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Forum > Pattern Modifications, Design Changes & Pattern Drafting > Pencil skirt with no front darts

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Pencil skirt with no front darts
Is there a normal/standard way to do this?
VolcanoMouse
VolcanoMouse
Member since 11/12/10
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Date: 8/1/13 11:34 AM

Hello, clever friends,

I quite like this J.Crew No.2 Pencil skirt, and since it'll never fit me off-the-rack (yay for being short with a multisize torso!), I thought I would try my hand at drafting something similar. I have a well-fitting skirt block that I can work from.

The lack of the front dart in the J.Crew skirt puzzles me. My existing skirt block does have a front dart, so I've been trying to figure out how to get rid of it while preserving the pencil silhouette.

The normal slash-and-spread method of closing a dart doesn't seem like it will work, since it would flare out the bottom of the skirt. My other theories (change the dart into side seam curve, ease the dart along while stitching the waistband, slash and spread and then trim off the extra flare, fold the dart out on the pattern, smash it down, and draw a new curve for the waistline) all seem possible, but I'm not sure which, if any, would work best. Most of my ideas seem like uncomfortable compromises.

Is there a standard way of doing this? I could eventually make one of my above solutions work, but I'm trying to learn the 'right' method whenever I can.

Thank you so much! Have a great day.
-- Edited on 8/1/13 11:51 AM --

CathrynR
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CathrynR  Friend of PR
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Date: 8/1/13 12:35 PM

There is a way (cannot describe it here and now) of transferring the front darts into the side seams, ergo the side seam will be shaped as to actually incorporate the darts.

VolcanoMouse
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Date: 8/1/13 1:25 PM

Hi, Cathryn,

Thank you for the hint! Would the process look anything like this random blog example? I've done something like this before on a bodice, and it does seem like it could solve my problem.

My skirt block already has curved side seams, though, so my fear is that transferring the dart into the side seams might make them so curvy that they would be difficult to handle without warping. Perhaps I could interface/stabilize them right after cutting?
-- Edited on 8/1/13 1:26 PM --

Vintage Joan
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Vintage Joan
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In reply to VolcanoMouse <<


Date: 8/1/13 2:54 PM

Thanks for posting that -- this is the first time I've ever been able to picture what people mean when they say moving/rotating a dart to another part of the garment. (I'm not very spatially gifted...)

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Vireya
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Date: 8/1/13 5:41 PM

I think some of the shaping is in the seam between the body of the skirt at the waistband. Although they describe it as a "narrow waistband", it looks more like a yoke. The curve on the bottom of the yoke and the curve on the top of the skirt would be different if you pulled that skirt apart.

aprilla
aprilla
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In reply to VolcanoMouse <<


Date: 8/1/13 6:11 PM

I also thank you for that link, very clearly illustrated.

The skirt you posted about is made of 'Double-serge wool' which I don't know, but wonder if it has some little stretch? Does moving darts move/affect stress points? (what happens when you sit?)

Lovely skirt, hope it works out fabulous for you :biggrin:

CathrynR
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CathrynR  Friend of PR
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Date: 8/1/13 8:30 PM

In checking my book "Modern Pattern Design" by Harriet Pepin, copyright, 1942, I do not find instructions for this adjustment, but by looking at her other instructions and illustrations, if I wanted to keep the skirt's outline as original as possible, what I would do is first make a trace the outline of the pattern on a large flat pattern paper, then using either the original (or I would trace and make a copy of the original) make my adjustment by first drawing a horizontal line at the hip and a horizontal line at the end point of the dart. And draw a vertical line from the end point of the dart to the bottom of the skirt. Slash the vertical line up to but not through the dart end point. Then cut out the dart and bring the two dart edges together. Keep the vertical line straight on the center front, letting the outer bottom side splay out. Fill in the open dart with pattern paper, then using your traced (or the original) drawing of the original pattern redraw the bottom of the skirt. Matching the vertical line of the traced drawing you made on a large piece of paper with the vertical line on the now adjusted pattern. You will probably have to add some curve to where the bottom of the side skirt meets top (at where the end point of the dart was). This may or may not work and of course the adjusted pattern will not look anything like the original, but hopefully the skirt will have about the same shaping when put together. Also, depending on what the skirt is made of (wool?), it might be possible to remove the dart (if small) and change the excess to gathers, then shrink out the gathers using a steam iron. I know this sounds like a lot of work, I am a glutton for punishment and no guarantee that it would work at all, but this is what I would probably try doing....then if like so many times it just didn't work I know I would at least have learned something in the process. It may also be necessary to make some, hopefully small adjustment the the side seam of the back skirt.
-- Edited on 8/1/13 8:31 PM --
-- Edited on 8/1/13 8:31 PM --

VolcanoMouse
VolcanoMouse
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Date: 8/1/13 9:01 PM

Thank you so much for taking the time to type that out, CathrynR! I sketched out each step for myself, so I think I understand the process well enough to try it out and prototype it tomorrow. And you're exactly right-- if it doesn't work, I'll have learned something and gotten better that way.

I'm also intrigued by Vireya's suggestion that the waistband is acting like a yoke, so that the control is coming from the different curves between the waistband and skirt. I think I'll give that a shot too. :)

Thank you so much to everyone who shared their thoughts and contributed their mental processing power. Y'all are such a great community!

goodworks1
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In reply to VolcanoMouse <<


Date: 8/1/13 10:31 PM

Quote: VolcanoMouse
My skirt block already has curved side seams, though, so my fear is that transferring the dart into the side seams might make them so curvy that they would be difficult to handle without warping. Perhaps I could interface/stabilize them right after cutting?

That's what staystitching is all about. Sew with normal sized stitches 1/8" inside the seamline from the lower part of the skirt up through the curve to stabilize the curved edge.

Do it right after you lift the pattern off the fabric and carefully carry the pieces to the sewing machine and stitch them right away before the cut piece gets stretched out of shape.
-- Edited on 8/1/13 10:33 PM --

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CathrynR
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Date: 8/2/13 5:20 AM

Was thinking more about this last night, and was thinking that perhaps instead of drawing the vertical line all the way to the bottom, you might be able to draw it only half way down or so, and then draw another horizontal line from the side to it. Slash both of these and when you put the cut out dart edges together there should be (may be) a wedge there which you can just draw trace out (getting rid of the dart excess) when you redraw the side. Anyway, I am having fun thinking about this and may try it myself. The type of fabric you use could be a help either wool or a stretch wool woven. Good luck.

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