A Simple Dart Throw

1 Skirt back

1 Back on dummyIf you’re playing around with your basic skirt block and thinking of moving the back dart from the waist seam where it’s typically found, there aren’t that many places it can go.  This is why so often we make the dart just disappear into figure-hugging princess seams!  In making this pencil skirt, I moved the dart onto the centre back, halfway between the lapped zip and the kick pleat.  It’s very long and the angle is sharp: not a particularly attractive feature.  So why did I bother?

The answer is: this is a muslin and the first step towards something more difficult.

1 fishtailA couple of posts ago, I asked for your ideas on skirts and Ruth suggested I make a close-fitting pencil with a fish tail.  I went straight to Pinterest to look for mermaidy images and found one particular design that appealed, which you see on the left. Unfortunately I haven’t the original source for the picture.  My version will, I hope, be subtler with less fabric involved: more like what you see here in fact.  But first I needed to be satisfied that the simple elements work and give a good fit.

1 Pencil skirt1 Front darts

Hm, I might need to make it longer and more narrow at the knees but that’s easy enough.

This makes a useful addition to the wardrobe and cost nothing.  The zip was salvaged; the fabric a leftover (from Vogue 1247) and the lining fabric just appeared as I was trying to stuff some drawers shut!

Check this out: something weird happens when I put the skirt front down on the table. See how it refuses to lie flat? It’s like this skirt wants to turn into a wok!

1 Skirt back on tableI suspect this dart placement is  good choice if you want to hug a fashionably big bottom.

It’s all about that bass, I’m told.

How to:

If you’re not familiar with moving darts using the slash n’ spread method, you might benefit from this crude tutorial.  The process is really easy.  You do need 2 large lots of paper.

Step 1.  Make a copy of the skirt back.  Extend the waist dart so the dart point is at the base of your bottom.




Step 2. Draw a line from the dart point to the centre back seam.  Cut along the new line, then cut along one of the original dart legs.



Step 3. Close the waist dart.  The new dart will open.  To complete the pattern, pin in this position onto another paper layer.  Draw around.  Remove original.  On the new layer, fold the dart closed and pin in this position (I like to pin darts down).  Draw seam and hem allowances all around and cut out pattern.  Unpin dart.



1 Got it

Links:  Excellent Lapped Zip Tutorial: Part 1 and Part 2.

Horror Time

I find the most beautiful wool ever woven.  My favourite blues are all there with a dash of fresh, stripy lime.  I want this wool for a dress, a coat – nay, curtains and a carpet even, that’s how lovely it is – but there’s only a metre left so I clutch my remnant preciously and take it home planning its perfect future.  Something that will do it justice

Like a pencil skirt!

What could possibly go wrong…?

I  design from my Basic Skirt Block which I’ve used a good dozen times before.
At least I know it’ll fit me! 

The skirt must be lined as it’s for winter.  I find wonderfully matching sapphire blue acetate and  I imagine admiring this secret, deep colour every time I slip in and out of the skirt.

I narrow the block at the hem by 6cm all around.  I know the hem must be narrower than the hip because I have been stalking Boden again and studying the ‘garment measurements’ like those of the pencil skirt here.

I have enough experience now to know how to accurately align the design across the centre back.

I know to put in a kick pleat so I can stomp about when I wear the skirt.  I know how to line a kick pleat ’cause I damn well wrote that tutorial, didn’t I, so we’re all set to go but then, wait…  what?  Oh no….  

“Go directly to Jail.  Do not pass Go.  Do not collect £200!  And if anyone asks, tell them you bought it in Primark!”

Back in Black, Anna Hack

I didn’t mean to hack.  My focus was on designing a pencil skirt but after some experimenting, I made myself a rather likeable muslin from some utility cotton leftovers and it seemed a shame to throw it away. 

So I Frankensteined it. 

To an Anna bodice. 

The whole thing is, like Dr Frankenstein’s  creation, rather crudely stitched.  Check out that  ugly waist seam, sooo mismatched at the back!  (Click on right image to enlarge for full gore.)  See the holes where the original pencil skirt darts had to be unpicked and repositioned to match the bodice pleats? 

Luckily, one dye-job later into my all-time favourite colour and all is forgiven, particularly with the addition of a waist-concealing cinch belt.  A very useful hack, though a size bigger would have been more wearable still and could have been lined.  

BTW, check out the giant pencils of the Battersea Power Station!  This weekend is London Open House and if you’re curious to see the interior of this enormous brick structure, tomorrow is your last chance before the building undergoes lengthy, long 0verdue regeneration.  You’ll have to get there hours before opening time though, and join a queue of hundreds of architecture students, photography enthusiasts, Pink Floyd fans, phallic symbol admirers, not to mention the usual scourge of tweeters and bloggers!