Tuesday, 9 March 2010

How to make a skirt pattern - part 2

Today we shall talk about DARTS on the skirt block.

Darts are there to shape the skirt - obviously - to your own contours preferably.  You can put any number of darts into your skirt, but for the basic block, there will be 2 at the back and one at the front.  This translates to a total of 6 darts in your skirt.  We're putting more darts into the back as there is more ease there, if you remember.

The waist is going to have 1cm ease which will be split equally between the back and the front of the skirt block - so 0.25cm either side of the block as each half of the block is a quarter of your skirt.

The darts will be 2cm wide each.

You can plot these lines now as follows:

click the image to enlarge

The front waist will be quarter of your waist measurement plus 2.25cm.  That is 2cm for the dart and 0.25cm for quarter of the ease.  Draw a line this length back towards the centre of the skirt and then connect this line to the hip line.  Extend that line by 1.25cm above the top line.   The front dart is usually placed about 7.5cm-10cm left of the CF line.  Draw a line straight downwards.

The back waist will be quarter of your waist measurement plus 4.25cm.  That is 2 x 2cm darts plus 0.25cm for quarter of the ease.  Draw a line this length from CB towards the centre of the skirt and join with a diagonal line towards the hip as shown.  Again, extend this line 1.25cm above the top.  The two back darts are placed at evenly spaced intervals at the back.  Draw these in vertically from the top line, extending them to meet the diagonal line you have just drawn.

Your darts should be the lengths indicated here:

click the image to enlarge

To draw the darts in, measure 1cm either side of each central dart line, and join each point to the bottom of the dart:

click the image to enlarge

Do this for all of the darts, and then, add some curve to all lines like SO:

click the image to enlarge

Now there is just one more thing to do before the basic block is finsihed, and that is to add your "flare lines".  You don't HAVE to add these, but I always do as it helps me define the line of my final skirt.  ie:  If you want a flared skirt with godets you would put the godets where the flare lines are.  Or if you wanted a panel skirt then you would cut where the flare lines are and these would then become seams.

Flare lines just extend from the bottom of the dart to the bottom of the block.  You can have more flare lines than this depending upon your design, but for this block we are sticking to the basic.

The basic skirt block, complete with flare lines, looks like this:

click the image to enlarge

NOW you are ready to make a toile (muslin).  What you have to do is trace your block onto some thinner paper - I use plain greaseproof paper (not baking parchment with silicone as that is too slippy).  Trace the two halfs - front and back - with the dart markings.  After tracing each half, you have to add a seam allowance of 1.5cm to the sides only.    The centre front of this pattern is cut on the fold of your fabric as is the centre back - so for the purpose of your toile for fitting, the opening to your skirt will be at the side.  Make the toile up in cheap fabric, and fit it to yourself.  It should already be quite a good fit, but may need a little adjustment at the waist and hip.  Mark where your adjustments are (if any), then transfer these to your block.

et Voila!  You have your own personal skirt block which can be customised in various ways to make virtually any skirt you can think of!

Future posts will include ways to do this.  

To preserve your block so that you can use it time and time again, it is a good idea to transfer it now to some thin card.  Make sure to transfer all of the basic markings too.  When you come to make patterns, you just trace around the block, marking where the darts, flare lines and hip line is, and then create a new pattern.

If you are new here, or if you have found these posts interesting, I would love to hear from you!  Please do say 'hi' in the comments.  I will upload a PDF of this post soon.

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