I’ve been under the weather, so I’m bringing you this post of a self-drafted skirt as well as a jacket and tank made to go with it. I hope the content still is helpful to you and that you can be inspired to draft your own simple pattern for a maxi skirt.
The inspiration for this post came from watching a clothing designer on QVC, a shopping network show on television. The designer had created one simple knit skirt design and offered it in six different fabrics. I was swept in because of the maxi skirt, the simple gore construction, and the multitude of looks created by changing up the fabric.
It occurred to me that it wouldn’t be that hard to copy. If I did a few calculations, I could draft a simple gore pattern, multiply it by six, add some elastic, hem and voila! DONE!
I got to work by gathering my supplies.
1.) Tracing paper (I use medical paper)
2.) Measuring tape
3.) Pencil or pen, marker
4.) Paper cutting scissors
5.) Yard stick or long ruler
6.) Fabric (approximately 3 yards of 60″ knit for a maxi length)
7.) Elastic to fit waist measurement ( I use 1″, but you can use whatever width you want)
*Since my hips are my widest part, I measured them first. If your waist is your largest measurement, measure that first and use the same calculation since the skirt will drape from there and clear your hips, giving you plenty of ease.
1.) Measure Hips. With your measuring tape, take the first measurement of your hips plus 2″ for ease. This number will need to be divided by 6. Example: Hip measurement = 46″ + 2″= 48 divided by 6 = 8.
2.) Start drawing the gore. With your long ruler or yardstick, draw two parallel lines the distance of your answer (side seams) Mine is 8″ including the 1/2″ seam allowance. The 8″ will be the width of each gore.
3.) Measure the length of skirt. If you have a favorite maxi skirt in your wardrobe, use it as a guide to determine length. Take a measurement from your waist to the floor to get a rough idea of the length you want your skirt to be. I like mine to hit at the ankle so that it is long enough for heels and can still be worn with flats.
4.) Add 2″ for hem and elastic fold over to your length measurement from last step. I use 1″ elastic, but you can use whatever width you want. Just allow for that amount for the fold over measurement at the top of your skirt. Continue to draw the lines from the waist down and flare out to make the gore. I improvised on the width and size of the gore at the hem line. Since I wanted to be able to keep the width narrow enough to fit on 60″ fabric, the gore sweep needs to stay less than 15″ wide. Once you draw the first side of the gore flare, fold it in half and draw the other side to match.
TIP* I used this picture below to see the different shapes of gores. In this case, since I am doing the math for six simple gores, I think mine is closest to View B.
5.) Draw your grain line. This is easy. Draw the opposite side of the gore and draw the grain line right down your center fold line.
You are done with the pattern. Now it is time to lay it out on the fabric, cut it out and sew it up!
TIP* Fabric requirements: I think knits work best here. I have used poly spandex knits because they have great drape, pack well, and maintain their shape.
Here are some other versions I have made:
Once you have crafted your own gore skirt panel, you can complete this skirt in less than two hours, maybe less. I like these for the no-wrinkle factor, quick make and they are surprisingly cool in the summer even though the fabric is poly/spandex. I bought the fabric at my local mill end store (SAS Fabrics) where they have rolls and bolts of ends sold at a discount. I think I paid $2.99/yd for each of these pieces.
Fabric Requirements: I prefer 60″ knits with some recovery for this skirt. I bought 3 yards to have enough to lay out two lengths of the skirt plus extra for a tank top.
Fabric Layout: If your fabric is a true 60″ wide, you can fold the fabric with one selvage folded to the center of the fabric, and the remaining fabric left to be a single layer. On the folded area, place your gore and pin the grain line perpendicular to the fold. Cut out gore. You will end up with two cut gore pieces. Move pattern piece to the single layer area, parallel to the folded area you just cut and cut one more gore. Now you have three. Repeat for one more set of three gore pieces. Once you have 6 gore pieces, you will be ready to sew them up.
Sewing: With right sides together, pin and stitch two gore pieces together from the hem to the waist. Repeat six times. Measure elastic to to your waist, cut, and sew to form a circle. Quarter the elastic and skirt with pins. Pin elastic to skirt with all quartered pins lining up. Zig zag or serge around top edge of fabric to top edge of elastic, stretching while sewing. Slowly work around entire waist. Turn down elastic towards skirt. Stitch elastic down to skirt. Turn up hem as desired. Done!
The tank top is from Loes Hinse’s #5305 Tank Dress Pattern. This is a simple tank with turned under edges.
On to the Jacket:
The jean jacket is a out of print (OOP) Kwik Sew 2895. I love this patterns and have made both short and long versions. It is not boxy. There is a slight curve at the waist which is visible in the drawing of the longer version, but is also present in the shorter version even though the line drawing doesn’t show it. I made it out of a light to medium weight denim.
The only thing I don’t like about the pattern is the way the facing and collar meet. I haven’t figured out a way to make it look better other than to re-draft the facing and have it meet the shoulder seam. It doesn’t show when worn because it is turned under so I just go with it.
I have kept making the jacket because what I like about the jacket outweighs what I don’t like. Below are some other versions from this pattern.
So since my favorite pattern is OOP, here are some other options. A stylish jean jacket design by Gertie, Butterick 6390.
Another alternative is Butterick 5616.
Now it is time for the shoes….I keep thinking that this gladiator, heavily strapped-ankle wrapped look is going to go away, but every summer it returns with a new twist. These are navy IMPO blue suede cage sandals from Stein Mart. I found them in our local store on sale. I don’t think they are still available, but here is a similar pair. They are actually pretty comfortable! They zip in the back and the laces are adjustable to fit the width of my feet.
If I find some navy shoes, I’m feeling lucky because they seem so rare. Do you feel lucky when you find a particular color shoe on sale?
Do you have a favorite jean jacket pattern? Do you have successfully sewn garments that you (after-the-fact) wish had some drafting changes? Do you tackle your own drafting?
I would love to hear your successful discoveries in the comments below.
I hope you found this post helpful, inspirational and/or interesting. Off to the next project.
Until next time, happy sewing!