Blog Archive

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Drafting a Skirt Block - Tutorial

I decided that with the 2 sets of skirt block instructions in my book, that I would show how to create the simpler of the 2 blocks, one that I'm more familiar with from drafting class in school.  The original skirt block in the book has 2 darts in it, but for the sake of keeping this simple, I went along and created a block with a single dart (it's a lot closer to industry standards, and much easier to work with and manipulate).

Materials needed:
Yard stick or long clear ruler (mine's 18 inches)
French Curves (a dinner plate can work in some places)
Pencil and Eraser
Wrapping Paper*
Measurements (tutorial here)

*I use wrapping paper because it's wide enough that I can do my front and back blocks side by side, but it's also helpful to use wrapping paper because printer paper won't be long enough or wide enough to accommodate the widths we're working with.*

The Basic Sleeve Block

Measurements Needed:
Full Hip - Front Waist Width - Back Waist Width - Back Hip - Side Hip Length - Back Dart - Front Fart - Dart Start

1. Divide your Full Hip measurement in half and add 1 inch. Draw a rectangle with this number as the width and your Side Hip Length as the length of the rectangle.  Label the left side "Center Back," the right side "Center Front" and the bottom as the "Hip."

2. Divide your Back Hip measurement in half and add 1/2 inch,  Measure this distance over from the Center Back along the top and bottom edges, marking with a dot on both lines and connect the dots together, labeling this line "S."

3. Divide you Back Waist measurement in half and add it to your Back Dart measurement and add 1/4 inch.  Measure this distance from the center back along the upper edge. Mark it with a dot.

Measure down 1/2 inch from the top edge along the Center Back, being sure to square off the center back, connect these two marks with a curved ruler.

Divide your Front Waist measurement in half, add your front dart measurement and 1/4 inch.  Measure this distance from the Center Front, mark a dot.

Measure down 1/4 inch from the top edge along the Center Front, square the center front corner and connect with a curved ruler as in the previous photo.

4. Use a curved hip ruler to connect the dots at the end of the waist to the S line. The straight portion of the ruler should be on the S line (a hip rule can be found at most sewing stores)

5. Divide your Back Dart measurement in half and add this calculation to the Dart Start measurement plus 5/8 inches.  Mark a dot this distance from the Center back along your waistline.  Divide your Front Dart measurement in half and add this to your Dart Start measurement plus 5/8 inches.  Mark this distance along the waistline from the Center Front with a dot.

6. Draw a 41/2 inch line paralel to the Center Front and Center Back lines from each dot along the waistline.

7. Add your Front and Back dart measurements together, divide this number by 4 and measure this calculation on either side of the dots along the waistline.  Connect these new dots to the bottom of the line to create your dart legs. Draw the dart leg closer to the outside of the skirt first and measure that line, draw a second dart leg with the other dot, extending the second dart leg if necessary and redrawing the waistline slightly, and blend the new line into your previous waistline.

8. Extend the lower edge of the pattern to the desired length.  for the purpose of the tutorials, I extended my skirt block to knee length, for the rip off series, This is the length I would recommend. (You can extend later and shorten as well.)

The Plum Rose Dress from Modcloth is going to be the first dress I recreate for the Modcloth Ripoffs.  (I took a poll from my friends online on what the first dress I would make was - This won)

Stay Tuned.


  1. I'm so excited to see the finish, That dress is a beaut. It's crazy I remember a few years back I would watch you and your sister on youtube and randomly searched you back up and found how creative you still are.

  2. Nadiaxzeppelin I think i'm going to finish this dress in the next couple days, when i'm not busy with work. I'm pretty sure that it won't be pink though.. and it's cool that you used to watch me on youtube :)