Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to draft your own skirt patterns? Well, I’m going to help you get started on that.
Last time I wrote about how to draft the basic skirt block using your own measurements. Did you manage to get yours done? Or maybe you had one already.
Even if you don’t have the pattern at the moment, I got you covered! I added a free half-scale basic skirt pattern (size S) pdf for you to download. This way you can practice skirt pattern alterations with that.
In any case, this is where the fun part starts! The part where the basic skirt turns into any skirt style you want. But let’s do some simple skirt pattern alterations first.
As you might already be familiar with dart manipulation, that will be a great way to start altering the pattern. Just like with the bodice, you can change the direction of the darts. They don’t necessarily have to start from the waistline.
Here are a couple of ideas. In the first example you simply draw the dart again. Remember also to add paper and re-cut the waistline with the dart closed to get the new shape.
The second one is a curved dart. Just draw the new dart line ending at the tip of the old dart and cut it open. Close the old dart and add paper to cover the hole. Cut with the dart closed to get the right shape.
Pencil skirt or A-line skirt?
Here’s a simple way to change the profile of the basic skirt.
If you want to make it more fitted, just take off a couple of cm or an inch from the hemline.
To make sure you won’t exaggerate, you can always measure the circumference around your legs at the level the skirt hem is going to be. Ensure you’ll be able to walk! Of course using stretch materials or adding a slit will help, too.
See the curve at the hipline? Smoothen it and if the curve is too steep, you can make the waist dart bigger. That way you get to straighten the side curve a bit.
How about the A-line skirt then? There a a few different ways, each with a different result.
You could just close the dart and open the volume at the hemline like this:
This way the skirt becomes a bit wider and at the same time you get rid of the darts.
But what if this isn’t wide enough? Well, then you can add some more volume to the sides. Just don’t add too much, or the skirt will look like a flat triangle as too much volume will concentrate on the sides. A good way to add just the right amount is to follow the hipline curve. This should add up to 5cm/ 1,97in. In my example a bit less.
I’ll show you later how to add even more volume.
Low waist or high waist?
Let’s see the low waisted skirt first, as it’s the more simple version.
All you have to do, is to lower the waistline the amount of cm/in you want. In my example I lowered the waist 5cm/1,97in.
You’ll also probably have to take in 0,5-1cm / 0,2-0,39in at the new waistline, both front and back.
The high waisted skirt works a bit differently. You have two options, depending on how much you want to lift the waistline. If it’s max 5cm/ 1,97in, then you can do like in this drawing:
Draw straight lines upwards (following the grainline) from the c.front, c.back, sides and the darts. Copy the old waistline shape. Smoothen the sides.
If you want an even higher waistline, then you’ll need to measure the body circumference at the desired level.
Lift the waistline as before and then adjust it to the new measurement. You get more space by widening the sides and making the darts smaller. I lifted the waistline by 8cm / 3,15in.
Waistband or facing?
Do you prefer to have a waistband or does the skirt look better with a plain waistline?
In case you prefer a facing, you can copy directly a slice from the skirt pattern. I usually make a 7-8cm/2,76-3,15in wide facing. But in the example here it’s about 10cm/3,94in.
Close the darts and you’ve got the facing pattern.
In case of a waistband, the more simple way is to make a straight piece. This is valid for waistbands that aren’t wider than 3cm/1,18in though.
The length will be the same as your waist measurement at the level you want the skirt waist to be.
If you want your waistband to have a button closure, add a few cm extra for the overlapping bit on one side.
The height is two times the final measure because the waistband is folded lengthwise in half.
Wider waistbands should be shaped. Sounds difficult? Don’t worry, you’ll get the pattern directly from your skirt block!
If you’re happy with the waistband ending at the natural waist, you can use the same method as with the low waisted skirt. It’s just that this time the bit that you trimmed off, will become the waistband. (In this case don’t take in the skirt waist.)
That 5cm is just an example, but your waistband can be as wide or narrow as you want. Close the darts and you have the pattern.
If you want the skirt to be lower than the natural waist, you can just first lower the waist at the desired level and then separate the waistband.
How about a yoke?
From the waistbands we get to the yokes. The idea is the same as with the shaped waistband. Choose the width and draw a shape you want somewhere above the hipline. Adjust the darts so that they end at the yoke line.
After you’ve copied the pieces, close the darts and smoothen all pointy areas. This is like working with the style lines; you get rid of the darts. Here are the pattern pieces.
Here are a few general tips enclosed in one picture.
To get a nice hemline, place the front- and back pieces together like this and check if there are hollow or pointy areas in the middle. Correct if needed. In this case I had to trim off a pointy bit. This happens with flared skirts.
Another tip is to always start the hemline and waistline in a 90 degree angle at the c.front and -back.
Ok, there you had some simple ideas to start experimenting with skirt pattern alterations. I hope you found the article useful.
Go ahead and download the half-scale pattern if you like.
More styles are coming up soon! What’s you’re favorite type of skirt?