How much is there, really, to say about skirts? They’re pretty basic. I’ve never really been one to make patterns for skirts, because, well, I’m lazy, and it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to whack out a rectangle. Somewhere back in the primordial fog of my early costuming experience, someone told me, “Gored skirts aren’t period. They waste fabric.” And I believed her, because it was easier than doing my own research or making with the thinkies. And shame on me, because it turns out that you can get through most of your costuming life if you know how to draft three basic skirt patterns. Ready?
All skirt panels are cut in one of three shapes: Rectangle, Circle, or Conic Segment. That last one sounds pretty math-y, but it’s really just a hybrid shape somewhere between rectangle and circle. We’ll talk about rectangle and circle first, and then deal with the in-betweens.
Wine bottles are a pretty good stand in for the lower half of a human – the shape gives me a waist and hip area, without the inconvenient addition of arms and shoulders…. (These are 2007 Sangiovese and Cabernet by my hometown vinter, Lynfred Winery. Both are, incidentally, excellent wines, courtesy of my friend Steve.)
Any skirt requires (at least) three basic measurements:
Based on my wine bottles, for this demo I’ll be using the following measurements:
- Waist: 4″
- Hip: 9.5″
- Length: 9″
Next: Drafting the Rectangular Skirt….