When I reviewed Amy Butler’s Barcelona Skirt I said your money would be better spent buying Sew What! Skirts because it teaches you to make a variety of skirts including an A-line like the Barcelona. But I said that never having attempted to draft my own pattern and I will admit the idea of doing so was a bit intimidating. After all people spend whole semesters or even years learning the art of pattern drafting- how much could I learn from a book?
The answer is quite a lot. Of course it helps that skirts are relatively easy to make in their simplest form and as your skill and confidence grow you can build on the basics taught in the book. My first attempt was the “Polka Dotty,” a simple straight skirt with side zipper and two side slits. I made mine in a nice, slightly stretchy dark denim.
The glory of drafting your own skirt pattern is that you are creating a skirt that will be ideal for your body so accurate measurements are key. I suggest having a friend do the measurements.
You will need:
A tape measure
pen and paper
You will need to measure your “waist,” hips, and the distance from waist to hips. Where you put your waist is entirely up to you, I placed mine about an inch below my belly button. Since this is arbitrary I suggest making a small mark on your skin with the marker.
Measure your hips. This measurement should be taken at the fullest point of your hips, usually indicated by where your buttocks protrude the most. Again place a small mark on your skin indicating where you took this measurement directly below where you placed the mark for your waist measurement.
Measure the distance between your waist and hips. If you decide not to use the marks it may be hard to get an accurate measurement because you may have forgotten where exactly you defined your “waist.”
These measurements will become the building blocks of all you future skirt patterns so accuracy is key. To these measurement you will add your seam allowance and ease.
Most commercial patterns use a 5/8 in seam allowance but you may find it simpler to use 1/2 in. If you find the skirt is to tight you could reduce the seam allowance but be careful there is a reason most seamtresses use 1/2- 5/8 in allowance.
The amount of ease is entirely up to you, your body shape and the type of skirt you are drafting. For my straight skirt I wanted it fairly form fitting but not skin tight.
Waist = waist measurement + seam allowance (SA)+ ease then divide by four (for fabric cut from a folded fabric)
Hip = hip measurement + SA+ ease then divide by four
Waist to Hip = waist to hip measurement + SA at waist
Length= desired length + hem + SA at waist
Draft pattern using these measurements.