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Sunday, 21 April 2013

Making Minimal Headway

You know when you get super inspired but don't really have the tools to accomplish what you want? And then you go off in a million different directions and kind of don't get much of anything accomplished, and then you don't know what you should be focusing on even though you just want to get something done?

That's where I am with drafting. I'm a little petrified of sleeves (the next step for my torso block) and the book that I was using - Patternmaking For Fashion Design - had to go back to the library and I'm like, 5th in line to get it back again. So I thought I would get stuck in with Cutter and Tailor.

You may remember that I talked a little bit about Cutter and Tailor in my New Year post. I heard about this forum from Chris (thanks Chris!) and I just hadn't had the discipline to get started.

Basically, cutter and tailor is a place for master garment makers to share their knowledge and resources with people who are interested in learning, but in exchange, you're expected to do a lot of learning on your own. Since I'm almost completely self-taught so far, this sounds perfect for me!

Basic apprentices (that's me!) are asked to start with a basic skirt or trouser draft. I decided to start with a skirt because I know how tricky trousers can be!

Here's my first skirt draft!

Sexy, no?

I used the Rundschau drafting system (instructions can be found here), specifically their draft for a figure with a "prominent seat," of course.

Bam. I'm already happier with the fit of this skirt than any commercial pattern I've tried!

There's a little bit of ease, which is why it's sitting just below my natural waist. I'm going to be adding a lining and a waistband when I actually make up the skirt, should I leave the ease as it is?

One of this things I like most about this pattern is that it has four darts in the back and none in the front! I'm surprised that I can get such a good fit even though there's no centre back seam.

Since the draft has a straight centre back line of the skirt, I cut it on the fold. If I wanted to move the zipper to the back, could I move the two innermost darts into the centre seam? I was really surprised that there was no contouring at the centre back!

This shot shows the most obvious (at least to me) changes that need to be made. The side seam (I traced it with a sharpie so you can see it) is angled forward towards the hem, and it's a little further back at the waist than I would like.

What is the best way to correct this? I want it to look more like this.
I've also highlighted a strange crater-like formation just above my hip. Because my hips are low relative to my waist, I often have extra fullness in the fabric just above where my hips are widest. Easy enough to nip it in a little.

The waist also dips a little too much in the centre front. Again, should be easy to fix.

Oh, and I need to play with the length to find the right place for the hem because it's a seriously unflattering length right now!

What have I missed? What changes would you recommend?


  1. Can you just mark along the sides where you want the seam to be and then measure amounts and change on the pattern?

    1. Hiya! That was my first thought, but the commentors on Cutter and Tailor suggest adding darts on the front and letting out the darts at the back a little bit.

  2. Hi, I came across your blog recently. You've made a great first draft! You should tie a piece of elastic or ribbon over the skirt and around your true waist to hold the skirt in place, that will help you know if other changes are needed. You should keep the ease in the waist and ease it into a form fitting waist band. Hmm, the side seam is a simple fix, but I can't remember off hand what it is..! Sorry. If I have some time in the next few days I'll look in my reference books and let you know.

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    2. Thanks Michelle! I've posted this over at Cutter and Tailor as well and the general concensus over there is for me to reduce the amount of intake with the back darts and create small front darts and this will balance the side seam. I think I'll attach a waitband to my next muslin but in the future I'll remember to use the elastic trick.

      Thanks again for commenting!

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  4. If I wanted to move the zipper to the back, could I move the two innermost darts into the center seam?

    If I were you I wouldn't so that. I wouldn't move it to the front either.. I noticed that you picked the drafting specifically for the prominent seat. The prominent seat necessitates those darts.. It's only because of those darts, you don't see any wrinkles.

    I wouldn't move the dart to the front.. Esp. because you have a flat tummy.. There will be extra fabric at the end of the dart... A dart is placed only when you need to accommodate substantial difference in the depth. There's substantial difference in the depth on the rear, esp when you measure side seam to side seam at the waist and at the seat.... This difference in depth is not much on the front of the skirt, unless there's big thighs to take care of.

    The end of the dart tip should be within 1/2 to 2 inch radius of anything substantial that warrants extra fabric. It could be boobs or round tummy or rear or a round back (neck darts in this case).. anything that has depth needs a dart.

    As for the side seam moving backwards, Kenneth king has an alteration on Threads.. the same fix could be used here..

    If you can't figure out where to draw with a ruler.. tie a washer to a thread and tuck the top of thread to your side seam... the washer will hang straight..and you can use a marker to mark the side seam, right on your muslin..

    Check out Peggy Sagers free webscasts on darts.. That will help as well..