infryq: Kitchen scene at dawn, post-processed to appear as if painted (Default)
[personal profile] infryq

Wow, dusty in here.

I just finished sewing a skirt! I love it and the drafting experience was nontrivial, so I'm writing it up. Enjoy! [ with photos! Click a thumbnail for a bigger version. -ed]

Drafting techniques studied:

  • Split and spread
  • Use of a stiletto in matching seam lengths on finished pattern pieces
  • Moving darts around
  • Use of yoke seam as a fitting seam & elimination of waist darts
  • Add seam allowance based on order of assembly

Drafting techniques definitely ignored (i.e. I've read about these but I didn't use them):

  • Three-layer method for drafting pockets
  • Minimize propagation of tracing errors (trace & cut & trace & cut & trace & ...)

Drafting techniques presumed ignored (i.e. I imagine these must exist and might have helped but I didn't bother to look them up):

  • Facings
  • Facings vs zippers
  • Zipper fly

Step 1: Transferring fitting changes from previous skirt

In August 2015, I sewed a skirt. I wear it all the time. I'd wear it daily if I were confident the ladies at lunch wouldn't give me funny looks. I still have the pattern I used to make it, but I hazily remember adjusting the waist and upper hip once it was assembled, and given my temperament it's unlikely I transferred those changes back to the pattern.

To integrate those changes, I traced a copy of the pattern (without seam allowance) onto newsprint (I bought a big box of the stuff years ago), transferring dart markings too. Then I lined up a panel of the finished skirt on a center vertical seamline. I measured the total depth of the waist darts on that panel, doubled it (to make each side of each dart), and shifted the panel away from the anchor seamline by that amount. Then I used a pin to stab through the fabric at intervals along the opposite seamline to mark the changes. I removed the skirt, then connected the dots with a curve. I did this once for the back panel, and once for the side-front panel. It seemed to work, and now I had a fully-adjusted pattern. I also joined the side-front and center-front panels, so as to have a pattern for a 4-gore skirt, more-or-less.

 photo IMG_2641_th_zpstclttoxb.jpg

Step 2: Ideation

Next was the actual design of the skirt. Last year's had princess seams in front, and triangle godets in the center front, side front, side, and center back seams. This year I went trolling through pinterest and google image search for long skirts, and made some sketches. I played with some sparing use of box pleats [not pictured], tiered designs, wrap designs, and flounces. I eventually decided I wanted to try a different godet shape, and a yoke.

 photo IMG_2638_th_zpsmp1zlenp.jpg

Step 3: Refinement & prototyping

The godet shape was modeled after some diagrams on this page ("Модель 1"):

and involves cutting curved section out of the skirt panel, then splitting and spreading the piece you cut out to maintain seamline length along the curve while adding fullness at the hem.

I also liked this design, which varies the length (height?) of the godets to create a curved line:

I wasn't going to put in that many godets though -- just 8. I put on last year's skirt and used pins to mark the godet height I wanted, moving them around and looking in a mirror until I was happy with it. The key effect was to not come too high in front (or it would interfere with the not-yet-drafted yoke), and not drop too low in back (or I'd have trouble walking) but still have enough change in height between neighboring godets to look intentional. I would up having a steeper change between the front godets, smoothing out to a gentler curve across the back ones.

 photo IMG_2639_th_zpsn8ovbz1t.jpg  photo IMG_2640_th_zpsg2jtthvr.jpg

Step 4: Gore/Panel design

I traced out the front panel of the skirt. I would have put the back panel on the same drawing, connected at the side seam, but I didn't have large enough paper. Still worked. I split the panel in half to make even gores.

 photo IMG_2657_yoke_hilite_zpsdquvd5gm.jpg

I traced and split the back panel/s the same way, then eliminated the waist dart by moving it to the seamline. To do this, I cut out the dart as traced, sliced down the panel line until level with the bottom of the dart, then joined the two cuts. This let me pivot a roughly quadrilateral shape around the bottom of the old dart (hilited in blue). I closed that dart, which opened a new one at the new panel line. Cleaned up the lines so the removed fullness was evenly split between the two panels, and presto, dart eliminated.

 photo IMG_2642_hilite_zpsgjgvctpp.jpg  photo IMG_2643_hilite_zpsaa9rlzrh.jpg

The back panels of the skirt are wider than the front ones for mystery reasons, probably at least partially for a swayback adjustment I made when drafting last year's skirt. Or maybe I just like a fuller skirt in the back?

Step 5: Yoke design

Next was the yoke. I went down a bit of a rabbit trail drafting a separate yoke and waistband, since my waistband shaping is a bit bizarre for proper fit on me and I didn't know how to maintain that shaping in something like a yoke.

Anyway, here's how I started: I drafted a 90-degree point in front, checking with a pin on last year's skirt that it didn't drop too low on me. I drew a smooth curve connecting a straight line going down to the point with a line perpendicular to the side seam.

 photo IMG_2658_hilite_zpsprl7acdo.jpg

I transferred the side seam mark to the side back panel and drew a similar line perpendicular to the side seam. Across the back I wanted a smooth concave-up curve that dropped below the hip, so I drew a line perpendicular the center back seam at that point, checking again with a pin on last year's skirt that it would be (a) relatively flattering and (b) low enough that I wouldn't need to continue a zipper below the yoke. I'm not sure I would repeat (b) again, as yoke insertion later on was a bit of a pain and I'll bet that dealing with the end of the zipper tape at the same time didn't help.

I extended both perpendicular lines to the centers of their respective panels, then connected those endpoints together with a straight line, and smoothed the transitions with curves. This made a nice gentle ess curve, hilited in red on the photo above showing the dart manipulation. I'm really happy with this shape in the finished skirt.

Finally I moved what had been the dart/panel shaping at the sidekick seam (that I already moved once, yes) to the side of the yoke by cutting out the dart and closing it, then tracing the new yoke as a single piece.

 photo IMG_2647_hilite_zpsjhdib93o.jpg

Here's what the first draft of the yoke looks like up against its associated waistband:

 photo IMG_2650_zpslgmtbaqf.jpg

Figuring out that gap is what made last year's skirt revelatory. A skirt that fits me at the back waist! Amazing!

Unfortunately, I had trouble truing that seam (making sure the length along the top curve of the yoke was the same as the length of the bottom curve of the waistband), and after starting over a bunch of times, I eventually decided that having two horizontal-ish seamlines would wreck the effect of a yoke, and I really wanted to do the yoke justice if it was basically the big thing I was learning with this project. So I decided to merge them.

Step 6: Merging the yoke & waistband

My first attempt at merging them leant heavily on asserting, "they don't overlap that much if I just put them next to each other; it'll probably be fine":

 photo IMG_2651_zpswxvauuxs.jpg

I actually took that draft all the way through to seam allowances before confusing myself, picking my back waistband piece back up again, being dismayed that the vertical seams were way off-kilter, and panicking.

So, I redid it, maintaining much more of that crucial gap without artificially shortening other seams. First, I lined up the separate waist and yoke pieces so they were just touching at the side seams. I slit the panel line, then paired up the side back waist and yoke piece, and the center back waist and yoke piece, leaving the side seams curved. Voila!

 photo IMG_2653_zpsyuxtqks7.jpg  photo IMG_2654_zps0kdydvyq.jpg

Finally, I thought about the back closure. I prefer a back closure on skirts as I like a symmetrical line, fashion-wise. Normally I do a zipper and a button closure, which means making half the back waistband a bit longer so the buttonhole has somewhere to go. I figured I could do the same sort of thing with a yoke. This wound up being super-dubious, and I don't plan on doing a closure like this again, but there ya go. Learning experience. Anyway one of my center back yoke pieces had to end at center back, and the other was reflected over the CB line for a healthy button width and I called it "lap back" or LB.

 photo IMG_2655_hilite_zps56dhcloj.jpg

I did the same for the back facing piece (both waistband pieces became facing pieces):

 photo IMG_2656_zpsadjx8yrv.jpg

Step 7: Draft godet cutouts

I drafted godets on the front skirt panels first. I decided to use a ratio of 2:5 for the godet width : skirt width at the hem line (large denominators tend to look more artful than small ones) and drew them out as rectangles straddling the seamlines. I transferred the pin markings I'd made on last year's skirt for godet heights to the pattern paper, more or less, then I picked one of the rectangles and rounded it out, cut that bit out, and used it as a template to round out the tops of the other godets.

The godet lines are visible on the panel overview images above, if you need a visual.

I used the same width cutout for all godets, front and back, even though the back panels are wider. Nothing bad happened. :)

Before proceeding with godet processing I made two marks across each vertical godet cutting line so I'd have help aligning each godet into the skirt at assembly time.

Step 8: Convert cutouts to wedges

Once I had the cutouts, I made them into proper godets using the slit and spread technique. I used the same width at the hemline for all of them, so that the hemline expansion would be evenly distributed around the skirt, even though the height and rate of that expansion from waist to hemline would vary. This made it easy to make a spreading jig that would ensure a uniform and square amount of spread across all the godets. Once spread, I taped everything down, smoothed the curve at top and hem, and traced and cut out final versions. I wound up with 5 godet pattern pieces to make 8 godets -- 1 at center front, 2 at side front, side, and side back, and 1 at center back.

 photo IMG_2667_zpssj7phnqe.jpg  photo IMG_2668_zpsozy7en8m.jpg

Next: Pockets.

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