## Friday, May 25, 2012

### Pleats and Panels Skirt Tutorial, Part 1: Pattern

I have a very large amount of pictures for this tutorial, so to make it a little easier, I'm splitting it up. For this post, we will be creating the pattern.  As a quick reminder, here is what we are making:
First, there are a couple measurements you will need.  Measure your waist where you want the skirt to sit. For me this was 36.5 inches:
Then the widest part of your hips (no picture) It isn't important how high or low this measurement is, just as long as it is the widest part. Next, measure from your waist down to your knee (21 inches):
Then measure from the same spot on your waist down to your ankle, or wherever you want your skirt to hit, and it is time to do some math.
This skirt is going to have 6 panels, so divide your hip measurement by 6.... you may want to add between 1/8 and 1/4 inch for ease after dividing. This is your A, your panel top measurement. (7.5 inches) The waistband is going to be 4 inches deep, so subtract that from your waist-to-knee measurement and you will have your panel height measurement, I'm going to call it PH (17)
Draw two parallel lines on your paper the distance of your PH, mine were 17 inches apart:

Mark the center of each line. On one line mark out from the center HALF of A- for me, 3.75 inches, then the same measurement the other direction. Repeat for the second line, but add an inch each direction. That inch translates to a total of 12 inches around the lower circumference of the skirt, for walking ease. My measurement was 4.75 inches out on each side, for a total panel bottom measurement of 9.5 (We will call this B). Using a straightedge, draw a line between the marks on the first and second lines, like so:
This is your panel pattern piece. You can add seam allowances now... I added 1/2 inch on all 4 sides:
Next, we will draw the waistband. Draw parallel lines 4 inches apart.
Multiply your A by 2 to get your lower waistband front main measurement, or X and mark its beginning and end on the lower line- give yourself some room to either side. I made two marks, 15 inches apart. On the right, draw a line perpendicular to your mark.
Now more math: Subtract your total waist measurement from your total hip measurement (9) and divide by 4. (2.25) Subtract that number from your X... I ended up with 12.75 inches. This is Y. On your top line, measure Y out to the left from your perpendicular line. I marked 12.75 inches from my perpendicular line. Using a square, figure out where on your angled line is a right angle, and make a curve from there to your lower line. From the curve you just made, mark up on your angle the height of your waistband, 4 inches. This should be above your top line. Gently curve this mark down into your top line. Round the top corner on your perpendicular line. You should, after all these complicated instructions, end up with something like this:
You can see my original straight lines, where I curved it, the original angled line, and the seam allowance for the angled line. Add seam allowances to the other three sides:
I marked buttons too, to remind me that this is the piece the top of the snaps will be on.
Now cut this piece out, flip it over, and trace around it:
Measure the A on the curved lower edge from the angled side (the left in the picture) and add one inch for overlap, plus the amount of the seam allowance you added to the other waistband piece earlier, and your new seam allowance. I measured 7.5 +1+.5+.5 for 9.5 inches from the left. Mark this spot, and make a line perpendicular to it for the inner edge of your secondary front waistband piece.
Trace around your first waistband piece again and mark 1.5 times A , plus 1/2 inch for the seam allowance you added earlier, on the lower edge out from the angled side. I measured and marked 11.75 inches. Again, make a line perpendicular to your mark, but don't add seam allowance this time, as this edge will be against a fold. This is your back waistband piece:
You now have all the pattern pieces you will need.... the pleat section is just a very large rectangle, so we are going to figure out the dimensions but not make a paper pattern.
First, you need to find the circumference that your skirt will be at the knees once sewn, so multiply B (before seam allowances) by 6. (9.5X6= 57) I chose to make 12 pleats that were two inches deep each. Multiply your pleat number (12) by 2 times your pleat depth (2X2). My result was 48 inches. Add your pleat allowance to your lower skirt circumference- 57+48= 105 inches. I didn't have 105 straight inches of fabric, so I divided that number by two (52.5) and added seam allowances to either side  to come up with my pleat section width (53.5).
Now, for the height of pleat section: Subtract your waistband measurement and your PH from your waist-to-ankle measurement. For me, this was 38 minus 4, minus 17, leaving me with 17. Add 1/2 inch at the top for seam allowance, and 1 inch at the bottom for a hem. (18.5) So our pleat sections dimensions will be pleat width by pleat height, 53.5 by 18.5 for me.
And that is how to create a pattern for the pleats and panels skirt.
Disclaimer: This method of making a skirt will give you a lot of extra room around the upper hips and lower stomach, but will allow you to close the entire skirt up and just have an opening in the waistband. If you would rather have a more fitted skirt with an opening in the skirt body, stick around and I'll show you how in a couple weeks. =)
EDIT: For part 2 of this tutorial, cutting the fabric, go HERE
For part 3 of this tutorial, sewing the skirt, go HERE
Thanks for stopping by,