Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Drafting the Raised Waist Skirt with a Back Flounce

The skirt pictured above was posted on Monday as part of the plaid inspiration. I have been pleasantly bombarded with "how to draft" requests, I obviously like the skirt too and wouldn't mind having one, so I thought I would go ahead and get the instructions out to all of you.
The first step in copying a design is to take a close look. The front of the skirt is nothing more than a pencil skirt with a raised waistline. Look closely and you will see that there is no side seam. Next, take notice that the zipper is not at center back. The back darts of the skirt have been turned into seams. This allows for adding the beautiful drape. Since the zipper is in the dart area, this tells me that there probably isn't a center back seam. Seams in a plaid fabric can be lovely when matched well, but then again, whenever we can get away with not having seams, all the better.
You will need a straight skirt pattern that fits well. If you are using a new pattern, PLEASE do a muslin and make sure that the skirt fits well before you begin doing any drafting. It would be a pity to draft out the skirt, make it up and then not have it fit. Learn from me....I have made that mistake!!!!
I like to remove the seams from a pattern prior to drafting and then add back once I have finished drafting. I won't be confused about where I left seams and where I will need to add them to the final pattern.
So, beginning with a simple straight skirt, lay the front and back skirt together matching at the side seams. There will no longer be a side seam, just a dart at the waistline.
The next step will be to create the raised waistline. Simple to do, just flip the pattern up. 3" to 4" will be plenty for the raised portion of the waistline. Typically, we increase about the same amount in our rib cage as we do just below the waist. I did say typically.

Now we want to turn our back darts into seams. Square a line down the back of the skirt to the hemline beginning at the apex point of the dart.
Take another look at the plaid skirt and you will see that the flounce is coming only off of the center back panel of the skirt. To create the flounce, determine where you would like the flounce to begin. Zippers are typically 7" long. Looking at the picture, we see that the flounce begins below the end of the zipper, so I would suggest beginning the flounce at approximately 9" below the  natural waistline, or 2" below the end of the zipper. Place a notch at this point.
Separate the back panel from the front panel
To create the flounce, simply draw a line out from the seamline as I have shown in the diagram above. The horizontal line should be the same length as the seam length on the front skirt from the notch to the hemline.
If you would like a full flounce, follow the black lines in the diagram. If you would like the flounce to not be so pronounced, follow the red line.
The final pattern for the front skirt is below. You will have a dart in the front and along the side seam. Be sure to add the grainline. Always important, but even more so if you are working with plaid!!!
Add seam allowances and make the skirt up in muslin to tweak the fit. Remember, the center back of the skirt will be on the fold and the center front will also be on the fold.
In my next post, I will have my skirt cut and sewn together for fitting.    

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  1. I pinned this just the other day off you, I am so glad that you are doing a tutorial! I think this will be awesome for my xmas outfit, I love following your blog you are inspirational. Running to the shops to get my fabric....THANKS.

  2. Excellent! How easy is that. Thank you for continuing to teach pattern drafting.

  3. I could wear this skirt if I would lay off the chocolate ice cream for a couple of months...

  4. Rhonda, I love this skirt; thanks for sharing the idea. I don't have a good plaid in my stash so I will have to find one fast. I'll send you a photo in December.

  5. Hi there,

    Hoping you are keeping well Rhonda....
    Oh, I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that you have posted how to draft this skirt. As luck would have it my last project for me was a high waisted skirt (burda pattern), so I can quickly move on to following your drafting instructions to have a go at this skirt - once I have finished the silk dress for my daughter in time for Christmas!! I rather think she would like this skirt too.

    Thank you again. I love your drafting instructions as they are so clear to follow and don't blind me with science, if you know what I mean.