22 October 2012

Skirt Block Drafting

The Basic Skirt Block is the only pattern you’ll ever need to make any kind skirt design- pencil, puff, maxi, the list is endless! You can even team it with the basic bodice block to make a dress! Drafting the Basic Skirt Block requires a knowledge of basic high-school maths, but once you’ve finished, you have a universal pattern for all your skirt designs that fit to your own body, not to a set of predetermined body measurements based on the “average” person.

First things first, you will need:
  1. Your body and a tape measurer
  2. A ruler, preferably a long one such as a meter stick, pattern master or set triangle
  3. Pattern cutting paper or large pad of paper or several sheets of printer paper taped together. Your paper should be 5cm wider than half your hip + ease measurement and a few inches longer than your final skirt length.
  4. Pencils and rubber
  5. A hip curve
For a guide on measurements, check here.

I work in CM, so these measurements will be in metric.

OK, let's begin...

Step 1: Hip. Draw a square, which is half hip + 1.5cm wide and the length of your skirt. Label the left vertical edge "centre back" and the front vertical edge "centre front".  The top line is your waist.

Step 2: Waist to hip. From the waist, measure down to the length of your hip and draw a horizontal line across.

Step 3: Back hip. Measure quarter hip plus 1.5cm across from the centre back (left side) and draw a line down to the bottom. Note that all the ease for the hip is at the back as this is where you need the space for sitting down, etc. You should now have a diagram which looks like this:

Step 4: Darts. These are used to shape the skirt. 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:

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

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

Step 5: Flare Lines. These lines 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:

(These instructions are taken from House of Marmalade).

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