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Converting a straight skirt to an A-line

happygrand | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi, I want to convert my straight skirt to an A-line.  How many inches do I need to add to make the conversion?  Thanks!




  1. user-51823 | | #1

    that depends on personal choices and what looks god on you.
    measure the circumference of the hemline on your pattern. then take a measuring tape to a clothing store and try on some a-lines; measure the hemline on some skirts that look good on you. add the difference when you get home.

  2. Lynnelle | | #2

    I just read about this in Fit For Real People.  If your straight skirt pattern has darts, the authors suggest cutting out the darts and closing them.  For a wide A-line skirt, cut out the dart as it is and close it.  For a not-so-wide A-line, extend the dart downward.  The more you extend it, the less fullness you add to the bottom edge.  Be sure to true the new waistline seams.


    1. happygrand | | #5

      Thank you Lynnelle.  That is the suggestion, from someone, that I followed.  It did work in the muslin and I'm now ready to cut my fashion  fabric. 

  3. solosmocker | | #3

    There is something else to be aware of. In changing to an a-line you are changing your side seams to bias seams. This is not necessarily the most flattering cut. Often bias seams can look better if they are in the center front and back instead of at the sides. The sides could have the straight seams. It depends on your body shape. Do you have a tummy issue or a hip issue? Usually its one or the other. What I would suggest is to cut 4 sections if you are changing to an a-line by making a center front seam. Then baste the skirt together leaving a zipper space open on what would be a side seam. In front of a mirror put the skirt on and pin the zipper area closed. Try the zipper in the side seam and move it around to try it as a center back seam. Look hard and long in the mirror. One way will make your tummy look smaller the other will make your hips look narrower. Really! Hope this helps.

    1. happygrand | | #4

      Hi, thank you for your suggestion.  Another suggestion I got and used successfully, is to use the slash and spread method.  By slashing up from the the hem to the botton of the dart, and then opening the darts, I got the right spread.  I made up a muslim and it looks great.  I'm now ready to cut my fashion fabric.  Thanks again.


    2. Josefly | | #6

      I'm so glad to read your proposed experiment with the straight-grain repositioning in an a-line skirt. It helps me to understand why I'm not satisfied with a skirt pattern I changed a couple of years ago...It was an A-line pattern with a button-up center front, and I wanted it to flare out more for a contra-dance skirt. I added all the extra flare to the side seams, keeping the center front and back on the straight grain, thinking that was better for the buttons and buttonholes, and also thinking I didn't want a lot of fullness in my center-front, emphasizing my tummy.I hated the resulting skirt. All the fullness and drape was near the side seams, and I thought I looked wide as a house. I have since read somewhere, maybe in Nancy Zieman's or Sandra Betzina's writing (I read both authors at the same time, and have neither of their books at hand now), that A-line skirts are usually more flattering if the straight-grain is in the center of each of 4 panels, making all the center and side seams slightly bias, and spreading the fullness and drape more evenly. I haven't made another a-line skirt yet, but will definitely apply this information the next time I do. However, I'm wondering about that center-front skirt opening with buttons and button-holes. Will that work okay if not on the straight grain?

      1. solosmocker | | #7

        If it were me I would probably put a button band cut on the straight of grain for the front seam.

        1. Josefly | | #8

          Yes, good solution.

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