Friday, May 25, 2012

Pencil Skirt Part One: Drafting and Cutting

This is part one of my "How to Make A Pencil Skirt" series. See my previous post for the introduction and the supplies.

To get started you will need to draft a pattern. Mademoiselle Chaos has a great detailed post on how to measure yourself to draft the pattern pieces for a pencil skirt. Grab a notebook and write out all your measurements and calculations. 
I am a visual person, so I like to draw out my action plan in my notebook.

 Measure out all your lines and create your pattern on drafting paper just as Mademoiselle Chaos describes. To make my patterns, I like to use this roll of cheap kid's drawing paper from Ikea ($5 for 90+ yards of paper!)
  •  I added 3/4 inch darts in the front, and 1 inch darts in the back (I'm not a very curvy girl, so if you have more curves than I do-- most likely-- then make your darts wider).
  • I added 1/2 inch seam allowances for all seams EXCEPT for the back seam. I added a 1" seam allowance to the back to give me plenty of fabric to sew the zipper to.

 Lay out your pattern pieces on your fabric. My fabric had a little stretch to it, if your's does too make sure you place your patterns so that the fabric stretches from side to side, not top to bottom.
 As you can see, my pattern pieces would make a very short skirt. (Honestly, I got caught up in all the numbers of the waistband and the french curves that I forgot to go back and figure out how long I wanted my skirt). To fix my error, I just pulled out my clear ruler and measured from the top of the skirt and cut at the length I wanted.

 Since I was free-handing the added length, I placed it on my self-healing mat, lined it all up, then cut everything nice and straight. You can skip this part if you make your pattern the right length in the first place :)
The part that makes the pencil skirt so flattering is that the skirt tapers in at the knees, instead of hanging straight down from the hips. To get this shape you need to cut off a little fabric from the side. Lay your ruler at the hip line and angle it slightly so that you are taking off 3/4 of an inch at the bottom (or do a full inch if you want a little more). Then cut from the bottom up to the hip line to take off a small wedge of fabric. Do this to both the front and back pieces.

Now to draft your facing
(What is a facing? A facing is sewn to a curved garment edge and turned under to finish an edge neatly)

To draft the facing, we will trace the top of the front and back pattern pieces, but first we must remove the space between the darts. To remove the space we will simply tape it together. Here is how to do it:
Fold the right dart line to make a crease, this will make the folding easier. Bring the right dart line and fold it up against the left dart line (note that you are not folding it in half, but folding at an angle!)
 
This will curve your paper so it won't lay don't flat. (darts make your skirt curved so obviously putting darts in your paper will do the same!)
 

Tape it down. (Remember, you still need transfer these dart marks onto your fabric- that's part two- so use a tape that is easily removable!!! I used washi tape, it doesn't rip my paper when I remove the tape. If you don't have good tape, then trace your pattern onto another piece of drafting paper and use that to tape up. OR skip to part two, transfer your dart marks, sew your darts, then just trace your fabric!)
 Trace along the top of your pattern piece and down the edges about 3 inches. (You can trace it right onto the fabric as I am in the picture OR you can trace it onto your drafting paper so you have a pattern than can be reused)
 
Remove your pattern piece and draw a bottom line at a curve. If you don't want to eyeball it, just slide your pattern piece down 3 inches, and trace the top.

And you will have a piece that looks like this! Now you have one back facing piece. You will need to cut TWO back facing pieces (just cut two from the same pattern piece) and ONE front facing piece.
Once you have cut out your pieces from your fabric...
Cut the same pieces out of fusible interfacing.


Now you should have one front piece, two back pieces, one front facing piece in fabric and interfacing, and two back facing pieces in fabric and interfacing.

Next up: Making Darts

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