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Pattern construction for a pencil skirt

Since mid of october, I take classes in pattern construction, which really pleases me. It seems, that this is something I should do – I don’t know how to describe it better. It fascinates me that it is possible to construct on a piece of paper something that would perfectly fit a body. And although I am collecting all Burda Magazines and other sewing mags since years, and therefor have a whole lot of patterns available, this class opens a completely new world to me, as I will be able to design and sew clothes by myself. I decided I could share how to construct a high waist pencil skirt with you.

This is easy to explain and construct and it is a basic skirt that completes your wardrobe. Let’s start! The measurements you need are: Waist (exactly the waist – the most narrow part on your torso. Some people tend to measure on a line underneath) Hip – measure on the broadest part over your bottom Bottom depth = Distance between the above mentioned lines (Waist to Hip) – I could not find a translation, but I guess this is understandable? Skirt length – decide carefully which length you should sew! A pencil skirt is very tight and therefor I think it should not be too short, otherwise it would look not very elegant. Don’t forget to include a slit if necessary when sewing!

Usually, you would add some width to the above mentioned horizontal lines to feel more comfy in your skirt. How much space you should add depends on your preferations and on the fabric you will use – the thicker it is, the more you should add. In my example, I take a super-stretchy Jeans fabric, that’s why I added no space in width, because I want the skirt to be very tight.

My measurements for this skirt/example are: Waist 76 Hip 102 Bottom depth 19 Skirt length 58 You should then divide waist and hip measurements by half, because we draw patterns for center to side seams, so we need only half.

Start drawing! We will draw from the right side to the left, so start on the right side of your sheet. It might be helpful to firstly draw this all in a smaller proportion (e.g. 1:4 is the proportion you would draw in pattern making ) and then, if you have the feeling you fully understood how it is done, you can draw it 1:1. 1. Start drawing a vertical line on which you mark the waist, bottom depth and skirt length – this will be the center back. Then draw horizontal lines to the left from those points:

2. On the hip line (the horizontal line from bottom depth) you mark half of hip width (in my case 51) and draw again a vertical line from the waist line to the length through that point. This will be center front.

3. Divide the hip line by half (here: 26) and draw again a vertical line from waist down to length. This will be the side seams. From the waist line, accelerate the waist by 1 cm and draw a short horizontal line. The waist line is always a little higher on the side to better follow the form of your body, that’s why we need to accelerate the waist in the sides a little bit. Your pattern drawing should look like this now:

4. Darts: calculate the delta between half of your waist and half of your hip measurements. In my case it is 51 minus 38 = 13 cm. About half of the 13 cm in the side seams (in my example I take 7 cm), the other half will be taken for darts in the front (here: 3 cm) and back part (3 cm) of the skirt. Firstly, we take 7cm away from the side seams on the accelerated waist line. Make a point 3,5cm to the left, and 3,5cm to the right. Then draw a line from each of these two points down to where the side seamline meets the hip line.

For the dart on the front part, divide the waist line (reduced by the 3,5cm of the side seams!) by 3. Measure from the new side seam one third to the left, this will be the center of the dart. Then make a Point 1,5 cm left and right of this Center Point. Draw a line of about 10 cm down and draw a line from here up to the two Points. Dart ready!

For the back part, the dart will be located in the middle of the waist line, so divide the waist line backwards by two to find the middle of the dart. The dart on the back is usually a little bit longer than the one in the front, in this example I took 12 cm, and again, the dart will be 3 cm wide. After you have drawn the darts, you can draw a smooth line from the outer dart tops to the side seams, and smooth hip lines instead of the straight ones on the side seams.

5. Since it should be a pencil skirt, it should not go straight downwards. I reduce the width of the hem line by 2 both on the front part and on the back part, and draw the new seam line for the side seams inwards. DONE! Your final pattern should look like this: Please do not forget to sew a sample in musslin (or, like me, wearable musslin), and do not forget to include a slit on the back hemline (or elsewhere on the hem line) so that you can still move.

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