Posts tagged #skirt series

How to : Draft a waistband for a wrap skirt

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As you may have seen, last week I showed you how to draft a wrap skirt. The post started to get a little long, so I decided that I would leave the waistband for a seperate tutorial - that I am writing today!

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The waistband required for a wrap skirt, is one of the most basic to make of all. It is rectangular in shape (with no shaping or darts) and is secured by a waist tie. Depending how long the ties are, you can either secure it with a bow at the front or back of the skirt.

Measure the waistline

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To work out the measurements for your waistband, first, measure the front and back waistline seams of your skirt.

If your pattern has seam allowance, be sure to measure the stitch line and not the edge of the pattern, for an accurate measurement.

You may notice that my pattern pieces have notches for an in-seam pocket. If you would like to know how to add a pocket to your pattern, head over to this tutorial (it's super easy and there is even a printable pocket pattern piece included at the end of the tutorial, if you don't feel like drafting your own!)

Construct the waistband

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Take the total waist measurement and divide by two (we will be making half a pattern and marking it "Place on fold" - to create a full pattern piece).

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Decide on the width of your waistband.

This is up to you, although be careful, do not make it too small, as it needs to be wide enough to place a button hole that the waist tie can loop through.

As a guide, my waistband was 4.5cm wide.

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Complete the shape of the waistband by forming a rectangle, and label the centre back on your pattern piece.

Mark notches

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Before you can complete the pattern, you need to add notches, to make it easier to sew the two pieces together. 

To do this, line up the centre back of the waistband with the centre back of the skirt, as if you were sewing the two pieces together.

Pivot

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With a stiletto or pin, pivot the waistband pattern along the waist of the skirt - as if you were sewing the pieces together - until you reach the side seam. If you need more guidance with this technique, check out the tutorial on pivoting, that I posted earlier this week. 

Mark side seam

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When at the side seam, transfer the seam location onto the waistband with a notch.

Move to the front pattern piece

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Remove the waistband from the back pattern piece and move it onto the front.

Line up the side seam notch on the waistband with the side seam of the skirt, so that you can continue pivoting the waistband on the front waistband. 

Mark the centre front

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Pivot the waistband along the skirt until you reach the centre front.

Transfer the centre front point onto the waistband with a notch.

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Continue pivoting until the end, to confirm that the waistband and the skirt are the same length.

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Extend the notches, cutting through the waistband pattern piece. You now have the centre back, centre front and side seam marked on your waistband pattern.

Add pattern markings

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You now need to add pattern markings / cutting instructions to the pattern. The centre back will need to be placed on fold, and a pair of these will need to be cut. Add notches at the centre front and side seam (and the centre back seam, when cutting).

Make the waist tie

Work out how long you would like your wait tie to be. 

A good place to start, I think, is your waist measurement plus 30cm.

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Work out the width you would like your tie to be. Remember, it will need to be slightly thinner than your waistband, so that it can fit through the buttonhole when the skirt is "wrapped."

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Take the figure you have worked out for the length of your tie, and divide this measurement by two (as we will only need to make half the pattern piece). Draw a rectangle this long, and the width you have decided on. To complete the pattern, draw a horizontal line, through the centre of the pattern, and mark as a "fold line."

Add cutting instructions (cut 1 pair - on fold) and seam allowance.

 

Mark the buttonhole

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You will also need to mark the location of the button hole. The buttonhole is how the waist tie wraps around the skirt and only needs to be marked on the left hand side of the pattern.

And you're done! I really hope you have enjoyed this tutorial.


What do you think? Pretty easy, right? Would love to know if you are drafting yourself a wrap skirt!


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Posted on February 19, 2016 and filed under pattern making tutorials, skirt series.

How to draft box pleats - Part 2

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If you are a regular to this blog you will know that earlier in the week I published a tutorial about box pleats - specifically, how to insert box pleats into the centre front (or centre back) of a garment. I was planning to also show you how to put box pleats in other parts of a garment, but the post got a little long, so I thought I'd save it for today's post.

For this example, I will show you how to add two more pleats to the front of the skirt (either side of the centre front pleat), but you can use the same method to add as many box pleats as you like. 

What is a box pleat?

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Just in case you missed the last post, here is a box pleat and an inverted box pleat. They are essentially the same, just the way the fabric is folded is opposite in each case, creating a different aesthetic (an inverted box pleat is a box pleat turned right side down). 

Getting started

To start, take the pattern you plan to add a box pleat (or inverted box pleat) to. I decided to use the pattern I drafted during the process of the previous tutorial (an A-line skirt with centre front box pleat). Trace a copy of the pattern without seam allowance.

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2. Consider where you would like to add a pleat. Make sure it is not too close to the side seam, otherwise there will not be room for the volume of the pleat when it is folded in place. In this case, I am only adding one additional pleat, but you may want to add more. Draw a line through the pattern, where you plan to place your pleat (or pleats). 

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2. Cut along the line - separating the pattern into two pieces (or more, if you plan to have multiple pleats). Label the pattern pieces if it is likely that you could get them mixed up.

Pleat width

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Now, you will need to have a think about the size of your pleat. This is totally up to you. If you are struggling to work out the width of your pleat, have a play around with some fabric (or even a piece of paper), folding different sized pleats to get an idea of how it will look. Make sure you check that there is room for a pleat this width, in relation to the centre front / back and side seams.

Create the pleat

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3. When you have decided on the finished width of your pleat, spread the two parts of the pattern piece apart, until the opening is double the width of the finished pleat. For example, if my finished pleat will be 5cm, I need to create a 10cm opening between the two parts of the pattern. Fill the gap with a piece of pattern paper and tape or glue in place.

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4. Mark a line that runs through the centre of the opening. This will become the centre of the pleat.

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5. Fold along both edges of the opening (bring the line towards you when folding).

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6. Fold in each section of the skirt pattern, lining up each fold line with the centre line of the pleat. 

Transfer waistline + hem shaping

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7. Just like with a dart, when you fold a pleat on a curved edge, you will need to adjust the edge of the pleat, so that when it is folded it will sit flush with the waistline.

With the pleat still folded (you may want to use a weight to hold the pleat in place), take a tracing wheel and trace along the waistline, transferring the shape of the waistline onto the folded paper underneath. Repeat for the hemline.

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8. Unfold the pleat, take a ruler and pencil, and join the dots created by the tracing wheel to create a smooth curve. 

Add notches

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9. Add notches to either side of the pleat, as well as the centre point of the pleat. 

Add markings to the pleat

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10. You now need to use arrows to indicate which direction the pleat needs to be folded. An arrow can be drawn from each outside notch towards the centre of the pleat. For an inverted pleat, when it comes to folding it in the fabric, the folds will need to come towards you, meeting at the centre point on the right side of the garment. For a box pleat, it will need to be the opposite - the folds come together at the centre on the wrong side of the garment.

Stitching the pleat

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Now have a think about whether you would like to stitch the pleats in place. This will depend on your fabric choice and the style of your skirt (or garment). You could consider leaving the pleats free, stitching down a few centimetres to give the pleat a little more structure, or stitch down 15cm (6 inches) or so, to really give some structure to your pleat. 

Mark a drill hole

If you would like to add some structure with some stitching, it is a good idea to mark a drill hole on your pattern, marking the end point of your line of stitching.

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11. Measuring down from the waistline, at the centre of the pleat, mark a drill hole the distance down you would like to stitch your pleat. 

12. To complete the pattern, add seam allowance and pattern markings


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Posted on January 20, 2016 and filed under pattern making tutorials, skirt series.

How to draft box pleats

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My transition back into work mode, after a much needed break, has been a little slower than anticipated. I have been concentrating on many things already this year - filling in my calendar and working out a plan of attack for 2016, catching up on emails that came through over the holiday period, and madly sampling a couple of new patterns. But.. when it comes to my blog, I have been procrastinating! Today though, I had it in my diary that I would focus on getting back onto blog content, and although it is a little painful (as I seem to have forgotten a few things over the break... What's that font called again? What line weight do I normally do my illustrations in? So it is taking me afr longer than usual to even get started) here I am, getting the blog back on track, as I have a HUGE amount of content planned for you this year, so I better get on with it, before it suddenly becomes February! 

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So, without further ado, I am going to get into the first pattern making tutorial of 2016! As you may know, if you have been following along, towards the end of year I was working on a blog series about drafting skirt patterns. I still have a few more tutorials related to skirts that I think you might like, so that's what I'll be focussing on for the moment. As I've said before, if you are new to pattern making and just wanting to dip your toe in, skirts are the place to start! They can be as simple as you choose to make them, and the fitting of a skirt is much easier than the bodice or trouser block, giving you a chance to learn some pattern making fundamentals before dealing with the ups and downs of fitting.  

Pleats

Adding pleats is a really simple adjustment that can be made to a pattern that can totally transform the look of a garment. There are many different types of pleats:- box pleats, knife pleats, accordion pleats (the fabric needs to be pleated with heat), top stitched pleats and kick pleats. Pleats can be inserted in tops, dresses, trousers and sleeve heads, but today I will be showing you how to add a box pleat to a skirt. 

Box pleats

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In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a box pleat and an inverted box pleat. The drafting process is the same, the only difference is the direction the pleat is folded when you are sewing.

Getting started

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1. To start, take the skirt pattern you would like to add a pleat to. I chose to use the basic A-line skirt block (that I have made a tutorial for here). You could choose a self drafted pattern, or even consider adding pleats to a pattern you have in your stash.

2. Take a seperate piece of pattern paper, and trace a copy of the skirt without seam allowance. Give yourself some extra space alongside the centre front as this is where you will be adding the pleat. 

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Now, you will need to have a think about the size of your pleat. This is totally up to you. If you are struggling to work out the width of your pleat, have a play around with some fabric (or even a piece of paper), folding different sized pleats to get an idea of how it will look. 

Creating the pleat

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3. When you have worked out the width you would like the pleat to be, divide that figure by two (as we are working only on half of the pattern - the piece will be cut on the fold, to create a full front piece). Now draw a rectangle half the width of the pleat (the figure you just found), and the length of the centre front. For example, if I would like to create a 12cm pleat, I will add a rectangle to the centre front that is 6cm wide.

4. Now draw a second rectangle the same length and width as the first. 

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The centre front (fold 2) and the line between the two rectangles (fold 1) will become the fold lines for the pleat.

Fold the pleat

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5. Fold along Fold 1, folding the first rectangle towards the body of the skirt.

6. Now fold along the centre front (Fold 2), folding the pleat so that it sits flat behind the body of the skirt. 

Transfer waistline shaping

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Just like with a dart, when you fold a pleat on a curved edge, you will need to adjust the edge of the pleat, so that when it is folded it will sit flush with the waistline.

To do this:

7. With the pleat still folded, take a tracing wheel and trace along the waistline, transferring the shape of the waistline onto the folded paper underneath. Repeat for the hemline.

8. Unfold the pleat, take a ruler and pencil, and join the dots created by the tracing wheel into a smooth curve. 

Mark the pleat

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9. You now need to use an arrow to indicate which direction the pleat needs to be folded. For an inverted box pleat, the centre front needs to be folded towards the centre of the pattern. Indicate the direction of the fold with an arrow. At this point you can also add the grainline and note to 'Place on fold.'

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10. For a standard box pleat, the centre of the pattern needs to be folded towards the centre front. Indicate the direction of the fold with an arrow. At this point you can also add the grainline and note to 'Place on fold.'

Stitching the pleat

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Now have a think about whether you would like to stitch the pleats in place. This will depend on your fabric choice and the style of your skirt (or garment). You could consider leaving the pleats free, stitching down a few centimetres to give the pleat a little more structure, or stitch down 15cm (6 inches) or so, to really give some structure to your pleat. 

Mark a drill hole

If you would like to add some structure with some stitching, it is a good idea to mark a drill hole on your pattern, marking the end point of your line of stitching.

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11. Measuring down from the waistline on the centre front, mark a drill hole the distance down you would like to stitch your pleat. 

ADD PATTERN MARKINGS

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12. To complete the pattern, add seam allowance and pattern markings


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Posted on January 18, 2016 and filed under sewing patterns, sewing tutorials, skirt series.

Checking patterns : Curved seams

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Hello there, I hope you are having a lovely lead up to the Christmas period, and life isn't too stressful getting organised for the silly season (my techniques is to totally ignore it, and seems to be doing the trick!).

 Image posted with permission from Yoshimi -http://yoshimitheflyingsquirrel.blogspot.com.au/2011/03/mermaid.html

Yesterday, I showed you how to draft a fit and flare skirt. Before going ahead and cutting out your skirt pattern though, there is one thing you must do... Check your patterns! For some reason this lesson took a little while to sink into my brain (although my pattern making teachers at university said it constantly) and I would just want to jump into the cutting and sewing. I paid for this mistake a number of times, so now I check my patterns religiously.

Why check patterns?

So here I am, now sounding like my nagging pattern making teachers! It is really important that you ALWAYS check that your patterns fit together correctly before going on ahead and cutting your fabric. It may seem a bit tedious checking each seam, but taking a few minutes to check your patterns at this stage can save you cutting out incorrect patterns and wasting precious time and fabric later on . It is really easy to do, and will only add a couple of minutes to your pattern making process (and could potentially save you loads of time in the long run).

When it comes to curves, the process for checking patterns is slightly different to when you check a straight seam.

To check straight seams, you simply have to place one stitch line on top of the other, and ensure they are the same length, and the transition between pieces is smooth (this is a very simple explanation, and I promise to give a more detailed explanation in the future).

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Today though, I want to talk about curved seams, as the fit and flare skirt that we drafted yesterday is made up of panels with curved seams. 

Identify the seams you are checking

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Take the patterns you are checking and focus on the curved seams, and how they fit together.

Measure or match?

I know that some people like to measure their curves (with a flexible ruler or tape measure), but I prefer to match the two pieces together as if they are being sewn. This way you can get a really good idea of how they fit together, and if any adjustments need to be made to the shape of the seam. 

Match the pattern pieces together

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1. Match the seams together, as if you were sewing them (one on top of the other). You may need to flip one upside-down (which is the case in the example) to line them up correctly.

If you are checking patterns that do not have seam allowance you can simply match the edges. If your patterns have seam allowance, make sure you are matching the stitching lines and not the edge of the patterns (this is when transparent pattern paper is very handy).

2. I like to notch my pattern at the same time that I check them. When the pieces are lined up correctly, mark a notch. Before moving on, transfer it onto the pattern underneath - a tracing wheel is a good way to do this. Curved seams can be difficult to sew - if you mark notches at regular intervals, you will make it easier for yourself later on.

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3. You will need to pivot the pattern, so that you can continue matching the seams. Take a stiletto/awl (or a sharp pencil or pin) and insert it at the point where the seams diverge. This will allow you to keep this point together, but also allow you the movement you need to match the remainder of the seam. When it is in place, you should be able to rotate the top pattern, without moving the pattern underneath. 

4. As you rotate, the seams will line up again.

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5. Once they are in line again, hold in place and mark another notch. Remember to transfer the notch onto the pattern underneath with a tracing wheel.

6. Move the point of the stiletto to the next pivot point (where the seam lines diverge again), and rotate the pattern until the seams align again. 

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7. Mark another notch. Once again, ensure the notch is transferred onto both pattern pieces.

8. Check that the seams are the same length.

If one of your seams is longer by a small amount (up to 1cm), simply trim off the excess. If the discrepancy is bigger, you will need to remove half the excess from the length of one pattern, and add the other half to the other pattern, so that they are the same length.

Check the hemline

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9. Now, flip the pattern over, and place the two pattern pieces together (as if they have been stitched together and then pressed open), to check the hemline. As you can see in the example, there is a small dip where the two patterns are joined. Redraw the hemline as a smooth curve, and adjust the pattern pieces to match. 

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10. At this point, you should also check that the angle between the centre front and hemline is a right angle. This means that when you cut the piece on the fold, you will get a nice smooth line. Check the side seam too - this should also come to a right angle. 

Check the waistline

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11. The same way that you checked the hemline, check that the waistline is also a nice smooth curved (and if it's not, make some adjustments). 

ADD SEAM ALLOWANCE

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12. To finish, add seam allowance. 


As I mentioned in the last post, if you have a style of skirt you would like to know how to draft, let me know (comment here or email me) and I'll see if I can develop a tutorial around it!


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How to : Draft a fit and flare skirt

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Over the last couple of weeks I have been writing blog posts about drafting skirts - from drafting a block to your own measurements, adding the correct markings to the pattern and adding seam allowance. Since the block was completed, I have been showing you ways that you can manipulate the pattern to create your own designs.

Last week I did a little round-up of all the posts so far, and asked if there was a specific style anyone wanted to learn how to make. 

Carol got in touch:

The skirt I would love to see as I fell in love with it when I first saw it, was from a blog post by Yoshimi. They call it a mermaid skirt. I think 6 gores with a flare at the bottom. I haven't seen a pattern like this and have a pic of it saved on my hard drive just to look at.

I was excited to get a suggestion, but also a little apprehensive about the skirt suggested. The term 'mermaid skirt' brought ball gowns to my mind... Which you may have noticed, is not really my style!

[ Image posted with permission from Yoshimi - http://yoshimitheflyingsquirrel.blogspot.com.au/2011/03/mermaid.html

But it was a lovely surprise when I found the skirt in question. It's lovely - sleek and simply, and a perfect skirt for a beginner to draft. So thank you very much for the suggestion Carol!

Drafting a flared skirt with panels

It may be difficult to see in the images, but the skirt is made up of 3 panels in the front, and 4 in the back (as the centre back has a seam for the zip). You could use this method with as many panel lines as you like, as it is a matter of preference, but I will draft it the same way as the source image.

To start this pattern, you will first need to add panels to your skirt block - which is one of the tutorials already in the series

Trace the pattern

Trace a copy of each of the pieces, without seam allowance. For the example, I will only be using the two front pattern pieces, as the process is exactly the same for the back.

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Mark flare point

1. Have a think about what point you would like the skirt to flare from. I wanted my pattern to be the same as the example from Yoshimi, so I measured down from my waist to the middle of my upper thigh, to find the right measurement for me (22cm [8 1/2in] down from the waist). Another way you could do this, is by putting on your skirt toile and marking the point you would like it to flare out. 

When you have the measurement, mark it on your pattern pieces, measuring down from the waistline. Draw perpendicular lines through each pattern piece at this point.

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2. You will be cutting through the pattern pieces at the horizontal lines. Before cutting, label each pattern piece so that they don't get mixed up.

I chose to label my pieces as 'Upper panel - side front,' 'Lower panel - side front,' 'Upper panel - centre front' and 'Lower panel - centre front.' It doesn't really matter what you call each piece - as long as you can remember what's what!

Cut pattern into sections

3. Cut along the horizontal lines so that you have four seperate pattern pieces.

Cut and spread

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4. We will be cutting an spreading to add volume (and create the flare) to the lower section of the skirt. Draw vertical lines through the the lower panels. It is up to you how many lines you would like to draw (and will depend on how many panels your skirt has), but I think 4 in the side panel and 2 in the centre front is a good place to start. Keep the spacing between the lines as consistent as possible. 

Have you cut and spread before? It is a really simple way to add volume (or remove) to a pattern. I wrote a tutorial here, if you would like a closer look at this technique

 

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5. You now need to carefully cut along each of the lines, starting from the hemline, and cutting up towards the top edge. Don't cut all the way through the piece, leave 1-2mm (1/16in) at the top to act as a "hinge" (a small strip of paper that will hold the pieces together, but also allow movement).

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6. Now it's time to spread! Carefully spread each cut line by the desired amount (this will depend on your preferences. I'd suggest 3-5cm [1 1/4 - 2in]). Be careful to spread each cut line by the same amount. You can play around until you are happy with the amount of fullness you have added. 

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7. You can now stick the lower pieces back on to the upper pieces, to create single pattern pieces. As the top edges of the lower pieces have become curved, the pieces may need to overlap a little (as seen in the example).

Trace the pattern

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8. Now take a piece of pattern paper and trace each pattern piece. Instead of the point that is created at the joint of the two pieces, draw a smooth curve. 

Add pattern markings

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9. Be sure to mark the grainline on each pattern piece, as well as cutting instructions.

The final thing to do, is to check that the seams fit together correctly. But I'll leave that bit for tomorrow!

I want to finish up by saying a huge thank you to Yoshimi for allowing me to use her images for this post! You should definitely head over to her blog for a look around - she has made some beautiful stuff, and her instagram is very nice too. 


Once again, thank you Carol for suggesting today's blog topic. Is there a skirt you would like to know how to draft? Please let me know and maybe it will be your suggestion next!


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Posted on December 16, 2015 and filed under pattern making tutorials, skirt series.