How to make a Westwood style skirt pattern from a skirt block

When I was draping the skirt with the side pleat I thought about doing the same pattern but using the flat pattern cutting method.

It was an interesting experiment.

This is a draped pencil skirt, cut on the (non-true) bias, with a fold at the right side and a zip in the left side seam. Here is how I did it.

  1. Using your straight skirt block, or a commercial pattern for a straight skirt (with two front darts), make up a full pattern by tracing it and joining on the fold.
    Full pattern piece for pencil skirt
    Full pattern piece for pencil skirt
  2. Draw a line from the left side seam to the base of the left hand dart at approximately right angles, slash and spread so that the dart appears in the side seam.
    transferring a skirt dart to side seam
    Close left hand dart and open in side seam
  3. Draw a second line from about thigh level(say 8 to 10 inches below the first side seam dart) to the base of the right hand dart. Again cut along this line and the side of the dart. Close the second dart allowing the dart to open in the side seam.
    transferring skirt darts to side seam
    Close right hand dart and open in the side seam
  4. Now that you have transferred both darts to the side seam you will need to add paper to take up the small high dart and large lower dart. Now create a large box pleat from the paper, and pin it so that the length of the left side seam is the same length as the right one. Mark the pleats clearly. Draw in a new side seam, the same shape as you have for the right side. Cut through all layers of paper so that the pleat is the right shape.
  5. If you want a more exaggerated look slash again from the left side to the base of the right dart and spread again (I didn’t do this)
  6. For the back of the skirt you can just use your skirt block or the back of the commercial pattern.
  7. Finally create a new grain line on both front and back of the pattern. I created a grain line at about 45 degrees. (However I adjusted the layout slightly to make best use of the width of the fabric)
    Bias skirt pattern
    Draw in new grain line on front and back pattern pieces
  8. This pattern works well on striped or checked fabric so the changes in the grain will be evident.
  9. Take care in construction as the seams will stretch. In order to minimise this I found it helpful to stay stitch the large side box pleat and the waistline. You can get a good pattern match on the left side seam (which includes the zip), so concentrate on this when cutting out. Obviously because of the pleat on the right this will be much less likely, although you could create a pleat with one whole repeat if the fabric lent itself to this).
  10. I used the last bit of my grey “wool” to toile this pattern – I will make it up in something more exciting and show you tomorrow.
    toile side pleat westwood skirt
    Toile in grey wool

8 Responses

  1. Thanks for the Tutorial…I will have to find some suitable fabric. Assuming it needs drape-y?

  2. Thank you for this Kate, I can’t wait to try it. I’ve got one project almost complete and when that’s done I think this will be my next one.

  3. I am so super-stealing your skirt for my winter sewing.

  4. […] on how to make a Vivienne-Westwood type skirt in a grey wool plaid I’ve had forever (see here and here).  This will also force me to pad out my fitting dummy, which is something that’s […]

  5. Love this – I can make my own patterns using the flat method, but I’ve never attempted draping so this is so helpful.

  6. What an adventurer you are!

  7. I love playing with slash and spread! I like the pleat at the hip and the bias cut. Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading this post and I love the drape of your wool.

  8. Thanks for your post.

Leave a Reply