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Pattern Fundamentals - Stretch Skirt Block

Monday, August 25, 2014

This is the very first of our #PatternFundamentals that will occasionally interrupt the regular #PatternPuzzles.   We are hoping to give you all the opportunity to prepare the necessary blocks to make better use of our Pattern Making instructions on the blog.Stretch Skirt Patterns

A number of our blog posts use a Stretch Skirt Block as a starting point for new styles.  What we will do in this post is provide the instructions for you to prepare this block for your own individual-fit patterns. 
We start with my Basic Skirt Block.  The fit of this block is for woven fabric and usually has an addition to your hip measurement of garment ease (+4cm).  The Stretch Skirt Block we are making has negative ease.  That is, we cut the fit of the skirt smaller than our hip measurement to utilise the stretch (elastane) in the fabric.  Each knit has a slightly different requirement in negative ease.  In this case I will be using a ponti as my test fabric.  My approach would be to select skirt block two sizes smaller than I usually use and make a few modifications.  This means I am working with a block that has 6cm negative ease. 

Stretch Skirt Block with Back Waist Dart 

The following set of instructions will show you how to develop your own Stretch Skirt Block starting with your existing Basic Skirt Block for woven fabrics.  If you don’t have a skirt block but do have a skirt pattern that looks anything like a Pencil Skirt, you can use the following instructions to make your Stretch Skirt Block.

Use my sort block.
Select your skirt block or pattern and:
  1. Trace around your skirt block including all darts and hip level line. ( If you are using an existing commercial pattern of a pencil skirt - trace the stitching line and eliminate all seam allowances for this exercise.)
  2. Mark 2.5cm (1”) inside the side seam for both front and back.  This reduces your block by two sizes.  Not strictly grading but ok for this exercise.  
  3. You will end up with a negative ease amount of approx. 6cm.  This is a body conscious fit and suits many fashion styles at the moment.  
  4. If you would prefer a more relaxed fit then mark just 1.25cm inside the side seam for one size down in the skirt block.  So much will depend on the fabric you are using.
  5. Measure your front dart and take this amount off the front side seam at the waist level.
  6. Draw a curve from this new fit on the waist to the hip line.
  7. Now reduce your back dart by the same amount and adjust back side seam as front.
  8. Taper your side seams at the hem by 2.5cm (1") and draw a straight line back to the hip level.
  9. Trace a clean copy of the new Stretch Skirt Block.

Stretch Skirt Block
This block type is particularly suited to ponti fabric types.  The fabric handles the back dart well and is often stretchy enough to pull over your hips (no zip required).

An alternative method is a self-draft stretch block inspired by Mioara's recent #PatternPuzzle.  Instructions can be found here.  
Using Skirt blocks.
To test your new draft:
  1. Add your seam allowances of 7mm (¼") to side seams and waistline on your new block shape.
  2. Add a hem allowance of maximum 3cm (1¼") for a collarette (stretch hem) stitch hem.
  3. Cut a bind finish for the waist to finish 1cm (⅜") wide.
  4. Include some elastic in the waist bind.
  5. It is ok to include an invisible zip in this skirt style however in this first trial it would be interesting to test a pull-on fit if possible.
Keep us posted as you work on your stretch skirt block and please feel free to ask any questions through the comments section below.  Enjoy :)

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violeta commented on 27-May-2016 07:56 PM
Hola. M gusta mucho sus ropas. M gustaría q si tienen catalogo m los enviaran a mi correo x fa.. Gracias
Anita - studiofaro commented on 30-May-2016 10:32 AM
Hello Violeta, thanks for dropping by. At the moment there is no catalogue. Please subscribe to the website so you can see all the new patterns when I'm ready to release them. :) http://www.studiofaro.com/contact
San Juanita Schafer commented on 12-May-2018 09:14 AM
Howdy, from Austin, Texas!
Hi, there! I absolutely love your designs! What does it mean when it states that the patterns are to be printed as AO?
Do I need to go to a print store to have these printed or can I print on my home computer and piece the 8 x 11 sheets together? Thank you. I am a decent seamstress.
Anita - Studio Faro commented on 18-May-2018 11:34 AM
Hi Austin, Texas, thanks for dropping by. A0 is a metric size that is printed out at the copy/print shop. It will fit on the 36" plotter prints you have access to in the states. Please remember to print 'actual size'. I'd be very interested to see how you go at the print shop. Do let me know. :)

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The challenging patterns, the exciting new design trends and the impossible drapes; that's what I live for.  Disclaimer: These new ideas are offered here for testing and are offered without guarantee.  Allow yourself time and space to truly test and perfect the patterns for all your new ideas.  And please don't give yourself a hard time if the first toile is less than perfect.  It's simply part of a process. Enjoy :)

Using my content

All images, designs, photos and layouts on this blog are created and owned by Anita McAdam© of Studio Faro. They are available FOR HOME AND PERSONAL USE ONLY.  If you would like to use our content for teaching or commercial purposes please ask.  I have some amazing resources for teachers and manufacturers. ;) enquiries@studiofaro.com

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