mooching on Pinterest today, my eye was caught by this pretty blue number…  I had thought to change the collar though.  I really like the “Just like a stole” detail from Pattern Magic 2, so I thought I’d give that a go, and change the sleeves a little.  As summer is pretty much over here in the UK, I will want something to take me into the autumn, so I think a 3/4 sleeve will do.

Just like a Stole - Pattern Magic 2

I can’t make up my mind whether to have a plain but fitted sleeve or something with a bit of oomphf, like a sleeve with a cowl drape at the head??  I always liked this dress from Burda Style‘s December 2010 magazine.  It’s style no 102 for those who want to dig it out..

Dress with drape sleeve - BurdaStyle magazine 12/2010

I guess I had better get cracking with the paper and scissors then..  ;D

Help Wanted

Twill weave silk

I’m a little stuck.  I have 1.9m of this gorgeous lime and turquoise fabric, and I just cannot decide what to make with it.  It was the end of the roll in the shop, so I couldn’t leave it there, it was just too beautiful.

So I need help.  I had thought of a cowl neck dress – or a kimono sleeve top – or an empire line – or a skirt of some sort…   I don’t want to cut it on the bias though.   I just don’t want it to join the rest of the silks in the cupboard, waiting for me to decide what to make with them.  You know the feeling – you buy something because it is beautiful, and then cannot bring yourself to cut it up and make something just in case it isn’t quite right, and then it’s all been for nothing.

So I await your comments….  🙂

Lime and turquoise silk

Liberty Dress

Another project done!  😀  I have finished putting together the Liberty Dress, at long last!  Many things conspired against me this week, but there you go, that’s life!

Inspiration picture - dress from Anthropologie
Reception Dress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the exact same pattern as the Reception Dress, see how the different weight fabrics affect the hang of the skirt – as well as not having the copious amounts of tulle underneath! All three fabrics are Liberty Tana Lawn, the dress is lined with a white cotton lawn.  I interfaced the upper sections with Gill Arnold‘s polyester fine sheer fusible for strength, but again like the Reception Dress, I didn’t bone the bodice.

So here are the shots of the finished garment, I’d love to hear what you think…

Liberty Dress
Liberty Dress
Liberty Dress

Quick Missoni Dress-Top

A piece of fabric practically jumped into my hands a little while ago while all I was supposed to be getting was a zip…  On the remnants table at Fred Winter was this 60cm piece of ex-Missoni knit fabric.  I couldn’t leave it there, could I??

Missoni knit fabric

You can just make out the cutting lines in this picture, I halved daughter no 2’s measurements and took 10% off the bust.  As this is a stretch knit we didn’t want anything to fall down!  Then I added to the hip measurement so the top/dress would flare out nicely toward the hem.  Next I cut along the fold and overlocked the sides together.  The top edge was overlocked too and then I turned under a casing for the elastic.  This I used a twin needle to do, not having mastered the coverstitch on my overlocker just yet…  Then I cut the straps off an old bra that had a matching colour to the stripes and sewed them on, daughter no 2 didn’t fancy any wardrobe malfunctions!  I used the zigzag selvage for the hem, it just needed some tidying up, but I think it looks great!

The Selvage as Hem

And this is the finished product!

Missoni Knit Dress
Missoni Knit Dress

Reception Dress

What a hectic week it’s been!  Summer holidays are here and between that and getting our house ready to put on the market I have been away from my sewing machine far too much!  Daughter no 1 needed a dress to wear to a wedding reception this weekend.  We had planned to alter a dress she already had, but I did a foolish thing.

I made the toile of the dress pattern based on this dress, and she fell in love with the shape.  “This would look great in that fabric with the brown roses….. Can I have that for the reception??”  Needless to say there was much fluttering of eyelashes going on and puppy-dog eyes.  Of course I gave in!

Reception Dress

The fabric is a decent weight cotton with a very slight stretch.  I used a cotton poplin for the lining of the bodice, and an acetate for the skirt as I wanted it to be light and not stick to stockings, if she wore them.  We wanted more of a 50’s silhouette to go with the pattern on the fabric, so I added width to the skirt and gathered more.  The lining skirt is much fuller, with a layer of fine tulle to hold the outer skirt out.

From the Back

The pattern itself was quick to adapt.  I started with a fitted bodice block and converted it to the lingerie block.  I drew on the lines for the midriff and skirt and cut these off.  I closed the darts and blended the upper and lower seamlines.  For the skirt I lengthened it first, then added side flare from the hem to the hip.  Then I divided each skirt into 3 and cut and spread on these lines.  The straps were rectangles that I double turned on the sides and pleated at the ends to make them prettier.

Strap Detail

I have cut out the Liberty fabric this dress was going to be in first, so that will be the next finished project, and you can compare the two finished items.

I think she likes it…  :p

Ready for the Party

Sweet Disposition

Liberty Knot Dress

Here we go, the Knot Dress has a new image!  Imagine the difference there would be if this were made in a plain linen…  Perhaps that’s the next job.  So, here it is – made up in the Liberty Tana Lawn I bought yesterday at Fred Winter in Stratford.  What do we think??

Happy Customer

I used French seams throughout, there is an invisible zip in the centre back seam and I bound the neck and armhole edges with self-bias.   I turned in 5mm on the hem before turning up 3cm, and machine stitched.  It was actually easier making this version than the toile, simply because the fabric was so much less bulky. I like the little tucks in the back. There are two 5cm long tucks to catch in the bulk of the fabric and stop it from being too tent-like.  I am glad I removed the extra fullness in the centre front, it definitely wasn’t needed.

Bow and Knot Detail

I encourage you to give it a go if you are so inclined, the pattern wasn’t hard to draft.  There are lots of little things to do on it, so just keep focus otherwise you will lose your place!  Overall, I am really pleased, as is daughter no 2!

Knot Dress