Next couple of projects on my plate are two I planned for this Year Of The Skirts: the 2nd & 5th from the left below…
So I better catch you up on more tweaks (yes again!) to my skirt blocks.
A while back I drafted & muslined my Pencil Skirt & “Straight Skirt” (looks more A-line to me) Blocks. They are based on Kenneth King’s Skirts CD book. I had already derived an 1-Dart Princess Pencil Skirt Block from them and made it into my reversible teal+brown floral print pencil skirt (middle skirt in the skirts sewing plan above).
Then I got talking to Barbara, a long-time sewer who trained in fashion design & patternmaking at Pratt. She advised that I create a group of mix & match block pieces so I can quickly create new designs with minimum fuss using different combinations of bodice, sleeves, skirts, etc.
Great idea. But here’s the gotchas with my current Blocks:
- The Top & the Skirt Blocks were developed separately. The skirts are each drafted from scratch rather than based on the Moulage/French Block. So the waist darts don’t match. Now there’s no rule that they have to match, and in fact maybe you’d achieve better fitting separates if you can consider bodice & skirt separately. But aesthetically, I really wanted the option to continue that dart seam line from bust to hip for dresses with a waist seam. (I guess for dresses without waist seam – ie with fisheye dart from bust to hip – I should be using the hip length French Top Block.)
- Also, when I was fitting the pencil skirt before, I made Fitting & Pattern Alteration style protruding thigh alteration. This threw some irregularities into the side seam (front is hitched up, and the front & back side seams are different angle). The irregularities made deriving further design blocks very confusing since the instructions in my flat pattern design books don’t deal with quirky patterns of non-standard bodies!
So I experimented with…
- Moving the skirts’ darts to match the Top Block’s waist darts.
- Adjust the side seam shaping to reflect my hip-length Top Block side seam. This also made front & back side seam more similarly shaped / angled, with the front more uniformly larger than the back.
- Accommodating my prominent front thigh with wider front darts instead of the F&PA method.
Here are my revised pencil & straight skirt blocks:
I muslined the tweaks again, and thankfully the changes have not thrown anything off. In fact, I think the tweaked pencil skirt block might actually look a tad more flattering. Even though the side seam has the same amount of tapering at the hem as before (1″), the deeper darts seem to have shifted volume from side-side to front-back. So from the front the skirt looks a tad slimmer.
Sorry, I forgot to take photos of the new muslins for comparison. But I liked how the muslin look so much that I’m considering turning them into vintage-inspired wearable top & skirts. So you may still see them yet!
I also discovered that I can sort of get away with different positions for the darts as long as they’re within a certain range. Most of my lower half mounds (tummy, bum) don’t have as clearly defined a peak as the bodice mounds (bust points & shoulder blades). So there doesn’t seem to be an one & only one “correct” position for the skirt dart points.
However, with my front darts, I do find I get slightly better result if I split it into two darts, one for the tummy & one for my protruding hip bone (which like the bust. does have a more clearly defined peak).
So this experiment has been productive. I now know that I have options when I use my skirt blocks to design my own skirt patterns. And that comes in especially handy for my next project – the pencil skirt with the floral motif CF panel.