Pattern Drafting: A-line Skirt

It has been a long time since I’ve sewn for myself. I have spent nearly 4 years being pregnant, recovering my body from being pregnant, and repeating the cycle. I love my kiddos, and enjoyed the time I carried them, but I was totally uninterested in sewing for myself.

And now with a 3 yr. old and an 18 month old I’m thinking it’s time to start sewing for me again, before you know I consider repeating the cycle…maybe.

The problem is sewing can be frustrating, especially when certain aspects of your shape aren’t what most patterns, or store bought clothes are built for.

When Sew Country Chick announced a month long draft-a-long I thought this would be a great chance to do some pattern drafting practice. It gets much more complicated when you hop over from designing things for kids, because we adults have curves.

First up an A-line skirt.

pattern drafting


We are using Design-it Yourself Clothes by Cal Patch. I got my copy at the library. Test the waters before I committed.

I used some large tracing paper I had on hand laid over my quilting grid to draft. I did invest in a hip curve ruler. But other than that basic sewing supplies got the job done.

I had measurements and a basic plan, but after I read Justine’s post on her pattern draft I decided to be brave and cut down my sweep (circumference of my hem). I had been really nervous I wouldn’t be able to walk in it and really over buffered.

DIY sewing projectsCan you believe it this first muslin fits?! Now if you look carefully you may notice that I cut one of my pattern pieces a little wider than the pattern. At the last minute I panicked that I hadn’t added enough back in to make up for my backside darts. I’m glad I did, that quarter of an inch probably made this skirt a win instead of a little tight.

DIY sewing projectsIt even sits nicely across the backside. The best part about drafting my own pattern is this skirt fits smoothly against my newly reclaimed waistline but still allows room for my not so tiny hips. I always have weird gaps in store bought clothes.

DIY sewing projects

I’m counting this week as a confidence builder. I’m much more nervous to tackle tops and my sizing issues there. But we can chat about that next week.

There is a 7″ side zipper closure and a simple bias tape waist treatment.

For a Midwest winter this is right around my go-to length. A thick cable tight and a pair of boots make a skirt at this length do able for at least part of the winter.

Want to join in the Draft-a-long? There is still plenty of time. Justine is posting her pattern draft on Tuesday’s and sewing experience on Friday HERE.

Happy Sewing,


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{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Pam November 9, 2012, 6:31 am

    You’ve done a fabulous job of drafting and making your skirt, Rachel!!!

    • onceuponasewingmachine November 9, 2012, 10:54 am

      Thank you! I’m excited it went so smoothly.

  • Justine/ sew country chick November 9, 2012, 8:58 am

    This looks fantastic on you! Isn’t it amazing when you realize how simple it is to draft a skirt? Plus, you looks so cute and happy in your photo!

    • onceuponasewingmachine November 9, 2012, 10:55 am

      I was pretty happy I both got it on and wasn’t holding it up with one hand! Double win. I was kind of intimidated by creating darts, or more the compensating for darts, this has really helped.

  • Lisa P. November 9, 2012, 3:07 pm

    Way to go! This looks great! I’m still working on mine, but it’s coming along. I’m glad you posted with pictures so we could see how it turned out!

    • onceuponasewingmachine November 9, 2012, 6:46 pm

      Thanks! I’m excited to see how everyone’s turns out.

  • Cindy November 10, 2012, 8:09 am

    That length skirt is perfect with boots! You look great! I picked up the book from the library (though, I think my mom has a copy somewhere) but I haven’t had a chance yet to look through it.

    • onceuponasewingmachine November 10, 2012, 3:01 pm

      I like the book so far, I would like a little more time to digest and reread- but you know. I was excited I had time for this!

  • cal November 10, 2012, 9:36 pm

    it looks so awesome rachel! well done! isn’t it amazing how starting with your own measurements gives such a head start over using a store-bought pattern?

    • onceuponasewingmachine November 10, 2012, 11:00 pm

      thanks! It really is- I’m excited to keep working through the book.

  • Amy Mayen November 13, 2012, 8:27 pm

    I’ve been wanting to draft my own patterns for a while..but not quite ready yet. Congrats on your motivation! I’m going to follow your blog…maybe your mojo will rub off on me.
    I have a very new blog- it’s if you’d like to check it out. Mostly kid clothes. I have some good pattern reviews coming out soon, you might like them.

    • onceuponasewingmachine November 13, 2012, 10:31 pm

      Hi Amy, I would love to check out your blog. We sew up a good number of kids clothes around here too!

  • Christine November 15, 2012, 12:47 pm

    WOW!!! I want that skirt!!!!!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer… From Dream To Reality!

    • onceuponasewingmachine November 15, 2012, 4:31 pm

      I think it is going to be a go-to skirt pattern!

  • Andrea T November 15, 2012, 2:14 pm

    I love how this turned out. I’m just starting to make my own clothes, and this looks like lots of fun, but I think I’ll stick to per-drafted patterns for the time being.

    • onceuponasewingmachine November 15, 2012, 4:32 pm

      I”m always impressed with people who jump right into self drafting. I needed to start with the pre-drafted too!

  • Andrea November 18, 2012, 12:16 am

    I love a good a-line skirt! So glad you’re sewing for yourself now!

    • onceuponasewingmachine November 18, 2012, 10:59 am

      I’m excited to give it a swing in some different fabrics now!

  • meg/brassyapple February 4, 2013, 9:56 am

    Looks GREAT! thanks for linking up to I spy Refashion! I’ve shared your link on my FB page!

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