Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Drafting Skirt #1 - The Vera Skirt

Today's post is on drafting the Vera Skirt - inspiration skirt shown on the left, and my (scale) version on the right.
Here is the pattern from which it is made.
To create this pattern, I started with a standard skirt block. In my case I have adapted the skirt block which I bought with the mannequin, for a slightly better fit and because I like the centre front on the left. There are no seam allowances on this block.
 If you are drafting this for yourself, before you begin ensure you have sufficient wearing ease, and if you wish to lower the waistline slightly, do that before the following instructions. This skirt fits the mannequin very closely, and has the waistband on the true waist. Of course its up to you how you like your skirt to fit, but make sure it's your preferred fit before you start. It also needs to be the desired length of the finished skirt. Mine is comparatively short! 

The front and back are split into a yoke, and three panels each like so:

 As a step by step process, the yoke is split from the rest of the block first, by measuring down the desired length (mine is an equivalent to 8cm - approx 3 1/4"-  on a UK size 10 model) and cutting that line.
 The pieces formed from the dart are brought together to form the yoke.
 Smoothed out:
 After that, the remaining part of the block needs to be split into panels. So each part is divided into thirds.
 The darts are realigned by creating the dart either side of the vertical cutting lines.
 And then those pieces can be cut with a slight taper.
 The gore is a sector from a circle. So the circle would have a radius the length you want the gore to be. To identify this, I measured the equivalent of 10cm (4") down from the top of the panel, and the remaining length of the panel was the desired measurement. This piece is cut at a 35 degree angle.
 All of the required pieces. The yoke can be cut twice to form a facing. 
And then a seam allowance is added. Here I have not added a seam allowance to the centre front of the yoke, as it will be cut on the fold, but have added it to the centre back as I intend for the zipper to go down the centre back. It could just as easily go down the side instead, in which case I would leave the seam allowance of the back yoke too.
 I haven't included a pattern piece for the waistband. This piece is the length of the waist + seam allowances, and it would be 6cm or roughly 2.5" wide.

To cut the pieces, I had to figure out the angle I wanted. The chevrons are not at a 45 degree angle, they are a bit wider. I marked my pattern pieces and cut them at just over 30 degrees, taking care to align the chevrons (see my post on chevrons here). In the picture on the fabric, every second piece is upside down to maximise fabric, and there is another layer underneath to create the mirrored pair for each piece.

I cut the stripes on the godets at 65 degrees, 6 one way and 6 the other, with the white part of the stripe at the top each time. Here they are laid out between the panels. I clipped the top first but really should have only clipped after I joined them.

I laid out all of my pieces in order, numbering them as I went. 

 Here is my layout before I start. I did accidentally put the centre front panels back to front, and only figured it out after I started sewing! When the skirt is put together, keep in mind the zipper placement. It may need to be connected to a gore, so check zipper length first.

 As per the original instructions, I connected the godets first.

 And then worked my way around. I created a facing by cutting the yoke in a plain fabric, and the waistband was sewn between the facing and yoke.

Once hemmed. the skirt is complete.

The original skirt had a petticoat layer in blue, just peeking out. It also had what appeared to be an overlocked hem. In any case, I'm pleased with my scale reproduction for now.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Skirt #1 - The Vera Skirt.

I've decided to call this the Vera Skirt. I've figured I'll do a series of skirts and give them people names instead of dodgy description/names like I usually do for my other makes. Vera is a 12 paneled skirt with godets. It is made from a standard straight block pattern.

This is of course a half scale version. When working with half scale models it means the fabric appears a little stiffer than it would on a full scale garment, and obviously the scale of the print is full size.

I have modeled this on this skirt.
Side by side:

Mine should be quite a bit longer to be a more accurate match. I've made my skirt the scaled equivalent of 47cm long, about 18.5", and I've since found a note about this skirt to say it should be about 64cm long, or 25", which looks like it would be about right to me - that as it coming down almost to the bottom of the picture frame above.

I didn't do this drafting entirely of my own accord. I've amassed quite an extensive library of diagrams for such things, and this skirt came to my attention through a sewing / pattern drafting facebook group. It came with the following images:

So in order to appropriately reference my images, I went searching for it (How good is google image search?) and I keep finding the picture and the drafting instructions - that exact same set.

I believe they originally came from this blog (it's quite difficult to tell as it isn't in English)

I can't find the original source for the skirt image.

Here's the thing though - These drafting instructions are incorrect. Not just the marking of horizontal stripes, but the number of panels and gores doesn't work to recreate the inspiration picture.

It's hardly surprising that stuff on the internet isn't always accurate. The skirt in the picture has 12 gores, not 8. It looks like 8, because two at the front are hard to see on the 3 dimensional form.

To illustrate, this is my skirt on the form.

And this is the skirt off the form.

While it's on the form, you can see 4 panels clearly (making 8 all around), but once off the form, it's 6 (12 around). Which is not to say a skirt couldn't be made with the 8 panels, but it wouldn't resemble the original skirt. There's a bit of visual distortion to take into account, because the human form is 3 dimensional.

I will have drafting instructions up soon, I've even made the diagrams ready to go - but I don't want to make this post too long! So check back later in the week or follow or subscribe by email for updates. I am now on instagram ( @shapelyseams ) too!

Half size mannequin is from 
Fabric is an inexpensive polycotton, purchased on ebay around 2 years ago.