Three Cheers for Drafting!

This weekend was closing weekend for the opera I was singing – whew! It was a truly wonderful experience; I has such a great time working with so many wonderful singers. I’ve never done so many performances of a single show – we did 6 shows total – so I got to explore the world of this opera more than usual. All in all, I had a blast!

So, what’s the best way to combat post-show depression? Sewing, duh! One thing I’ve really been wanting to explore is pattern drafting, so when Simple Simon and Co. announced their Pencil Skirt Drafting Sewalong, I got super excited!

In the sewalong, Elizabeth taught us in detail how to draft a simple skirt sloper and then sew it up into a cute little pencil skirt. However, I don’t really like to wear pencil skirts – they’re a bit impractical for piano playing, and I don’t really like the silhouette it creates on my body. So I decided to spice it up a little and add some box pleats…with a little surprise:

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Contrasting panel insets! Woot! I have to say, I’m super proud of myself for figuring out the math and actually creating a cute garment. It’s one thing to create a successful garment from a commercial pattern, but quite another to design the pattern yourself! I’ve had the idea for this skirt floating around in my head for quite some time, and it was super exciting to see my vision become a reality.

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I’m also quite happy with the fit. It took a few tries – I didn’t add enough ease to my initial pattern at the waist, so I had to use smaller seam allowances, but it all worked out in the end. I also made the waist higher than a “normal” pencil skirt, because that’s how I prefer skirts to fit me. I find that disguises my tummy a little better, as it highlights the narrowest part of my torso. I decided to put the pleats right at the fullest part of my hips to continue the A-line flair that starts at the high waist. This also (hopefully) masks fullness in the hips by leading the eye up or down that line. What do you think? Were my design intentions successful?

I also decided to do a side zip instead of a back zip so that I wouldn’t have to figure out how to fiddle with the pleats to insert a zipper back there. It also makes for a nice, smooth back – that fits!!

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Oh, and I thought it kind of looked like a cheerleading skirt, hence the blog post title :P.

Ok, now to let you all in on a little secret: it’s always been one of my dreams to be a fashion designer. In fact, I almost studied textiles in college, but when I started taking voice lessons mid-way through high school, I realized I wanted to follow that dream instead. I’m still happy I made that decision, but now that I’ve started sewing again, my designer dreams have started to resurface. And seeing so many successful indie pattern designers has really inspired me – maybe my dream can still become a reality after all!

So, in all honesty, what do y’all think of this design? Is this something you would like to see as a pattern? Maybe with a few different design options – gathers as well as pleats, or something like that? Of course I still have a TON to learn about pattern design, but I’m really curious to know what you think! THANKS!

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P.S. Sorry about the posting mix-up with The Monthly Stitch!! Clearly I’m not very internet-savvy…oy

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10 thoughts on “Three Cheers for Drafting!

  1. Congratulations on your excellent drafting adventures. Such a great skirt! I’ve just caught that drafting bug too so I can totally appreciate how great it feels to have something that is totally designed and perfectly fitted by yours truly! I’d be really interested to know how you did the maths on the pleats! 🙂

    • Thanks! It’s super fun, isn’t it?? For the pleats, I wanted the finished inset to be 4″, so I cut 5 1/4″ rectangles. I then split the front and back into quarters, added 2″ to *each* pleat (so, 4″ total to the center front and back pieces), and seam allowances. Make sense?

  2. Why don’t you put your pattern out there and give it a go? I’m sure it would be popular. It’s a lovely skirt. Good luck.

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