Patterns for Fuller Skirts

In my Pattern Making class last week, we moved on from the straight skirt patterns and learnt how to make a pattern for a fuller, or more flared, skirt using the same block.

You can do this in two ways. The first is by using pivot points, the second is called ‘slashing’.

I will try and explain slashing first!

I started by drawing round the front piece of the straight skirt block that I made in a previous lesson. Here you can see I have transferred the dart details, the hip notches, and then drawn a straight line down from the point of the dart.

I then cut along the line I had drawn, and along the left side of the dart. This created two parts of the pattern.

Placing the left part of the pattern on top of the right, match the points of the dart together. This is the pivot point. From this point you pivot the top piece of the pattern so that the two dart lines are now on top of each other.

By doing this you close the dart and open out the bottom of the skirt, making it fuller.

By adding another piece of paper underneath to fill that gap, joining the hem line together again, and marking on the grainline, you have the front of a fuller skirt pattern (without seam allowance etc marked on).

You must increase the back part of the pattern the same amount as the front, using the same process. This is how the front looks full scale.
Pivoting is another way of creating a fuller skirt pattern.

I began by drawing round half of the skirt block, from the right hand edge of the dart to directly under the point of the dart. The dart point is also marked on.

With the block back in place, use the point of the dart as the pivot point and turn the block outwards so that the dart closes.

By then drawing round the left edge of the block, and joining the hem line, you create the new, fuller skirt pattern (again, without seam allowance etc).

You can create pivot, or flare, points in different places, as long as they are exactly the same on the front and the back. Using the hip line and the dart point I have created new pivot points at 2cm and 4cm. This will ensure that the skirt opens the same amount on both the front and back if you use the corresponding pivot point.

By drawing lines down from the dart points, you create flare lines, and it is from these that the skirt will open out.An additional hip dart can also be added. This is solely to create extra hem flare. (you use lots of maths and stuff to get it in the right place, but I won’t bore you with that!)
We also learnt a bit about grainline, but I might save that for another day too!


Dress no. 7 done! This is the first one I have made from a donated pillowcase, so thank you – keep them coming!

You can see this dress and the others in the Pillowcase Dress Gallery, or have a look at my Pillowcase Dress Challenge page to find out how you can get involved!


7 thoughts on “Patterns for Fuller Skirts

  1. Pingback: Runny Yokes | Peggy's Pickles

  2. I prefer the “slash” method, but after reading, it appears the “pivot” method can be more precise. Do you find this to be the case? Also, I want to design my own patterns (as a man, I am frustrated with the overwhelming lack of men’s patterns), Any ideas on where to get a male mannequin?

  3. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I have been trying to find a way to do this. I am a novice and my daughter, bless her soul, believes I can do this. She believes in unique style and refuses to wear any store bought dress because they are so “common and non-creative.” She has her own dress design in mind and I had no idea how to widen her A-line skirt to make it fuller. YOU ARE A LIFESAVER. You are right, much easier to do than explain, but once done it is AMAZING.

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