Flared skirts camouflage figure flaws while being super cute and comfortable. Depending on your fabric choice, flared skirts can be formal or casual, making each design incredibly versatile.
The basic skirt sloper that begins as a straight silhouette is easy to alter into a flared design. Don’t worry; adding
flare to a hemline is simple. You can use the methods found in this chapter to add a small amount of flare at the hem for an A-line skirt or go dramatic with tons of flare for a fuller shape.
Experiment with each technique and consider making test garments from cheap fabric to see how much flare you like and better assess how much to include in your designs.
Draft the Basic Pattern
An A-line is a slightly flared skirt that gets its name from its A-shaped silhouette. A flare added to the hemline of a skirt makes it stand away from the body at the hem, and is flattering to most figures. The “slash and spread” method of pattern drafting adds shape by cutting and spreading the pattern. This basic version features a left side-seam zipper.
Draft the Pattern
1). Trace your customized skirt front and back slopers onto drafting paper. Cut out the patterns around the outside edges. On both, start at the outermost dart point and draw a line straight down to the hemline. Make sure the lines are parallel to the skirt center.
2). Cut and spread the front sloper. Cut along the line you drew in step 1, from the hem up to the dart point on the skirt front. Tape the center front of the skirt onto paper. Tape that dart closed to spread the skirt open, and tape the spread section in place.
Measure and record the width of the opening at the bottom of the skirt (x). Then, extend the hemline out past the side seam by half the recorded measurement. Draw the new side seam from the widest hip point to the new extended hemline. Make sure the new side seam and hemline form a right angle.
3). Cut and spread the back. Cut the line you drew in step 1, from the hem up to the dart point on the skirt back. Fold the back dart closed until the skirt spreads open so that the bottom opening equals the skirt front recorded measurement. This will not close the dart completely, as the back darts are typically wider than the front darts. Tape the center back of the skirt on paper and tape the spread section in place.
Extend the hemline past the side seam as for the front.
Measure the part of the back dart not included in the folded dart (y). Make the remaining inner dart larger to include the remaining dart amount, as shown. Erase or cross out the remaining outer dart.
PATTERN DRAFTING NOTE : Since you will be cutting and spreading the patterns, trace the onto patternmaking paper without seam allowances and cut them out. Then make sure you have a large piece of paper for taping the slashedand-spread pattern sections onto. Once you draft your basic flared patterns, before adding seam and hem allowances, copy them onto patternmaking or drafting paper so you can use them as the starting point for several of the flared skirts in this chapter.
4). Draft the one-piece waistband with separate facing. The waistband shown is ¾” wide. Any of the waistband techniques work well with this silhouette, so feel free to use the method that you prefer.
5). Complete the pattern. Add ½” seam allowances to all the pattern edges, except the center front and center back, which should be cut on the fabric fold. There is a zipper in the left side seam. Add a 1½” hem allowance, or as desired.
›› 1½ yards of 44/45″ fabric
›› 1 yard of fusible interfacing
›› 7″ zipper
›› Zipper presser foot
›› Hook and eye
›› Matching thread
Sew the Flared Skirt
1). Cut out the fabric. Use the newly drafted pattern pieces to cut the following:
- From fabric : one skirt front on the fabric fold, one skirt back on the fabric fold, and two waistbands.
- From interfacing : one waistband.
2). Apply interfacing. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of one waistband.
3). Stitch the darts and side seams. Close the darts. With the right sides together and raw edges aligned, stitch the front to the back along the right side seam. Press the seam allowance open. Install a lapped zipper in the left side seam. Be sure to allow for a waistband extension above the zipper for the hook and eye.
4). Assemble and attach the one-piece waistband with separate facing.
5). Hem the skirt. Press under the bottom edge ½” to the wrong side, then press under again 1″. Machine- or hand-stitch the hem.
FOR EXTRA FLARE
Use this slash-and-spread drafting technique to add as much flare as desired to the hemline.
1). Trace the front and back skirt slopers on drafting paper and cut them out. Be sure to trace the darts on the slopers. On both patterns, start at both dart points and draw two lines straight down to the hemline. Make sure the lines are parallel to the center front and center back.
2). Cut the perpendicular lines, from the hem up to the dart point on the skirt front along both lines. Tape the center front of the skirt on paper. Tape both darts closed to spread the skirt open at the hem. Tape the spread sections in place.
Measure and record the width of one of the openings at the bottom of the skirt. Then, extend the hemline out past the side seam half the recorded measurement. Draw the new side seam from the widest hip point to the new extended hemline. Make sure the new side seam and hemline form a right angle. Repeat the process for the skirt back.
3). Balance the patterns. Put the skirt front over the skirt back so the centers and hemlines are aligned. If the hemlines are not equal, slash and spread the smaller pattern down the center to match the larger one along the hem.
4). Finish the patterns as for the basic sloper, steps 4 and 5 on the opposite page.
PATTERN DRAFTING NOTE : For an extra flared skirt, repeat steps 1–3, but draw an extra vertical line between the outermost dart and the side seam so you can slash and spread the sloper even more. Very wide skirts might not fit on folded fabric, which would mean a seam in the center front.
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