Today is the 3rd post for the Skirt Sew Along, and today we'll get the pattern pieces ready, and I'll show you some common alterations.
Double check that the scale shows 100% in your print properties, and print the pattern pieces. In Adobe Acrobat I find they print automatically at 100%, but in Preview (mac PDF reader) they automatically scale below 100%. So do take a quick look.
Check the 1" squares. Each page has a 1" test square and I spot check a few pages, but not all them. If a couple are fine, then they probably all printed at the same scale. If some pages printed at a different scale it would become obvious during taping because the pattern lines would be difficult/impossible to match.
Trim & Tape
This part is pretty self explanatory--match up the numbers and tape the pieces together.
After taping the pages together 8+ times, I've found it easier to match up the edges if I trim one edge, but leave the other intact and then overlap the edges.
The other option is to trim around the grey box on all pieces and then match up the edges. That's fine too, but you end up doing more trimming that way.
All examples are shown on the Dritz Superboard mentioned in this sew along post. Another grid surface can also be used, or simply use a ruler to measure.
Before cutting out the pieces, look through the changes below to see if there are any you need/want to make. Some you'd want to make before cutting out the pieces and others can be done after.
Read through the entire section of that alteration before making your changes.
Feel free to sew the size you've selected without making any changes. You'll have a chance to bring it in some when we sew the sides seams, and you can always come back to these alterations for your next skirt when you have a better idea of how this fits your body.
CF = Center Front - This is the straight edge of pieces A & B.
CB = Center Back - This is the straight edge of pieces E & F.
Make Larger/Smaller/Between Sizes
We'll make width changes at the CF and CB seams, so it's simply a matter of doing the math and adding/subtracting at these straight edges.
The total change you want to make to the width needs to be divided so the change is spread equally to the front and back of the skirt.
The front of the skirt is cut on a fold, so any changes to the CF will be twice the amount you add/subtract. Any changes at the back will be also be doubled because you will cut two pieces.
(total change/2)/2 = amount to add/subtract at CF of A & B and CB of E & F.
For example, if you want to make the xl 2" larger because your waist is about 38.5" you would:
- Divide the total amount to add by 2 to figure out how much to add to both the front and back. In this example, half of 2" is 1". So 1" needs to be added to both the front and back.
- Divide this amount by 2 again. In this example, 1" divided by 2 = 0.5".
- Add 0.5" to the CF seam of pieces A & B. Since this seam is on a fold, this amount will be doubled once the piece is cut to give you the total 1" needed in the front.
- Add 0.5" to the CB seam of pieces E & F. The back is two pieces so cutting each piece with the additional 0.5" will give you the total 1" needed for the back side.
To make the xs 2" smaller, you would subtract these same amounts in the same places.
There is a 2" difference between each size, so if you want to alter the pattern pieces for a between size, select the larger size of the two and then:
- Subtract 0.25" from the CF of A & B and CB of E & F. This will decrease the size by 1" using the same principle as above.
The skirt is 25.5" long if you sew all the seams precisely and hem it at exactly 1.25".
In this example the skirt is being shorten by 4". For many people this will bring it up 1" - 2" above the knee. If you need help deciding how long yours should be, go back to this post and do the calculation for your ideal skirt length.
The difference between your desired length and 25.5" is the amount to shorten/lengthen.
Unless you want to shorten the yoke (most people probably don't, but info is at the bottom of this section), the entire amount to change the length will be done to only B & F.
Both the B & F pieces need to be modified the same way, so in the photos the example pieces are laid out side by side so they can both be marked at the same time.
This is where the grid surface makes things quick and easy. I've also aligned them with the top measurement (see below) at a horizontal grid line, and the CF/CB aligned at a vertical grid line to ensure the pieces are straight up and down. Then tack them to the board with pins, and since they are all lined up and stabilized, I can match my yardstick to the horizontal grid line and trace the lines across both pieces at once.
BTW, the reason we shorten/lengthen this way is to maintain the overall shape of the skirt. Simply cutting off the bottom will give you a new skirt shape since the sweep (circumference of the hem) will be much smaller.
With a simple skirt like this cutting off the bottom would give you a new silhouette that is more pencil skirt than a-line. That might be ok, if you want to make this significant change. With other things, like pants, altering it by cutting at the bottom can mean a baggy crotch and other disasters. So it's generally best to use this method.
1. Draw a line horizontally across the B & F pieces 6.5" below the top.
2. Draw a second line horizontally across both pieces 4" below (or however much you plan to shorten it) the first line.
3. Cut along the second line on each pattern piece. BTW, if you ever shorten a tissue paper pattern you would fold these two lines to meet. Folding tissue is easier than trying to tape it back together. Printer paper gets thick though, so for patterns you print at home cut and tape is the best method.
4. Match the cut edge to the line at 6.5" and tape the pieces back together.
5. Now the side seam lines need to be redrawn on both pieces. You may need to patch in a small amount of paper to keep this line straight. If you look at either B or F piece you'll see around the hip (top side seam notch) the pattern curves slightly. Below this curve is where the sides straighten out. This straight line needs to be redrawn down to meet the bottom corner. If it doesn't exactly meet the corner, that's ok. You just don't want to make a significant change to the width at the bottom side seam corner or it will effect the shape of the skirt.
The A & E yoke pieces are 4.5" when finished and can also be shorten using this same cut and tape back together method.
If you wanted to make this skirt to sit low on your hips, or you are low waisted, you may want to shorten the yoke so the pocket openings end up at the bottom of your hip bones.
BTW, this skirt is going to sit slightly below your natural waist. Even though we are making it with natural waist measurements it will "grow" as the fabric stretches and will end up settling below your natural waist line.
To make it to sit lower on your body, measure where you want the top of the skirt (remember it grows, so maybe go a tad bit higher), and then treat that as your waist measurement. Then consider shortening the yoke if it looks like 4.5" below this new waist measurement is going to mean the pocket openings are too far down.
If you want to shorten the yoke, use the same principles as above, but mark and cut it 2" down the CF/CB seam, and substract the amount to shorten.
Consider this change as part of any overall change to the length. For example, if you want the skirt 3" shorter and shorten the yoke by 1", you'd only need to shorten the B & F pieces by 2".
To make your skirt longer, you would add the to the length by cutting at the 6.5" mark and then add in enough paper to give you the extra amount. You'll probably also need some extra paper at the side to reconnect the side seam line.
After you've patched in the paper, redraw the side seam in a straight line down to the bottom side seam corner.
Make the same lengthen changes to both B & F pieces.
The pockets are pretty generous on this skirt. You can make them smaller if you like by shortening both pocket pieces at the bottom and along the bottom center edge.
Draw the new outline on piece D. Leave the top edge, pocket opening, and the top part of the side seam edge as given--these need to match up to other parts of your skirt. The new line doesn't need to be perfect--it's not visible on the finished skirt.
Once you've modified D, lay D over C and then cut the new outline through both pieces.
Predominant Posterior (Bubble Butt) Alteration
If you notice your skirts look shorter in the back than in the front, an easy alteration to work towards correcting this is to add some extra length to the CB seam of piece F.
If you have an example skirt you can take a look in the mirror to get an idea of the difference between the front and back. If you aren't sure, a good starting point is to add 1".
Some additional paper will need to be taped along the bottom of F.
Once you have enough paper, mark 1"(or your measurement) below the original edge of the pattern piece.
Mark off a right angle at your meausurement, and then draw straight across for 2" - 3" inches and begin to gradually curve up to meet the side seam. The bottom edge of the B piece can be used as a tracing guide to help you draw the line. It doesn't fit perfectly, but it can be helpful edge for drawing the new curve.
Skirt Sew Along Schedule:
1/2/15 - taking measurements
1/3/15 - fabric shopping
1/9/15 - preparing the pattern pieces & making fit adjustments
1/10/15 - cut pieces
1/11/15 - seam finishes, sew skirt front & back
1/16/15 - install invisible zipper, sew front to back, fit adjustments
1/17/15 - finish waist
1/18/15 - hem
1/23/15 - bonus post - making a fully lined skirt