Challenge 13:: Pieve skirt:: intro and drafting

To change it up a bit, I decided to move away from the top pattern and try something different. Recently I received a new Boden catalog and this skirt (among other things - I really like their dresses too, even though I do not own a single dress; yes, I can't believe it myself) caught my attention.
I have been looking at skirt pattern drafting recently and what I have learned is that to get rid of the waist darts you basically need to close them by opening or flaring the skirt at the hem. This skirt however, has no front darts, but it is only slightly flared at the hem. The first picture is from their site, the second one is a photo of the same skirt in the catalog  where you can see the shape. 
So, the challenge became to try to manipulate the basic skirt pattern and get a pattern similar to this.

Boden - Printed Cotton Skirt

I looked through a few books I have, and the only thing I could find is how to make an "A" skirt from a basic pattern, which is what I mentioned before - close the darts by opening at the hem. But what that does, is it widens the skirt at both the hem and the hipline. Let me show you what I mean:
The picture on the left is the front pattern for the basic pencil skirt (drafted from the Bunka Fashion Series Garment Design Textbook 2 - Skirts & Pants). To get an "A" line skirt (without front darts - which is the challenge here), cut from the dart all the way down to the hem and then spread apart, until darts are closed. The pic on the right is the dartless "A" line front pattern. You would do the same in the back.

Notice the hipline. It curves up at the side seam, similar to the waistline, but it also becomes wider, by the amount opened by closing the darts (shaded area). Just to give you an example: The length of the hipline on the basic pattern was: 26.5 cm; and on the "A" line skirt is 30.9 cm. That's a 4.4 cm difference, which would add up to 8.8 cm wider hipline only in the front. Now, that's not a problem, if you are making a flared skirt like that. But I wanted a dartless (front) skirt that has the same hipline measurement as the pencil skirt. There has to be some flare added, just because we need to add the volume somewhere otherwise the skirt would not fit right, not on our normal 3 dimensional bodies (that's why you can't just remove the darts, or simply move them to the side seams).

OK, so finally, this is what I did (you can do it to, if you have a basic pattern for a straight skirt, even if it's with one dart - you will just do one step instead of two).

Step 1:

I did this using the drafting software, but you can also do this using paper and pencil. I would recommend copying your pattern on thinner, transparent paper and then use that with the original under the copy. 
First, cut from the dart closer to the midline down to the hem. Now start closing the dart until the distance between A (on the original; right side of the dart) and A1 (on the copy, the left side of the dart) is the same as the distance between B and B1 (B and B1 are both on the horizontal line which is the original hemline).
Then, cut all the way through the dart so you can move the left side of your pattern. Move the left side horizontally until B1 overlaps B (make sure you are not rotating your pattern). This will close the dart all the way (A1 will overlap A). The pattern pieces will overlap some (the shaded area in the pic on the right. Secure the pattern and use it for the next step.

Step 2:

If you started with a pattern with 1 dart, you are done. Otherwise, repeat the procedure in step 1. So, cut from the other dart down to the hem (the new one) and rotate until distance between C and C1 is the same as the distance between D and D1 (D and D1 are both on the horizontal, original hemline). Then, move the left part of the pattern to the right such that D1 overlaps D. This will close this dart too, and the front is done. Since both darts are closed, no darts in the front. Note that the waistline curves up, same as the new hipline which should be basically the same length as the original hipline.
Just for comparison, below is the picture showing the dartless "A" skirt (green) compared to this version (red).

For the back (which I will not show here), you will do a similar thing... you cannot completely close the darts because the darts are wider in the back which will crete a poorly balanced skirt - much wider in the back than the front (unless you want it that way). To get the balance right, measure how much the hem opened when you partially closed each dart on the front. Then when you are closing the darts, close them in such a way that the amount you open at the hem is the same amount you opened in the front for a corresponding dart (so, if in step 1, the opening at the hem was 5cm, the opening at the hem in the back, when you close the first dart should be 5cm). The darts will not close all the way, but that's OK.

Finally, this is the finished pattern and the muslin. I transferred the hemline on the fabric just to make sure it sits horizontally when the skirt is put on:

I was really, really happy when I saw how nicely it fit. The only little problem was a little bulging, just below the waistline, but that's only a little mistake in drawing the sideseam. Easily fixed.

 Next: the finished skirt.

1 comment:

  1. This is an interesting pattern change. I look forward to seeing your finished skirt!