Months ago I happened to find a dark chocolate faux suede material on the sale table of my local fabric store and I just couldn’t leave without it. Now as you know if you’ve read some of my other posts, colour is not something I have a lot of in my wardrobe. The price for the fabric though was not something that I could pass up and I’m glad that I didn’t. I took everything that they had left on the bolt, which turned out to be just over two meters.
Having found a love for box pleats in a past tutorial, I wanted to revisit that since I knew I had enough fabric to make two skirts. For the other skirt I wanted to use something I had in my closet to draft a pattern from.
This tutorial will largely focus on the drafting and construction of the A-line skirt. For more details on creating a box pleat skirt, you can read my tutorial here.
I did change the number of pleats for this box pleat skirt just because of the suede being a thicker material and because I added a lining. The pins were placed every 5.2 inches (13.2 cm) and made a total of 6 pleats. Since I knew I would be wearing this skirt in the winter and would be wearing tights I thought a lining would reduce friction and help the skirt lay better while I was moving around. In order to make the layers easier to work with, after cutting the suede and lining pieces I pinned them wrong sides together and just did a quick stitch across the top and down the sides. After that I marked the pleats and continued with the rest of the steps the same way. I did hem this skirt the same as the one in the tutorial just to try and give a nice edge since the inside may be seen due to the nature of the pleating. After wearing it though I have thought about changing it, since I think it makes the hemline look a bit bulky.
For the A-line skirt here’s what you will need:
- Tracing paper
- An existing skirt to work from
- Fabric & lining fabric if needed
- Measuring tape
- Paper Scissors
- Pinking Shears
- Dressmakers chalk
I started drafting the pattern by spreading out some tracing paper and laying the skirt front down on top of the paper. Making sure the side seams were straight and the garment was laying flat. Leaving room at the top and sides for seams I used the ruler to draw a line down both sides following the edge of the garment.
For the back pieces I cut out the front piece and folded it in half. I also marked “Front” and later “A-line skirt.” That way I can put it away and use it again; with it being labeled I will know exactly what it is for. You could also add a number to each piece, eg. 1 of 4, so you know how many pieces the pattern needs. While tracing out the back pieces I tried to keep in mind that there were darts that needed to be accounted for by leaving a little extra room. These darts were each 1″ inch (2.54 cm) wide and 6″ (15.24 cm) inches long.
Once the back pieces were cut out I drew on the darts by marking a space of 1″ inch and then a point 6″ inches down from that. Using the ruler I drew lines to connect these points.
No matter which way I put the skirt on the tracing paper it wasn’t wide enough to accommodate the entire garment. After cutting out the back pieces I added another portion of paper to the bottom of each pattern piece in order to get the hem accounted for. After measuring out the width of the additional piece I taped it to the pattern piece and then trimmed the sides. The hem of the skirt in the picture below is folded up to show the piece that was added.
This skirt doesn’t have a waistband, but I wanted to add one for the pattern. Out of the tracing paper I measured and drew out a rectangle 4″ inches (10.16 cm) wide and 31″ inches (78.74 cm) long. Once the waistband is folded over it will be 2″ inches (5.08 cm) wide and 31″ inches is my waist measurement with a seam allowance on each side.
Once all the pieces have been cut out, now it’s time to lay out the pieces on the fabric, pin them and cut out. Then repeat that for the lining fabric.
To keep the fabrics together and easier to work with I matched up the lining and suede pieces with wrong sides together and stitched all around each piece. This way the fabrics couldn’t slide around while I finished the construction.
Pin the side seams of the front and back pieces together and sew. Then it’s time to add the darts. Using the pattern pieces and some dress makers chalk, mark the darts, pin and sew on the inside of the skirt. Repeat for the other side.
Pin the waistband right side down to the top of the skirt. Sew the waistband on using the same stitch line you sewed the fabrics together. Place your zipper on the back seam and mark the end, stitch from the hem to that mark. Change to your zipper foot and sew in the zipper.
Fold the sides of the waistband in and sew in a stitch. Fold over the waistband and sew around the bottom and then another set of stitches around the top, this will help give the waistband more structure. Then close your sides. I then sewed an eye and hook in the space just above the zipper.
This time for the hem I decided to just fold it over and sew two sets of stitches. One up about 1″ inch (2.54 cm) and the other right near the bottom. Since I used pinking shears to cut the fabric the inside edge will at least look decent. Excuse the colour difference between the photos due to a lighting issue.
The finished product.
Here is me wearing both skirts.
Have you ever made your own pattern? Do you have any tips or tricks to share?
For more project ideas please subscribe. You can also follow me on Instagram: @mavenmakes