• Kaine

Sewing 203 - Pattern Drafting: Basic Skirt

Updated: Jul 6

After many weeks of introductory lessons, we have finally arrived at drafting your first basic pattern! Congratulations for making it this far. Today we are starting with the basic skirt pattern or block. From this master pattern, you can add style options and make many different styles of skirts.

Principles of pattern drafting

We shall be drafting Half of a Front piece and Half of a Back piece. This is because both sides are the same or symmetrical. You only need to draft a full piece if the two sides are different in some way. Since we are working in halves (half front/half back) or in quarters (Quarter of the whole skirt) depending on how you look at it, some measurements will be divided into 2, and some will be divided into 4. It will all make sense once we get into the work.

Tools you will need

1. Straight ruler

2. Set square

3. Curve ruler

4. Pencils / Eraser /Sharpener

5. Brown paper/ Drafting Paper – 1 sheet (30L x 30W inches) or (75cm x 75cm). It should be longer than your waist to knee measurement and wider than 1/2 hip measurement. You can always tape sheets of paper together to get the right size.

Measurements you will need (Feel free to work in Inches or Cm)

1. Waist

2. Hip

3. Hip depth

4. Length (Waist to Knee)

5. Apex

6. Across Back

IMPORTANT! Download Basic Skirt Calculation Worksheet Here first

The Skirt Draft

1. Leave a space of about 1 inch (3 cm) from the top of the paper.

2. Starting about 1/2 inch (1 cm) away from the edge of the paper, square a line down from the top left corner of the paper.

3. Line A – B = Length Measurement

4. Line A – C = Half Hip Measurement. This should be at 90 degrees from line A-B.

5. Line C – D = Same as A-B

6. Line B – D = Same as A-C

You should now have a Square/Rectangle that is Length by Half Hip measurement.

7. Line A – E = Hip depth measurement

8. Square across a line to Point F

9. Line A – G = Front Hip measurement. Square straight line down. Label as G,H and I.

10. Label as illustrated above.

Insert Darts

Now we will calculate the Darts to shape the waist line. Darts are triangular shapes that remove excess fabric from a part of the garment to create shape and contours. Darts will turn the flat drawing into a 3D shape when sewn.

Essentially the size of the darts for a skirt is the difference between the Hips and the Waist. The result is then distributed among the 4 darts (2 in front and 2 in back) and the sides of the skirt. See worksheet for detailed calculations.


11. A to J = Front waist measurement plus dart measurement

12. A to K = 1/2 apex measurement minus 0.5inch (1cm)

13. K to L = Dart measurement

14. Make a mark halfway between points KL and square a line straight down. This line should equal half of the hip depth measurement. Mark dart point as M. Join points KML to form dart.

15. Square up a line from Point J, 1/2 inch long (1 cm). Mark as Point J1.

16. Join points L, J1 and H with curved lines to complete waist and side.


17. C to N = Back waist measurement plus dart measurement

18. C to O = 1/4 Across back measurement minus 0.5inch (1cm)

19. O to P = Back dart measurement

20. Make a mark halfway between points OP and square a line straight down. This line should equal three-quarters of the hip depth measurement. Mark dart point as Q. Join points PQO to form dart.

21. Square up a line from Point N, 1/2 inch long (1 cm). Mark as Point N1

22. Join points P, N1 and H with curved lines to complete waist and side.

23. Label as illustrated above.

The skirt block is complete. I tried to break it down into as many steps as possible so that it is easy to follow. As time goes on, you will be able to draft one in minutes. Please ask any questions and I’ll be sure to help.

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