Elastic Skirt – How much Fabric do you need?

Posted by on Mar 2, 2015 in Elastic Skirt, Lessons, Projects, Sewing | Comments Off on Elastic Skirt – How much Fabric do you need?

This is part 3 in a series designed to walk you through designing and sewing an elastic waistband skirt. If you have missed steps, you should go back to this page.

When I started writing this blog, I knew that I would start writing clothing tutorials. A huge part of writing good sewing instructions is being able to tell someone how much fabric to buy. The issue with that is that, when I’m teaching you how to draft your own pattern, I can’t tell how much fabric you’re going to need to fit your body. When women are so many different shapes and sizes, there’s no way to predict it, right?


See, when I started planning this blog out and reading a full ton of pattern drafting books, I started figuring out how to predict how much fabric was needed for a particular project.

The problem with me doing that was that it required a series of calculations that I didn’t feel like forcing upon on you, my dear readers. Besides, I wanted to have some abilities to customize what you’re making. For the past 6 months or so, I’ve been working on some spreadsheets using Microsoft Excel that would let you enter your measurements into one sheet and then calculate how much fabric you’ll need depending on your project. So, after much work, I introduce to you:

 The F3 Designs Fabric Amount Predictors!

Predictor icon inches blank v Predictor icon cm

First, choose and download the predictor that fits your needs. The Imperial Predictor will produce fabric needed in yards and the Metric will product the fabric needed in metres. Please note that these are still in development. I had some amazing friends test them for me, but please make sure to let me know if there are some glaring errors that I might have missed.

The first tab of the workbook is for you to put in your measurements. I made the measurements worksheet with numbers on the left that correspond to this page on the excel spreadsheet.

base measurementsTake some time to put your measurements into this sheet. Note that the total bust, waist, and hips will add themselves up when you put in the front and back measurements. On the Imperial sheet, whether you put the measurements into this in decimal or fraction form, they’ll show up in fraction form. I’ve put in some example measurements so that I could test the sheet.

The second tab is designed to help you print out a reference sheet of your measurements.

Reference SheetI’ve put in the basic ease that garments need (more on that later) and had the program cut each of the measurements that need it in halves and quarters so that they’re easily accessible. I’ve done my best to set it up so that it prints perfectly on a sheet of paper that you can have with you when drafting patterns. I recommend you put your name and the date that you took your measurements where it indicates. That way, you can re-do your measurements every 6 months or so.

The rest of the tabs are all project tabs. They have options available for skirts, shirts, dresses, and pants. Today, of course, we’ll want to focus on the Skirt tab.

Skirt PageThe skirt tab imports all the needed measurements to it. It also has different options available to customize your skirt. For this, and all future garments, I’ll walk you through your options. Today, though, I’ll tell you what to choose so that the tutorial will work. The future tutorials will show you different options.

When you click on the cells to the left of the categories, you’ll see a little arrow appear.

ArrowWhen you click that arrow, you’ll have a drop down menu of different skirt options appear.menuThis tutorial won’t change depending on length, so choose the length of skirt you want. Here’s a good diagram to show you what each of those lengths means.

Skirt LengthsThe rest of this project is more restricted so that it’s easier for me to walk you through it. The further we get into tutorials, the more flexible we’ll get. For now, choose “Straight” under the Type Menu.

skirt typeFinally under Waist, choose “Elastic.” This will remove the extra fabric that’s required to make the waistband.

waistbandOnce you’ve made your selections, the area to the right will reflect the best guess of the amount of fabric you’ll need to buy for your skirt.

fabricSo, with the example measurements, the amount of fabric will stay the same between the different widths of fabric. This will change for women with larger hips. I also would say that, as a rule, I always purchase approximately 1/2 yard or metre more than this calculation. That’s because I always like to have a little extra.

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