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A skirt block is the simplest of the blocks to draft and is the best place to start for any pattern drafting novice.

For this tutorial, you will need a piece of pattern paper, a ruler and a pencil. You may also want a french curve (or a plate) for drawing your hip curve.

 

The measurements required are:

  • waist circumference
  • hip circumference
  • vertical distance between waistline and hip line
  • vertical distance between waistline and hem (this distance will depend on how long/short you would like to make your skirt block - I made mine to finish just above my knee)
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To start, draw a straight line down the left hand side of your pattern paper, the length of your WAIST TO HEM measurement.

Label the ends as A and B. 

This is the CENTRE BACK line of your skirt.

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You will need to add a small amount of ease to the pattern (will allow you to walk/sit/dance in your skirt). It is up to you how much ease you add - but as it is a block it should be quite close fitting, I suggest adding about 5cm to the HIP measurement and 3cm to the WAIST measurement.

Take your HIP measurement and add your ease to this measurement, then divide result by two. As for all symmetrical patterns, you will be making half the skirt pattern (as the front pattern will be cut on the fold, and a pair of back will be cut).

Draw a line from A (perpendicular to the CENTRE BACK seam ie. AB) the length of the measurement you found above. Label the end point as C.

This line (AC) is the WAISTLINE of the skirt.

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Move down to point B and draw a line, perpendicular to the CENTRE BACK, the same length as the waistline. Label the end point as D.

This line (BD) is the HEMLINE of the skirt.

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Join points C and D. This is the Centre Front of the skirt.

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Take your WAIST TO HIP measurement and mark a point this distance from A, down the CENTRE BACK line. Mark as E.

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Draw a perpendicular line from E that intersects with the CENTRE FRONT (CD).

This line is the HIP LINE.

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It is now time to mark the side seam. 

Take your full HIP MEASUREMENT and divide by four. Add 1.5cm to the result. This extra 1.5cm will move the side seam slightly beyond the halfway point - to allow room for your derriere in the back of the skirt.  

Mark this measurement on your HIP LINE, measuring from point E. 

Mark point as F.

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Draw a perpendicular line from F, that extends up to the WAISTLINE (mark intersection point as G) and down to the HEMLINE. 

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At this stage, your waistline is the same length as your hip line. This is not the case in most women's bodies, so you will need to remove some length from the waistline. This will be done by creating four darts (two in the front and two in the back) and curving the hip line at the side seam.

To do this, take you WAIST measurement and subtract it from your HIP measurement. 

With your result, subtract the width of your four darts (4 darts measuring 3cm each = 12cm). The result is how much you need to remove from the side seams.

Take the result and divide by two (as we are making half the pattern) and distribute either side of point G, on the waistline (half the measurement on the front pattern and half on the back). Mark points as H and I.

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Join H to F with a smooth curve. 

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Repeat for the front by joining I to F with a smooth curve. 

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You will need to extend your side seams slightly beyond the WAISTLINE to accommodate the curve of your hips. Extend lines from H and I by 1.5cm, at the same angle as the curved hip line so that each becomes one continuous line.

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Join the new point (extension from H) to A with a smooth curved line. This is now the back waistline.

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Repeat for front pattern. Join the new point (extension from I) to C with a smooth curved line. This is now the front waistline.

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Now it is time to draw in the darts.

Mark the midpoints of both front and back waistlines.

Label the midpoint of the back waistline as J and front waistline as K.

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From point J, mark a point 1.5cm towards the CENTRE BACK. From this new point, mark another point 1.5cm towards the CENTRE BACK.


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These points mark the centre of your back dart, and the dart arms 1.5cm either side (to create a dart that is 3cm wide).

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Draw a line that is 14cm long (this will be the length of your back dart) from the middle point. The line should be perpendicular to the waistline.

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Join the points either side of the dart centre to the tip of the dart, creating two dart arms.

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Move to your front waistline.

From point K, mark a point 1.5cm towards the CENTRE FRONT. From this new point, mark another point 1.5cm towards the CENTRE FRONT. These points mark the centre of your front dart, and the dart arms 1.5cm either side (to create a dart that is 3cm wide).

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Draw a line that is 13cm long (this will be the length of your front dart) from the middle point. This line should be perpendicular to the waistline.

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Join the points either side of the dart centre to the tip of the dart to two dart arms and complete your front dart.

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And the drafting is complete!

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Trace your front and back patterns onto separate pieces of paper. Complete the pattern by shaping the darts at the waistline (so they sit flush with the waistline when sewn), add seam allowance, mark drill holes, grainlines and add notches. Also add cutting instructions (Front - CUT 1 ON FOLD / Back - CUT 1 PAIR).

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