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Pattern Drafting Skirt

 Flat Pattern Drafting

Hand Drafting A Skirt Block Page 3

 General Stages

By Pauline Weston Thomas for


Pattern Drafting a Skirt Block

Hand Drafting a Skirt Block

Text of Drafting Stages

The skirt block is drafted in stages and every text stage is  detailed on this page below.   Advanced users who have made blocks before may prefer this one page method to the stage aid pictures and text that follow on the next pages.

My preferences is for the picture/text stages shown on the following 10 pages.  Each have thumbnail pictures with text instructions for that particular stage, making it easier to teach a group stage by stage.  On the following pages each picture enlarges to full A4 size with all also suitable for class use with Overhead Projectors once copied to OHP transparent film sheets.

You are Aiming to Achieve This -The Skirt Block After Completion.

Picture of the Skirt Block After Pattern Drafting Completion.

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Text Stages of the Pattern Drafting of the Skirt

Part 1 - The Rectangle

Stage 1  - Draw a line down on the left of your paper which measures your skirt length plus 1cm. Mark the terms Centre Back and Hemline as shown.

Stage 2 - Use your hip measurement from your list and add the ease of 5cm to it.    Divide that figure by 2.

Use a set square to draw a line across the page and mark off this measurement of hip plus ease divided by 2.

Stage 3 - Using a set square draw a line on the right of your paper which measures your skirt length plus 1cm.  Mark the term Centre Front as shown above.

Stage 4 - Join the two sides.  Check that the top measurement of your rectangle is accurate and measures the hip measurement plus ease divided by 2.  If out re check the side lines with a set square. Add your name and the date in the bottom right and left corners.

Part 2 - Hipline and Side Seam

Stage 5  - From the top waistline edge of the rectangle mark several positions 24 cm down  which are parallel to the waist.  Join up those dots and you now have your hipline position.

Stage 6 - Draw your side seam in by dividing the rectangle at the centre.  Using a measurement half the width of the rectangle mark points at the waist, hip and hemline.  Join them up.

Part 3 -  Marking the waist

Stage 7 - Next mark the waist.  To do this measure 5 cm on each side of the side seam line at the top of the rectangle and make a clear mark on each top waist line.   N>B

If you have a thicker waist this is the time to make that adjustment.  So for example to allow for a thicker waist you might make those same marks, but only 4cm instead of 5cm.

Part 4 - Make the Hip Curves

Stage 8 - Where you placed the side mark at the left back waist side seam in the last stage, is the point for you to begin your hip curve.

Now draw a shallow curve from the back waist mark to the side seam and ending at the hipline.

Stage 9 - Where you placed the side mark at the right front waist side seam in stage 7 is the point for you to begin your right front hip curve.

Draw a shallow curve from the back waist mark to the side seam and ending at the hipline.

Part 5 - The Front Waist Curve

Stage 10 - At the top of the centre front seam use a set square and measure down 1 cm. Make a right angled mark on the centre front line at the 1cm point. 

Now curve that line across to meet the side waist at the top of the side seam hip curve.   This is shown as a red line in the picture above.  This makes the front waist line.

The top of the back skirt waist is a straight waist line and needs no curving.

Part 6 - The Back Dart Position.

Stage 11 - Measure the length of the straight back waist from centre back to the new side waist mark. Make a note of that measurement and call it measurement A

Now take the actual total waist measurement from your list and divide it by 4. Call it measurement B.

Take measurement B from measurement A.

With the difference you will make one dart or two darts.

If the difference is less than 4cm you will make 1 dart only.  If the difference is more than 4cm you will make 2 darts. 

The first dart or single dart will be 9cm away from the centre back.   Mark the spot 9cm from the centre back waist on the waistline.  From that point drop a spot or line 15cm long and at right angles from the first mark.

Now divide the dart difference equally on either side of that line.  Make 2 equal marks.

Part 7 - Joining Back Darts

Stages 12 and 13 - Join up the points made in stage 11 to produce the back dart shown in stages 12 and 13.

Part 8 - The Front Darts

Stage 14

To find out how much excess you have for the front darts you need two measurements.

First take the actual waist measurement from your personal list and divide it by 4.  Call the figure you get C.

Next use your tape measure and measure the front waist curve on the actual block.   To do this stand the tape up on its end and shape it around the curve you have drawn earlier.  Call this figure D.

Take C away from D.  This figure is the excess you use to make your front darts on the curved waistline.

Now make the main front (red) dart.  Use a set square to help.  Mark several points 10 cm away from the centre front line at the top area of the block.  Make it 11cm long.

Stage 15

Make sure the line you draw  for the main front (red) dart is parallel to the centre front.  Check it is 11cm long.  Make it up to 2cm wide at the top edge of the waist.

If you have more excess to use up than 2cm, then move along the waistline to the next clear area and place it exactly between the hip curve edge corner and the centre top of the first dart you made.

Make any second dart 11 cm long and as parallel as possible to the hip curve.

Stage 16 - Completed Block Diagram

The block is now complete, but you will need to know how to deal with larger waists and cutting the blocks and making a muslin style toile on the next few pages.

Part 9 - Thicker Waistlines

Stage 17

When you mark the points for the waistline in stage 7 you can adjust this stage to accommodate a thicker waist.

So for example instead of marking points 5 cm in from the side construction seam as instructed you might mark them 4cm cm in, allowing the waist on your block to be 1 cm larger on each side.

Bearing in mind the principles of symmetry this will make the waistline a total of 4cm larger overall when the item is constructed as a toile or straight skirt garment.

So use the instruction given in Stage 7 to make the gentle curve to the hipline, but with your wider waist measurements in mind.

Part 10 - Cut the Net Blocks

To make the net block cut away the waste paper at the centre front curve.

Finally separate the two blocks by cutting evenly up the side seam. For each stage picture with its own text explanation go to these pages.

Page 4 - Part 1 Page 5 - Part 2  Page 6 - Part 3  Page 7 - Part 4  Page 8 - Part 5  Page 9 - Part 6

Page 10 - Part 7  Page 11 - Part 8  Page 12 - Part 9   Page 13 - Part 10  Page 14 - Part 11

Part 11 - The Toile

Next you will need to make a toile in muslin to check the fit of the block.  The pattern derived from the block may fit perfectly or you may need to let out or take in darts and side seams if required and then transfer those adjustments from the fabric alterations to the card block.

Making the Toile

To make the toile you will need approximately 1.60cm of 90cm wide cotton fabric or 80cm of 150cm wide fabric.  If you are on the large or on the taller side you may need to adjust this amount and simply by twice your finished length of fabric.

Separate instructions exist for making the toile here are this page.

This completes the basic making of a hand drafted skirt block.  For stage pictures click on the individual pictures or enlarge the main picture on this page.

Once the toile fits and you are happy with the block make them up in card or iron on Vilene onto your original draft to stabilise it.

For more information on Skirt Pattern Drafts go to:-

Picture and Text Stages of
Skirt Pattern Drafting with Pictures


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