Get started with designing
There are a few standard design variations that you will use repeatedly to create the skirt projects in this book. Once you master these, including drafting a waistband to finish the top edge of your skirt, you’ll be able to move on to more unique and creative designing.
DRAFT A ONE-DART SLOPER
Depending on your design, you may want to have only one dart instead of two on each sloper (total of two darts in the front and two in the back). The process is very simple, and can be completed quickly and easily as illustrated below.
1). Mark the center between both darts along the top edge on both the skirt front and back. Draw a line from this mark that is parallel to the center front equal and the same length as the darts. TIP It’s a good idea to make design variations on a copy of your perfect fitting sloper, not the original, so you always have a good, clean copy of the sloper to design from. Trace the sloper on drafting paper and make all your design changes to the copy.
2). Measure the width of the outer dart (x) on the skirt front sloper. Divide this in half and shave that amount off the side seam. Draw a new central dart on the line you drew in step 1. The width of the new dart should be half the amount of the outer dart (x) + the width of the inner dart (y). Make the length of the new dart about ¼” longer than the old inside dart. Example: If you drafted the standard size darts for your sloper, your front darts are both ½” wide. Therefore you will shave ¼” off the side seam and draft a new ¾”-wide dart.
3). Repeat steps 1 and 2 on the back sloper.
TIP : It’s a good idea to make design variations on a copy of your perfect fitting sloper, not the original, so you always have a good, clean copy of the sloper to design from. Trace the sloper on drafting paper and make all your design changes to the copy.
DRAFT A LOWER WAISTLINE
Your sloper was drafted with the waist at your true waist, which is not where most ready-to-wear clothing sits today. To adjust your waistline to sit lower than your true waist, put on a skirt or pants that come to the right place, and use that as a guide for measuring your body from your true waist to the top of the waistline.
Apply that measurement to both slopers by measuring down from and across the top edge. Draw in the new waistlines parallel to the original, and cut off the excess. That’s it! You’ve now lowered your sloper’s waistline and can draft a waistband or facing to fit this new waist edge. Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?
DRAFT A WAISTBAND
Waistbands enclose all the raw edges for a nice neat finish on the top edge of skirts and pants. If the skirt opens with a zipper, the waistband is typically held closed with snaps or hooks, and features an extension, or underlap, on the right side of the skirt opening that goes under the left side of the waistband. There are several ways to draft a waistband, as described below and on the next two pages. Choose the one that works best for you.
One-Piece Waistband with Separate Facing
A traditional waistband is one rectangular piece between 1″ and 2″ wide. This type of waistband is used when there is a zipper opening at the center front, center back, or left side seam. The illustration shows a skirt with a back zipper placement.
1). To start, measure the top edges of the skirt front and back patterns, minus any darts, seam allowances, or facings. You can start with a one- or two-dart sloper.
2. Double the measurements for any pieces that are cut twice or on the fold, and add them all together. Since this waistband is used with a zipper, the waistband will need an extra 1″ to 1½” extension for the overlap. The illustration shows an extension for a front left side seam.
3. Draw a rectangle equal in dimension to the desired length and width measurements. Add ½” seam allowance around all the edges. (How to Assemble and Attach Your Waistband.) You will cut two waistbands, one to use as the waistband front and the second to use as the waistband facing.
Two-Piece Waistband with Separate Facings
A two-piece waistband is similar to the one-piece waistband; however, the front and back are separate pieces. The two pieces are joined at the sides, creating side seams. Typically this waistband is drafted when the skirt front and back are very different, such as for the wrap skirts, but it can also be used for a skirt with a side zipper. Again, cut two waistbands, one for the waistband front and one for the waistband facing.
1). To start, measure the top edges of the skirt front and back patterns separately, minus any darts, seam allowances, or facings.
2). Treat the front and back separately. Double the measurements for any pieces that are cut twice or on the fold, and add the front measurements together and the back measurements together. If the skirt has a side zipper, add an extra 1″ to 1½” extension to the front waistband for the overlap.
3). For the front and the back, draw a rectangle equal in dimension to the desired length and width measurements. Add ½” seam allowance around all the edges, including the side seams, but excluding any edges to be cut on the fold. (How to Assemble and Attach Your Waistband.)
Two-Piece Contoured Waistband with Separate Facings
A contoured waistband is specially shaped to fit the curves of the body, so it lies against the waistline without any gaps. When the skirt opens at the side seam, the front waistband is cut as one piece and the back waistband is cut as another.
1). Trace the slopers onto pattern drafting paper to make the waistband pattern. You can start with a one- or two-dart sloper. Lower the waistline if desired or keep it at the natural waist. Then draw the waistband seamline parallel to the top edge and the desired width from the top edge on both the skirt front and back. Cut off the waistband from both patterns and save them.
2). Fold the darts closed on both the front and back waistband patterns and blend away any sharp edges. Since you’ll be using the bottom of the sloper for the skirt body patterns, blend those top edges as well. If the skirt has a zipper or button opening that ends below the waistband, the waistband will need an extension or underlap; in that case, add an extra 1″ to 1½” for the extension. Add ½” seam allowances all around the pieces. Voila! You’ve created a custom-fitted waistband! (See the next page for How to Assemble and Attach Your Waistband.)
Note : If the skirt opens in the center front, the front waistband is cut as two pieces to allow for the garment opening; the same applies if the skirt opens in the center back. The waistband would then be three pieces.
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