So you’ve got the general idea of what it is you’re going to make. In this case, it’s that skirt I drew last time that I settled on to emphasis the pretty print that I have.
I had great big plans for this post but I realized all I had wasn’t super necessary. (Ok, so I lost all the pictures I had taken why do you ask?)
What I like to do is draw (not-to-scale) images of what each piece will be and how many I need. This lets me figure out cloth requirements and the best way to cut my fabric.
Much of this is going to be based on personal style choices and measurements, but here’s some guidelines:
You’re going to need at least two large rectangles–one for front and one for back. You can divide these up however works best for you. The width I usually go with is however wide my fabric I have is (usually around 42 inches due to where I buy my fabric). The length is usually from where I want the skirt to sit (usually waist) to my knee or just above. If I plan on pintucks, I try to add length based off my pintucks. In this case, I picked 28″ since I usually do 25″ skirts so that I’d have wiggle room for my pintucks. If you look at the top row of the picture above, you’ll see those top three are all front-skirt related; the next row has the back panel.
Include any special fabric needs. If you are going to have chiffon strips (as my skirt does), then note that, and note how much each will need. In this case, I noted 7″ (the width of the panel it would go on) by 10″ (to allow for some overlap of the tiers).
Draw a layout of how you’re going to cut. Even if it’s just squares, it gives you an idea of how much space and fabric will take, and let you see if doing it on a fold will work or not. It also allows you plan if you have a weird cut, like my remnant chiffon.
Generally, if you were to have ruffles, quadruple (4x) your width for the skirt and use that for the length of the strip you need. If it doesn’t go all the way around (for example, stops at a front panel), then reduce accordingly. Usually a front panel means you should only triple (3x) and so forth.
A little planning and laying out now will save you a lot of trouble later. It also lets you check if you’ve forgotten what some of the pieces are for what they could be for. Note your measurements for each piece, and try to note how many you’ll need.
Go ahead and plan out your waistband. Figure out what type of closure you’ll use. My preferred ‘closure’ on a skirt is some type of elastic waistband. In this case I went with a half-elastic waistband–you can find the tutorial over at this egl post . For dresses with sleeves I like an invisible zipper in back; JSKs I like both back shirring and zippers under the arm. It’s really a matter of what you like and how you want to incorporate it.
Cut all of your pieces in advance. I like to press my fabric prior to cutting, and then press the pieces afterwards. Try to keep them laid flat so they don’t rewrinkle if you’re not going to get to them for a bit.
Next time, I’ll go through the process of putting the skirt together, but this was the big bit! Designing really just comes down to picking something you like and then figuring out what pieces it needs and how much material they will call for. Skirts are pretty easy since they’re just rectangles put together in new and interesting ways. 🙂 Part three really is just a tutorial on how I put my skirts together.