Made by Me!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Pattern Cutting - Making a Skirt Sloper Part 3

So its been a while posting the next segment but finally getting round to it! In this part you want to check that the sloper fits you accurately and to do this you need to make up the pattern pieces separately and then construct a toile in muslin. 

Firstly take a large section of your pattern paper - enough to be able to draw the length of both skirt sections on top of each other and the front skirt section out in full, in other words so that you don't have to cut the fabric out on a fold you draw the entire width of the front of the skirt on to the paper.

To start with we will tackle the front of the skirt. Put the pattern paper on its side and then in the middle of the paper take your meter stick or pattern master and draw a horizontal line along a set of dots to make sure its straight. The line should be long enough to cover the length of the skirt sloper.  Put an arrow on the line and this will be the centre line of the front of your skirt sloper and the grain line of the fabric when you cut your fabric out.I have done this in red so it shows up clearly.

Place your pattern paper on top of your skirt block drawing from the previous lesson and aligning the centre line weight down your pattern paper so it wont move. This is where the tracing wheel becomes useful. Moving the tracing wheel over each point mark off the corners of the sloper accurately, the top and bottom and the hip line - not all the way across but you will need to mark where it starts on the side with the hip curve. Mark the tops of the dart and the point of the dart with a cross, the centre of which becomes an accurate point. Carefully mark the curve of the hip and the curve of the top of the sloper freehand - take your time with this part! When you take the pattern paper off of the master block you will see you have lots of little indentations in the paper and all you need to do now is join the dots. You will now have the left face of the skirt sloper drawn out. Create a 1 cm seam allowance around the sloper - but not down the centre seam and a 3 cms seam allowance on to the hem. This can be done easily with either the markings on the pattern master as it has a seam allowance marker or you can use a ruler.

To make the right side simply fold down the centre line and then pin your paper together securely so that it will not move. When you are sure it is secure cut the sloper out.  Finally take your notchers and notch the hip line , the tops of the dart and the seam allowances in every directions. Then take your awl and pierce a hole at the point where the lines cross over at the bottom of the dart.

You are now ready to unpin and open the pattern piece up. You will now have a sloper that represents the full front of a skirt pattern. Doing it this way is good because you can check for any problems with curves being too deep and creating a slight v on the middle section of the waist line and it also means when you place your pattern on the fabric it is easier to prevent fabric waste.

Do exactly the same with the back pattern piece but as the seam runs up the middle back of the skirt you do not need to double the sloper up as we have with the front of the skirt.

Finally make sure you label each pattern piece with what it is - i.e. front skirt pattern piece, the size - in my case to my measurement and then how many pieces you need to cut in fabric.

You are now ready to cut your skirt out in your test fabric and sew the side seams and back seam up. When  you sew up the back do not sew past the hip line as this is the line where you would put a zip in if you were making the skirt for real, and if you sew it up you wont be able to try it on!

Once you have tried the toile on then pin the back to the correct seam allowance and assess the fit. You may need some help with this. Mine was practically correct I just had to shave a few millimetres from the hips as mine are more flat than rounded. Remember when you transfer changes from the paper it sometimes feels right to take more off or add more than is necessary. Try shaving or adding a few millimetres if the fit isn't too far off. The fit shouldn't be vastly different from your body shape as we are working from your measurements but like me we are all slightly different so a hip curve drawn on paper is nothing like mine in reality, so its likely you will need to alter some parts of the pattern. You should also be able to fit a couple of fingers in the waistline - this is the flexibility you need in a skirt to move freely and be able to eat. And you should be able to walk and sit down comfortably in it.

Transfer all alterations to the pattern with the seam allowance and make sure you cut down any areas as necessary or add a section if needed. If you are making a few changes you may wish to make a new toile to re-check the fit.

And finally when you are happy with the pattern pieces you will have your master pattern ready to go. In the next post  I will tell you how to transfer this on to card to make your master block and to make simple alterations to make different skirt patterns.

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