Friday, 14 November 2014

Self-drafted flounce skirt

Exactly a year ago I made my Flounce-a-lot skirt.  I love this skirt, and it gets worn at lot, so I thought I'd make another one.  But this time I decided to draft the pattern myself.  I used the Craftsy Pattern Making Basics - The Skirt Sloper class.  I can recommend this class if you want an introduction to pattern making.  It's very easy to take your measurements by yourself, and the actual drafting of the sloper is quick - I did mine, including making a toile, in one morning.
 
Already I'm seeing fitting issues!  It was a bit roomy at the hips, so I took it in a bit at the lower hip, but I think I could take it in right from the bottom of the waistband because it looks a bit lumpy in these photos, and also still feels a bit lose in the hips.

The class also includes how to draft lots of different styles of skirts, including one with a straight flounce all around the hem of the skirt.  It was that skirt that gave me the idea to give this a go.

 
My first skirt has a waistband that sits above the natural waist.  I had used the By Hand London Charlotte skirt pattern for it; and whilst it fits at the waist, I find the band then gapes above the waist.  I have the same problem with my Colette Patterns Ginger skirt.  Ultimately, I think this style of waistband doesn't work for me because I am so short in the body.

On the other hand, I find that skirts with waistbands that finish at my natural waist are a better fit.  My Simplicity 2117 and Simplicity 2541's (here and here) prove this.  The Craftsy class shows you how to draft this style of waistband, so that's what I did.

 

My fabric is some black linen that I got ages ago from Minerva Crafts.  This is what was left over from my black Anna dress.  I underlined it with some black lining fabric, and used some fabric left over from my Russian Dolly dress for the inside of the waistband.  I did a lapped zip because I thought the linen and underlining might be a bit too thick for an invisible zip, and I used some black polka dot ribbon on the hem.

 

I also added some ric rac between the bottom of the waistband and the top of the skirt.  Whilst I like the look of it, good grief it was a nightmare to sew!  I think I unpicked various bits about four or five times to get it to look ok.  Won't be doing that again!

 

This was easy enough to draft, and I quite enjoyed it, so I thought I'd do a how-to on drafting the flounce.  Before that though, I have to mention the Belfast Crafters Meet-up that happened two Saturdays ago.  We had a lovely day, and it was great to finally meet some local crafters, and also to be able to have an in-depth conversation about sewing without everybody else being bored!  You can read all about it here on Ruth's blog, and there was chat of trying to arrange something else in January.


I'll do my usual disclaimer of I'm no expert on this, just winging it from things off the internet!

First of all, you'll need a skirt pattern (obviously!).  For my first flounce skirt, I used the By Hand London Charlotte skirt pattern, which is a pencil skirt, but any pencil skirt pattern would do.  If the hem is narrower than the hips, then extend the hem out at the side seam so it is the same width as the hips.

Take the back skirt pattern piece, and trace it.  I appreciate that this is a pain in the bum, but it will be hacked to pieces, so is worth it.

Draw in the seam allowances, and mark a curve as in the photo below.  This will be the seam line between the back of the skirt and the flounce. The highest point on my curve (at the centre back seam) is 8 1/2" up from the bottom (this includes the 1/2" hem allowance), and the lowest point is 4" up from the bottom (also including hem allowance).  I drew the curve in using a french curve.


Now cut along the curved line, and also cut away the centre back seam allowance.  The flounce is cut on a fold, so the seam allowance isn't needed any more. Re-trace the upper part of the skirt back, remembering to add a seam allowance at the bottom of the curve. 


On the lower back skirt piece, mark vertical lines up from the bottom to the top.  I did mine 1" apart, starting at the centre back.  The last bit beside the side seam allowance is smaller than an inch, but that's ok.  Cut off the side seam allowance - this makes the next step a bit easier.


Cut along the ruled lines.  Initially I left a little "hinge" at the top, but ended up cutting through them completely, because they kept ripping.  

I'll apologise now for the next three photos, they were taken on my phone.

The most important part of the next bit is that the longest and shortest pieces are at a 45 degree angle.  This is where a grided mat comes in handy.  Arrange all the pieces so the top edges are touching each other, as in the photo below.  This took a bit of faffing about, and I had to stick each piece down with masking tape because my paper was off a roll, and the pieces kept curling up.  You can see how the two rulers are at a right angle, and the longest and shortest pieces butt up to them.







Trace over the outside edges, and fill in the gaps at the bottom to make a curve.

 

Add a seam allowance to the top of the piece (the shorter curve), and also to the side seam (the shorter straight line).  Mark the longer straight line as "Centre Back Fold", and cut this piece out on the fold, the same as the skirt front.  When cutting, notch the top of the centre back fold, this helps to line it up to the centre back seam below the zip.  When everything is cut out, stay stitch the curve on the top of the flounce, and also the curves on the bottom of the two skirt back pieces.




Here's how I put the skirt back together.  The white thread is my basting thread which is holding the underlining on.

I used a lapped zip, so on the two skirt back pieces, I sewed the centre back seam up to the bottom of where the zip finished, and then inserted the zip.  For an invisible zip, put the zip in first, then sew the rest of the centre back seam.



With the wrong sides together, line up the shorter curve of the flounce with the curve at the bottom of the skirt back.


Line up the notch on the flounce at the centre back with the centre back seam on the skirt back, and pin along the curves to the edges.


Sew this together, it pays to take your time with this bit, and it should look like this:


Something that was mentioned in the Craftsy class is that a flounce is more flouncey if it is cut on the bias.  I didn't have enough fabric to do that, but it would be interesting to see if there was much difference.

After this, I attached the skirt front at the side seams, and then attached the waistband.  I thought the waistband would be a bit trickier because the skirt wasn't layed out flat, but it was easy enough to attach.  If you've any questions, or something doesn't make sense (which is quite possible!), please leave a comment, and I'll get back to you.

Have a great weekend,

Lynne

22 comments:

  1. Wow, I love the flounce Lynne! Great tutorial too! PS very excited for you with the decoration of your sewing room! Marvellous. Xx

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    1. Thank you! I loved my first skirt so much, I knew I wanted to make another one, and I love that it looks like a pencil skirt, but I can actually walk in it! My sewing room is coming along well, I was doing some work in it today, and hope to have it finished next weekend.

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  2. Nice tutorial! It is nice to be able to flourish a pattern with beautiful details

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    1. Thank you! I love the twirliness of the flounce, and it's so much easier to wear than a pencil skirt.

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  3. Wow Lynne, that must have taken you ages and ages to put together. Thanks, I always love a good tutorial

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    1. Thank you! It honestly didn't take that long, but I'm comparing that the amount of time my bodice drafting took!.

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  4. looks great lynne! and i love the look of the ric rac even if it was a pain to put in!

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    1. Thank you! The worst thing about the ric rac is that nobody will probably ever notice it!

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  5. This is a very nice skirt! I feel your pain sewing the ric-rac but the result is totally worth it. Thank you for the flounce tutorial, I may try this one day.

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad there's someone else who understands the ric rac rage!!

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  6. A great tutorial Lynne. I love the little details you add, like the ribbon and lining. Of course the ric rac is a triumph!!!

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    1. Thank you! Lol, triumph is not a word I would have used when I was unpicking the ric rac for about the third time!!

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  7. First of all, the skirt looks amazing Lynne. And I love that ricrac. It was so worth it doing all the unpicking. You are really tempting me to also draft my own skirt block and attach such an amazing flounce! I might come back to your great tutorial in the future :)

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    1. Thank you! Skirt drafting is so much easier than bodice drafting!

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  8. Oh Lynne I LOVE the shape of your skirt! I might have to make a skirt like this to add to the bottom of my self drafted bodice - the flounce is fab x

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    1. Thank you! Go for it! It's so much easier tham bodice drafting (and quicker!).

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  9. This skirt is so lovely! The flounce is just right and it looks like a wardrobe staple!

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  10. Very nice skirt.
    many thanks for this detailed pattern tutorial.

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  11. This flounce skirt is amazing Lynne, and the details inside are lovely. The class sounds intriguing, I'll have to look it up.

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    1. Thank you! It really is a great class.

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Thank you for reading my blog! I love reading your comments, so please feel free to leave a comment if you have the time :) Lynne.