Drafting The Soft Pleat Skirt

To draft the pattern for the denim soft pleat skirt I made last week I started with the basic skirt block.

I have drafted my own from the Winifred Aldrich Metric Pattern Cutting book but blocks in standard sizes are available to buy either as actual patterns or downloads. I haven’t used these myself but I have seen these Laura Marsh blocks recommended.

To draft my patterns I use spot and cross paper that I buy on the roll from Eastman Staples. When I bought mine a couple of years ago I think I paid £30 for 100mts. The roll initially is a bit heavy and 100mts sounds a lot but I store it in the wardrobe and it doesn’t take up much space. I had been using the Hemline squared paper that you can buy in packets. I found it is too thick to trace through, it has creases which need to be ironed out and the sheets are never big enough! Also when you want to use quite a bit it can become expensive. Metre for metre buying a roll is more economical. You can also find it for sale in smaller quantities on Amazon or eBay.

After tracing the skirt block I added on my style lines.

traced skirt block with style lines added

traced skirt block with style lines added

waistband pattern pieces

waistband pattern pieces

front & back pattern pieces opened to allow for pleats

front & back pattern pieces opened to allow for pleats

I drew the shape of the pocket pattern pieces on to the front skirt and traced off. 3 pieces in total. I added a grain line before I traced off to ensure I kept the correct grain on the individual pieces

I drew the shape of the pocket pattern pieces on to the front skirt and traced off. 3 pieces in total. I added a grain line before I traced off to ensure I kept the correct grain on the individual pieces. After I made the toile I realised I needed to make the pocket wider and deeper. One thing to make sure is that your top corner piece in main fabric is deep enough so that the lower edge of it is well concealed into the pocket.

I only had enough fabric to use one width for the front and back skirt, 150cm in total so the width of my pleats were limited. I had bough 70cm of fabric thinking it would be plenty for what I wanted, as you can see it was quite a tight layout! I definitely needed to use a contrast fabric for the inner waistband and pocket bags.

70cm of fabric was cutting it a bit fine.

70cm of fabric was cutting it a bit fine.

On the left is my 'working pattern' and on the right is my traced off pattern

On the left is my ‘working pattern’ and on the right is my traced off pattern

Once the pattern was finished with added on seam allowances I re-traced it adding all the info needed.
pattern name
Size
Pattern piece name
Cutting information  (cut to fold / one pair / contrast / interfacing etc)
Grainline

I also notched the hip line on the front and back and placed a notch in the cb seam for the zipper opening.

Then put it in an A5 envelope, again with all details including yardage, pattern pieces and trims along with a front and back sketch.

Pattern envelope with details

Pattern envelope with details

A long, long time ago back in college we used to have to stencil all the info onto our patterns and envelopes, it must have taken ages but I do remember enjoying it 🙂

 

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4 thoughts on “Drafting The Soft Pleat Skirt

  1. Thats very clear Helen – I had wondered if there were pleats in the back! It seems very manageable if you have a straight skirt pattern you know fits. And certainly cheaper than buying a whole new pattern that may not fit 🙂

    • Thanks, maybe should do back views of garments as well! There are so many variations of skirts you can take from a straight skirt block. I’ve been lazy with making my own patterns recently but I’m finding renewed enthusiasm.

  2. Excellent stuff Helen, thanks for posting this info in such detail.
    I bought one of those huge rolls of paper myself, and stupidly had it delivered to work, thinking it would be more convenient than trying to guess delivery and waiting in for it. Of course, I had completely underestimated the size and weight of it, and then had the problem of getting it home!

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