Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in Fitted Skirt, Lessons, Projects, Sewing | Comments Off on Choosing a Skirt Shape

This is step 3 in a series of lessons dedicated to help you design and make your own fitted waist skirt. If you’ve missed any steps, you should go back to this page.

There are about a hundred different skirt shapes. It would be impossible for me to teach you how to make all of them in one project section. However, I will be showing you how to make four of them. We’ll actually be making 2 different shapes – the straight skirt and the a-line skirt. Why did I say four earlier? because the a-line has a few different variations of which I’ll show you three. This post is to help you decide what you’re making before you determine how much fabric you need.

From now on, when you have multiple design options, I’ll be referring to the body shapes that someone decided a long time ago.

Skinny Minnie and her friends here are of all kinds of shapes. Depending on who you talk to, there are variations of these shapes, but we’ll stick with these 5 for now. For those who don’t know the names, here’s a fast rundown as well as a reminder of why I don’t draw:

Seriously, who came up with these names?

Seriously, who came up with these names?

Rectangles have similar bust and hip measurements with a waist that’s only slightly smaller than them.

Pears have larger hips than busts.

Inverted triangles have larger busts than hips

Apples are like plus-sized rectangles. They have similar bust and hip measurements, but their tummy protrudes out. (I didn’t come up with these definitions, guys. I’m just writing them in my own way.)

Hourglasses have busts an hips that are similar sizes, but the waist is much smaller and very well defined. As a rule, this is what off-the-rack clothing is made for and represents approximately 8% of the female population (yay!).

Each of these body types looks good in all kinds of different designs. That’s why buying off the rack can be so difficult. As a rule, the clothing industry designs exclusively for the hourglass figure, so for the 92% of the rest of us, their clothes don’t look quite right.

However, this project is a little different – just about every fashion expert agrees that the majority of women look good in both straight and a-line skirts. There are specific variations that will look a little better or worse, so I’ll go over that in a little bit. First, let’s talk about length.

Skirt LengthsDifferent lengths will look good on different builds, but it has more to do with your height than anything. Ironically, the shorter you are, the shorter your skirt should be. Petite women (under 5′ 3″) should consider short or knee-length skirts. If you have larger thighs, I’d go for the knee-length.

Pro-tip: Knee-length doesn’t actually mean cutting across the kneecap. Why? Because the kneecap is one of the largest parts of your leg and can make your legs look chubbier than they really are. For a great, great, great post on determining how long your knee-length skirt should be, click over to Extra Petite.

I love the look of a tea length skirt on just about anyone, but fashion says that it should be reserved for women who are average to tall (5′ 3″ and up). If you like how the tea-length looks on you, go for it.

And now for the floor-length/maxi skirt. There are certainly exceptions, but as a rule, wearing a maxi skirt should be reserved for women 5′ 5″ and up. That’s not to say that I don’t have a couple of floor length skirts (I’m 5′ 0″), but I’ve found that they tend to make me look even shorter, and that’s saying something.

Okay onto our skirt shapes.

The Pencil

straight skirt

Note: NOT an artist

The pencil or straight skirt is fitted at the waist and the hips. The skirt then drops straight down to the hem. Though, like all of these skirt options, this skirt looks good on pretty much anyone, making one in a dark colour can serve to minimize large hips and/or thighs. Likewise, making one out of a bright colour can accentuate small hips to balance out an inverted triangle.

The Basic A-Line

a-line 5The basic a-line skirt is fitted at the waist, then it slopes out gently. As a rule, the hem is the width of your hips plus twice the difference between your waist and hips. On the Fabric Predictor, I refer to it as an A-Line 5%. It made sense to me. If you make this, or any a-line skirt, with a soft fabric, it will simply serve as a little bit of a flirty flair. If made with a stiff fabric, it will accentuate the hips to balance out an inverted triangle figure.

The Flared A-Line

a-line 10Referred to as the A-line 10% on the fabric predictor, the hem of the flared A-line extends even further out from the knees.

The Flowing A-Line

a-line 20

Note: It is really hard to draw the differences between these things.

Again, the flowing a-line’s hem extends even further out. I refer to this as the A-Line 20% on the Fabric Predictor. This is (almost) as far as you can flare out an a-line skirt before it becomes a circle skirt.

A circle skirt
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