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How do I make this skirt?

nancylee02 | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I am an above average designer but this skirt has me scratching my head. A picture can be seen at this address if my description does not help, and my picture didn’t attach: http://www.kaboodle.com/reviews/off-the-shoulder-sweater-36
It is a gored skirt that has seams that wrap around like a spiral and then has gussets at the bottom of skirt, at the end of the seams. It was in newport news 2 years ago- but I was large with child and couldn’t wear it, so I didn’t buy it.
So I have a gored skirt pattern with gussets, and was planning on making a muslin of that pattern then cutting it up to make the spiral seams. I just have a few questions:
1. should I cut the new spiral gussets with the grain, or on the bias?
2. zipper- were should it go? Do I put in on a spiral seam so it is at an angle? Or do I put it vertical in the back and then just have the spiral start up at the end of the zipper?

I am planning on using crepe back satin. Any help would be greatly appreciated!


  1. starzoe | | #1

    I remember a pattern much like this, probably a Simplicity from about 25-30 or more years ago. It didn't have added gussets but was cut on the spiral just as your picture and had a flared hem, which if done in a shiny, slippery satin would allow the same fluid movement. This pattern may well be available from one of the vintage sites.

  2. gailete | | #2

    Hello, I think what you are calling gussets are more appropriately called godets. There are many such patterns out there as this was very popular a few years ago. I know we have plenty of similar ones in stock in our store. If you want to look at my patterns and find a similar one, I would be happy to let you know how they tell to do the zipper and grainline for the godets since you said you are designing it yourself. 

  3. jjgg | | #3

    I don't think there are gussets or godets in this, the bottom edges ofd each piece essentially has the godets 'cut on' . In other words, the bottom flares out quite a bit. doesn't look difficult at all. A zipper could go in any of the seams.

  4. Teaf5 | | #4

    A very similar skirt is McCalls 5429, although it doesn't have the swirled seams, which I remember from about 5 years ago in many of the pattern companies, but the flares at the bottom are very similar.  Maybe it would be a good basis for your design?

  5. zuwena | | #5

    I found an old Simplicity swirl skirt pattern [6261] in my stash from 1973. It does not have godets or a modification to the hemline to create a godet-like look so I can't help you there. However, with regard to the zipper insertion, the instructions simply state that it goes in at the swirl closest to the center back. Z

    Edited 10/22/2009 10:50 am ET by zuwena

  6. susinasia | | #6

    Hi, Nancy,

    This skirt looks very similar to a pattern I have used--check out http://www.onion.com and look for pattern no. 3019.  This makes up very well, with a beautiful drape.  I don't recall any fitting issues or difficulty with the zipper.  Good luck.

    1. KharminJ | | #7

      Dear Susinasia ~

      Could you recheck that link, please? I just tried it, and got "The Onion" - lots of fun, but they just don't seem to have sewing patterns! (LOL)Thanks - looking forward to seeing what you've foundBright Blessings ~ Kharmin

      1. susinasia | | #9

        So sorry, KharminJ, and anyone else who tried this site.  Check here instead:  http://www.shoponion.com  I must have gotten excited about sharing a link to some interesting and up-to-date fashions! LOL  I have several Onion patterns and they have all been straight-forward to construct, and fairly well-fitted.

        Good luck...

        1. KharminJ | | #10

          No problem ~ got it right on the second try! (wink)Love the Shop Onion site ~ and here's a terrifically simple, free currency converter site: http://www.xe.com/ucc/ for us "Euro-challenged" Americans ...

          BB ~ Kharmin

  7. nandel | | #8

    Zippers have never been a part of sewing that I find fascinating, so I do a lot of waist sizing with elastic.  I have a "store-bought" skirt cut on a similar swirl pattern that falls to ankle length & is full enough to make the extra at the hem, well, just "extra".  Anyway, this skirt has elastic from side to side across the back leaving a smooth waistband in the front.  It goes on easy, wears comfortably, & looks really classy. 

    I have used the side to side elastic for the waistband in denim skirts, polester skirts, & cotton skirts as well.  This construction, also, makes it easy to take-in the waist when there has at last been some personal shrinkage.

  8. mainestitcher | | #11

    I made one of those swirl skirts circa 1973, too!I think having the godets "cut on" with the main pieces would give a cleaner look. The pattern pieces were done such that the finished skirt was on the straight grain.They were laid out, all right side up, on a single layer of fabric. So, each piece was on a diagonal on the fabric, but i don't believe it was true bias.Invisible zipper in a gore seam, I think.

  9. User avater
    artfulenterprises | | #12

    Here's a little caveat for what it may be worth! Whether this skirt is cut on straight grain or bias, it will naturally have a bias because of the swirl shape of each gore. That means, once you've decided on a pattern be sure to make it up in muslin or something inexpensive (similar to the fashion fabric you wish to use) to test it for fit. Remember, when the pieces are cut on bias. the weight of the fabric and gravity will pull down on it making the sections narrower than they were originally cut. My sis learned this lesson the hard way and lost a gorgeous piece of recycled silk kimono fabric because it was cut too small. This is a very pretty skirt made up...best of luck with your project!

    1. jjgg | | #13

      Do any of you remember when this skirt pattern was in many magazines? It was only one pattern piece and I think they may have given a formula for drafting the waist part so it fit. The pattern shape is sort of a "J"where the top part of the J was not straight up but slanted. I was always intrigued by the pattern but never did make the skirt.This is showing my age, but I know so many of you ARE my age that it's OK.

      1. gailete | | #14

        I remember seeing the ads in early issues of Threads magazine and if you made up the pattern they asked you to pay for it. Honor system I guess.

        1. jjgg | | #15

          hmmmm, I"ll have to go through my early issues to see if I can find it, but yes, I do remember about them asking you to send oney if you made the skirt.

  10. cat42 | | #16

    I recently made a spiral skirt that had straight (vertical) gores from waist to hip, then started the spiral. The godets were part of the gore, at the bottom. The bottom looks very ruffle-like when finished. but I like the idea of having the entire gore on the bias as in this skirt.Like the others, I think it would work best to have the godet part of the main gore. but if you want to have them as separate, the godet should be on-bias.If the seam down from the waist is on-grain (albeit slanting), either a regular zipper or invisible zipper will work. But if that upper seam is on bias, the zipper would interfere with the drape created by the weight of the skirt at the bottom. In that case, you might want to make a slash on-grain in the middle of a gore, then insert a regular (not invisible) zipper, adding a placket (such as on a long sleeve with cuff).I've attached a sketch of a bias gore with godet as part of the gore. You would adjust the sharpness of the circle depending on how much ruffle you want. This sketch would produce a waist as big as the hip, so if you want it fitted, you'd need to taper the gores. Then the seams would not be on grain, but close enough to on-grain to accommodate a zipper in the seam.

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