Sew With Me, Series 1 – Skirt: Pattern Drafting

To begin this series we need to make the pattern! There is something great about making your own clothes but when you make the pattern yourself also, oh you are literally Coco Chanel! This skirt is really easy and I know when you finish you will wear this little number with pride! It’s a great little project for at home sewers and I’m sure you’ll have people asking you about the skirt every time you wear it.

Also, since you are making your own pattern there is no need to shy away based on your size. I know how frustrating it can be when you see a really cute tutorial and they even offer a pattern but unless you’re a size 2 it isn’t working for you. We aren’t about that life here! So all shapes and sizes come on down and make yourself a skirt! Off we go:

Materials

  • Paper*
  • Scissors
  • Measuring Tape
  • Tape
  • Ruler
  • Pencil/Pen
  •  Scrap Paper (for notes)
*Any paper will work. It’s easier if you have long paper but taped together printer paper will work too at the end of the day if that’s all you have!

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Process

Step 1: Take your waist measurement** and write it down on your scrap paper so you don’t forget.

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Again, like I’ve said before my Type A personality makes me need to do everything incredibly organized so before I begin I like to make a little list of all the measurements I’m going to need so I don’t forget any!

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**If you want the skirt to sit on a different part of your body (high-waisted, hips, etc. [although I don’t really know where else it would sit!]) be sure to measure there so you have the correct numbers! The waist is the most common spot so for this tutorial’s sake, that’s where I put us!

Step 2: Grab your paper, pencil/pen, and ruler to begin drafting (making, just a little industry terminology for ya!) the waistband piece. Take your waist measurement and divide it by two. We will call this “X.”

Example: Waist Measurement = 30 | Divide by 2 | X = 15

Now on your paper draw a rectangle that is “X” inches in length and 3 1/5 inches in width. Here is a computer rendering of it so there is no confusion and everything is super clear:

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Next we need to add seam allowance. Add 1/4 inch across the top and bottom of your waistband (length) and 1/2 inch to the sides (width).

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You are going to be using this piece for your FRONT and BACK WAISTBAND. So I would recommend drafting two rectangles, that are exactly the same, because you will be cutting two of the front and one of the back; it will just make your life a little simpler.

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If this was a store-bought pattern here is what your pieces would look like. Go ahead and label them if you’d like. It just makes them clearer and if you keep the pattern (which I hope you do!) and plan on making more skirts (which you should!) this will keep you organized and ready to go!

Set those aside for later and let’s move on!

Step 3: From your waist measure down 3 ½ inches this is where your waistband will stop. From this point measure down your thigh/leg for how long you want your skirt to be. Write that down on the trusty scrap paper! This measurement we will call “Y.” I opted for 21 inches. But, again this is YOUR skirt. Be wild, go shorter! Or longer depending on your preference.

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Step 4: Get some more paper and now it’s time to draft the skirt pieces. Take whatever your “X” measurement was and multiply it by 3. We will call this measurement “S.”

Example: “X” = 15 | Multiply by 3| “S” = 45

This is what is going to add all the fullness to your skirt and make it really poofy!

Draw on the paper a rectangle that is “S” inches in length and “Y” in width. Again, here is another computer generated image to clear everything up:

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Time to add seam allowance to this piece! Add 1/4 inch across the top of your skirt, 1/2 to the sides, and 1 1/2 to the bottom.

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Just like the waistband you will be using this for the FRONT and BACK SKIRT pieces, however you only need to Cut 2, so you DO NOT need to make another pattern piece for the skirt.

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And, here are the labels again just to keep everything clear and nice.

Step 5: Now we are going to draft the lining quickly. This is simple because we already have all the measurements we need. The lining will be just like the skirt pieces we just finished except we need to take 1 inch off the bottom. So drawing on your paper make a rectangle that is “S” inches in length and “Y-1in” in width, plus the seam allowance, just like the images below.

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When you lay the lining on top of the skirt piece they should line up perfectly and be the same all the way around, except for the bottom where there should be a 1 inch difference.

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This piece is also only a Cut 2, so this one pattern piece will be fine.

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YOU DID IT!

You have successfully drafted (potentially) your first pattern! See, it wasn’t that hard was it? Now that we have this completed the next step is cutting. Check back in the coming days for the next installment in the series and to continue working on your skirt! Here is all the pieces you should have:

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