Straight skirt following instructions from 1962

Once again I’m following the book “Dress With Taste” by Voevodina V.D. and Dubinina R.B. All measurements are in Centimetres, and width measurements are divided in half.

The book suggests to draft a basic straight skirt which can then be adapted into a two seamed straight skirt.

This will not be a word for word translation. I have adapted the instructions in this book to draft the front separate from the back. This is in order to do the 2 seam adaptation with out wasting paper.

Measurements
DescriptionAbbreviationMeasurement
Skirt Length
Take from waist straight down the desired length.
(sl)
Waist Width
Bend to the side – this is where your waist is.
(w)w/2 =
Hip Width
Measure loosley around the hips. This is on average 18 – 20cm.
(h)h/2 =
Waist to hips
Measure from the centre front waist down to the hip line.
(wh)
Paper area

This is including space to add seam allowances.

Back = (h/2 + 10) by (sl + 5)
Front = (h/2 + 12) by (sl +5)

Back skirt length

Leave some space in the top left corner of the paper, and plot point W. Then draw a line the length of the skirt downwards from point W, label the end of this line L.

WL = sl

Back hip line

From point W, plot a point down along the line WL equal in length to the waist to hips measurement (wh). Label this point H.

Back skirt width

From point H draw a horizontal line to the right, equal in length to the hip width divided in half. Label the end of this line H1. Then draw a line up and down from point H1 and plot points W1 and L1. Then join up these points to form a square.

HH1 = WW1 = LL1 = h/2

Centre back line

From point W, plot a point 1cm to the right. From point H, plot a point 0.5cm to the right. Join these two points with a straight line, and continue this line until the skirt length line LL1. This is the skirt centre back line.

Front skirt length

On a new piece of paper, leave some space in the top right corner of the paper, and plot point W2. Then draw a line the length of the skirt downwards from point W2, label the end of this line L2.

WL = W2L2 = sl

Front hip line

From point W1, plot a point down along the line W2L2 equal in length to the waist to hips measurement (wh). Label this point H2.

Front skirt width

From point H2 draw a horizontal line to the left, equal in length to the hip width divided in half plus 2. Label the end of this line H1. Then draw a line up and down from point H1 and plot points W1 and L1. Then join up these points to form a square.

H1H2 = W1W2 = L1L2 = h/2 + 2

Centre front line

From point W2, plot a point 1cm to the left. Join this point up with point H2 and continue this line until the skirt length line L1L2. This is the skirt centre back line.

Back waist dart

The find the centre of the back waist dart, plot a point to the right of point W equal in length to one quarter of the waist width.

w/4

From this point, draw a vertical line down to the hip line. This line should be perpendicular to the waist and hip lines. Mark a point on this line 5cm up from the hip line.

Front waist dart

Plot a point to the left of the point W1 equal in length to one quarter of the waist width plus 1.

w/4 + 1

From this point, draw a vertical line down to the hip line. This line should be perpendicular to the waist and hip lines. Mark a point on this line 10cm down from the waist line. Then draw a 5cm perpendicular horizontal line to the left, and square up to the waist. This is the centre line of the second front waist dart.

Calculating the dart widths

The sum of the total dart widths is the difference between the waist and hip measurement plus 1.

(h + 1) – w

Then this difference is distributed between the back dart, 2 front darts and the side hip “dart”. The side hip “dart” becomes the side seam.

The distribution is as follows:

One half to the side: ((h + 1) – w) / 2

One third to the back: ((h + 1) – w) / 3

One quarter to the two front darts (or one eighth to each front dart): (((h + 1) – w) / 4) / 2

Now add up these dart distributions again to check if they match the original difference of (h + 1) – w. If they do not, then subtract the difference between the original dart sum and the new dart sum into each dart until they do.

For example:
Original dart sum = 11.2
Side = 5.6
Back = 3.7
Front = 2.8 (or 1.4 * 2)
New dart sum = 12.1
Difference between dart sums is 0.9. Split this amount into the 3 dart values. It is easier to make all the values even in the new distributions: 0.4, 0.3, 0.2.
New values:
Side = 5.6 – 0.4 = 5.2
Back = 3.7 – 0.3 = 3.4
Front = 2.8 – 0.2 = 2.6 (or 1.3 each)
New dart sum = original dart sum = 11.2

Drawing the darts

Half the front and back dart values, and draw the dart legs either side of the dart centre lines.

For the side dart, from points W1 mark points inwards equal in length to half the side dart distribution. Draw 1 cm horizontal lines inwards at the half way points on lines W1H1.

Using a curve ruler, join up the side dart points, 1 cm points and points H1. Extend this curve 1cm above the waist line.

Finishing waist and hem

Using a curve ruler, join the outer dart legs to the 1cm extended side curve points on the front and back.

For the hem, at point L1, extend the horizontal line outwards by 3cm. Then from this extension, mark points 1cm upwards. Join up points H1 to 1. Then use a curve to join points 1 to the hem lines LL1 and L1L2.

The next steps

Now add your seam allowances.

To allow for more movement in the skirt, you can add a kick pleat to the centre back, or even to the side seams.

You can also consider playing around with the darts – adding a second dart to the back or taking away the second front dart.