Making up the deconstructed four gore skirt

posted in: Designing, Finished projects | 11

Here is a traditional, flared, four-gored skirt. the shaping is achieved in the princess seams. There is no side seam (well actually there is on this skirt, to accommodate the zip), but there doesn’t need to be. You could put the zip in the princess seam, usually the left back princess seam. Gores are actually like a princess seam on a dress – a nice way to shape a garment for all figure types, avoiding the limitation of darts.

Four gore skirt pattern
McCalls 3168

Pattern and design

When I learnt flat pattern cutting we went from the basic straight, A-line and flared skirt to the gored skirts, producing a four, six, eight and 16 gored skirt pattern. So when I heard that we would be doing a draped, flared skirt in my draping on the stand class, I thought about playing around with a four or six gored skirt. I created four rectangles the width of my hips plus seam allowance, and arranged them on the stand.

Deconstructed four gore skirt Fabrickated
Deconstructed four gore skirt

I had to make some of the pieces larger. Then I made up a paper pattern. Having originally thought I would have buttons at the front, along the left princess line (creating a wrap around skirt) I changed my mind and decided on a CB invisible zip.


In order to show off the design I considered using more than one fabric. I thought the skirt would be nice in red with one animal print gore. Or perhaps one plain colour and the fourth gore in that colour background with a pattern. Or perhaps all one colour but different fabrics (eg black evening fabrics). In the end I had a look in my cupboard and found two lightweight suiting fabrics – one in navy and one in blueish grey. If I was going to have an unusual construction method it seemed to me that I should make sure the viewer could appreciate this. I therefore included the selvedges – a subtle whitish one on the navy, and nice bold maroon and gold on the grey.


I had marked the join lines on my paper pattern and I transferred these to the fabric with tailors tacks to ensure I overlaid them exactly, as this was how the garment would be shaped. I then put in the CB zip. I used the machine to baste the four pieces together, choosing a white thread for the basting. At this point I tried the skirt on, made some adjustments, and considered leaving the basting stitches in as they added something to the garment.

Leaving in the basting threads
Fitting the deconstructed skirt (with basting threads and pins)

This was an unusual skirt to make up. The zip was a traditional invisible zip. Then skirt was put together by sewing the two rectangular side panels to the front and back backing pieces. To give stability I taped the waist. Attatching the tape meant I had a line of stitching at the waist line. I also stitched along the hem, so all the edges are unfinished. It did unravel a little bit but not too much. I didn’t line it or finish the seams inside. In some senses the construction method is the most radical thing about this skirt. It was super fast – unbelievable. I will wear the skirt for a bit to see what happens.

I might be wrong but I think I can just about get away with this design. It is a wearable shape for me (flared), in dark colours, and a good (knee length). The use of the two fabrics, the selvedges and the unfinished edges does make it unusual (but you can get something like this in Topshop). I wore it for a serious meeting the other day and got a positive reaction. On Tuesday I discussed how “out there” any of us feel able to go with our garment choices. It might be on the edge, but no more so that wearing a Vivienne Westwood skirt that tucks up in the front, perhaps?

Update: Back view now included!

deconstructed 4G skirt back view
Deconstructed 4G skirt (back view)

11 Responses

  1. Lesley

    I like this on you Kate, its a bit ‘out there’ and possibly challenges our sense of taste a little – that can only be a good thing! It looks more convincing/bona fide with the seriousness of the jacket I think. Its interesting, I think if a young person were wearing it we wouldn’t think twice about its credentials, somehow age requires sartorial dignity. Westwood gets away with it because her designs have the tweedy credentials, as does yours. This wouldn’t look so couture if it were made from a more frivolous fabric – you’re design is right on the money!

  2. Sam

    I love this, you can definitely get away with it. I think the combination of the slightly unusual design with the classic fabric is perfect.

  3. Jane

    I was looking forward to seeing the final outcome – I’d love to see a photo of the back to see exactly how/where the zip went in. You can definitely carry this one off, I’m not sure everyone could! You have certainly inspired me to do something a bit more interesting with some boiled wool fabric I have – I think this will probably be a good fabric to start with as the seams need no finishing.

  4. Jacqui

    I like the final skirt and like Jane would love to see a back view. A manufacturing designer here Annah Stretton (AnnahS is the brand) makes a lot of garments mixing and matching fabrics and shapes but in a similar classic style. You have created a winner here!

  5. AnnIe

    Nice concept it’s actually very similar to a Bohemia skirt that I have, the front wraps right over left and the pieces are joined by a separating zip sewn on the diagonal, the zip is set around 8 or 10 inches from the edge and when it closes the fabric falls back, and the hem is asymmetrical. The zip isn’t visible when worn, I always get compliments when I wear it and have puzzled about how it was put together.
    Studio Faro do some interesting patterns in a similar vein.

    I like the way your experiments are informing your understanding of garment construction.

  6. Chris

    I love it, the shape looks good on you and it’s very wearable. It makes me want to go wrap some fabric on my mannequin and see what results I get!

  7. Stephanie

    As Annie said, I like the way your experiments are informing *our* understanding of garment construction (or at least mine). Thanks! Agree with Lesley about how the jacket changes the look.

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