Adventures in Drafting-An Asymmetrical Skirt

Unfortunately, our Jo-Ann fabric store is moving.  This means that until their new store opens in mid-April, the current store is slowly running out of inventory.  There are no more interfacings or stabilizers.  There is no more fusible fleece or magnetic snaps.  Ack!  (Although, I did find a .8/yard of charming Route 66 fabric (pictured below) in the remnant bin.)   So, in a desperate search for any or all of the above (which I need to make my Amy Butler Blossom Bag), I went to Wal-Mart.  Gasp!  Someone had told me that Wal-Mart was getting back into selling fabric and sewing supplies.  Sad to say, that while this might be true at some locations, ours only sells pre-cut and packaged small yardage packages.  Needless to say, I didn’t find my Pelltex.  But, I did pick up some cheap, lightweight denim, $9 for 1 and 1/2 yards.

I came home feeling stressed.  It was supposed to snow 8 inches on Sunday and I didn’t have any of the supplies that I went out for.  What was I going to craft when we got snowed in for days and days in the blizzard that surely would ensue?   So, as the snow flakes began to fall, I decided to poke around on the internet for inspiration and interesting projects.  That’s when I came upon this little gem on Kirin’s blog (she’s co-owner of a fantastic hand-printed textile shop in Australia, Ink & Spindle):

Ink & Spindle Skirt

Ink & Spindle Skirt on Model

Well, I fell in love immediately and knew that I needed to figure out how to make this skirt.  And, then that got me thinking…..I had two cute new fabrics:

New Fabric!

Thus, began my first real adventure into drafting a pattern from scratch.  While I have tried my hand at this before, it was under the tutelage of my good friend, and master seamstress, Caroline.  Could I really do this by myself?  Sure, why not?  :-)

One of the first things I did was draw up some sketches.  While they probably look like chicken scratch to you, they were sort of helpful once I began to actually draft the pattern.  And, if anything, they made me begin to think about how different pieces of the pattern would be put together.

Crazy Chicken Scratches

Then, I assembled my tools.  To draft, you need some large paper.  I had previously bought a roll of brown paper.  But, many people just use old wrapping paper.  You can even disassemble grocery bags and tape them, if need be.  You’ll also need a pencil, meter stick, smaller ruler, eraser, and a curved ruler for making your hip, hem and waist lines curvaceous.  (You’ll also need a cloth measuring tape for taking your own measurements, if you don’t already have them written down.)

Drafting Supplies

I already had my measurements written down.  But to make sure I was on the right track, I also cross-referenced all my skirt measurements with an actual black skirt I own that sort of has the shape and waistband of the skirt-to-be.

Skirt to Check Measurements With

As there are many better websites that explain pattern drafting for an A-line skirt, I won’t go into explicit details here.  If you’d like to see some of the sites I used, here were my favorites:

The Cordelia Files

Sew-Mad

Burda

First, I drew my waistline, waistband line, hip line, and hem line.  I used my measurements for each + ease divided by 4.  Then, I used the curved ruler to make sure the waist, hip and hem line were slightly curved.  Next, I cut out the two pattern pieces.  I cut out the whole thing first and then separated the main skirt panel from the waistband and the waistband line  (4 ” down).

Pattern pieces

Then, believe it or not, I made a muslin.  For the girl who never swatches in knitting, this was a milestone for me. While it was a painful to hold off actually creating the finished project, I will tell you, it was very helpful.  There were still several parts of the pattern (i.e. the waistband) that I was unclear of how to best assemble.  Making the muslin gave me some opportunities to play around with the angles and assembly.  And it pains me to admit, but it didn’t take THAT much longer.

Then, it was time to cut the fabric!

Cutting the main skirt panels

Waistband pieces

Once everything was cut, it was sewing time!  I’m sorry I didn’t take any pictures of the actual assembly.  In all honesty, I didn’t think it would actually turn out.  So, I didn’t bother.  But miracles of all miracles, it turned out beautifully!  (Yes, I’m standing on the side of my bathtub for this pic.  Classy, I know.  DH wasn’t home for the photo opp.)

My Asymmetrical Skirt!

Side view

I plan to make this skirt again now that I know how I would change things to make it easier.  I also will use some nicer material next time.  The denim from Wal-Mart began turning my fingers blue.  Ick!  But, this was a great learning project and will be a really, really nice skirt the second time around.  I’ll do a better job of chronicling the next one.  Hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend!

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