Basic to A-Line

Drafting and making a well-fitted A line skirt is so easy that if I hereby manage to make it sound complicated, do email me with your preferred choice of how you’d like me to die and I’ll do the decent thing….

The fabric: Michael Miller “Groovy Guitar”.  Can you spot the graphics mismatch in the Centre Back Zip and Seam?  What if you look really closely?

If anyone tries this in real life, I might just turn and give them a slap 🙂


You will need

a) some big paper, e.g. newspaper or wrapping

b) 1m approx of muslin

c) Your Basic Skirt Block

If you haven’t a BSB, follow Steps 1 and 2 of my tutorial to create a Back and a Front .   

Step 1 Draw a Line

On the BSB, draw a line from the point of each Dart to the Hem.  The line should be parallel to the Centre Back and Centre Front and at a right angle to the Hem.

Step 2 Slash ‘n’ Spread

Cut along the line then cut out the Dart.  Close Dart.  Do the same for Skirt Front.

Step 3 Complete the Pattern

a) Pin or stick to paper and trace around.  Ensure that the point D  (where the Skirt Side meets the Hem) is a right angle.  Fill in the gap in the Hem.  Drop the Centre Waist by 1.5cm and join to the Side Waist in a smooth curve.

b) Add instructions: Cut on fold for the Skirt Front, Cut 2 for the Back. 

c) Add seam allowances.  Mine are 1.5cm all around because I’m hemming with bias tape (tutorial below).  If you want a normal hem, 2.5cm is a good typical allowance.

Making a Muslin

Do if you can.  There are no darts so it’s super quick: mine took 10 minutes to cut and sew and I discovered that the back fit perfectly but the front could be narrowed by 2cm which was easy and made a big difference to the final fit.

Make the Facing

I haven’t made a separate pattern for the facing.  Follow this shortcut instead:

a) Pin the pattern to your facing fabric (on fold for Skirt Front).  Cut along the top and the sides for about 10cm.

b) Using a sewing gauge or a ruler, measure to the depth of 8cm from the Waist and cut.  Do the same to cut the interfacing (if using).

3. Apply interfacing to facing pieces, sew the side seams then edge finish the lower edge (press under 1cm then zigzag).

Making up the A-Line Skirt

Sew the Sides, the invisible Zip (mine was 8″ but 9″/23cm is better) and Centre Back seam.  Finish edges: I like to press the seam allowance under and zigzag.

Add facing.  If you’re not sure how to sew the facing to the zip and waistline, follow the instructions in Step 4 of attaching the lining to Julie’s Dress

Then understitch the facing to the seam allowance.  You may topstitch if you prefer. Handstitch the lining to the zip tape.

Which just leaves the Hem.

Since the Hem seam allowance is wider than the seam, hemming an A-Line can be a pain.  But you can get round it by:

a) Sewing gathering stitches half-way down the seam allowance and easing.  Recommended for jersey fabrics.

b) Making folds in the seam allowance.

c) Hemming with bias binding.

Hemming with Bias Tape Tutorial

For my width of skirt, I’ve used 1.3m of bias made from a 5cm-wide strip folded to a finished width of 2.5cm.

Step 1 With right sides together, unfold bias tape and pin edge to edge to the hem, starting with 1cm of tape folded back.  Sew to the hem using the bias fold as your seam mark. 

Step 2 Overlap the fold from the other side

Step 3 Trim seam and turn skirt wrong side out.  Roll the outside edge inward so that the fashion fabric shows slightly over the bias tape.  Pin and press. 

Step 4 Stitch, enclosing the top fold of the bias tape. 

Looks better worn with the top untucked, I think, and perfect for a Saturday afternoon.  Which is what it took to make…. 


15 thoughts on “Basic to A-Line

  1. What mis-match at back seam? Only you see this. To us mere mortals it is a perfect A-line in a fun and colourful print. Let’s hope the warm weather continues for a little bit longer so you can wear this with delight.

    • Thank you! I only point out the imperfections because I’m thinking how far I am from reaching the levels of couture. My critical eye is always asking “Would this be good enough to convince someone sensible to part with their money?” Also “how much would I charge? Would it be enough to make a modest living? Compared to hours spent, would I be making more than the minium wage?”

      It’s a smart blogger who’s concluded that they sew for themselves and for fun.

  2. Great print and the skirt looks fab. I have to say that I couldn’t see any print mis-matching though I didn’t want to look too closely. Oh, and if you don’t point it out noone will notice….. so there :o) T’will save on the slapping if nothing else. lol

  3. Have you been giving sewing lessons to that insect? It seems dead. However, your instructions are always clear, informative and entertaining so they seem fool-proof. I may have a go hoping not to finish like that insect.

  4. Hi! Just found your site. I need a couple of skirts in a hurry, but haven’t sewn garments for myself in yonks! Your pattern looks great, so I’m going to give it a shot. I have a quick question though: If I want my skirt lined would I just make a duplicate skirt that is a tad narrower out of lining and slip it under the binding?
    Thanks for the lovely tutorial!

    • Hi,
      Thanks for your comment: hope this works out.

      Yes you can attach the lining to the waist. No need to make it narrower than the skirt; in fact it’s better to cut the same as the skirt then shave off some 1mm or 2mm from each side) but there’s a possibility that the lining, being thinner, will roll out and show at the waist. I’ve found that it works better if you attach the lining to the facing. Make a pattern where the facing and lining add up to the same as the skirt, minus 3cm length. Add a seam allowance to both the lining and the facing at the point where they join together. To stop the rolling out at the waist, stiffen the facing with interfacing. I’ve made quite a few skirts like this and they’ve worked out very well.

      Good luck!

      • Yes, when I said binding I meant facing. Thanks for the deets. I will try this out tomorrow. (I see you saw my blog post so you may have guessed what I need the skirts for.) Fingers crossed they work out!

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