Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Making skirts

Being able to make a skirt block has been a liberation for me because although I'm no Vivienne Westwood, or Jean Paul Gaultier, or even George of Asda, I am now able to make a wide range of quality individual skirt styles for myself quicker than it would take me to spend a day painfuly  battling through  high street, trying (and usually failing) to find something which a) fits nicely, b) suits me,  and c) is different enough to set me apart from the catergory "fashion victim".

A pattern 'block' or 'sloper' is a blueprint of your body, on paper.  When you have made a skirt block to your own measurements, virtually any style of skirt can be made and adapted from the basic block, and because you will have fitted it perfectly the first time, then subsequent fittings and adjustments will be minimal and easy to do.  A set of blocks consists of a skirt block, a bodice block, an arm block and sometimes a trouser block,  in the corresponding sizes.  Each block can be mixed and matched and manipulated to make virtually any garment you can think of!  Your imagination is the only limit!

Having your own skirt block will also save you a fortune in patterns.  You will see that designing and making skirts from scratch is completely addictive and much easier than it looks.  There is also no guesswork involved in how a printed pattern is made, and therefore, how to alter it to suit you!

My favourite skirt style of all time is ofcourse the Pencil skirt, - a style I have been wearing religiously since I was 12 or 13 years old.  There is a pencil skirt style for every occasion, it's a classic and as such the design possibilities for them are positively endless!  A great way to get inspired, and also a way  to figure out how to sew your creations together for best effect, is ofcourse to scrutinise the clothes which are already in your wardrobe, and which presumably, you like!  I also inspect details of clothes in shops ... even if it does draw suspicious stares from the staff!

The A-line skirt is another classic style which holds a further feast of possibilities.  When combined with fabric options, and other design details, you can see that one lifetime just isn't enough for all the ideas which can come flooding in, nevermind time enough to wear them all!

So what does one need to make a skirt block?

A tape measure
A ruler
A large piece of paper
A pencil
A rubber (!)
A set square if you have one

And your measurements - taken so that the tape measure is 'snug', not too tight and not loose. 'Ease' will be added afterwards:

Full hip
Waist to Hip - usually about 20cm unless you are very tall!.
Desired skirt length - usually about knee length for a block.

And here is a nice sheet for you to keep some notes - click the pic to download:

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