Saturday, 2 March 2013

Drafting a skirt pattern

Waaaaay back at the start of February you all blew me away with your kind comments about my self-drafted skirt. It's also waaaaay back then that I promised you a bit of a 'how to' regarding drafting a skirt like this. I'm sorry it's taken so long, but I hope you'll agree that it's better late than never...


In my pattern drafting class, we're using Winifred Aldrich's Metric pattern cutting for women's wear, which includes a basic pencil skirt pattern. The pattern pieces should end up looking like my yellow ones below. Of course there are many other pattern drafting books you can use instead and loads of online tutorials - a really quick Google search revealed similar-looking methods from BurdaStyle and the lovely Ooobop.
If you follow a similar method to mine, your finished skirt or muslin should end up looking like the one below. If you get the fit right this classic pencil skirt shape can become a wardrobe staple in itself, but it also lends itself beautifully to variation.


For my personal drafting experience I wanted to challenge myself in terms of the skills I'd need and in terms of a style that would take me out of my comfort zone. And I knew exactly what I wanted to create, as soon as I saw the skirt below on Pinterest.


To get an idea of how this would possibly work and what pattern pieces I would need, I traced some quarter scale models of my basic skirt block and marked out the new design lines.


I then cut the quarter scale pattern pieces out, to make sure I didn't miss anything or make any glaringly obvious mistakes. This is quite a handy step, as it should highlight any possible problems at an early stage.


With my chosen skirt design, proportions are everything. So I decided to draw out my design on my original muslin. This was such a useful exercise as I kept trying it on as I went along, allowing me to make adjustments and get the proportions of each pattern piece just right.


Once I was happy with the proportion of my pattern pieces, I re-traced my original pencil skirt block and then copied the markings from my muslin onto it. And voila, behold the actual pattern pieces below in all their glory!!! Although, you may have noticed the absence of a pocket pattern piece...that's because I cheated...shhhh! Basically, after all that exhausting drafting I thought I'd let myself off by using and adapting the Lonsdale pocket pattern piece!


You've also probably noticed some folds on my skirt yoke pattern pieces. In order to have a nicely shaped yoke without darts, you just pinch the darts out of your pattern pieces. So you would trace the yoke pieces using your skirt block - darts and all - and then just pinch/fold them out like magic. Sexy shape sans darts...easy, no?
And that my friends, is how you can get a skirt like this! I hope you find this 'how to' useful - I'm not claiming to be a drafting expert or that I'm doing things 100% correctly, but this has been an honest account of how I drafted my pretty little skirt. 

If you have any further questions or anything is unclear, let me know and I'll do my best to clarify.


31 comments:

  1. Really clever! Thanks for sharing

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  2. Great tutorial Marie :). The tip about trying out the style-lines in pencil on the full-size muslin to get your individual proportions just right is very good!

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    1. Thanks Claire! It's a clever method indeed ;o)

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  3. When do you add seam allowances? If you're just cutting the pieces apart they must not be included.

    Clara

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    1. Very good point, sorry for not mentioning this! The basic skirt block is drafted without seam allowances, so once I drafted my new design, I added seam allowances to all my pieces at the fabric cutting stage.

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  4. Wow. LOVE this! Thanks for the great inspiration!

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    1. Glad it inspires you Andrea!

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  5. Wow, thank you for sharing. It's so interesting to see how you did it, you did such a fabulous job!

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  6. Wow Marie, you honestly could not have explained this process more clearly! This is the most useful post I've read in a looong time.
    Not one, but TWO major breakthroughs with your post.
    1) We haven't worked in quarter or half models because my P.D. instructor is against it, but I now see how useful it can be. (Heck, if anything just to save paper. I'm on my frigging 3 roll right now. This stuff is expensive!)
    2) Drawing on your muslin... of COURSE!!! Duh! If you knew how much I have been struggling with proportions!! I swear, proportions alone are the reason I make 3rd, 4th and 5th versions of my patterns. Well, no more!!
    Thanks, Marie!

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    1. You've made my day Adrienne...I'm so happy that you found this post genuinely helpful! Quarter and half scale models may not be accurate (I guess this is why your instructor doesn't approve), but they are useful for the development of ideas at an early stage at least. And I will always draw on my muslins now that I discovered what a good idea it is ;o)

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  7. Thanks for sharing :) I've said it before... but I really love this skirt! So gorgeous on you :)

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  8. Great job with the pattern drafting! This is a really nice tutorial for skirt design/production.

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    1. Thanks Nicole, glad you think so!

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  9. I would never have thought to just pinch out the pleats of the yoke pattern piece before cutting. So simple, yet so obviously overlooked.
    And drawing on the muslin! Now there is a light bulb moment. :)

    Thanks for sharing. The skirt looks killer on you.

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    1. Thank you on all accounts, really pleased this was useful!

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  10. the skirt looks lovely and its really informative to see how U drafted the pattern

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  11. What a lovely tutorial! Thanks for sharing.
    I agree, the skirt is a perfect shape on you and makes you look oh so lovely and curvy. I can't wait to try this out! I like the idea of drawing on the muslin. ta dah!

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    1. Thanks a million, you're too kind!

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  12. You did a great job. If I ever wear a skirt again, I want it to fit me as well as yours fits you.

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  13. Nice work lady, it looks fabulous! xxx

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