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Continuing with the skirt pattern alterations, this time I’m going to write about the flared and pleated skirts.

If you don’t have the basic skirt block, you’ll find the instructions here. Or you can download the half scale basic skirt pattern from the side panel.

There will be more color, as I figured I could use my fabric scraps to make the example skirts in half scale.

Gathered skirt

Probably the easiest one of the flared skirts is the gathered skirt. You could even just cut a large rectangle without any pattern and gather that, but you’ll get a better result by doing like this:

Just ignore the darts and add as much volume as you like to the centre front and -back of your pattern. I just doubled the waist measurement. Also, you can add a bit of volume towards the hemline at the sides.

In this case, the straight waistband works just fine. I wrote about waistbands in the previous post.

Here’s how my skirt turned out:

gathered skirt

As you can see, this type of skirt creates bulk right below the waist. To avoid that, you could try the next one.

Flared skirt

This is a version of the A-line skirt. It just has more volume.

You start the pattern the same way as an A-line skirt: close the darts and open the volume at the hemline. Then add some more volume to the centre front and -back, more to the sides and finally also in the middle with the slash and spread method.

The amounts I added are just examples.

flared skirt pattern
flared skirt

I decided to finish the waist seam with a facing.

Flared yoke skirt

Here’s a slightly different version of the yoke skirt from last time.

First separate the yoke as normal, and then add volume with the slash and spread -method to the remaining part.

I realize all the numbers don’t show well in the drawing. It says 3cm/1,18in, but you can add your own amount anyways.

I cut the yoke twice to get a facing, too.

Gypsy skirt

Before moving on to the pleated skirts, here’s another gathered skirt, namely a gypsy skirt.

You’ll only need your basic skirt pattern to draft the uppermost part, which would be like a yoke. The rest of the pattern is just rectangles you can cut directly in fabric without a pattern. But you need to make the calculations first.

gypsy skirt pattern

Make the yoke in a desired width and close the darts, smoothening the pointy bits. Then measure the lower end of both front and back pieces.

Decide how many layers your skirt will have and how wide each section will be. They don’t necessarily have to be all in the same width. Remember to add seam allowance.

In my example the first layer is narrower than the other two. Also, decide how much to gather. It could be 1,5x or 2x the measurement for example.

Once you have decided all this and measured the yoke, you can calculate the length of the layers. So each layer is x times longer than the previous one where it’s going to be attached.

Here’s my version. Never mind the fabric! 😀

comics gypsy skirt

Single box pleat skirt

There are different types of pleated skirts and I’ll show you a couple of them. Let’s start with one box pleat at the centre front and -back.

To make it look nicer, I did an A-line skirt version. This means the skirt will have no darts.

Otherwise all you need to do is to add half of the box pleat volume both front and back. In this case the zipper will be on the side.

The box pleat kind of makes this skirt look like culottes.

Two box pleats

In this version, the pleats will be placed exactly where the darts are.

Just cut the pattern in half like in the drawing, following the dart lines at the upper part. Then add the desired amount of volume in the middle.

Mark the centre of the pleat from the hemline upwards. You might notice that the upper part won’t be symmetrical, so adjust that without changing the original width.

Cut the waistline with the box pleat folded.

skirt with two box pleats

If you want 3 box pleats, you can make a mix of this and the previous pattern.

Pleated skirt

Okay, this time I mean fully pleated skirt. Knife pleats all around.

This is a more complicated pattern to explain. But let’s see.

Begin by copying your basic skirt pattern, ignoring the darts. Just measure their width.

Maybe add a bit of flare to the side, which always looks nicer.

Divide the skirt into equal parts. This is where the pleats will be. Calculate that there has to be enough room between the pleats so that the folds won’t be overlapping (which would cause bulk).

From this point on I’ll explain the front piece only, as the back is practically the same. This time I’m going to use cm only as we’ll be dealing with tiny measurements.

So now you’ll need the measurement of the front dart. In my case the dart was 3cm.

Then count your pleats. How many pleats do you have at the whole front piece? There will be a pleat also at the centre front. I have 11.

There are two 3cm darts, which makes 6cm in total. The idea here is to divide the volume of the darts between the pleats. So 6cm /11=0,5cm.

This means I have to add a 0,5cm tiny dart around each line, ending at the hipline. Notice that at the centre front there’s only half a dart: 0,25cm.

Your result might be different, depending on the amount of pleats and the size of the original dart.

Number the sections.

pleated skirt pattern

Remember how to add pleats? Check out this post if not.

Take another piece of paper and start copying the sections, adding the amount of volume you want in between. I added 6cm / 2,36in to get a 3cm / 1,18in pleat. The numbers of the sections should help you keep track.

From the hipline upwards the volume will be slightly bigger, as there are also the darts that will remain inside the pleats.

Cut the waistline with the pleats folded.

At the centre back the pleat starts only after the hipline, because there will be the zipper.

pleated skirt

I think I covered the flared and pleated skirts pretty well with these. If you prefer more fitted skirts, next tutorial will be about those.

I’ve started a board about skirt ideas on Pinterest. I’ll be adding new pictures to it quite frequently, so go check that out for inspiration!

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10 Comments

    • shapesoffabric Reply

      You’re welcome. 🙂 Yes, it seems people really appreciate learning about patterns.

    • I luv skirts. Made mistakes in drafting various styles. Thank you so much. You made it easier and solvable.

    • shapesoffabric Reply

      You’re welcome. Skirts are pretty easy to draft, so you’ll be quickly rewarded for your pattern making efforts. 🙂

  1. I just stumbled on your tutorials and I must say that they are wonderful. Thank you for this. I want to learn to make the basic patterns. Can you help, please?

    • shapesoffabric Reply

      That is always nice to hear. 🙂 And it’s awesome that you are interested in learning to draft patterns. For now I have only created a tutorial on the basic skirt pattern. For the others, you can look for some basic patternmaking books, such as those by Winifred Aldrich and Helen Joseph Armstrong.

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