Tuesday, 2 March 2010

How to make a skirt pattern - part 1

At last I have some useful information for you.  Here is the first instalment of skirt pattern (block) making.  Click on the diagrams for a larger view.  For ease of reference, click here for part 2 and part 3.

Part 1, is measuring and applying the measurements to the first part of the "block".   You need only THREE measurements:

Final length of skirt

When taking measurements, don't breathe in, don't leave the tape slack.   Measure snugly as you would like the skirt to fit.  Ease to allow for movement will be added later.

The block works with half your body.  You therefore need to half your measurements, and then quarter them for half of each side - front and back?  Are you with me?  Don't worry, there's a diagram at the end.

First of all,  record your measurements - and do the calculations.  I like to make a table for easy reference.

Don't bother filling out the grey coloured squares as you don't need those measurements.   Here you can see that we're adding half the total amount of ease to the finished block measure.  So the total amount of ease on your skirt will be 1cm at the waist, and 3cm at the hip.  This will allow for comfort and movement, but also give a nice fit.

The final block measures are as follows:

Waist =  quarter of the waist measurement plus 0.5cm
Hip back = quarter the hip plus 1.5 cm
Hip front = quarter the hip

So if we were using my own measurements, the chart would look like this:

I tend to like my skirts on, or just above the knee, but with your block you can go as long or short as you like.  You do not add hem allowance or seam allowance at this stage.

SO.  Now you have your measurements, you need a large piece of paper, a long ruler, a set square, a pencil and a rubber.  The piece of paper should be able to accommodate a square which is the width of half your hip measurement plus ease (50.5cm in the above example) and a few inches longer than your final length of skirt measurement.  Personally I prefer to use dot and cross, or squared paper because my eyes are funny and can't see straight lines no matter how hard I try, but brown paper or even the white back of wrapping paper will be fine as long as it is wide enough!

You will need a set square in order to get perfect 90° angles.  ALL angles at this stage must be 90°.

First of all, draw a square, which is half hip + 1.5cm wide and length of your skirt long.  Label the left vertical edge "centre back" and the front vertical edge "centre front".  The top line is your waist.  From here, measure 20cm down (or the length of your waist to hip) and draw a horizontal line across.  This is your hip.  Measure quarter hip plus 1.5cm across from the centre back (left side) and draw a line down to the bottom.  You should now have a diagram which looks like this:

Note that all the ease for the hip is at the back - this is where you need the space for sitting down etc., and obviously, it's where you are most 'fleshy'.  

So from the hemline up to the hip, the basic block is done!   Next post I will show you how to shape the waist with darts and how to trace the pattern off and make it up.

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