Moving away from the gathered waist for a bit, here is a
fitted panel skirt. Unlike the gathered version which is
composed of vertical rectangles, this one is made of
trapezium-shaped panels that are narrower at the top
(waist) and wider at the bottom. And since there is
no stretchy elastic, this needs a zipper.
A bit more work, but us folks with fuller hips look a
little slimmer in something like this, than the gathered
version. Anything that streamlines the region that once
contained an entire baby (or three), we like.
To make this, we are actually going to dip our toes in the
murky waters known as drafting. And we are going to
survive. And we are going to feel very clever after.
Here's the printable instruction sheet. Lots of diagrams.
The main idea is that the skirt is made of identical
trapezium panels. And because it is no longer a
one-size-fits-all skirt, the dimensions of this trapezium
panel will be unique to the wearer. Fortunately, there are
no darts because the panels themselves will allow for
the fullness of the wearer's figure. But there will (as
mentioned) be a zipper, which fits neatly
between two panels like this:
Let's get started!
For convenience, this will be a 6-panel skirt.
- Measure the waist and call it A.
- Add 1" for ease of movement.
- Divide this by 12.
- Measure the hip (widest part of lower body - not difficult to locate, sadly) and call it B.
- Add 2" for ease of movement.
- Divide this by 12.
- Measure the vertical distance between the waist and the hip. This is called the hip level, and we will abbreviate it to HL.
- Determine how long you want the skirt to be.
- Measure this from the waist and call it L.
- Get a sheet of butcher paper or newspaper and fold it in half.
- Draw the pattern shown in the instruction sheet with the measurements you obtained in Steps 1-4.
- Extrapolate (i.e. continue drawing the rest of the trapezium shape) using a long ruler, from the hip measurement to the bottom of the pattern.
Unfold the pattern to give you a symmetrical trapezium whose
- top edge is (A + 1)/6
- widest width is (B + 2) /6, a distance HL below the top edge
- length is L
This is your pattern! You drafted it! Brilliant person, you!
You are now going to cut 6 panels from your fabric(s) using this pattern.
- Four of the panels will have seam allowances of 1/2" all around.
- Two of the panels (the back ones which are connected to the zipper) will have seam allowances of 1/2" for three sides, and 3/4" for the side that will have the zipper sewn to. Remember that these two panels will be mirror images of each other.
- Sew together the two back panels first (the ones which will have the zipper). Connect the zipper by whatever method you usually use to attach zippers.
- Sew the other four panels to these to form the skirt.
- Check the length of the skirt, trim the bottom hem if it is uneven or has pointy bits, and then sew the hem by whatever method you like (serge, topstitch, zigzag, free-fraying etc).
- Make the waistband, if this is a stand-alone skirt. The simplest waistband is just a single fold topstitched down. Or trim off the seam allowance and finish the waist with bias tape. Or sew a real waistband with interfacing.
This skirt was made several years ago as part of Emily's
halloween costume*. The workmanship was shoddy
because I foolishly believed then that fleece (October
is frigid here) edges did not require finishing.
Here's the entire dress
and her wearing it, to show you the flare of the skirt
and the clean, unbulky fit at her waist.
*Oops. OK, maybe this one wasn't originally a summer skirt.
But change the fleece to something cottony and it will
work for the warm weather, see?
Next: The circular skirt (and fractions thereof)!
Quite a different style of making, and very, very easy.
Plus lots of options to try out fabrics you
normally might not dabble with!