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Conversational Threads

Skirt without a pattern

jyang949 | Posted in Fitting on

I’m trying to make my daughter a simple skirt without buying a pattern. My plan is to pin the fabric to her shirt at waist level, let it drape down, then use pins to make darts and side seams.

First of all, will this work? It’s not like there’s much shaping necessary. She’s eleven and very thin.

How much wearing ease should be allowed around the waist and hips?



  1. mem | | #1

    I would start with a rectangle of brown paper and at the top mark the waist line and square across1/4 distance of her waist measurement The go backto the center front and drop down the distance from waist to hip and square across 1/4 of the hip measurement Then drop down the  length that you want the skirt to be and square across . Then using a curve or your eye draw a curve down the side seam joining all the horizontal lines cut this out and the use that as you basic piece and put in the darts etc.The dart will take up the difference between the waist and hip and is plced about 1/2 distance acrossthe front piece . I dont have my pattern making book in front of me so this is a rough suggestion and I would suggest you get a pattern making book out of the library as a basic skirt is very easy to make .REmember that you have to add in seam allowance and also grain line which will bne paralell to the front fold line

  2. AndreaSews | | #2

    I think your idea is fine.  People who have practice with the technique of draping often say that it's much easier than the flat pattern method.  As for the amount of ease--I just saw a web site somewhere recently that listed the appropriate amounts of ease to allow across all the parts of the body.  I just can't think of it now, so do a web search for that.  But simpler still would be to do a little pinning to gt the shape you like and then have her sit down.  If the pins pop out or she's uncomfortable, then it wasn't enough ease.  Have fun!

  3. User avater
    Becky-book | | #3

    Dear Janet,

    I assume that since you spoke of darts, you want a straight skirt. (the very simplest skirt is just a tube of cloth with elastic in a casing for the waist, my youngest girl made herself several of these. She would smooth out the elastic in front so it did not look gathered)

    Instead of pining to her shirt, try tying a piece of 1/4'' elastic around her waist, slip the cloth under this, folding over enough for a seam allow. Now fold a dart or pleat where ever she needs one for shaping front and back (the elastic will hold it in place while you 'fidget' with it) when you have the look you want, pin the darts or pleats; side seams too; make sure the grain line runs straight at center front and center back. (you may need to adjust for a tilted waist, pull up extra fabric at the waist until the grain is true again and mark this new seam line)  Ease... probably 1'' in the waistband and 2-3'' at the hip, it depends on what is comfortable to her.

    Hope this helps,


    1. jyang949 | | #4

      Thank you for the suggestions. Nothing like the voice of experience!Janet

      1. MaryinColorado | | #5

        Sometimes I sew a drawstring or narrow grosgrain ribbon to the elastic.  I cut the elastic a few inches shorter than I normally would and reinforce it at the side seams after fitting.  This allows for a little growth and comfort too.  Mary

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