Sewing 301 - Pattern Drafting: Basic Skirt with 2 Darts

Updated: Apr 14

The basic skirt sloper is the easiest basic pattern to draft and in the previous lesson, we drafted it with just one dart. In this tutorial, we shall incorporate a second dart which will help spread out the fullness. It is also just a variation for those who have larger darts due to a sizable difference between the waist and hip measurements.


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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. Leaving a space of about 1 inch (2.5cm) from the top of the paper, draw a straight line across the top of the paper to create a guideline.

2. Starting about 1/2 inch (1.2cm) away from the edge of the paper, square another line down from the top left corner of the paper. This should be at 90 degrees from the first guideline.

3. Line A – B = Length Measurement

4. Line A – C = Half Hip Measurement

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 Centre Front and Centre Back 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 8 darts (4 in front and 4 in back) and the sides of the skirt. See worksheet for detailed calculations.



11. A to J = Front waist measurement plus two-thirds dart measurement (e.g. 2inches)

12. Square up a line from Point J, 3/8 inch long (1 cm). Mark as Point J1.

13. A to K = 1/2 apex measurement minus 3/8 inch (1cm)

13. K to L = One-third dart measurement (e.g 1inch)

14. Make a mark halfway between points KL and square a line straight down. This line should equal 1/2 of the hip depth measurement. Mark dart point as M. Join points KML to form dart.

15. Join point L to J1 with a straight line

16. Mark a point halfway between points L and J1. From that point square a line down for the second dart. This should measure 1 inch (2.5cm) less than the first dart. Label as Point N.

17. Points O and P = Insert one-third dart measurement equally on either side of the dart point (e.g. for a 1inch dart, 0.5 inch on either side)