Elastic Skirt – Making the Pattern

Posted by on Mar 4, 2015 in Elastic Skirt, Lessons, Projects, Sewing | Comments Off on Elastic Skirt – Making the Pattern

This is part 4 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.

Today, we’re going to make the pattern for your elastic waistband skirt. It’s by far the easiest of the drafted garment patterns, but it will require a little bit of math.

The measurements you’ll need for this pattern are:

Full Hips
Front Hips
Back Hips
Waist to floor

Now you may be wondering why you need the front hip and back hip measurements as well as the full hip. That’s because some of us have a little more junk in the trunk. If you make a skirt that’s perfectly divided in half, you may end up with a side seam that looks like this:Making the skirt pattern the way I’m going to show you will result in a nice, straight side seam, like this:

good side seam

First off, we’re going to do some math. Yes, yes, groan. It’s not hard math. First, you need to calculate the total width of your skirt. For that, you’ll need your total hip measurement, the ease you intend to add, and what your typical seam allowance is (usually 1/4 or 1/2-inch).

Plug those into this equation:

hips equation 1So, if you have a 36″ hip, are adding basic ease, and have a quarter of an inch seam allowance, you would come up with:

hips equation 2

On the other hand, if you’re using the reference sheet you printed from the fabric predictor, you just have to add the seam allowance.

You’ll also want to calculate your front hip area. You could choose to do the back hip as well, but for demonstration purposes, I’ll be using the front hip.

fhips equation 1 fhips equation 2

Again, if you’re using the fabric predictor’s reference sheet, you just need to add seam allowance to the front hips total measurement.

Finally, add one inch to your waist to floor measurement.

Now, it’s time to make a pattern!

Start by drawing a line one inch from the top of your patterning paper. Make this line the full width of the skirt (first equation).

sloper 1

Make a mark at the measurement for the front hip (second equation).

sloper 2

From this mark, draw a line perpendicular to the first line. This line should be one inch longer than the waist-to-floor measurement, if possible. If not, take note of how much shorter your paper is than this measurement. You might need to lengthen your pattern at a later date.

sloper 3

Add seam allowances to either side of this line.

When adding a seam allowance to a straight line, you can make the marks at the top and bottom and use a ruler to grade them out.

When adding a seam allowance to a straight line, you can make the marks at the top and bottom and use a ruler to connect them.

Draw vertical lines down from either end of the horizontal line.

Note: these will be the edges of your seam allowances.

Mark in from these lines the seam allowance measurement you usually use.

sloper 6

These are the actual edges of your skirt.

Mark a line across the bottom of the skirt pattern.

sloper 7

Don’t add seam allowance, you already did that when you added an inch.

Ready for more math? I knew you would be! First, take your waist to floor measurement and multiply it by 0.25, 0.5, and 0.75. Add an inch to each of these new measurements.

waist to floorThese create the short, tea, and knee lengths for your skirt.

Skirt LengthsFrom the top line of your pattern, make marks at each of these measurements on the centre line.

sloper 8To add space for the elastic, add an inch at the top of the pattern.

sloper 9Finally make a line parallel to the top and bottom at each of these marks.sloper 10 sloper 11 sloper 12

Mark the sides as front and back.

Here’s what my pattern looked like (without the length lines).


Some splicing required.

Now, all you have to do is cut it out around the seam allowance lines then up the middle and your pattern will be complete!

Did you learn something from this post? Consider:

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